Having clocked up another successful financial year and a ninth birthday for VIVA!, our GM, Paul Jans, organised a surprise lunch at the absolutely stunning ‘Ripples’, at Chowder Bay, Sydney.

While taking in the breathtaking views, we toasted the end of the 2010-11 financial year and VIVA!’s ninth birthday. We spent hours swapping tales of exciting business prospects, the latest health tid-bits, our passion for shoes (including Paul’s) and the upcoming launch of a unique skin care range “set to challenge old-age myths and the 100-year-old paradigm skin classifications” – the brain child of VIVA!s longest-standing friend and employee, Ruby Archis. We can’t give away too much, but stay tuned for details on the upcoming launch!

As we devoured seafood, pasta, lamb shanks and risotto, VIVA!’s principal and founder, Kirsten Bruce, provided entertaining anecdotes regarding VIVA!’s humble beginnings from her home, nine years ago.

Each team member shared what they were up to nine years ago – an era pre-Facebook, LinkedIn and twitter – revealing that life did actually exist before VIVA! (and social media!)

Paul was living the high life as an expat and bachelor in Asia, working for a NASDAQ listed IT company. His weekends were spent playing golf (with a caddy, of course) in exotic locations, and catching up with Aussie, UK and US buddies at his local watering hole, Molly Malones, the most popular Irish pub in Singapore at that time!

Kirsten was burning the midnight oil, establishing VIVA! and organising meetings flavoured by home-made chocolate cakes and biscuits for current and prospective clients who generously dropped by.

Denise was half way through the first year of her psychology degree, debating Freud, Jung, Watson and Skinner over pink cruisers, and hoping to solve the world’s mental health problems (using a post-modern Kuhnian paradigm, of course!).

Mahsa was preparing for high school exams and day-dreaming about bungy-jumping in exotic locations, working in her dream job, travelling through the Middle-East and North Africa, and meeting Will Smith from TV sitcom, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Since then, she’s achieved all but one!

Kirsty was in Year 9 at high school, completing a work experience stint at her local newspaper, and was published for the first time in the Tweed Daily News. While only a small story on a school football match, the article cemented her love of writing and paved her career path. While unsure as to how much of an impression her press debut made in her local newsroom, she likes to think that it had some bearing on the newspaper offering her a job six years later.

Other interesting 2002 facts:

• Patrick Rafter won Australian of the Year
• Eminem ‘Lose yourself’ skyrocketed to number on the music charts, and spent 12 weeks at the top, followed by Kasey Chambers’ ‘Am I not pretty enough’ and Nelly’s ‘Dilemma’
• A year after the first phone containing premium features was released, such as infra-red, a fully functional calendar and a FM Radio, the Nokia 3510 debuted as the first phone to bring GPRS internet services to the mass market
• Major Australian airline, Ansett Australia, collapsed after 66 years and 11 days in operation
• East Timor regained its independence
• The United Nations calculated that 40 million people around the world were infected with HIV
• Spiderman was the highest grossing movie worldwide.

The top Google search terms in 2002, according to Google’s zeitgeist were:

• Woman: Jennifer Lopez
• Man: Eminem
• News story: World cup
• Brand: Ferrari
• Technology: MP3
• Athlete: David Beckham
• Musician: Eminem
• Destination: Paris
• Retailer: Ikea
• Video game: the sims