Each week, SHESAID features an inspiring woman who has been kind enough to share her story with our readers. She might be a leader in her chosen field, someone still on their own path striving to make a difference or simply someone with a remarkable story to tell. These women contribute their own knowledge, expertise and life lessons in order to truly inspire others.
Name and Role
Sharon Melhem, director and founder of Kouture Productions
Tell us a bit about what you do? What do you get up to on a day-to-day basis?
I am an experienced strategist within the events and marketing profession, with extensive global/local experience in medium sized businesses and large corporates. This background has created the foundation of my current role as the Director and Founder of Kouture Productions. I am heavily involved within every aspect of the business and therefore no two days are alike. I could be in a boardroom meeting discussing sponsorship opportunities and how they can increase their brand awareness within the event space to a trendy café environment discussing the PR strategy with my PR agency. This dynamic and multi-tasking approach to my working life is what I love the most about what I do.
When did you realise this was what you wanted to do as a career?
I have always had an interest in marketing and events. I developed a passion for it within my 3 unit business studies class back in high school. This deadline and results driven environment is extremely rewarding esp. when you witness positive growth and you are able to help others achieve their business goals. I truly believe you need to love and enjoy what you do then you won’t work another day in your life.
As well as being the director and founder of Kouture Productions you also have started some wonderful initiatives including for the Make-A-Wish Foundation their annual Shine and Dine Gala. What drove you to carry out such an enormous task?
I had an opportunity to work with a client who is a notable multinational personality within the not for profit sector, that is when I realised that my experience and skills could be utilised to add value and benefit not only corporates/businesses but to charitable organisations. This had opened my eyes to the power of being able to make a difference to people’s lives and that the gift of giving back is the most rewarding. Reading the Make A Wish children’s journeys and their wishes just melted my heart. I felt instantly that I needed to help support Make A Wish Australia grant more of these wishes more frequently.
At The Annual Shine and Dine we have a wish child attend and we announce that their wish will be granted. This magical moment when you witness the happiness and joy of this child’s reaction to the news is extremely moving and makes all the stress, pressure and financial risks involved of this enormous task worthwhile.
How do you plan to continue, grow and improve initiatives such as this?
Make a Wish Australia and Shine and Dine have achieved so much together already. Not only with raising much needed funds but the awareness of their magical wish granting cause. I plan to continue this through growing the awareness dramatically and corporate partnerships involved year on year. This would see the Annual Shine and Dine grow interstate and/or internationally. I am currently within the planning stage of a second event to occur in the second half of the year which won’t be in a gala setting but will still have the same level of extravagance and positive impact.
What were the initial stumbling blocks and how did you overcome these?
The initial stumbling block was fear. The fear of making the wrong decisions, not achieving what I set out to achieve and most of all the fear of failure. Fear is a major contributing factor why some great business ideas don’t get off the ground or why some women don’t set out to make their dreams into reality which is extremely unfortunate. The only way I pushed past this stumbling block was to do conduct my research, put a business plan together and minimise costs as much as possible. There is so much truth behind the famous quote; if you fail to plan you plan to fail.
Did you have a mentor or somebody who drove you to excel in your career?
My parents. They were migrants back in the 70’s with only a suitcase to their name and I grew up watching them both owning numerous small businesses and working extremely hard to ensure we were given a better start in life than they did. At first, I hated the fact that I was unlike any of the other kids within my year, my school holidays, every weekend – as well as when I came back home from school – involved helping my parents with odd jobs within the business. But now, I cannot thank them enough for giving me a good work ethic and I don’t fear hard work but actually thrive off it. They have been so supportive of my career from the get go and always reminding me that I am capable of achieving beyond my own expectations.
Where do you find your inspiration?
My parents of course but I also find it from the people I meet and who have supported me on this journey. For example, Tarick and Zena Kaddour from House of K’dor have been The Annual Shine and Dine sponsors from the initial event in 2013. Their drive, unconditional encouragement and support, generosity towards charity and even their own successes is not only an inspiration to myself but moves me that there are people in the world that possess such admirable qualities. I have to say I am blessed to have the pleasure of meeting and working with some of the most amazing people.
What are your goals for the future and the future of Kouture Productions?
Kouture Productions plans to grow its portfolio and its team over the next 3-5 years. We are also looking into diversify across other industries within the event space.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to follow the same path as you?
I would tell them that it is imperative that they conduction their research and develop a plan. That they need to surround themselves both personally and professionally with people who have the same if not more work ethics, strengths in areas that you lack and a positivity outlook in life.
The Annual Shine and Dine Gala in support of the Make a Wish Foundation will be held 5th June. For more information or to purchase tickets to the evening head to: www.shineanddine.com.au