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Ones To Watch: Ayeshah Rose

Everybody is on the hunt for young up-and-comers and, here at SHESAID, we have been lucky enough to meet a few of them. These ladies are on the road to success and generating waves within their chosen field. Whether they be creatives, sporting talent, founders of start-ups or someone striving to make are difference, these young women are definitely ‘Ones to Watch’.

RELATED: Ones To Watch: Ashlee Harrison

Tell us a bit about you. Where are you from? What do you do?

My name is Ayeshah Rose and I am born of Eurasian origin and grew up surrounded with acres of green and endless amounts of imagination. When I was younger I found an escape from being a mixed raced girl in a rural area in my love of animals, which gave me a sense of freedom.  This was the perfect recipe to be moulded into a storyteller. But it was almost as though one path was not quite enough to pursue a life of no limits. As a tomboy, I joined the Naval Reserve Cadets as a teenager and found the focus and discipline I needed to hurtle a career in the arts. I’m now also a model with WINK Models.

You have recently completed the Kokoda Trail – is this something you have always wanted to do?

I genuinely have an addiction to the outdoors; I love to test my own limits. This was something I knew would test my physical and mental spaces. I will admit I had very little knowledge of the significance of the trail and the detailed stories of the heroes that gave us the freedom we enjoy today. I think many young Australians are uneducated on this part of our history and this trek was a way to be identified as an Australian.

Ones To Watch, Inspirational Women, Kokoda, journey, mentor, charity, life advice

Your journey along with your groups was filmed and made into a documentary, Life Challenge – Kokoda. How did you find out about this project?

My good friend James the founder of Life Challenge suggested I do this. We both had battled personal and physical issues with health before and decided to test ourselves and risk everything for this project.

 Ayeshah model

As a model, did you feel like people underestimated your inner strength to complete the journey?

Definitely. I was laughing with the camera guys on the final days because they all had bet with each other that I’d be the first to crumble and I’m sure even some of my close friends may have questioned my endurance for this adventure.

What were the most challenging moments for you on your journey, both physically and mentally? How did you resolve these?

The moments I went down on day 7 with dehydration. It really took me by surprise because I did drink almost 3 litres of water that day already. Going in and out and forgetting where I was and seeing cameras really shook me. Time and rest was the only way out, but the words of Charlie Lynn in my ear was the real awakening and those words of support and hope really rearranged my thoughts and enabled my wheel power.

What was the most rewarding aspect of your journey?

I loved feeling my body switch to survival mode. I loved how well I slept despite all the strange sounds, wild dogs, and torrential rain. Mostly I loved learning from Charlie and watching him with the people, helping, supporting and really investing in them and giving me the opportunity to give back too by naming a scholarship program after me. A major inspiration to me, he’s like my family now.

Ones To Watch, Inspirational Women, Kokoda, journey, mentor, charity, life advice

What advice would you give to those following your career path and to those hoping to one day complete Kokoda?

Purely to pay a respect and gratitude for the greatest opportunity of all, freedom. So why not?

As a creative, what inspires you?

I’m a quick learner so I love to try anything and try and master it, whether that’d be a new technique, a new style or activity. I love pushing myself to be inspired by other creative outlets; I am inspired everyday with something else, something different every time.

What are your plans for the future? Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?  

I have so many plans! I always love doing a lot with so much variety. I want to continue building on my strength with my fitness and yoga, continue with making art that explores a variety of executions, I want to be creating characters with my own imagination and express them with my acting, and of course be travelling to climb the rest of the treks in the world!

Ones To Watch, Inspirational Women, Kokoda, journey, mentor, charity, life advice

If you are interested in seeing more of Ayeshah or her work with WINK Models head to http://www.winkmodels.com.au/model/ayesha-rose

Inspirational Women: Genevieve Radnan

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.

RELATED: Inspirational Women: Sally Brown and Chrissy Biasotto

Name and role

Genna (or Genevieve) Radnan, CEO and founder of Gennarosity Abroad

Tell us about you? What do you get up to on a day-to-day basis?

I’m a 24-year-old registered nurse and the CEO and founder of the registered charity, Gennarosity Abroad, which is based in Kenya, East Africa. I have always had a passion for helping others and caring for those around me. I’ve always consciously been grateful of my upbringing, the family I was born into and the morals and values that I’ve been raised with. I enjoy working in a community setting and working with children which is why I work as a school nurse. I’m able to not only help the children when they’re unwell or injured; I’m able to educate them as well. One of the greatest benefits of being a school nurse is that you get to work within school hours, and have the rest of the day to continue living life. In my time outside of work I get to focus on my charity work, giving speeches to school and various communities about volunteering and the work I do, and I am about to take up a second degree in a Bachelor of Arts in International Aid and Development.

How/when did you know this is what you wanted to do as a career?

I originally went to Kenya when I graduated from high school in 2009 to take part in a teaching and building volunteering program for two weeks. I personally never thought I was academic so didn’t think seriously about university or the possible opportunities that could come from it. During my second trip to Kenya in my gap year for 6 months in 2010, I came across a family of 10. Eight children were born into a family making less than $1 a day. The mother, Zipporah, was illiterate and uneducated whilst the father, Jack, worked casually as a labourer. This was the evening that changed my life. There I was, an 18-year-old, fresh out of a private high school taking for granted that I had been accepted into a university course and had deferred it as I was certain I wouldn’t go. I didn’t want to go because of pressure from my family. And little did I realise the opportunities university would afford me, and just how lucky we are to receive the access and levels of education that we do here in Australia. I realised that school, let alone university, was something the people of this village, and specifically women and girls could only dream of. The only reason they couldn’t go was they were born into families they didn’t choose, that are so unfortunately deprived of the opportunities that we get. At 19 years of age, I felt obliged to do something about it. I wanted an education for me, and I wanted an education for these communities. Education I believe is one of the main keys to ending the cycle of poverty, and I want this to be my life.

Inspirational Women, Charity, Life Advice, Career Advice, Career Development

What drove you to creating Gennarosity Abroad?

I couldn’t help but notice a kindergarten shack made from cardboard and wood in the original state it had been when it was built thirty years prior. The same cardboard walls that were old and decrepit, the same wooden desks and chairs that were falling apart, and the same timber roof that was caving in. I wanted to help and provide a better learning environment for those children didn’t give up until I accomplished my mission. This is how Gennarosity Abroad began.

Since building the kindergarten in 2010, we have established and a training centre in Karunga. The purpose of this centre is to teach uneducated and illiterate women and girls above the age of 12 years. We promote gender equality by providing a quality school environment, helping avoid HIV/AIDS, improve maternal health, promote child protection, provide counselling services and increase accessibility to clean water and sanitation. Up to 40 students will be selected annually for this course which will enhance their abilities to support their families by teaching the following basic skills: sewing, English and Swahili, mathematics, financial literacy/business students and health education.

What were the initial stumbling blocks, getting Gennarosity Abroad started and since then?

Where do we begin? There have been a number of hurdles along the way, some of which we are still trying to overcome. A main issue we have had to work around is the corruption in Kenya. Unfortunately due to my complexion, I am a walking dollar sign for those who want to do business with us resulting in prices increase and bribes which I don’t like to condone. Numerous times we have had teaching materials shipped to Kenya from Australia as well, and unfortunately some of these boxes never make it through their customs borders. It is sad how corrupt it is and that there is no consideration for the purpose of the contents of the boxes which would so greatly help the community. Our greatest hurdle at the moment though is trying to get our DGR status approved, which will help us with getting fundraising and donations from companies and individuals who would like the claim back their donations on tax. There is a lot more paperwork and a lot more processes than we anticipated with most things, but it is all part of the learning curve.

How did you overcome these?

It’s important to be smart about these things and have an understanding of the cultural differences. I now don’t go along on business deals and have my Kenyan business manager and team organise any deals that are necessary. I have very strong views about not paying bribes, especially if it’s the charity’s money paying them when that should be going towards the project and improving lives, not for those who are greedy and misuse their power and authority. The only way to get DGR status is to continue to be hopeful and keep amending and resubmitting the documents until we’ve met the standards required.

Did you have a mentor? Who/what helped you to get your career off the ground?

My mentor in high school was my tutor, David Whitcombe who always told his stories about his time in Namibia. As I already had an interest in Africa, this nourished my desire Since beginning my journey with Gennarosity Aboard, this has expanded to Margaret Lowe, the deputy principal of Emanuel School and one of my sisters, Stephanie Radnan who has stuck by my side and dedicated hours upon hours to help me lift this charity off the ground. They have helped put my charity website together, completing forms and information for registering the charity and help with fundraising events. We hold meetings monthly to convene about where the charity is, what we are working on, and where to go from here, as well as problem solving any issues we are currently facing.

You deal with issues that others often shy away from, what drives and motivates you to keep going?

I just don’t believe in giving up when times get tough. A lot of people tell me I am fighting an uphill battle. But I don’t understand why that is necessarily a bad thing. I don’t understand why people give up on things so easily. Maybe it’s a result of the culture we live in where everything seems to revolve around instant gratification. The issues of poverty aren’t going to be resolved anytime soon, and I’m in it for the long haul. Being ignorant and only observing the hardships this world faces doesn’t do anything to help resolve the issues. Poverty isn’t going to be solved by watching the news or reading about the devastation that it causes in the papers or online. And all I can do is help in whichever way I know how, and on whatever scale that might be. What drives me to keep going is that poverty won’t be solved overnight, and so you have to keep going. Everyone leaves a mark on this world somehow, and I want this to be mine.

Where do you find your inspiration?

I find my inspiration in knowing I have the personal ability and communal support to follow my dreams. When you look at the bigger picture it is daunting however if you take it step by step and day by day it’s much more achievable. The most inspiring aspect is seeing the outcome from the work we do. Having graduates from 2013 open up their own businesses from the skills they were taught at our Grandma Jenny’s Training Centre is priceless. We have given 70 women and girls the opportunity to better not only their lives, but cascading down to their family members and community.

What are your goals for the future and the future of Gennarosity Abroad?

I would love to one day open up a medical clinic and an academy however this will only take place once the training centre is self-sufficient. I want all my projects to be run by the community for the community without depending on the help of the charity full time. This would be my ultimate success; helping the communities developing facilities that they will then be able to manage and run as part of their society.

Inspirational Women, Charity, Life Advice, Career Advice, Career Development

What advice would you give to someone wanting to follow the same path as you?

Do it! Get involved, find out how and go do it. So many people want to stop you from achieving your dreams because it’s hard. Let me tell you, that’s a part of life. Once you accept that and get on with it, you’ll be further than you know. Surround yourself with likeminded people and those who have similar interests, passions and hobbies. Ask questions, all the time. Find out what you can, discover your passions, and then take action. I am always happy for people to come on board and help out. So if anyone is interested, don’t be shy and please contact me.

What’s your personal mission statement?

You can’t help the family you are born into. We should all feel obliged to help as those around us born into poverty could have just as easily have been us. We aren’t entitled to the lives we live. We are just so incredibly fortunate for how fate guided us. If we could all just spend 5 minutes a day doing something for someone else then this world would be a much greater place. I am all about recognising my fortunes, and helping to spread them to those who weren’t so lucky.

 Images via gennarosityabroad.org

Inspirational Women: Juliette Wright

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.

RELATED: Inspirational Women: Jillian Broadbent 

Name and role

Juliette Wright, GIVIT Founder and CEO, Australia’s Local Hero 2015

Tell us a bit about what you do, what do you get up to on a day-to-day basis?

On a day to day basis I take care of two gorgeous kids who are 6 and 8 years old and although I am CEO of Australian charity GIVIT during the week, on weekends I’m supporting my family manage a cattle property on the NSW / QLD border.

What drove you to establish GIVIT? When did you realise this was what you wanted to do?

Following the birth of my second child in 2008, I was surprised at the struggle endured trying to donate my second-hand baby clothes to someone in need. Instead, local charities were searching desperately for essential items such as sanitary products for women who had fled domestic violence, steel-capped boots to enable unemployed fathers to secure work and clean mattresses to stop children sleeping on the floor. I quickly realised it wasn’t about overloading charities with items, but instead recognising the specific needs they already had to help pull their clients out of poverty. That’s where the idea of creating a website which connects those who can give items, to those charities which need those items, began.

Did you know there are more than 2.5 MILLION people (1 in 6 children) living in poverty in Australia? When I started GIVIT I had one goal – to make giving easy. I wanted to alleviate the effects of poverty by making sure every charity has what it needs through the simple act of giving… and what better way to do this than online. The following year I created GIVIT (www.givit.org.au) an online platform connecting those who have with those who need. Through GIVIT’s website everyday Australians are able to see exactly what is required by vulnerable members of their local community and easily donate those items. Somewhere in Australia, there is a pair of unwanted work boots which could help that father secure work to support his family, a reliable washing machine to allow a single mother the time to apply for work instead of washing clothes by hand and texts books to enable a disadvantaged student the chance to graduate university.

Since I established GIVIT in 2009, more than 210,000 items have been donated through our website to assist those in need. More than 1,000 trusted Australian charities are supported as these urgently needed items are sourced direct from the public. GIVIT supports the charities, but we also provide a platform encouraging and inspiring people to feel good about giving. Tens of thousands of Australians in every state and territory have donated through GIVIT to help someone else with an exact need. It is an amazingly uplifting experience to help someone who desperately needs it – I believe we help the givers too.

Inspirational Women: Juliette Wright

What have been the stumbling blocks, initially getting started and since then? How did you overcome these?

I have had a number of learnings. Business learnings and management learnings… so many in each of those. My biggest learning has been the importance of staying true to you.  When I have pretended to be someone I’m not, I’ve always failed.  For example, I am not bureaucratic at all and initially found working with government very challenging as they have such a huge (and essential) focus on risks and failure.  When I decided to be myself, mitigate issues my way and relate to them naturally, my relationship with them became stronger.

Where do you find your inspiration?

I find my inspiration in how generous people are – we see it every day. At GIVIT, we constantly hear amazing stories of how one simple donated item pulled someone else out of poverty. A personal favourite of mine was when a soccer ball was given to a young refugee boy struggling to fit in at school. He was very talented and playing soccer allowed him to go from zero to hero with the other children.  Donated rugby boots helped kick-start a rugby league team on the remote Mornington Island in far north Queensland. The disadvantaged community was struggling to form their first league team as they had just one pair of boots to share among 18 players. As part of an effort to help foster healthy community connections, local council contacted us in hopes our donors would respond. We shared their plight through our website and social media channels and within hours more than double the amount of requested boots had been donated from right across Australia. To me, that is simply amazing.  I’m also inspired by our reality – how can anyone rest when there is such awful poverty around us.

GIVIT not only helps those less fortunate but has stepped up in times of natural disaster. Can you tell us a bit about GIVIT’s involvement in the Queensland floods?

In 2011 Queensland was hit by devastating floods and an overwhelming number of people desperately needed essential items to help rebuild their lives. Then-Premier Anna Bligh turned to me for help and GIVIT became the state government’s official website for matching donations so charities weren’t swamped with excess, unwanted goods. The GIVIT website received 1.8 million hits in 10 days and more than 33,500 goods were matched in three weeks. This led to the establishment of a dedicated GIVIT Disaster Recovery service. In partnership with the Queensland Government, GIVIT is now the only reliable source of exactly what is needed in disaster response and recovery. I am incredibly proud of the system we created and the power it has to help Australia’s most vulnerable, especially during traumatic times such as Cyclone Marcia, the Moreton Bay floods, Logan House Fire and Ravenshoe café explosion.

Inspirational Women, Mentor, Charity, GIVIT, Queensland, Career Development, Life Advice


Your amazing work has seen you nominated for Queensland’s Business Women’s Award for Innovation and winning the Local Hero category at this year’s Australian of the Year awards. How do these recognitions affect you and GIVIT?

I feel unbelievably honoured to have received these awards and now be on the Australia Day Honour roll. Accepting an award from the Australian Prime Minister was the most humbling experience of my life. I this award helps inspire people who want to make a difference – don’t let anyone tell you it cannot be done! With GIVIT, this recognition and endorsement has provided me with renewed energy and passion. It’s given me the confidence to chase my goals, continue growing GIVIT and keep reaching out further to those who need it.

What are your goals for the future and the future of GIVIT?

In future, I would like GIVIT to be a household name nationally as I want all Australians to understand how one simple, donated item has the ability to pull someone else out of poverty. In Queensland, GIVIT will be heavily focused on disaster recovery – expanding from natural disasters to a disaster of any kind, including the support of families after a tragic event. On a personal level, my family and I grow cattle and run 1,000 breeders on a property outside Warwick in Queensland. Spending time on the property, I have grown an understanding of and empathy towards the land and those working on it. I am grief stricken by the stories coming from the land of how our farmers and local communities are being affected by the drought.  This has led me to create a Drought Campaign, aiming to pull every drought-affected community up by the boot-straps. As a result, next year I will be heavily focused on helping those living in remote, rural and regional areas.

What advice would you give to someone wanting to follow the same path as you?

I have three…

  • Feel the fear and do it anyway. So many people told me GIVIT couldn’t be done and wouldn’t work. It has. If I listened to everyone who said no or I thought failure was a sign I was not supposed to be doing GIVIT, I would not have helped more than 210,000 people who are impoverished, marginalised or vulnerable.  
  • As social enterprises are always new and exciting, think about getting a law firm’s support.  When I started I was told I have the T&Cs of a hairdresser! Lawyers seem scary as a breed, but I think they have been the most surprisingly warm and supportive group. I said I wanted to start a donation portal and you know risk adverse they are! Get a ProBono lawyer, get their advice and solid T&Cs.
  • “It will be a roller coaster, enjoy the ride!” If I had have known that, I would not have been so surprised by the difficulties I have had to overcome to make it happen. GIVIT is supposed to be a positive, inspiring website but to obtain money to support its growth has been a constant challenge.

Inspirational Women, Mentor, Charity, GIVIT, Queensland, Career Development, Life Advice

Ones To Watch: Ashlee Harrison

Everybody is on the hunt for young up-and-comers and, here at SHESAID, we have been lucky enough to meet a few of them. These ladies are on the road to success and generating waves within their chosen field. Whether they be creatives, sporting talent, founders of start-ups or someone striving to make are difference, these young women are definitely ‘Ones to Watch’.

There is no doubt Ashlee Harrison is generating positive change. At a young age, she experienced first hand the grief and overwhelming impact suicide can bring to a community. However, instead of letting the event hinder her, the WA native chose to use her position to benefit the lives of others and it was with this in mind that zero2hero was formed. zero2hero aims to ensure every child and young person is educated and empowered to effectively communicate and deal with mental health issues. Focused on providing programs and raising awareness, Ashlee’s hard work and commitment to the cause is inspiring. This week, we managed to find a spare moment in her busy schedule and see what she’s been up to.

RELATED: Ones To Watch: Claudia McEwen

Tell us a bit about you. Where are you from, what do you do?

I am 27 and live in Perth, WA and am about to embark on the journey called ‘motherhood’ for the first time.  I work as the CEO of a WA –based charity called zero2hero and I am the Director of a media consultancy Social Say. I value family, growth & development, new experiences, community and health.

What was the catalyst for starting zero2hero? When did you realise that this was something that you wanted to do?

At the age of 20 I lost my step-dad to suicide. The moment it happened I was shocked that someone close to me could have been struggling on such a deep level and I didn’t know. Suicide never just impacts the person that’s lost; it has a massive ripple effect. My whole family and friends were affected. After Graham’s death, I felt a deep desire to ensure that this didn’t happen to others. When I learnt that suicide is the leading cause of death for Australians under the age of 44, I knew I had to do something. So at 21 years of age I started zero2hero.

At first we hosted events and fundraisers with the aim to have people speak up and reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness. All of our fundraising went to mental health services such as Lifeline and Suicide Prevention Australia. I spent years educating myself on mental health and suicide prevention, completed courses and learnt from people and mentors running very successful not-for-profits. It was then that I saw that there was a gap in education for people before they reached the point of crisis. To prevent suicide we must start by educating our entire population on the basics of mental health and mental illness. Similar to the education we receive about our physical health, we must learn about the health of our brain. This was the turning point for zero2hero.

Today zero2hero is a WA-based charity that provides mental health and suicide prevention programs to youth across the state. We aim to achieve three outcomes with young people:

  • Educate: young people about mental health, mental illness and suicide
  • Engage: young people in open conversations about mental health with the aim to eliminate stigma surrounding mental illness and suicide, and increase help-seeking behaviour
  • Empower: young leaders to become mental health ambassadors

Each year zero2hero reaches over 70,000 young people and has trained more than 180 mental health ambassadors in suicide first aid.

What makes zero2hero unique to other organisations?

We believe that in order to impact our social issue we need to train young people to become mental health leaders and ambassadors in their community. Our research has shown that the majority of young people seek support from their friends and peers when they are in need. Using this knowledge we created programs that equip school-aged children and teenagers with the skills to speak up when they are struggling and the confidence to stand up and support their friends when they may be experiencing stress, anxiety, depression, bullying, self-harm or suicidal thoughts.

Our programs are created in partnership with the people we serve i.e.: young people. They are the advisors for all of the youth programs we run. Our programs are also free for all schools across WA to access. We believe that each and every young person needs to be educated about mental health and we don’t believe that finances should be a barrier. I believe so much in what we do, that for 6 years 100% of our income has been invested into our programs. It is only now that we are looking at hiring staff to ensure our programs are sustainable and increase our reach to rural WA.

What have been the stumbling blocks for you, initially getting started with zero2hero and since then?

The subject we are dealing with has not always been palatable. 6 years ago people were even more hesitant to say the word ‘suicide’ than they are today, however this is shifting. Funding is always a clear stumbling block for any not-for-profit when getting started. However, starting with zero has taught us to be very resourceful and innovative with the funds we do have. A big challenge for me personally has been in questioning my own leadership, asking myself ‘am I on track’ or ‘am I practicing what I preach 100% of the time.’ I am committed to being a person of integrity and this means facing where I am not being authentic to myself. Facing yourself is one of the biggest challenges a person will ever face. Worth it? Yes, but easy? Never.

What were your initial goals with the organisation and what are your plans for the next few years? How do you plan to expand and evolve?

The initial goals for zero2hero were an increase in the conversations about mental health and eliminating the stigma. This is still a goal however now we want to re-educate an entire country on mental health and how to look after their own. As an organisation we are looking at ways we can be financially sustainable and innovative. We want to create new programs and increase our reach to primary school students and rural communities.

Who do you look to for inspiration? Do you have a mentor?

The kids I work with inspire me every day, which is why I continue to do what I do. My family keeps me grounded and focused, and my peer network provides an immense amount of inspiration. I have many mentors. I would not be in the position I am today without them. I have connected with mentors through organisations such as Foundation for Young Australians and the School of Social Entrepreneurs, and I have also created mentor relationships with business people and charity leaders who inspire me.

Zero2hero focuses on some pretty heavy topics, what drives/motivates you to keep going?

I have one major rule: look after you before you even think about looking after others. I make sure that I check in with myself every day. When I am out of balance I am little good to myself or others. I also believe that in order to do the work that I am doing I must keep my feet on the ground. This means that I attend all of our youth leadership camps. These give me an opportunity to see our work first hand. It is these young people that motivate and inspire me.

Through zero2hero you have been honoured with being a State Finalist for the Australian of the Year Award. How do these recognitions such as this affect you and your organisation?

The Australia Day Council (who host the awards) has been extremely supportive of the work we do. These awards have significantly increased community awareness of our organisation and suicide prevention. They also provide recognition of the work we are doing and increase enquiries for our programs. For that we are thankful, however awards are not our focus. Our vision is that every child and young person is educated and empowered to effectively deal with mental health issues. It is important that we keep focused and let our work speak for itself. We recognise that both doing what we do and promoting it are important, as long as there is balance. Seeing the impact our programs have on young people is the true reward.

Do you find your position, as a young person aiming to change the culture among young Australians, makes your message resonate with your audience?

Working with teenagers I feel old – all the time. I think the belief and passion behind what I do would resonate regardless of my age. I do however know that being young makes it easier to connect and engage with young people. I used to get hooked on the ‘age concern’ in the business community and then when I stopped questioning myself and my age, so did others.

What are your goals for the future? Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

With a 5-year-old, camping with 50 of Australia’s most prominent young mental health leaders in a facility that’s located off the grid (i.e. no Facebook) that is owned by zero2hero and forms part of our social enterprise.

If someone else were looking to follow the same path as you, what advice would you give to them?

I think there are 7 billion paths and the advice I would give to anyone is to find their own and follow it with nothing less than 100% passion, love and authenticity.

To find out more about zero2hero or to donate towards the cause click here

Inspirational Women: Jessica Pinkerton

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.

RELATED: Inspirational Women: Carole Renouf

Tell us about what you do? What do you get up to a day-to-day basis?

On a day-to-day basis I wear many different hats, depending on the day; so it’s fair to say no two days are the same. My current roles include being the Chapter President and Events Director of Junior Chamber International Illawarra, which is a partner of the United Nations global non-profit organisation, whose mission is to provide development opportunities that empower young people to create lasting positive change in their communities. As well as this, I am the community engagement co-ordinator at the Innovation Campus branch of Commonwealth Bank of Australia and pharmacy assistant. Previous roles which contributed to my nomination for 2015 NSW Young Woman of the Year include being a registered nurse, reaching the top 10 at the National Finals of Miss World Australia in 2013, and my extensive volunteer work with a wide variety of local, rural and national charitable organisations.

How/when did you know this is what you wanted to do as a career?

Frankly I didn’t, it all happened as a result of a fortunate chain of events. Although I enjoyed the clinical and hands on side or nursing, I was unhappy in my role due to the culture within the hospital workforce, but I was too stubborn to throw in the towel. After I suffered a snowboarding injury, I was forced to take a back seat and take stock of everything in my life. It took me quite a while, but I eventually realised my injury was a blessing in disguise. After I had recovered enough I needed a challenge, something to keep me distracted and mentally busy for the next part of my rehabilitation. I decided to enter the Miss World Australia pageant. I quickly decided that to be successful and competitive in MWA, I would put all my efforts in to Beauty with a Purpose, where contestants raise funds for a specified charity. In the six months I campaigned, I raised $15,700 by holding fundraisers, including: raffles, fashion parades, bare foot bowls, a wine drive, a trivia night and a burlesque themed ball.

Where do you find your inspiration?

I haven’t ever had to look to far for inspiration when I’m feeling lazy or hard done by. My older brother, Jared, has profound cerebral palsy. Jared, despite his condition more often than not has a smile on his face and is rarely grumpy. So it’s pretty difficult to feel sorry for myself when I have Jared to compare to. He is a reality check; he makes me want to be the best possible version of myself and to not waste a single second.

Since my injury, I have looked to Turia Pitt for inspiration. Burnt within an inch of her life in 2011, she’s undergone multiple surgeries and rehabilitation since. Now she does amazing things, like walking the Great Wall of China to help raise funds for charity. It’s mind blowing how tenacious she is and it gives me hope seeing someone who has sustained life threatening injuries achieve so much. As a young female building on my career in Australia, Ita Buttrose is another great source of inspiration. As a young professional female in the 70s, Ita was and remains a pioneer for women in the workplace. Throughout her career, Ita has contributed greatly through service to her community and charities, serving on the boards of multiple organisations since 1979. If I can be half as empowered and accomplished as Ita Buttrose by the time I’m 73, I’ll be a very happy woman.

Did you have a mentor? Who/what helped you to get your career off the ground?

Not a specific mentor per se, but I’m very fortunate that over these past few years to have been offered support and encouragement by a range of different people. Mainly as a result of my networking and JCI Illawarra engagements, I’ve met some very wise and notable members of the Illawarra Business Community who have been happy to share their knowledge and offer me advice. I like to approach things with the view that I know nothing, and I have everything to learn. Last, but not least, friends and family has played a huge role too.

What were the stumbling blocks, initially getting started on your career path, and since then?

The main barrier has been my injuries, but also my depression. My injuries have impacted numerous segments of my life; they have made bathing, dressing, walking, sleeping, working, socialising, finances and transport more difficult. There is very little that hasn’t been affected hence, I’ve struggled with depression as a result. It’s incredible how crippling depression is but with the help of psychologists and medication I’m managing it well. I’m very open about this when I speak with friends and family. I’m very lucky to have the support that I do.

How did you overcome these?

I think I have a well developed sense of self awareness, this has enabled me to swiftly identify when I’m not coping as well as I’d like, and sub in people to share the load. There’s no shame in saying, “I need help”, because there is only so much determination and optimism can achieve when you’re unwell, a healthy dose of patience doesn’t go astray either! You really need to surround yourself with the right team of people to support you when you can’t be fully independent. I’m lucky that I have a nursing background; this has come in very handy in navigating the road to recovery. On the flip side, I’ve always said the activities I’ve done since my injury have just been a distraction from my rehab, but they have been as equally therapeutic. Volunteer work makes you feel great, it fosters personal growth and builds character, and that’s something I’ve really needed and thoroughly enjoyed too.

What are your goals for the future?

Obviously I’d love to physically recover from my injuries and return to dancing, I miss it very much, but right now I can only focus on what I can currently do, it doesn’t stop my brain from wandering off though. My goals as the current President of JCI Illawarra are to expand the geographic footprint of our chapter, strengthen the reputation of the brand and create a measurable impact with the projects we deliver. Long term, I plan to return to university to complete a Masters in Public Health focusing on health promotion, social marketing and project management. As a sibling of an adult with special needs, I intend to use these qualifications to work with others to advocate for and address their needs. In a family with a child with special needs, the healthy child’s needs are often not met, and can lead to problems later in life. Also one day, I’d maybe like to settle down and have a family of my own.

What advice would you give to someone wanting to follow the same path as you?

This goes for every career path, network, network, and network! Never underestimate the power of networking as a business tool. Having a well established and maintained business network is a career long safety net, and at some point you will need to rely on it and/or leverage off it. Trying to establish one once you need it is a very difficult task. Identify your personal strengths and acknowledge your weaknesses. Be patient, respectful and transparent. Keep your resume current. Assume you deserve nothing, and be prepared to work really hard.

A Day In The Life: Annabelle Chauncy

Last year as part of our Inspirational Women series we were lucky enough to get to speak to the beautiful Annabelle Chauncy. At 21, she and friend David Everett founded School for Life, a non-for-profit organisation focused on making a transformational difference to communities and delivering high quality education to those in rural Uganda.

RELATED: Inspirational Women: Annabelle Chauncy

Since then, the foundation has gone from strength to strength – Annabelle, along with her co-founder, have transformed a vision into an organisation that now employs more than 50 people, educates hundreds of children and adults and provides health-care and access to clean water for more than 1000 people. At the beginning of the year, Annabelle, as well as David, were also awarded an Order of Australia Medal – a recognition of outstanding achievement.

We recently caught up with Annabelle again to hear about all the fantastic work she gets up to when she spends time overseas.

Annabelle, when you are in Uganda your days are long and very busy! What does an average day for you involve?


Wake up at 5am and try desperately to get back to sleep, avoiding the temptation of checking my email, all the while knowing its 1pm in Australia and there’s no doubt lots of stuff that needs addressing!


Get up around and go for a run around the quieter parts of Kampala. Exercise is a really important part of my daily routine and it starts my day off with a positive mindset. Children and adults get overwhelmed with excitement when they see white people and love to greet you. Often when I run I am followed by excited kids who want to play and laugh at a “muzungu” (a non-pejorative term for a white person). In Uganda exercise isn’t too common, so children tend to find it quite comical and a little strange.


I have a shower and catch a motorbike or ‘boda boda’ to our office. This is the most common form of transport in Uganda. You hail a motorbike, jump on the back and pay the driver to take you where you need to go. At the office, we meet for the day and make a plan.


Usually we head out to school around 8am. There are people traveling on all sorts of different vehicles. Trucks are overloaded with products and anything goes in terms of driving, it’s every man for himself and you need to be pushy otherwise you simply won’t get let in. Road rules don’t really exist but somehow the chaos is organised.


The village in which our primary and vocational school is Katuuso and located is approximately 40kms west of Kampala. When we drive off the main road this is where rural life truly hits. People live in mud huts and have around 8 children per family. They have no electricity, no running water and live on subsistence farms they use to grow the food they eat. Family is everything in the village and this was part of what charmed me in Uganda.

School For Life, Inspirational Women, Uganda, Annabelle Chauncy, Life, Charity


The Katuuso kids arrive at school at 8am for breakfast so they are well and truly into their lessons when we arrive. You can hear singing and classes happening from outside before you even enter the school. What catches your attention more than anything when you first drive in is the beautiful, colourful playground.

My day is spent assisting teachers in a fairly hands-off way and working on strategy, marketing and communications and help with all the initiatives created. We have a few amazing Western team members who oversee teams of local builders to construct new projects that are currently underway such as the teachers’ accommodation and the Early Childhood Development Centre, tailoring room and assembly hall.


Play time happens when the kids break for morning tea. They are served fruits, biscuits, milk, popcorn, biscuits or porridge and then race out into the sprawling playground.


The kids go back to lessons (which include additional subjects other than just the basic curriculum – literacy, numeracy, drama, art, music and life skills) until 12.30 when they are served a hot lunch, again with varied meals, beans, banana, rice, meat, vegetables all sourced from local farmers.


School runs until 3.30 and often the kids hang around as they don’t want to go home. They crave attention and affection, so love to hug, play games and spend time showing you their work or what they have learned that day.


We leave for Kampala to try to beat the afternoon peak hour traffic. By this time, town is buzzing with people selling goods at market and travelling home from work.


I arrive home anytime from 6pm onwards. There may or may not be electricity at night. If not, light lots of candles and have a shower. There is always something happening amongst our group of friends at night and we will often eat at local restaurants, see live music or just hang at home.

Bed time can be quite early though as its a big day, and there is plenty more fun in store for tomorrow!

Images via School For Life 

Inspirational Women: Lucy Perry

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.

RELATED: Inspirational Women: Carole Renouf

Tell us about your role?

I work for legendary Australian obstetrician-gynaecologist, Dr Catherine Hamlin. I have been tasked with funding her legacy in Ethiopia, which is to eradicate the country of an horrific childbirth injury, obstetric fistula. I am the CEO of Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia here in Australia and I lead a small but passionate team to raise much-needed funds for the life-changing work in Ethiopia, which is to treat obstetric fistula patients and train local midwives.

What do you do on a day-to-day basis?

On a day-to-day basis I spend my time managing my fabulous team, creating and editing content, developing and executing creative fundraising campaigns and managing our social media and retail strategy. I deal with our gorgeous, generous donors and spend a lot of time thanking them! We are nothing without our donors. I do a lot of keynote speaking which takes me all over the world. I have travelled to Ethiopia many times.

How did know this what you wanted to do as a career?

I ran my own creative services firm for 20 years and I loved that business. I developed my creative and communications skills working on major brands and also on some of Australia’s largest charities. About 10 years ago I offered my skills as a writer and photographer to Dr Hamlin after I saw her on the Oprah Show. I received a huge sense of satisfaction from using my unique skillset to help such an awesome cause and seriously transform some lives. So it was a no-brainer to move from running my own creative firm to working for one of the most remarkable causes in the world. Dr Hamlin appointed me as the CEO when she realised that she wasn’t getting any younger and she needed to make sure her legacy was funded in future.

Did you have a mentor? 

I have had a number of mentors but not in a formal capacity. I have learned from watching and talking to other successful businessmen and women. Nobody has really helped me ‘get my career off the ground’ as such. I am an entrepreneur and I have worked my tail off. When Dr Hamlin asked me to be the CEO in Australia, that was not a career trajectory I had planned but it has been a fantastic opportunity and I love this job.

You started with Hamilin Fistula Ethiopia eight years ago, now you’re CEO. What have been the stumbling blocks, both initially and since then?

In the initial stages after my appointment as CEO, we were in start up mode. Anyone who has worked on a start up knows how full on this is! We were a brand new charitable entity with not one cent in the bank and not one qualified donor. We had to move extremely quickly to mobilise support, pull off some major events and raise big money, so that we could then move to diversify our income stream and build a solid income. I have never worked so hard in all my life! Dr Hamlin came to Australia for 8 weeks and lived with my family and me while we did five enormous launch events and a stack of media. She was amazing and put me to shame for energy. When we began, there was a lot of latent awareness for the cause in Australia. We just needed to fire it up and give people a tangible way to help, and then make them feel so good about their generosity that they became loyal to the cause. That was easy. The cause is tangible and donations make a very specific difference to the lives of the women we treat and train. Donors came in droves!

One of our biggest stumbling blocks was also a major advantage. We were so new that everything we did, we had to invent from scratch. That meant an enormous workload but it also meant we did not inherit anything old-school to slow us down.

There is still much work to do. We are on track to raise between $5M and $6M this financial year but we need to grow to a stable income of $10M annually to really be covering the costs of the hospitals (we have six) and our flagship midwifery school as well as our international surgeon training program and support for our midwives in the field. There is still much work to be done.

Where do you find your inspiration?

My inspiration comes from Dr Catherine Hamlin. My motivation comes from her brave, beautiful patients who have suffered so much but who are gracious, hopeful and courageous. I’m inspired by Catherine’s work ethic and humility, her kindness in everything she does and her dogged determination to keep plugging away. She is 91 years old and still works six days a week. However, it is the patients we serve who motivate me to leap out of bed at 5am. I owe it to them to work hard and to succeed.

What are your goals for the future?

My goal is to lead our team here in Australia to raise the much-needed funds for the work in Ethiopia so that we will eradicate Ethiopia of obstetric fistula once and for all. We need to grow our income to a stable $10M a year to pull that off. I also want Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia (Australia) to be the best place to work in Australia. Hands down.

What advice would you give to someone wanting to follow the same path as you?

  1. Play to your strengths. Mine are in communication and creative execution. I offered those skills to a needy charity and look where it took me.
  2. Learn how to master social media to build your profile and to make contacts with influencers in your area. We use social media to create a post reach of five million every week and it doesn’t cost a cent.
  3. Ignore the critics. If I had listened to every person who told me I would never succeed, I would have fallen on my face. As Winston Churchill once said, “You will never reach your destination if you stop to throw stones at every dog that barks.”
  4. Be grateful. I am genuinely grateful to the awesome volunteer army we have who give their time and talent to help us do what we do in Australia. I have learned from Catherine who expresses her thanks with such authenticity. When I am in Ethiopia she thanks me every day for coming all that way!
  5. Have fun. What’s the point if it’s not fun? You will attract good people and you will work harder and be more successful if you are having fun while you are at it.

BBQ For Kidney Health This Australia Day

The great Aussie barbie is a national tradition, especially on Australia Day. You won’t have to venture too far to get a whiff of that awesome smell either. Communities come alive with events planned in most neighborhoods and if you carry on festivities after dark the fireworks will complete your day. All in all, it really is the one day of the year when the great Aussie spirit is celebrated, alive and well.

RELATED: What You Need To Know About Organ Donation

This year, Kidney Health Australia is asking us all to show that Aussie spirit by signing up for the Big Red BBQ. It doesn’t need to be held on Australia Day (in case you can’t organise it in time) but anytime during summer. Surely we can manage that, yeah?

BBQ, Kidney disease, Kidneys, Kidney Health Australia, Fundraising, Health Awareness
I suppose the folks at Kidney Health Australia figured while we’re celebrating Australia Day with all those BBQ’s we may as well roll up our Aussie sleeves and raise some much needed awareness and possibly a few bucks for our Aussie mates. Very little gets spoken about this disease despite how lethal it is so to get a glimpse of how it is effecting us Aussies, I’ve included some pretty startling facts.

Risk: 1 in 3 Aussies at risk

Estimated effected Aussies: 1.7 million

Fatalities: 56 a day

Hospitalisation: 15 per cent of all hospital admissions

Dialysis patients: 11, 446

Dialysis: 3 days a week, 5 hours a day

Awaiting transplants: 1087 – average wait 3.5 years (7 years not uncommon)

Symptoms: None.

Up to 90% of kidney function can be lost without individuals experiencing any symptoms

Pretty shocking stuff hey? So, do you recon you could raise some awareness and a few bucks for Kidney Health Australia? Registration is free, plus, you’ll receive a free event pack in the mail containing an official Big Red BBQ apron.

BBQ, Kidney disease, Kidneys, Kidney Health Australia, Fundraising, Health Awareness
Additionally, they have a 5 ingredient cooking challenge going on, prizes for the highest fundraising efforts and are now being sponsored by some big companies and talented individuals like Barbeques Galore, IKEA, Lombard the paper people and Aussie home cooking hero, Lyndey Milan.

BBQ, Kidney disease, Kidneys, Kidney Health Australia, Fundraising, Health Awareness
So come on everyone, lets enjoy our great Aussie tradition and help out some mates at Kidney Health Australia at the same time. If you want more information on registration or ways to get involved Australia Day and beyond, head to https://bigredbbq2015.gofundraise.com.au/cms/home

Image via kidney.org.au

What To Do With Unwanted Gifts

Did Santa bring you something you’re not that keen about? Don’t let your unwanted gifts pile up and create clutter in your home. Here are some ideas on what to do with them.

RELATED: Clutter Crazy: How To Declutter (And Save Your Sanity)

Refund or exchange

Most likely you will need a receipt to do that, but some shops will exchange your unopened gifts without a proof of purchase. Depending on your relationship with the giver, you may even be able to ask them for the receipt. This is especially easy to do when the gift is clothing or shoes. You can always say that the item is not a perfect fit and they didn’t have your size when you went to exchange it, so you grabbed something else.


They say one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. It certainly doesn’t hurt to try putting your gift on eBay and see what kind of interest it gets. Keep in mind that everyone sells their unwanted presents just after Christmas, so unless it’s something that will go out of fashion, it pays to wait for a couple months, when you’ll have less competition.

Donate to charity

Take your unwanted gifts to your local charity shop and your gift will serve a good cause instead of gathering dust in your home. Most charity shops will happily take clothes, shoes, books, CDs. Only some will accept electrical goods, so check with them before you drop off the items.

Give to someone else

If it’s a downright horrible gift that you’d be embarrassed to offer to anyone else, then don’t do it. It can also be that it’s not a great gift for you, but it would be perfect for someone else you know. Just make sure you remember who gave it to you in the first place, so that it doesn’t make its way back to them.


With a bit of imagination most items can be turned into something else. Your unwanted gifts can provide hours of rainy day entertainment for crafty kids. You can use clothes to make party costumes, book pages to include in your scrapbooking projects and a mug to turn into a pen holder (after giving your kids free reign to re-decorate it).

Image by jill111 via pixabay.com

Lift The Mask For Makeup Free Me

On Friday, August 29, one of our favourite skincare brands will join thousands of Australian women in going makeup-free to make a stand for positive self-image. Kosmea announced their support for cause-related charity movement, Makeup Free Me, to help shine a light on negative self-image, which 90 per cent of women believe is a major issue in today’s society.

This year, Makeup Free Me aims to raise $250,000 for the Butterfly Foundation with 100 per cent of funds raised going to combat negative body image and support those affected by eating disorders.

Kosmea’s founder Marie Jenkins said: “Kosmea are proud to have a very active contribution to charity, including our ongoing efforts in Lethoso, South Africa where we support communities by providing an income to local residents who harvest our rose hips. Closer to home, we are delighted to support Makeup Free Me’s efforts and the importance of addressing body image issues in helping women and g irls to ultimately develop a positive self-image. We’re extremely proud to help support this important cause.”

We asked Marie to shed some more light on the cause and why she believes it is so important:

Can you tell us a little bit more about the Makeup Free Me campaign?

Makeup Free Me is a cause-related charity movement focusing on combating issues of negative self-image in women and young girls. Negative body image, which can lead to eating disorders is recognised as an issue in today’s society by 90 per cent of Australian women. Makeup Free Me are on a mission to address and prevent negative body image around Australia with all proceeds from the campaign going towards the Butterfly Foundation. “Kosmea is delighted to support Makeup Free Me’s efforts and the importance of addressing body image issues in helping women and girls to ultimately develop a positive self-image. We’re extremely proud to help support this important cause.

How can people get involved?

Kosmea lovers can help to support the Makeup Free Me campaign by purchasing a bottle of our Certified Organic Rose Hip Oil up until 7th September. 5 per cent of all sales of Kosmea Certified Organic Rose Hip Oil (10mL and 20mL) will go to Makeup Free Me to help the movement ‘empower women and girls to develop and nurture positive self-image’. Kosmea Certified Organic Rose Hip Oil helps to repair, nourish, and hydrate skin leaving it glowing. Most women will hardly need to wear makeup after using it! You can also register to donate at the Makeup Free Me website www.makeupfreeme.com.au and go Makeup Free on August 29 with the help of Kosmea Facial Cleansing Wipes.

Why is important that we act to change unrealistic body expectations for women?

If we don’t do anything about change unrealistic body expectations we are going to be breeding a generation that is physiologically tainted and how will they cope with brining children into the world if they cannot manage to cope with life themselves. I believe that we need to change the way we think about how we look and start to look at how we think and act not only toward ourselves but others we come into contact with.

What are your tips on getting beautiful, glowing skin – without makeup?

Keep it simple, cleanse, exfoliate and nourish the skin. I would recommend our Certified Organic Rose Hip Oil as a staple to heal, nourish and repair the skin, to cleanse I would recommend our Purifying Cream Cleanser, and our Daily Facial Exfoliant to remove dead skin cells and prime the skin for the application of our moisturisers. To moisturise I would recommend our day cream our Replenishing Moisture Cream or our SPF30 Moisturising Lotion for the face to protect against UVA and UVB rays.

Makeup Free Me, Kosmea, Marie Jenkins, charity, self-worth, positive image

Sass & Bide Collaborates With Make-A-Wish-Foundation

Sass and Bide creators Sarah-Jane Clarke and Heidi Middleton are once again partnering up with Make-a-Wish Foundation in order to raise funds for seriously ill children. The iconic Australian designers are known for their philanthropic nature after collaborating with numerous charities in the past.

In fact, this will be the third year the duo will assist Make-A-Wish Foundation by designing one limited edition lariat style necklace. The piece will be available in Rose Gold, Silver and Gold, and sold at Sass & Bide Boutiques in Myer and via the online store for $35, where all proceeds will go to Make-A-Wish Foundation.

MakeAWish, Sass&Bide, WishUponAStar, Charity, Middleton&Clarke, Fashion, Australia

Since it’s launch in 2012, the Wish Upon A Star Campaign has raised over $160,000. This amazing effort came by inspiration from a tattoo both designers share as a symbol of creativity.

The Sass & Bide say:

“Our star represents enduring friendship & love, and by partnering with Make-A-Wish Australia we hope the proceeds of these necklaces can help make a very real difference to the lives of seriously ill children around the country.”

A social media campaign has also been developed in the hopes of spreading the word by encouraging everyone to take a ‘Star Selfie’. The Selfie should be innovative and fun with the necklace in clear sight.

“What could be more important than helping to bring hope, strength and joy to unwell children and their families. We encourage everyone to use the power of social media to spread the message and work towards building awareness around this important campaign.”

Get on board today, be sure to add the hashtag #wishuponastar and #SBMakeAWish to the photo on the social media platform of your choice, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and be a part of this important conversation.

Images via sassandbide.com

By Amy Miller

A Bright Pink Ray of Hope in the Breast Cancer Battle

She did an “Angelina Jolie” long before Angelina did it herself. But while the superstar received global recognition for undergoing a preventative double mastectomy and sharing her experience for the benefit of other women, Krystal Barter’s decision to have the surgery was at time when it was little-discussed or understood.

The lack of information and professional psychological support available in 2008 left the then-25-year-old Sydney mum of two young boys with a devastating sense of isolation and anxiety. Despite the unwavering help and encouragement of her husband, Chris, family and many friends, Krystal felt very much alone.

Rather than succumb to her turmoil she was inspired by her mother, a breast cancer survivor, to channel her experience into a crusade to make the journey a whole lot easier for others in future.

It was conceived in her hospital bed while Krystal was recovering from her preventative double mastectomy and, in 2009, Pink Hope was born. It is Australia’s first online community focusing on informing, empowering and supporting women at high risk of breast and ovarian cancer and their families.

On September 20, Pink Hope is staging its annual Bright Pink Lipstick Day, encouraging women to “wear, share and show you care”; to raise awareness of breast and ovarian cancers as well as funds for Pink Hope’s work. But more of that shortly …

When Krystal made the monumental decision to have both breasts pre-emptively removed and reconstructed, she had lived in the shadow of hereditary breast and ovarian cancers her whole life.

“I grew up part of a family where pretty much every woman didn’t have any breasts,” she says. “Of the 25 women in our extended family, 80 per cent of them died from breast and/or ovarian cancer. My great-grandma was 68 when she was diagnosed. My Nan was 44. My mum, Julie, was only 36. So I also grew up scared I was going to get cancer.”

Krystal’s mother and grandmother were among the first women in Australia to be tested for and diagnosed with the BRCA1 (breast cancer) gene fault, the same as Angelina Jolie’s, which meant that Krystal was at very high risk for developing the disease.

Yet she wasn’t emotionally ready to be tested until she was 22 and cradling her first baby son in her arms. It was then she decided she was finally ready for “the gift of knowledge”. It wasn’t for another three years, however, that she was ready to contemplate a preventative mastectomy and only then when an abnormal mammogram result tipped the balance.

“I wanted to live my life, not under the cloud of cancer, but in happiness with my kids,” she recalls. “I decided, right then and there, book me in. Losing my breasts was such a small price to pay. I had the operation and it felt like my new life started.”

Nevertheless the decision wasn’t a clear-cut one, and nor did she simply recover from her surgical wounds and breeze on with her “new life”.

Preventative mastectomy, even as recently as five years ago, was shrouded in myth and mystery and the lack of information available created a sense of isolation that Krystal found traumatic.

But from childhood, Krystal’s mum had encouraged her to help other people, particularly through charity work. This was the genesis of Pink Hope, “a support network, source of accredited information, haven of support and trusted place to ask questions. [It] is a testament to Krystal’s spirit and dedication,” according to a testimonial when she was nominated for the 2012 NSW Premier’s Woman of the Year award.

“With more than 2500 forum members, millions of web visits, 28,000 social media followers and 100 national ambassadors, the website highlights the importance of Krystal’s storytelling and rare ability to bring people together to raise the profile of hereditary breast and ovarian cancer.”

Krystal, now 30 – and with a third child, daughter Bonnie, added to her brood since her surgery – demurs. “I’m just an example of the 120,000 Australian women who walk this journey every day,” she says. “Having experienced the isolation and lack of information for women like me first hand, I decided to be proactive about helping others.

“I didn’t have anyone to talk to who had gone through what I was going through – throughout my journey from being a young girl whose mother, grandmother and great grandmother had breast cancer, to the genetic testing and the anxiety of knowing I had an 87 per cent chance of breast cancer and up to a 60 per cent chance of ovarian cancer.

“Then there was the preventative surgery itself. There was no support outside the doctor’s office to help me understand my risk and options.

“I thought, `Why hasn’t someone created something to help people like me?’ And then I realised `I am the someone and I’ve got to do it’.

“I came out of surgery knowing I was the first woman in my family who wouldn’t have to battle breast cancer. I felt strong and alive and, for the first time in so long, I felt like `me’ again. I wanted to share this feeling with others and make sure no woman had to go through what I went through alone.

“So as I lay in my hospital bed, I got on my laptop and started Pink Hope. And here we are.”


Bright Pink Lipstick Day came about because “I wanted to give families like mine a day globally that belonged to them,” Krystal says. “I’m a girly girl at heart. I love to wear bright lipstick, so that was the start.

“A big part of the community we’ve created is to be engaging, positive and bright and I wanted to create an awareness day that reflected that.

Wearing bright pink lipstick is a fun and fabulous way to increase awareness and also engage with the community in a way that they can enjoy and share.

“We’ve also aligned Bright Pink Lipstick Day with Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer Month in the US to raise awareness as much as we can on an international, as well as national, level.”

Revlon is a major sponsor of Bright Pink Lipstick Day and, indeed, has created a Limited Edition Pink Hope lipstick that is available this month from Target, Priceline and selected pharmacies.

“By slicking on your brightest pink Revlon lipstick, you are promoting the importance that all women everywhere should be proactive about their breast and ovarian health by investigating their family history,” Krystal adds.

Says Janet Muggivan, Revlon Corporate Communications Asia/Pacific: “Revlon has supported women’s cancers for many years now. The Los Angeles and New York Revlon Runs/Walks have become famous for the funds raised going to women’s cancers.

“We believe Pink Hope is a valuable resource and, as someone who has actually walked that path, Krystal’s work is invaluable to women dealing with cancer.

“Pink Hope and the Bright Pink Lipstick Day have the perfect synergy with Revlon, whose core message is for women to use makeup to express themselves.”

Other business sponsors include Deshabille, Running Bare, Murchison-Hume and Skipping Girl, “who have created gorgeous products and in-store sales for Pink Hope,” says Krystal. “Going Up Elevators has given us an office within their warehouse and space to store everything.

“My family lives and breathes Pink Hope – my mum and grandmas help in the office as well. We literally have one part-time employee and a small group of people who volunteer their time when they can.

“There have been so many amazing people who have helped me along the way. My husband, Mum, Dad and my Nans. They have helped me pack boxes, attend fundraisers, cleaned my house when things have got incredible busy … so much else. It’s a real family effort.

“[Nine Network Today Show co-host] Karl Stefanovic is also an amazing family friend. He made sure Today supported me when we started Pink Hope and has been there ever since. I am so grateful for his support and friendship.

“Bright Pink Lipstick Day is our one big event that can help us to create a more permanent team and help us help the community that no one else is putting the time into.

“We are hopeful we can raise significant money so Pink Hope can grow and keep up with demand. I desperately would love to have a genetic counsellor who works alongside me making sure all the information, support mechanisms and families are supported at a high health care level.”

Although Krystal was in fact the pioneer, she can’t thank Angelina Jolie enough.

“It wasn’t until May this year when we were called upon as the only unique charity to pass comment on Angelina’s story around the country and in the UK that I felt the media, health care community and philanthropic sector could see how truly valuable Pink Hope is,” she says.

“I hope people will give generously to Bright Pink Lipstick Day – either by fundraising, donating, becoming a sponsor or holding a workplace event. Any donation, however big or small, won’t be a drop in the ocean. It will make a huge difference to our charity.”

Krystal’s passion for making other women more at peace with their journey is sharing tit-bits, if you’ll pardon the pun, of personal information about her own experience.

She was recently chatted up by a hopeful admirer, who admired her new-ish cleavage (which she says is better than the one Nature provided). “I said to him, `Well, you know I don’t have any nipples?’. He just replied, `Then you’re the sexiest woman without nipples I’ve ever met …’.”

To learn more about Pink Hope and how to participate in Bright Pink Lipstick Day, visit www.pinkhope.org.au.

Jenni Gilbert is a longtime journalist with a passion for sourcing and sharing information about how to look and feel better, inside and out. Jenni’s resume includes Editor-in-Chief of New Idea, launch editor of Good Medicine magazine, London correspondent for Fairfax’s The Sun newspaper – she even covered the wedding of Charles and Diana! – Deputy Editor of Who, senior writer for Woman’s Day, News & Features Editor of The Australian Women’s Weekly and much more. Family, friends, her cat, travelling, Pilates, yoga, holistic health and anti-ageing treatments are what makes Jenni’s life go round.

A look at Jobs in Non Profit Organization

Christmas and its lead up are the really busy times of the year for charity workers. One of the most important tasks is encouraging ?those who can? to dig deep and to share the Christmas spirit with less fortunate community members, not to mention making sure that Christmas goodies are distributed to those that need them the most. So what does it take to work in the not-for-profit sector and do you have the drive to succeed there?Firstly, let us take a quick tour of those not-for-profit organisations with a presence on the net. Even a cursory search reveals a cross-section of charities. They range from the Starlight Children?s Foundation whose glamorous fundraising events help to make wishes come true for terminally ill children, to Westnet, an online facility for community organisations that includes an intranet to serve the socially disadvantaged across Western Sydney and Central Western NSW.

So, who

are the people who work in these organisations? Most private industry employees cite the salary, fringe benefits and the prospect of being able to earn a bonus as reasons to go to work, but this is generally not the case in the not-for-profit sector. Jillianne Weekes, CEO of Starlight Children?s Foundation explains: “People are working in the not-for profit sector for reasons other than money. Certainly you are not working here if you want to make a fortune.” Her sentiments are echoed across not-for-profit organisations. Take for example, the salary structure of a social worker employed at Centacare, the welfare arm of the Catholic Church in Australia. According to Elisabeth Pattison, Acting Team Leader ? Foster Care, of Centacare Newcastle, their salary is directed linked to a standard Award developed in conjunction with their professional association.While the revenue generating abilities of most private sector employees can be rewarded by various incentive and bonus schemes it is unlikely that remuneration increases in the not-for-profit sector are directly linked to increases in funds raised or to superior work performance. Because many organisations in the not-for-profit sector depend to a large extent upon donations from the general public, it is essential that the money allocated to operating expenses (eg salary and wages, expenses, administration etc) be carefully managed. All the internal accounting processes must be absolutely transparent and capable of complying with the most detailed audit. For the employees, this means long lunches or overseas trips courtesy of the company expense account, are out of the question.

Given that the purse strings are so tightly controlled why is it so many talented people choose to work in the not-for-profit sector? A common theme among this employee group is that they genuinely believe in the cause or the group that they serve and are confident that they can make a real, positive difference in the lives of others. Be careful not to confuse these high ideals with an overly benign interpretation of the world ? the not-for-profit sector is founded upon the abilities of the staff to apply business principles, particularly when it comes to fund raising.

“Starlight Children?s Foundation has developed a range of strategic business objectives that relate not only to fundraising, but also to the quality and service aspects of our program,” says Jillianne Weekes. “Being the CEO of this organisation is pretty much like running a business, except that there are more facets. The perspectives of the families who are understandably experiencing severe stress, the employees and the volunteers must all be considered.”

Not surprisingly, this combination of practicality and altruism tends to attract a larger number of women than men to employment in the not-for-profit sector. There can be tangible benefits to employment in an industry that is dominated by women, including increased opportunities for flexible working hours, job-sharing and innovative approaches to work-based child-care. As Elisabeth Pattison notes: “Employers in the not-for profit sector tend to be very approachable in terms of flexible working hours and job-sharing. We have a couple of people working here in a job-sharing arrangement and our roles are very suitable for working women who have a family.”

At times, however, a lack of funds can also have the opposite effect. “While we do have one staff member working from home, as a charity we are under resourced and are probably less flexible than other organisations,” comments Jillianne Weekes.

The strategies used to gain employment in the not-for-profit sector differ from those used in the corporate world. Unless you are applying for a very senior position, it is most unlikely that a recruitment agency will be involved in the selection process. You are more likely to see your dream job advertised in the back section of the newspaper, in the organisation?s own publication or newsletter, or in an appropriate industry-publication. While many groups do have a web site, very few offer an online employment section. The not-for-profit sector ?grapevine? is alive and well so it may be worthwhile to undertake some volunteer work in the organisation of your choice if you are aiming for a paid job. You will, in most instances, be required to make a written application, including a covering letter, a copy of your CV, as well as details about how closely your skills, knowledge and attributes match the selection criteria for the role.

At times, the pay and the conditions may be frustrating and it certainly would not be the ideal job for everyone. However working in the not-for-profit sector offers employees the intrinsic rewards that many who are set on chasing a dollar tend to miss out on. Combined with the knowledge that you are being of genuine assistance to those in need provides all the reasons that many not-for-profit sector employees require to keep going.

Charities on the Internet

The InfoXchange http://infoxchange.net.au/ix/

A Victorian based community information network that contains details about an estimated 30 000 community support agencies and services. The site contains an employment section, advertising some of the jobs available in Victorian not-for-profit organisations.

Westnet http://www.infoxchange.net.au/westnet/

Online information about the community service sector in NSW, including a Positions Vacant page. A brief description of each job and the Employer contact details is presented on the employment noticeboard.

ACOSS Australian Council of Social Service http://www.acoss.org.au

The peak council of Australia?s community welfare sector, ACOSS links approximately 11 000 Community organisations nationally. The site contains a wealth of information, including links to a variety of national and international community sector groups, research information, government and social policy sites.

Starlight Children?s Foundation Australia http://www.starlight.org.au

Starlight supports seriously ill children via a range of programs, including wish granting, hospital-based entertainment and recreation rooms. Starlight Volunteers receive extensive training and details of how you can be involved are available at the web site.