Mentor

Inspirational Women: Robin Barker

Our go-to parenting author is taking a turn and going on a new adventure. 

January 3, 2016

Inspirational Women: Josephine 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: Maggie Beer​

Name and role

Josephine Perry, owner of Missy French restaurant.

What is your average day like?  

I’ve just opened a brand new restaurant called Missy French in Potts Point. We’ve been open for three weeks, so at the moment I’m completely overwhelmed and exhausted but I have one of the best jobs in the world!

I host at the restaurant and I think welcoming people into this wonderful space that’s mine is such an incredible feeling! An average day for me is coming into the restaurant, replying to emails, answering the phones, taking reservations, helping the guys set up the restaurant, making all the menu changes for the day, briefing the staff and then service!

An unusual day for me could be dealing with difficult customers, dealing with very unglamorous issues in the restaurant or a day off is pretty unusual for me at the moment too.

Inspirational Women, Restauranter, Career Development, Career Advice, Mentor, Life Advice, Food

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

I started working with my dad, Neil at Spice Temple when I was 14 and a half. I started out just very innocently wanting to help a couple of nights a week and fell in love with it! I enjoyed every aspect of the restaurant.

I loved chatting to people and meeting new people, I loved my relationship I had with regular customers, who now come and dine at my restaurant. I loved working in a team environment, I loved the training and the knowledge we were given on food, wine, spirits! Since then I’ve never thought about anything else.

Where do you find your inspiration?

I find inspiration in all different places and people. I’ve had a lot of incredible dining experiences around the world which have inspired me greatly. My staff inspire me, my customers inspire me! I’m very lucky that I get to work with a whole bunch of extremely talented and creative people.

Do you have a mentor? 

My dad has been a huge influence in my career.

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

I was so young when I started working with Dad. I found working with people a lot older than me my biggest challenge. Trying to prove yourself at 15 is pretty tough!

When I decided to undertake the responsibility of my own restaurant at 20 years old, I don’t think I knew what I was getting myself into. It’s been a huge learning curve for me and I’m working seven nights a week while my 21-year-old friends are out, so it can be tough sometimes, but so rewarding.

Inspirational Women, Restauranter, Career Development, Career Advice, Mentor, Life Advice, Food

What are your goals for the future?

I want to be the best possible restaurateur I can be. I’m still learning every day and that’s what I love about what I do. I would love to do some travelling as well. My dad’s proved to me that hard work pays off so I want to work as hard as I possibly can now to give myself a head start to the best possible future.

What is your favourite ingredient at the moment and why?

We’re using a lot of juniper berry at the moment at Missy French. Blood oranges are coming into season as well which are so versatile! I think we’ll have a killer blood orange cocktail on the menu for spring!

Who are you enjoying on Instagram at the moment and why?

I love Dan Pepperell’s food shots – he’s the head chef at 10 William St and he takes these amazing shots on a black table with natural light coming in, they’re really nice! I love Margaret Zhang too, she takes incredible pictures.

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

If you have the passion for it, give it all you’ve got! It’s not an easy industry to succeed in, it’s hard work but it’s worth it!

Inspirational Women, Restauranter, Career Development, Career Advice, Mentor, Life Advice, Food

To find out more about Missy French head to the website: missyfrench.com

 

September 25, 2015

A Day In The Life Of… Erin James

Ever wanted to step into somebody else’s shoes for the day and see what life is like as a magazine editor, a professional sportsperson or corporate high-flyer..? Well, SHESAID is giving you the closest thing to your very own Freaky Friday experience with our A Day In The Life Of… series.

RELATED: A Day In The Life Of… Carissa Walford 

Name and role

Erin James, plays Monica in The Little Death movie

Tell us a bit about what you do?

I guess I would describe myself as a storyteller and a communicator, bringing characters to life on stage and screen. I love engaging with people and connecting with them in as many ways as I can. What I love about my job is that I can work in so many different mediums. For the past 10 years, I have told stories in musicals, plays, cabarets, concerts and film with a host of incredible people. There has never been a dull moment, there is always something new and exciting around the corner (even when you least expect it) and that’s terribly exciting.

When did you discover your talent? Did you always want to be an actress?

I’m sure my family will say that I’ve always had a flair for the dramatic, but I’ve never thought that it was my only option. Just as I love working in a profession which is ever-changing, evolving and always different, I am equally interested in other professions and other means of communication. I thrive when I’m learning. I discovered my love of storytelling very early on (my first acting role was playing the role of Alice in a primary school musical version of Alice in Wonderland!) but I don’t remember making the choice to pursue a career in the arts. It just happened. (And thank goodness it did). No two days are ever the same, no two jobs are ever the same and that is an absolute joy.

My early training was actually in dance (my first tap dancing lesson at age five was really the start of it all) but I studied music, musicology, voice and acting throughout my teenage years. I guess I was an inquisitive child and never stopped asking questions about all kinds of occupations. I was lucky enough to have a great support network around me who all encouraged me to remain focused on academia and remain inquisitive about the world. I’m got a Graduate Diploma in Music, so have taught HSC music at high schools in NSW, I gained my NAATI Accreditation as a sign language interpreter for the deaf and have worked in that capacity since 2007. I run an online business and I’m still studying now, would you believe! I’m in my second year of Post-Graduate Law and I’m finding it absolutely thrilling! I think as an actor you can’t be too inquisitive.

Where do you find your inspiration? Who has had the most impact on you and your career?

When I was very young I watched all of the old Hollywood movie musicals I could get my hands on with my grandmother. We started with Shirley Temple films and moved onto movies starring Fred and Ginger, Gene Kelly, Marilyn Monroe and Judy Garland. I suppose my early inspiration was from these artists who spoke to me through the television set. In terms of having an impact on me as a creative person and my career, well that’s a very hard question to answer quickly. I love to learn – I don’t think we ever stop learning – so I think I have taken a little inspiration from almost everyone who has helped shape my career over the years. From the unwavering support of my family to my the teachers who have carefully taught me my craft. I suppose if I had to pick one person, it would be my mum. She is my lucky charm and my most honest critic. I still use her reactions to my work as a gauge.

Its not always bright lights and glory. How do you deal with the challenges and down times?

I am now a master at living out of a suitcase and I can pack a travel bag in record time! It is true; the bright lights and flashy side of show business is only a very small part of the job. It is hard being away from loved ones, but missing important life events because of production schedules and and working odd hours means you become very good at making the most of the time you’ve got, while you’ve got it. Also, the internet (especially Skype) has certainly helped make the world a smaller place and helped keep me connected to my family when I’m away. I’ve been very lucky in my career that I always feel busy. There is always something to work towards, always something to focus on. This could be in the form of an audition, a job, a personal goal or creating new work. That’s how I deal with the challenges: always look ahead, never look back.

A Day In The Life Of, Inspirational Women, Actress, Actor, Singer, Performer, Mentor, Career Development, Life Advice

What role has had the most effect on you? Tell us a bit about your latest projects…

Professionally, Monica in The Little Death had the biggest impact. It was my first major film role and something which I am very proud of. I learned so much working on that shoot from everyone involved, not least of all our incredible director and writer Josh Lawson. Being nominated for two awards (AACTA Award and Film Critics Circle of Australia Award for Actress in a Supporting Role in a Feature Film) absolutely blew my mind. I had a great time shooting a short film with Tom Ward (from Please Like Me) which will premiere at the Adelaide Film Festival this October and I’m currently rehearsing for the Australian tour of CATS the musical with the lovely Delta Goodrem.

What are your goals for the future?

I would love to work more in the film and TV realm. It’s a medium which I am falling in love with the more I work in front of a camera.

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

Focus, hard work and planning are just as important as talent and passion. Be kind to yourself, but remain vigilant in keeping your skills honed. You never know when they might come in handy (Side note: I was cast in The Little Death in a role that required the use of Auslan after having worked with a deaf theatre company in my first year out of drama school. If I hadn’t retained all of the language and made a point of keeping that skill up, I wouldn’t have been able to audition for the role in the first place!)

Your workdays are much more exciting than the average 9 to 5. When you’re preparing or performing, what does a typical day involve?

My days are rarely ‘typical’, but I’ll take you through a day in my life when working on a major music theatre production.

Early am: Wake up in time to chat to my husband before he starts work (could be VERY early depending upon time zone differences)

9:30am: Cup of English breakfast tea, two weetbix and sultanas. I’ve had the same breakfast for as long as I can remember.

10am: Yoga time. Whether I’m on tour or at home I try to make sure I fit my daily yoga practice into my morning routine. If I’m performing in a musical, it’s especially necessary to wake up the body, stretch and strengthen muscles and start the day well.

11am-1pm Work time. Running an online business means lots of emails. I try to make sure all of my administration is done early in the day so I can move onto other work (like learning scripts and songs) later in the afternoon.

1pm: Lunchtime! – Catching up with a friend for lunch is one of my favourite things – especially since I’m often away from my close friends while working.

2:30 – 4:30pm: My time. Catching up with my family, learning material, scripts, songs. A reformer pilates class, depending upon the day. Getting ready for the theatre.

5:00pm: Dinner. With a performance at 8pm, I try to make sure I’ve eaten with enough time to digest before heading to the theatre.

6pm: Theatre. There are many things to do before the curtain goes up at 8pm, so I try to arrive at the theatre between 6pm and 6:30pm. I always do a full vocal and physical warm-up before the show so I minimise my chance of injury and fatigue.

11pm: Once the show is finished, it’s time to wind down with the cast. I love to have a glass of red wine and some delicious cheese before heading home.

Images courtesy of Kurt Sneddon at Blueprint Studios

September 23, 2015

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

September 16, 2015

Inspirational Women: Celeste Barber

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: Juliette Wright

Name and role

Celeste Barber Actor, comedian, #celestechallengeaccepted creator.

Tell us about your passion as a comedian? How long have you known you wanted to make people laugh?

People have been laughing at me for as long as I can remember. From a really young age people would always laugh at stupid things I did, it used to frustrate me because I wanted to be taken seriously.

What was the hardest time in your career and why?

It’s really hard to have a consistent ongoing career in Australia. It can be quite disheartening at times. I know some of the most amazing actors that are working for their parents to pay the bills. So whenever I am working I’m really grateful. The hardest time I have had while actually working was when Mark died. We worked together on All Saints and he was my best friend. When he died I never wanted to act again.

Where do you find your inspiration?

My friends. I have the greatest friends in the whole wide world, I’m sure other people say that but they are lying, MY FRIENDS ARE BETTER THAN ANYONES. I’m pretty picky with the people I spend my time with, so the people I surround myself with are quality. I LOVE actors and creative people, they really inspire me, but most of my friends have ‘normal’ jobs from HR management to retail assistants. My sister, Olivia is a university tutor and is by far my favourite person in the whole wide world.

Inspirational Women, social media, Instagram, comedy, actor, Career Development, Career Advice, Mentor, Life Advice

How do you feel about the huge amount of media you have received in the past two weeks?

Weird, fun, scary, awesome, stupid, crazy and exciting.

What has been the craziest minute of the past few weeks?

Sitting with my husband and two friends Kate and Phil last saturday night. My sister called and told me the Daily Mail online had done an article on me. So we spent the rest of the night watching my Instagram account grow. We invented some fun drinking games: ‘For every 100 followers we must scull.’

Why?

Because it’s weird. I’ve been working in the industry since 2003 and all of a sudden I post a photo of myself lying half naked on a dirt pile and BAM, I’m running for president.

How did you handle it?

I drank, A LOT.

Why do you think people have responded so well to your take-offs of celebrity photos?

I don’t really know, I think people like to laugh, I know I do. Seeing fancy people do fancy things that require A LOT of fancy money and calling it ‘everyday’ is kind of tiring to see all the time. So I wanted to be me, not so fancy, a bit silly and super honest.

Inspirational Women, social media, Instagram, comedy, actor, Career Development, Career Advice, Mentor, Life Advice

Did you have a mentor?

I have a few, I ask a lot of different people what they think about a script or a photo I want to post before I do it, the people that are close to me are my mentors.

Who/what helped you to get your career of the ground?

MY PARENTS, my mum has always said to me is “just be yourself” and that has always stuck in my head. As well as financial supporting when I as younger, they were always said and lead by me. If I called them and said that I wanted to leave my agent and freelance for a while, even though the security of an agent was appealing to them they were always supportive of my decision. My dad would say: “Whatever you want to do princess is great.”

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

It wasn’t until I actually started working on All Saints that I realised I was funny. I had done the Big Laugh Comedy Festival before I started on the show, but I didn’t really think I was great at it. I really love and respect the people I worked with on that show and we had so much fun. Joking around on set with people like Mark Priestly, Virginia Gay, Wil Traval – people I think are fucking hilarious was where I think I found my confidence in comedy.

Inspirational Women, social media, Instagram, comedy, actor, Career Development, Career Advice, Mentor, Life Advice

How did you overcome these?

I feel like I got old really fast, I have always been the youngest in my group of friends. But then it felt like all of a sudden there were people younger than me audition for the same things and I thought: ‘Okay, it’s time to realise that funny is your thing, and if you’re not going to wrap your head around that soon and have a crack at this acting thing then there are a lot of younger people who will do it for you.’

You said “next step Ellen”, which is so totally possible (and we cant wait!).  What would you love to ask Ellen about her career as a comedian?

The first thing I would ask her is if I could go house shopping with her, I LOVE interior design (I’m constantly moving my house around, much to my hot husbands disgust) and she seems to buy a house live in it then move 6 months later. I’m quite angry, loud and self- deprecating with my comedy, whereas I find Ellen to be upbeat and positive which I LOVE. I would ask her if I could borrow some of her ‘happy pills’ so I could be more like her.

Who makes you laugh?  

My 4 year old son Lou, he LOVES making people laugh.  My sister and the way my mum talks to my dad when she knows she has an audience. Also, my husband falling over is the funniest thing ever. He is the most grounded, coordinated, centred human I have ever met. He surfs, skates, snowboards and can ride a bike one handed while carrying our sleeping 4 year old son. So when he slips or trips on something, I have to stop what I’m doing so I can respect the belly laugh that is about to spew out of me.

Inspirational Women, social media, Instagram, comedy, actor, Career Development, Career Advice, Mentor, Life Advice

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

I really struggle with giving people advice. There is SO MUCH advice being given by people that are really privileged and out of touch. Insta quotes will be the death of me. So I guess my non advice would be: Have a crack at it, or don’t. Whatever.

What is your biggest dream for your career?

Work with Tina Fey, I want to do more TV. I LOVE working in TV. Sitting around on set a lot of people talk about doing films, but my heart lies in TV.  I want to be given lots of money to work on the scripts that my friend Belinda and I have and when they are ready, shop them around. That would be pretty cool. To be honest, I’d like to be offered something, I’m HORRIBLE at auditions I hate them so to skip that step and just be offered a comedy role would be a highlight. I’d love to be part of SNL.

To see more of Celeste’s work and #celestechallengeaccepted follow her on Instagram: @celestebarber

August 28, 2015

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

August 21, 2015

Inspirational Women: Jillian Broadbent

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: Meredith Cranmer

Name and role:

Jillian Broadbent and Chair of Clean Energy Finance Corporation, Chair of Swiss Re Life & Health Australia Limited, director of Woolworths Ltd and Chancellor of Wollongong University.

Tell us about your role?  What is it?  What do you do on a day-to-day basis?

After 25 years working in banking and finance I moved from an executive role to take up a number of non-executive directorships. I have served in this capacity on publically listed company boards, government corporations and in the not for profit sector. As a non-executive director I participate on the boards of organisations overseeing the strategy, governance and management of them.

Your professional career has been quite diverse, how has it developed and evolved over the years?

I have been lucky to have opportunities to work in a wide range of fields. After graduating my first professional job was as an economist at the Reserve Bank of Australia. Most of my banking career was with Bankers Trust/BT Australia, which grew from 60 to 4000 employees over my 22 years there. At BT, I built a number of different departments, which was both satisfying and rewarding. Through the wide-ranging contacts I had with industry clients in building this banking business, many opportunities arose. These involved requests to apply my financial skills in the not for profit sector in particular, at the Art Gallery of NSW, the Sydney Theatre Company and the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra. Through my participation in these diverse activities my career developed and evolved to span positions in the public and the private sector.

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

I never really knew what I wanted to do as a career, I just responded to the opportunities with diligence, enthusiasm and capacity.

What where the stumbling blocks when you first started on your career path and how did you overcome these?

There were always stumbling blocks starting with self-doubt, exacerbated by a male dominated sector and culture. The first step to overcoming stumbling blocks is to deal with the internally generated ones, building your confidence, observing success and the learnings it carries and not wasting any of your precious energy on blame and ill will.

Did/do you have a mentor?

I did not have a mentor but I did observe successful people whom I liked and admired their approach and effectiveness. This helped me develop my own sense of self and confidence.

You have been honoured for your hard work with many accolades to your name – what to you feel has been your biggest achievement?

I feel satisfied by a number of achievements:

–  Building a successful business at BT and a positive culture, where people were enthusiastic to come to work each day, the business was profitable and the clients we serviced were appreciative and supportive;

–  Serving on the board of the Reserve Bank of Australia for three terms which was beyond the term of most RBA Board members and acting to improve the wellbeing of all Australians, was a great honour; and

–  Chairing the Clean Energy Finance Corporation through a change of government and keeping the corporation on track and enthusiastic despite the current government’s policy to abolish the CEFC.

Your success has paved the way for many women in business.  How have things changed for women since you began?

Many things have changed over the nearly 50 years of my career. There are more women in business, though still not enough.  Childcare choices have expanded, and the attitude from partners and fellow workers is more supportive or at least benign.

What are you goals for the future?

After 50 years in a working career, I am not focused on goals for the future but I would like to continue to use my private sector skills to facilitate public policy outcomes as I have done at the CEFC and the RBA.

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

Advice: Work on your inner stability, develop a bit of teflon coating, not being super sensitive to criticism or insensitive comments from male colleagues.  Do your homework and be prepared as it will improve your effectiveness and help your confidence and sense of belonging.

August 7, 2015

Inspirational Women: Shannah Kennedy

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: Pippa Hallas

Name and role

Shannah Kennedy, executive life strategist, speaker and author, wife and mother

Tell us about your role? What is it? What do you do on a day-to-day basis?

My role is first and foremost as a life coach. I coach elite athletes, CEOs, managers in large and small companies, business owners and people in general who want to be a better version of themselves. A life coach ignites potential. The individual benefits of coaching are as wide-ranging as the individuals being coached, impacting not only careers, but lives.

Coaching is not therapy, which goes into depth about various issues, usually dealing with the past, nor is it consulting which generally results in giving the client answers. Coaching is more action-orientated and focuses primarily on the present and future. Coaching is not about instructing or telling or directing. It’s not about therapy or healing. It’s not about a right way or a wrong way.

Coaching is about self-reliance and personal responsibility. It’s about taking action, contributing, and making an impact. At its core, coaching is about helping people tap into existing strengths and talents. Our clients have the answers already – our job is to engage them in a dialogue that brings those answers to the surface. Clearly, these kinds of individual benefits can have a ripple effect throughout a company, a family and even friendships improving morale, retention, efficiency, productivity and satisfaction with life. By working in a completely confidential setting, coaching breaks down barriers to success and challenges individuals to reach new levels of achievement, satisfaction and balance in life.

You have not always been a life coach, what was the catalyst for change? 

I have always been a high achiever. As soon as I left school I jumped straight into work – and I worked hard. First in stockbroking and then in a fast-paced role as a sponsorship and PR manager for a high profile sports eyewear company. I worked with more than 100 world-class athletes in Australia and internationally. By most people’s definition of success, I was living the dream. It was exhilarating, satisfying and demanding all at once. It was also incredibly intense. I was used to overloading my life, so as the stress, fatigue and exhaustion mounted, I brushed these warnings signs aside as just the price to be paid for the kind of success I craved. Unwilling and unable to slow down, eventually my body delivered a devastating reminder of its need to be taken care of and abruptly gave way to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. It was debilitating. Virtually bed-ridden for 12 months I lost everything that mattered to me – my sense of self, my network, my ability to do the simplest things. My body just wouldn’t respond. Sinking towards depression I felt overwhelmed with shame and failure, replaying over and over why things had gone so wrong. It took a long, slow three years for me to fully recover, but working with a life coach I eventually regained my energy, clarity and motivation to move on.

I have also (unforgettably) witnessed many elite athletes self-destruct once their sporting careers were over. This, as well as my own experience with burn out, has inspired me to get over my distaste for study and embrace extensive qualifications as an Advanced Certified Coach. I could see the opportunity to coach sports people to become whole people rather than has-beens, with purpose and vision to create the life they want both during and after their short athletic careers.

Where do you find your inspiration?

I listen to a lot of audiobooks to keep educating and challenging myself. When I am walking, in the car or even meditating, I am listening. I get inspired by everything around me; the simple things in life. Mindfulness in life has taken my life and happiness to a whole new level, as has learning to breathe properly – all free and amazing! Who would have thought it could be that simple! I am inspired by people, magazines and audio and enjoying photography for myself as a hobby. I am inspired by the vision I have built for myself to always keep evolving as a human being.

Do you have a mentor? Who/what helped you to get your career of the ground?

My first coach when I had chronic fatigue syndrome changed my life. She believed in me, my dream, my skills and my ambition and helped me get through the fear of leaving the corporate world and starting my own business as a life coach; 15 years ago when there were no life coaches around. No one understood what it was and thought it was all just hocus pocus.

I studied life coaching and there are not many around that have been coaching for as long.  Along the way I have employed coaches for myself each year to keep me evolving, learning and they have challenged me constantly to follow my dreams. In the beginning I would have been happy with 10 clients. Now I have 40 clients, two books out and speak every week at conferences. I also have a great marriage and two children in primary school. I know it was possible and really wanted it but needed some great people around me as my support team. I also had to and still have to put my health first and foremost – mental, physical and emotional health are at the forefront of every decision I make.

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

My first stumbling blocks came from where I was most passionate – i.e. coaching athletes into retirement. I was way before my time I think and the doors were not opening. I saw athletes finish their careers after looking after over 200 in my corporate years, with no plan, no structure, and little confidence in themselves as person even thought they had achieved in their chosen sport. The other parts of their lives were not developed enough to support them. So it turned quite corporate very quickly as they were all open to getting the edge and working with a coach to be improve.

My challenges now are finding the right partners to collaborate with for my new book The Life Plan. How to get life-skills into more hands. I am passionate, extremely passionate about people learning the skills that will support them in life, in relationships and with their mental health. It is about making these skills available to all, not just those at the top or those that can afford a coach. I have packaged up the skills for all to take, to learn and to apply and my challenge now is to get it into corporations as a gift and training tool, for schools to give it to school leavers and for those with some mental health issues to start their journey through the book, which is a guide to building your life.

How did you overcome these?

I always overcome obstacles by going around them. When the door doesn’t open, knock at another one, and then another one, until one opens. I have always taken responsibility for my own luck and sometime you have to dig a bit harder and try a bit harder and be uncomfortable about it all, but the rewards are incredible. I also had a fear around speaking on stage as I don’t have a naturally loud voice and I am terrible at jokes! I have learnt through my own coaches that authenticity speaks volumes and to not try and be anyone but yourself.

You are about to launch your first book, The Life Plan. What is it about? What can we plan to find within?  

The Life Plan is my first published book after self publishing previously with great success. The Life Plan offers life skills in a simple and beautiful format, so that those who want to learn can start their journey and get inspired and motivated in life. Deliberately set out in a visually beautiful format and written so you don’t have to read from cover to cover, each page gives you a skill, an inspiration or an action to help you develop your life plan. Most self-help books are very heavy reading and too much for people to digest and take in, so this one offers the best snippets from a whole range of practical life and wellness skills.

It is your handbook for life. There is room to write, there is room to discover who you are and build the structures in life that will support you and bring out the best in you. It is you commencing on a journey to be the best version of yourself in life. PLUS it is a beautiful coffee table book! We are making self-help practical and inspirational.

What are your goals for the future?

My goals are to get life-skills to more people in the world. They are not taught at school, yet they should be the foundation for your life. I want to be the first life coach with a profile in Australia as we don’t have one; they are all American. I have 15 years under my belt and I am ready to come out and be that person. Life skills are essential. They are the foundation of who we are, why we make decisions and can be a part of us that unlocks our individual excellence. They need to be available now in a format that is motivational, easy and practical. And of course there is a whole lot more on my list of goals! More books, more speaking, TV, online, etc. Plus keeping my health at its optimal level and continuing the great work on my marriage and as a mother to two children, all of whom are my core and whom I adore.

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

It is now a very crowded space I think and it is about really building great relationships and using your networking skills. I have never advertised anywhere, and simply worked on my own relationships with people and have let the referrals take me to where I am now. I think if you are going to be a coach, you should employ your own coach as authenticity is key. And most of all, dream hard, work hard and nourish yourself the whole time.

Image via The Daily Mail

 

July 31, 2015

Inspirational Women: Pippa Hallas

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: Michelle Doherty

Name and role

Pippa Hallas and I am the CEO of Ella Baché.

Tell us about what you do – what do you do on a day-to-day basis?

My role is about setting and implementing the strategy of the business. It’s about managing people and bringing everyone along the journey, getting them to understand our strategy, where we’re going and what needs to be done. I also spend time with our stakeholders including franchisees, David Jones, our college and manufacturing representatives. I spend a lot of time in meetings!

You have been involved with the family business your whole life, however you did not always work for Ella Baché. Can you tell us about your career journey to becoming CEO? 

I’ve been with Ella Baché for 10 years now. After leaving school I went to uni to do a business degree. Then, like many people, I jumped on a plane and went overseas. I didn’t particularly want to work in the family business straight away so I spent a couple of years in London working in advertising and Paris before eventually finding my way home after a long stint traveling. I returned to advertising at some big Sydney agencies, but then I hit a crossroads in my career. I could either turn right and keep working in advertising and going overseas where the opportunities were, or I could jump ship and work for Ella Baché, and that’s what I did. I started off at Ella Baché in a marketing role, ended up heading marketing for 4 years. Subsequently I became CEO and have been for the past 5 years.

Taking on the role as CEO is a big step for anyone, what where the initial stumbling blocks in this role and how did you overcome these?

I think one of the biggest stumbling blocks is your perception of yourself. Going from a team member to CEO – it’s true when they say ‘it can be lonely at the top’, so I think it’s important to have the reality and confidence to back yourself with that title. Becoming CEO, where the buck stops with me, can be quite isolating at times, so it was all about getting used to that title within myself.

Do/did you have a mentor? Who has helped you get your career of the ground?

People throughout my career organically became my mentors and some of my early bosses put me under their wing and mentored me informally as well. One of the things I did when I became CEO was surround myself with 3-4 people externally that I could call on anytime and use as a sounding board as I knew they’d be completely honest with me, whether I wanted to hear it or not. No one can be an expert in everything, so you need to know when to call on people who know more. It’s important to get honest feedback because in the role of CEO it’s sometimes hard for staff to be comfortable enough to give you the truth.

Ella Baché celebrated its 60th year in 2014, congratulations! Why do you think the brand has resonated so well with consumers over the years and continues to grow?

I think it’s a combination of a couple of things. Ella Baché is such a well-known and trusted brand with a lot of integrity around it. In this day and age, the younger generation are so researched, so it’s important that our products really work, which they do. There’s nothing that Ella Baché tries to hide.

Ella Baché is also very much a people brand – there are so many passionate people that work for this brand, and that passion is passed on to our consumers. We try really hard to keep reinventing ourselves and innovating so we have a very rich history with a contemporary edge.

How do you find juggling being a mother and a successful businesswoman?

I love it. It’s great being able to have the opportunity to do both. I wouldn’t want to do one without the other, but it’s not for the fainthearted. When I get busy, sometimes I feel guilty not being at home, or not being at work. It’s that ‘Mothers guilt’ and I feel torn a lot of the time, but I wouldn’t want it any other way. Luckily I have people around me that support me so I don’t feel the need to do it on my own.

Where do you find your inspiration?

Different people and their stories inspire me, as does travelling and looking at what others brands are doing. Innovation, creativity – there’s so much awesome stuff going on in the world. With technology now, everything has been brought to the surface, like a loudspeaker – there are so many opportunities.

What are your goals for the future and the future of Ella Baché?

It’s about making sure we are leaders the Australian skincare industry and as skin experts it’s about staying results driven, at the heart of the brand. We have salons all over in places like Kalgoorlie and Hobart, to Melbourne and Sydney. It’s amazing how many women have become business leaders in this brand, it empowers women in their own careers. I want to continue that journey and make sure we’re market leaders setting up a business model that’s unique in Australia.

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

It’s a really exciting journey but sometimes you have to make things up along the way. You need to back yourself, take risks, sometimes stand-alone and have the ability to fail, but not so much that it cripples you. You need to find that balance between backing yourself, taking a risk and having a go.

July 10, 2015

Inspirational Women: Lauren Todorovic

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: Kim Kelly

Name and role:

Lauren Todorovic, founder and director of Aged Care Report Card, which is primarily a ratings and reviews website for all existing aged care facilities Australia-wide.

Tell us about your role? What is it? What do you do on a day-to-day basis?

Basically ACRC is a similar concept to ‘trip advisor’ but for the aged care industry with some industry specific considerations. ACRC was established to not only create a useful resource for people searching and comparing aged care facilities but also and most importantly I saw it as away of establishing a more transparent approach to sharing experiences of people living or working in these facilities.

On a day-to-day basis in the early stage I was juggling two full time jobs which makes life interesting! My clinical roles include working with patients who have been diagnosed with brain cancer and more recently setting up a Cognition and Dementia Service. Cognitive deficit is something that impacts as much as 80% of residents in aged care. I’m really fortunate to support this group of patients and I really love my work. I feel really privileged to be given the opportunity to work in this area and look after these patients, it’s not only changed my outlook on life but it is a big part of what motivated me to start my own business in the first place. I took the next step and here I am!!

You have been working in health care field now for a number of years, when did you realise you wanted to do this as a career?

I’ve been working as a nurse for 10 years now, I don’t know that I always wanted to be a nurse I found it really difficult in my final year of school to choose what I wanted to do for the ‘rest of my life’ so to speak. I was always the nurturing type and enjoyed caring for people (especially the elderly) and I saw nursing as great career to travel and it’s one of those careers that is so diverse allowing you to move from one specialty area to another which always keeps things interesting!

I went back and studied my masters 5 years ago as I needed some inspiration on what to do next after several years of clinical and practical experience. I always wanted to own my own business, initially aged care facilities or start up a day care centre, and given my nursing degree had absolutely no business subjects I thought I better go and learn the foundations of ‘good business’. This was a great decision and has thankfully positioned me well for everything I’m working on today.

What drove you to establish the Aged Care Report Card? Nothing has been done like this before in the aged care industry, where did the idea for ACRC come from?

ACRC is a new concept to the industry and we are the first ratings and reviews website for consumers and health professionals. Having worked in a number of aged care facilities I have seen first hand the varying levels of what you would call ‘quality of care’ I wanted to create a platform that would capture the voices of those most important in aged care – that’s residents, their families and health professionals. I wanted to also build and design a system that captured these different perspectives and arranged them in a useful way for families facing the often overwhelming and short term requirement of deciding a new home or facility for their loved ones. For families searching for aged care facilities, they really have very limited information around the subjective information and experiences of others on what the ‘care’ of a facility is actually like, there’s nothing that captures real life experiences or word-of-mouth. We aim to solve this and ACRC continues to work on projects directly and with strategic partners to continuously improve our solutions.

What were the stumbling blocks, initially getting ACRC started and since then?

Whilst ratings and reviews platforms are now relatively established in other industries (like hospitality, travel etc.) there was no other service that existed until recently in aged care. A shift is currently taking place where aged care providers are still in their infancy stages of accepting the new way of creating transparency. This new way of doing business and catering for the aged care ‘consumer’ the residents and families themselves, has come about a large part due to the trend of digitisation and continuously increasing accessibility of information making it far easier for consumers to be discerning in their choices of what is and isn’t acceptable.

We have found the innovative and IT savvy companies particularly are more across the importance of engaging with customers online and having a social media presence without succumbing to the fear of opening themselves up for review in the market place. We recognize these shifts can take time but also know that the market place is dynamic and the landscape is changing quickly; we are making these values and observations a core input into our planning at ACRC so we remain well positioned to serve the industry and solve the challenges for the consumer.

How did you overcome these?

Never take a ‘No’ or ‘We will get back to you…’ as the final answer. If you have a great product or service that creates value for people then why wouldn’t people be interested? It’s just a matter of getting your message and showing organizations the direct value to them in a way that is fair and reasonable and not threatening – persistence and a thick skin is the key. My background as a nurse and experience directly in palliative care, aged care and dementia does give me a sensitivity and deeper understanding, as do those in my team, of the sometimes hidden issues involved and challenges that need to be overcome to see positive change role out and be implemented successfully.

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

Early on in my career my grandma was my main mentor and someone I really looked up to. She provided guidance, advice and motivation for me. There’s something really special about having a close relationship with an older generation – their wisdom, life experiences and worldly advice are priceless. My grandmother inspires me to be a strong woman that stands up for what I believe and “never give up”. She was prepared to take risks and started her own recruitment company without any guidance or support from family or colleagues and her company is still active today. I have her voice in my head almost every day particularly when the struggles of working full time during my early start up mode with my team was non-stop!

My grandfather on the other hand inspired me to set out on a mission to make changes to the industry that meant all older Australians are provided with the ‘quality of care’ that you would expect for your own family never letting go of the ‘human touch’ for this vulnerable community in the population. Another mentor without a doubt has been my husband. He has encouraged and supported me to get ACRC off the ground and bring the idea to reality.

How has the company evolved since it began?

ACRC was in planning stages for 18-24 months before we went live in November 2014. It took a lot of initial planning, researching the industry, surveying hundreds of consumers and health professionals for our 7 Standards of Excellence in care and developing our methodology. We have come along way from the initial ideas we had to the engaging platform that we see today. I’ve had some great people supporting ACRC which makes all the difference.

You are very busy and working in an industry that for some can be quite draining. What keeps you motivated?

There is no doubt that nursing can be emotionally and physically draining, so it is important to take time out for yourself every now and then. Staying motivated is really important I like to set goals and targets – when I meet these it’s time for celebration! For example when we reach a certain amount of reviews on our website, increase our reach to the consumers or gain the support of a facility, the team goes out to celebrate. They are all key milestones for us so we need to celebrate when we are doing well otherwise it’s easy to forget.

ACRC’s vision of providing quality care to people living in aged care facilities also keeps me motivated. I often refer to it from time to time, which keeps everything in perspective and reminds me to keep going. Creating positive changes and improvements in the industry will take a combined effort from like-minded organisations all working together for the same purpose – ACRC recognises its leadership role in navigating through this and aims to champion these positive changes and improvements.

Where do you find your inspiration?

There are a few really passionate and vocal aged care advocates in the industry that I look up to and admire as I see them as change makers and dedicated to making improvements in the industry. I enjoy reading articles about other founders of startups and reading about their experiences they have faced going through a similar process. It does provide me with comfort that I’m not the only one going through similar challenges. Daily inspiration is found on my bathroom mirror with a card from my grandma say “Never Give Up”… this really hits a cord with me.

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

There is nothing more rewarding than doing something that makes a difference in the lives of others. I’ve worked in a lot of areas of nursing and for me it was about working out ‘what am I really passionate about’? I remember my University lecturer saying “there’s no point saying you want to save the world, instead choose something you’re passionate about and go after it”. That really was the ‘light bulb’ moment for me where I realised all I wanted to focus on was improving care in the aged care industry at this stage in my life. I didn’t want to look back at the end of my life and regret not having followed my dream of starting my own business. I knew the only thing I would regret was not giving it a go. So work out what YOUR passion is and then follow you dream. Life’s too short to have regrets and to be working on something you don’t love!

To see all of Lauren’s work with Aged Care Report Card, search a facility or write a review head to http://www.agedcarereportcard.com.au

June 19, 2015

Inspirational Women: Sally Brown and Chrissy Biasotto

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: Charlie Boyce

Name and role:

Sally Brown and Chrissy Biasotto, ‘Chief Maids’ and directors of fashion and beauty PR agency Tailor Maid Communications

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

What don’t we do! Let us tell you, it’s not all long lunches and Jimmy Choos! It’s a lot of hard work, no day is ever the same at The Maids Quarters. It’s fast paced, high-energy and lots of fun! We try not to take ourselves too seriously we have a motto we follow ‘It’s PR, not ER’!

What are your backgrounds? How did you two meet?

SALLY: After school I went to Business College, then worked in finance and realised the corporate world just wasn’t for me. I then studied at FBI Fashion College, after my studies I got a job at a Beauty PR agency where I worked up the ranks all the way to the top. I then moved to London to travel and based myself where I became a celebrity agent for just over a year, when I returned to Australia I worked in house for a fashion brand and then opened Tailor Maid Communications.

CHRISSY: I am a Uni drop out! I worked up the courage to tell my parents that another few years of studying, it wasn’t on my priority list and that I wanted to get into the fashion industry. Doing what in the fashion industry I didn’t know, I used to sit and watch hours and hours of FTV and was memorized by the fashion industry. After a stint in NYC, I came back and studied the Business Course at FBI Fashion College and part of their curriculum was work placement. My first work experience role was working as Sal’s assistant and stayed on at that agency for a year of unpaid work until they offered me a role. I earned my stripes until eventually Sal and I took the plunge into opening Tailor Maid Communications

When did you know that you wanted to do this as a career?

SALLY: As soon as I started fashion college and interning at PR Agencies I knew I had the PR gene in my blood!

CHRISSY: I am the same as Sal, it wasn’t until I gained knowledge through my work experience that I knew PR was my calling.

Why and when did you two decide to begin Tailor Maid Communications?

It’s a bit of a bittersweet story actually. We made the decision at one of our close friends funerals, we were standing at his wake when we realised that life was too short and we had nothing to loose to go out on our own.

Tailor Maid is almost 10 years old, congratulations! What where your initial expectations? How has Tailor Maid evolved over the years?

Thank you, we are so proud of ourselves and all that we have achieved. From the day we opened the doors with just two of us sitting in the driver’s seat, we have now grown to a team of 12, and we’re still expanding. We are no longer thinking small, we are dreaming big and are much more strategic in our approach, both with clients and media as well as in our business practices.

What have been the stumbling blocks, initially getting started and since then?

Starting a business for the first time, you are entering into a lot of unknown and new territory, we have learnt a lot through trial and error along the way. We are constantly learning, evolving and reinventing ourselves.

How did you overcome these?

Courage, believing in ourselves and a love for what we do. We have found that you have to surround yourselves with a great team, people who are supporters and back your decisions. People like our family, our Staff, our Accountant, our Bookkeeper to our Business coach and mentors – they have all played integral parts in advising and guiding us through any roadblocks we have encountered and came across throughout the years.

Where do you find your inspiration?

SALLY: I meditate daily, I feel so full of beans and motivated every morning. Lots of reading and I also think Chrissy and I inspire each other all the time.

CHRISSY: Nothing inspires me more than females starting their own businesses. I just finished GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso who started Nasty Gal and it was an incredibly motivating read. I was just given Sheryl Sandberg’s book Lean In, she is Facebook’s COO and is a crusader for female empowerment in the workplace, I can’t wait to get stuck into it. I am constantly searching and getting fresh ideas from social media and blogs. There are so many creative people in the world and the Internet has helped with exposing that.

What are your goals for the future and the future of Tailor Maid?

To be the number 1 PR agency in our field – watch this space!

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

SALLY: Hard work, Grit and Determination. Also It’s important to point out that you may be a dynamo in PR, but when opening your own venture it’s imperative to have a good understanding of business. I strongly suggest a business start up course at minimum. Also if you can go into business with someone else I would strongly suggest it for support, Chrissy and I are very lucky that we compliment each other perfectly and bounce off each other daily. Without Chrissy there would be no Tailor Maid, I couldn’t run this ship without her!

CHRISSY: Work experience got us to where we are today, not a uni degree, not a college course, but practical, on the job experience. I’m not saying to people, drop out of uni, follow in my footsteps and you’ll eventually fall on your feet. There have been many hours spent dedicating myself to my work and to Tailor Maid and I have loved every minute of it. You want to be able to get up out of bed each morning and want to go to a job that you love, be surrounded by people that you love working with and most importantly, have fun doing it. From a professional sense, knowing the ins and outs of running a business is integral. From staff management to financials to organizing and planning, Sal and I always ensure that we across every element of our business and the day-to-day happenings at Tailor Maid Communications. Be knowledgeable in your field, communicate and network!

June 12, 2015

Ones To Watch: Genevieve Clay-Smith

Everybody is on the hunt for young up-and-comers and here at SHESAID we have been lucky enough to meet a selection 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 a real difference, these young women are definitely ‘Ones to Watch’.

Who knew that at someone so young could make such an impact? We certainly didn’t, at least that was until we meet Genevieve Clay-Smith. Back in 2009 along with a small but driven team, Genevieve created the short film, Be My Brother, whose protagonist and film crew included Australians from marginalised backgrounds. After the film won first prize and best actor at Tropfest, Genevieve took the initiative to create her own organisation – Bus Stop Films. The pioneering organisation is providing people from all walks of life with the opportunity to become involved with the film industry. So it comes as no surprise that Genevieve’s hard work is being recognised with multiple accolades to her name. 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 the co-founder and co-owner of a creative agency, Taste Creative, I also voluntarily run a not-for-profit organisation, Bus Stop Films and I am a filmmaker too! So I wear a few hats and have a very hybrid career across business ownership, creative leadership and social entrepreneurship.

When did you discover your talent? What made you want to follow it into a career?

It all started with wanting to be involved in the film industry. Originally I was working towards becoming an actress but at university I discovered I actually had a knack for getting projects started, and making films. While I was at uni I got a job as a trainee filmmaker working on a documentary for Down Syndrome NSW, where I discovered that film could champion positive social change and I was very attracted to the idea that something I make could change and impact society.

Your success at Tropfest in 2009, lead you to found Bus Stop Films. What inspired you to create the film, Be My Brother?

Gerard O’Dwyer was the inspiration behind Be My Brother. He was one of the participants with Down Syndrome in the documentary I was making and he wanted to be an actor. Although he was full of talent and ambition, he’d never had the opportunity to study at a mainstream acting school and get opportunities other young actors might get. So I began questioning, who was going to see him, who was going to help him achieve his goal of acting? And then, a bright idea entered my heart – I call it my miracle moment, and the thought was “why don’t I make a film?”

And so on no budget, with limited resources, I did just that. And on this journey of making a short film starring Gerard, I was ethically driven to also include other young people with disabilities in helping to make the film too. I believed the process of making the film, was just as important as the end result. I wanted to give others the opportunity to learn. So I held a filmmaking workshop for five people with disabilities in a friends lounge room, who then fulfilled crew roles on the film.

What makes Bus Stop Films unique to other organisations?

We heavily focus on engagement with the professional film industry. We focus on using film education to up skill people’s English and literacy skills as well as personal development skills – learning how to be on time and grow self esteem. We teach film theory as well as practical filmmaking and because people are interested and passionate about the topic they step up to my expectations. When I make a film with my students I hold them to the same standards and expectations that I would have of anyone else working on set. It’s quite military. But in having high standards, you show a person that you believe in them and that you respect them, you also give them the opportunity to achieve something, they might never have thought they could.

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

When you think you’ve fixed one problem another one arises, and when you have finally achieved something, it’s all about what’s next. Bus Stop has achieved a lot and created some incredible social impact, but the next step for it now, is how to make it sustainable, and how to give more people access to our program. I am currently working with some amazing people who are supporting me through working out what Bus Stop 2.0 will look like! When I started Bus Stop with my Co-founder Eleanor, I simply tried to connect with as many people as possible who knew more than me, and the Foundation for Young Australians was also a wonderful support which helped me through the very beginning of setting up.

What drives/motivates you to keep going?

I know that our filmmaking program and the films we produce have an impact, and I want more people to gain access to what we’ve developed. I get fan mail every week from people all over the world saying “thank you”. And that is a big driver. I am also very passionate about education, I love teaching people and seeing them grow, I love how sharing my knowledge and passion for film can help a person develop and grow confidence. It’s magic.

Bus Stop Films is now 6 years old, congratulations! How has the organization evolved over the years?

We’ve gone from just making films with people with a disability, to realising that what we’re doing can help other people, like members of the refugee community and CALD communities. It’s all about helping people up-skill through studying a subject of interest, like film. As humans, we all love story telling, we do it everyday, we re-tell stories, we read stories and we watch films. What we do at Bus Stop, can help other people who might need help with English skills, and personal development and also, we can help those who just want to learn more about the industry. Also as my creative agency, Taste Creative has grown we’ve been able to work out pathways for my Bus Stop students to gain work experience and employment on some of our sets.

Your work has brought you some serious recognition, being named 2015 Youth of the Year and winning the Young Leader category of Westpac’s 100 Women of Influence. How has this affected you and your work? 

Honestly, it’s been wonderful to get a pat on the back, Bus Stop is voluntarily run on the side of my other work with Taste Creative and I do it for the love of it, so recognition like that simply helps me to keep going and makes me determined to get our program and films out to as many people as possible. I feel like I found something important and impacting and I need to steward it well and ensure that it can reach and help people more broadly.

As a creative, what inspires you?

I love other entrepreneurial stories, I’m very inspired by my friends at Thank You Group and also watching films and reading books inspire me. Even going for walks can help to clear my mind and bring new ideas into my head!

What are your plans for the future and the future of Bus Stop Films?

At Bus Stop we are going on a journey to explore and discover how to impact more people more broadly. We are looking at developing a new business model that will allow it to operate without me, which is very important for any organisation – the exit plan for the founders. I have discovered, only recently, that I am not scalable! The way I teach my workshops and engage with people is unique to my personality and me and can’t be replicated, so the question for us is, how to we give more people access to our program without me? We are looking at how I will set the culture and tone of our program but then ensure we can make it accessible for a wide range of people. It’s an exciting adventure because it means I am taking our impact to the next level and hopefully will help more people at a larger scale than what our current capacity is.

What advice would you give to somebody hoping to follow the same path as you?

Anyone who has an idea to do something, should jump off the deep end and give it ago – find mentors, find like minded people and just start! You might have to make some sacrifices but that’s the price of taking a risk. Also don’t expect it to be easy – if you think it will be easy you’re dreaming, and if you fail – that’s not an excuse to give up, failure is a part of growing and learning, just read Walt Disney’s story and you will be inspired not to let failure dictate your future decisions!

To see more about what Genevieve and her team get up to, head to http://www.busstopfilms.com.au/

June 10, 2015

Inspirational Women: Emma Isaacs

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: Kate Vale

Name and role:

Emma Isaacs, CEO of Business Chicks, Australia’s largest community for women

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

My role is CEO which means I inspire my team to do better, and I agitate for change and growth. I start most of my sentences with ‘What if we could …’ I have a lot of ideas, and it’s my job to keep my people and my community alive and awake to my vision of building a truly global network of women who support each other and want more for themselves and their lives. In a team of 30 people, I currently have four direct reports and my time is spent developing them so that they can in turn lead their teams effectively. I’m a natural leader, but a very ordinary manager so I try to stay top-line and let them focus on execution. I also drive the culture of the company – the employee experience is every bit as important to me as our customer experience. 

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

I was always an adventurous and inquisitive child (might be the first born thing, if you believe in birth order biases.) I had my first business when I was seven years old! I’d gather all the kids in my street together in our backyard and ask them to go and bring back some money from their parents. I’d then go and buy lollies and we’d distribute them into smaller packages and then sell them back to the parents at an inflated price.

I always knew I wanted to be successful, and I figured that if I began early, I’d get the head start I needed. My next door neighbour had a restaurant so I begged her to give me a job – I think I started the day I turned 14 and 9 months (or perhaps a bit before!). While my friends partied, I worked every Friday and Saturday night and took every shift offered to me. I never resented it. There was no ‘a-ha’ moment of realising I had to be my own boss. It was never an ambition of mine. It just happened in that serendipitous way that all things that are meant to be happen.

You are only 35 and have already managed to take two businesses and transform them into extremely prosperous companies. What drove you to take on these projects at such a young age?

Perhaps I was born an entrepreneur, as somehow I knew that the conventional career path wasn’t for me. I spent six months at university but quickly realised that it wouldn’t get me where I wanted to be. At the age of 18, I joined a recruitment company, and a few months later was a 50% shareholder. I didn’t do it to become an entrepreneur or a business owner – I didn’t really even know what those two things meant. I did it to create, which is still what drives me today – the notion of not knowing where you’ll end up, but knowing that if somehow you can get your mindset right, it’ll be a heck of a journey with lots of cool experiences and learnings along the way.

Did you have a mentor? Who helped you to get your career of the ground?

My first experience of having a mentor was through a structured mentoring program when I was in the early stages of my first business. I was a young entrepreneur and the woman I was paired with couldn’t have been any more different to me, which ultimately was the most effective matching I could have hoped for. She’d grown significant businesses with market caps of over $100m and was tough and strict. She lifted me to new levels of leadership and had me question my effectiveness and strengths, teaching me many important lessons, such as the need to develop delegation skills which I’ve taken throughout my entire career. Since then I’ve had mentors through other structured programs, and also through my own relationships – I’ve learned something different from each of the entrepreneurs and business leaders who I’ve worked with and make a point to keep in touch with them.

What were the stumbling blocks, initially getting started and since then?

Business Chicks wasn’t my first business, so I’d had the chance to cut my entrepreneurial teeth a lot earlier than that. But growing Business Chicks was a unique learning experience in that it was unchartered territory, and in a lot of ways we were creating a category (and still are!). We struggled with all the traditional problems that plague start-ups: at the beginning we were probably underfunded and definitely under-resourced – there were great learnings but I’m happy to have moved on from those days!

How did you overcome these?

I don’t think I overthought it. I think that’s where a lot of people go wrong – getting stuck in analysis and not taking action. For me, I just saw a job that needed to be done. I didn’t wallow or give time to whether I’d be able to do it or not – I just gave it a shot. I don’t think I consciously knew I could make it a huge success, but I must have had some subconscious thinking that led me to keep going. And once you’ve gotten through the start up phase, and you’ve built a solid foundation of people, practises and profits, the rest is relatively easy. 

You have 4 beautiful children, how do you find juggling being a mother and successful businesswomen?

It’s akin to being on a roller coaster – you just hold on tight and enjoy the ride! It’s amazing what we’re capable of as women. Before I had children, I would have never believed there was enough time in the day or enough energy in my body to juggle a business which supports over 35,000 women across Australia and has achieved a 40% growth rate for the past few years, as well as raise four children.

I’ve learnt to let go of striving for perfection and feeling guilty. I just try to do my best and be kind to myself. My secret is outsourcing everything. I don’t do housework and I get great people around me in my business and in my home that enjoy working with us, and can handle the pace! I’ve tried every conceivable make-up of help from live-in au pairs through to grandparents through to daycare and full-time nannies and when it works, life is great.

Through Business Chicks you have met some of the worlds most influential leaders, visionaries and entrepreneurs. How do you take on their advice and implement it? Is there anyone in particular who has resonated with you?

I learn something from every visionary we bring to the Business Chicks stage, but Dr Brené Brown immediately comes to mind. Her TED talk has been viewed over 17 million times and something she said stuck with me: “Vulnerability isn’t weakness, it’s our best measure of courage.” I always practice being as vulnerable, open and transparent as I can, and the more you flex the vulnerability muscle, the stronger it becomes! I also adored working with Arianna Huffington, and loved how she said “There’s no bigger networking skill than being a giver.” As a person who is constantly connecting others and doing favours for people, this really resonated with me. Diane von Furstenberg, Julia Gillard, Sir Richard Branson, Rachel Zoe and Sir Bob Geldof have also left lasting impacts on me.

Where do you find your inspiration?

I feel really grateful to be able to do the work I do. Business Chicks is now Australia’s largest community for women and it’s a privilege to serve our members. I feel really strongly about supporting women to be their best, to play a bigger game, and ultimately back themselves and support others along the way. When you have access to 35,000 high achieving women, inspiration is not hard to find!

What are your goals for the future?

At the moment our main focus is our expansion into the US, as we launch there in July 2015. We want to create a strong footprint in the US and then ultimately take the offering to Europe and Asia too.

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

Go for it! There is no more rewarding ‘career’ than being an entrepreneur.

Image via emmaisaacs.com

June 5, 2015

Inspirational Women: Sharon Melhem

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: Fleur Madden

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

May 21, 2015

Inspirational Women: Sally Obermeder

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: Michelle Bridges

Name and role:

Sally Obermeder, co-host of The Daily Edition and founder of swiish.com.au

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

I have two roles, both of which I am incredibly passionate about. The first is as co-host of Channel 7’s The Daily Edition, which is a national news and entertainment program. I get to work with and interview smart, funny and talented people every day. My other role is for swiish.com.au, a lifestyle website which I founded and work on together with my sister, Maha.

SWIISH is about living a luxe lifestyle for less. We cover fashion, beauty, health, family and home. I love working with my sister, and bringing SWIISH readers all of the quickest, easiest and most affordable ways to live a fabulous life. Maha and I have also just released a green smoothie recipe e-book, called Super Green Smoothies. We’re getting so much incredible feedback from people who have downloaded the book and started making green smoothies, saying that they have never felt better. It’s an absolute thrill.

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

I think I always knew that I wanted to work in television, from when I was at back at school. I wanted to be a newsreader. I was just too afraid to try it as journalism was seen as a risky career choice – the perception was that there were not many jobs available, and no job security. So I went down the safe path and became an accountant instead. Needless to say, I really didn’t enjoy it. So when I was in my late 20’s, I decided it was now or never if I was to pursue my dream of working in television. I left my job in finance and began volunteering anywhere and everywhere I could to get experience. It was a lot of hard work, and still is. But I’m so glad that I made the decision to go for it.

Where do you find your inspiration?

In all kinds of places – from my family, who have supported me through thick and thin; especially my husband Marcus, who has always encouraged me to chase my dreams, no matter how big or small they may be. I live in Bondi, and I draw a lot of inspiration to live a healthy lifestyle from being near the ocean. I’m also inspired by seeing strong female entrepreneurs enjoy great success in their careers – in particular, I find Arianna Huffington, Rachel Zoe, Sophia Amoruso and Kelly Cutrone inspiring.

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

I don’t have a mentor, per se. But I do have people who I go to for advice – usually Marcus or my sister. Sometimes I also bounce ideas off Larry Emdur. In my career, I’ve been lucky enough to have learned from many of the brightest and the best. Sarah Stinson, our executive producer for The Daily Edition who I also worked with on Today Tonight has been amazing to work with.

I basically just adopted the mantra early on that there is something to be learned from everyone. So I made sure I was really present and paid attention – like a sponge soaking up as much knowledge as possible. I also found that because I was up for even the most simple of tasks, such as going to get coffees for the team; that went a long way. People remember team players that have a good attitude.

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

Initially the stumbling blocks were finding out how to get work experience in TV. Since then, the challenge has been how to juggle everything with family and work.

How did you overcome these?

I started out by doing a TV presenting course, which was advertised in the newspaper, and then through that tried to make a few contacts who helped me to get (unpaid) work experience on community television (Channel 31).  On the juggling front, it’s about accepting that I can’t always do it all, even though I try to! But Annabelle comes first, always.

What are your goals for the future?

On the family front, Marcus and I would love for Annabelle to have a sibling. Maha and I are super-close, so I would love for Annabelle to have a little sister or brother, too. On the work front, I just want more of what I’m doing – I love co-hosting The Daily Edition, and working on SWIISH too. I’m happy.

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

Firstly, I would say that you have to be prepared. What I mean by that is, you have to be prepared to do whatever it takes to follow your dream. I worked unpaid for many years. I’m not saying it will be the same for everyone, but if that’s what it takes, then you have to be willing to do that. Apply for work experience and internships. Network. Become an invaluable member of the team with a positive attitude. Go the extra mile to get the job done. And be persistent. Don’t give up.

There’s a quote by Harrison Ford where he says, “I realised early on that success was tied to not giving up. Most people in this business gave up and went on to other things. If you simply didn’t give up, you would outlast the people who came in on the bus with you.” I really believe that’s true.

More recently, Sally, with the help of her sister has released her latest book Super Green Smoothies. Within, Sally shares her healthy and nutritious green smoothie recipes that are packed full of goodness to help you lose weight, feel energised and live a healthier and happier lifestyle.

April 29, 2015

Inspirational Women: Diana Williams

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: Michelle Bridges

Name and role:

Diana Williams, founder of Fernwood Fitness.

Tell us about your role? What is it? What do you do on a day-to-day basis?

Most of my day-to-day role involves ensuring that the company is headed in the right direction and following our vision to be the number one preference for women wanting to improve their health and fitness.  Most of my day is spent in meetings with key team members who treat their roles with a professional ownership mentality.

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

It was never a conscious decision of mine, but rather morphed into it as the business grew and became a national brand.

Where do you find your inspiration?

I am easily inspired by the fabulous stories from the many Fernwood members who achieve such fantastic results and want to share their story with me.  It’s very rewarding to be involved in a business that has the power to change lives.

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

My mentor was the fear of failure.  Nothing makes you try harder than the knowledge that if you don’t you will fail.  Once I started the business and made myself accountable for what I wanted to achieve, then it was really only up to me and no one else, whether I was successful or not.

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

The biggest stumbling block was the limited cash flow needed to fund the business in the early days.  Rapid growth was vital for our success but that brought with it the hazard of growing too quickly to manage the cash flow.  There were some very anxious moments back then.

How did you overcome these?

I’ve always lived by the philosophy that 98% of things we worry about don’t ever happen.  If you worry about something and you can’t do anything about it then it’s a total waste of energy.  I would rather put my energy into finding solutions to problems rather than dwell on them.

What are your goals for the future?

The future is exciting for Fernwood, we’ve been in business for 25 years and are probably just as innovative and still an industry leader now, as we were when we first started back in 1989.  Being innovative and embracing the fantastic advantages that technology brings us is very exciting for business today.

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

Make sure you do it for the right reasons.  It’s not for gaining recognition, money or power, it’s because you really believe in what you are doing and the product you are selling.  Have courage in your conviction and the self-belief that you can achieve whatever you want if you put in the hard yards and don’t compromise your values along the way.

April 27, 2015

Inspirational Women: Shelley Barrett

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. But these women will contribute their own knowledge, expertise and life lessons in order to truly inspire others.

RELATED: Inspirational Women: Kath Purkis

Name and role: 

Shelley Barrett, CEO and founder of ModelCo Cosmetics

Tell us about your role? What is it? What do you do on a day-to-day basis?

I am the CEO and Founder of ModelCo. I’m still actively involved in all facets of the business so what I do depends on what day it is. One day might involve me working alongside the Research and Development team on new beauty innovations, planning an event with my PR department, designing packaging with Graphics, or working together with the Retail and Distribution team.

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

I have always had a strong desire to create my own business and loved that drive to see a project through from start to finish, no matter how big or small. After owning and running my own modelling agency for 10 years, I saw a niche in the market for innovative, quick-fix and multi-purpose beauty solutions and from here, ModelCo was born and the world’s first ever TAN Airbrush in a Can was launched.

Where do you find your inspiration?

I’m inspired everyday by the women I come into contact with whether it is my team at ModelCo HQ, friends, family and of course our customers. I am constantly thinking about our consumer and trying to understand what she wants and how to make her beauty regime easier. I am also fortunate enough incorporate travel into my work life and draw inspiration from the different cultures and beauty regimes across the world.

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

My mother has been my most supportive influence and who I would class as my mentor. When ModelCo initially began she worked with me running the accounts side of the business and today my mother Kerrie still works in our accounts department!

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

When I first started ModelCo there were only two products, LASHWAND Heated Eyelash Curler and then TAN Airbrush in a Can, I certainly didn’t realise at the time that I was starting my own beauty company. What started as a pet project turned into a global brand before I knew it and I had to be on top of and in control of all facets of the business.

How did you overcome these?

By trusting my own instinct!  When you’re brand is doing well, endless opportunities are available so it is important to manage growth carefully and execute each idea properly and confidently.

What are your goals for the future?

ModelCo is now 13 years old and has a successful range of cosmetics, self-tanning, suncare and recently launched natural skincare products. This year I am committed to expanding the range to other key global markets such as Asia and growing our current distribution in Europe and the USA. Whatever the future holds for ModelCo, the brand will stay true to its mantra of creating innovative beauty solutions for women on-the-go.

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

Understand the business that you are going into. Surround yourself with people who have more knowledge than you and who can guide you through the process. Work out the funds you need to start up and then double them!

April 22, 2015

Inspirational Women: Irene Falcone

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: Georga Holdich

Name and role:

Irene Falcone, founder of Nourished Life

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

I am the founder of natural beauty and lifestyle e-tailor, Nourished Life. Throughout the week, I spend a lot of time talking to customers and giving them personalised recommendations and advice, attending trade shows and events, launching campaigns, setting up retail displays, researching new products and breakthroughs in the market and sometimes play with some makeup.

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

I come from a mainstream beauty marketing background. Through that time, I was (and still am) a total makeup addict and for years overloaded my body with toxins from mainstream makeup and skincare, processed foods and long hours until it all finally caught up with me and I began feeling the physical side effects.

That’s what prompted me to start thinking about what I put in and on my body so I threw away every product in my home that I couldn’t understand the labels of and began researching natural toxin-free alternatives. That’s what prompted to start blogging about my research on what ingredients to avoid as well as the best, most effective natural alternatives to makeup and skincare, which soon evolved into the online shop of my dreams – Nourished Life – a place where everyone could buy affordable pure, safe, natural and organic products online and all in the one place.

Where do you find your inspiration?

I find inspiration from strong, creative and business savvy women like Lorna Jane, Estee Lauder and Jessica Alba.

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

No. I didn’t have a mentor, mainly because I was one of the first people to build a business like Nourished Life so it was hard to get the right advice or support I needed.

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

I have worked in the corporate world and beauty industry my whole life, I’ve had the right training and experience so the biggest struggles for me were actually getting my career off the ground whilst I was still working full time in the corporate world. Another big struggle for me was finding people with the right skill sets to match our unique requirement for this business.

How did you overcome these?

With persistence! I don’t stop until I’ve found what I need, whether that be my team, products, accountants, everything! It is so important for a new business to have a great foundation and support system.

What are your goals for the future?

To be able to provide Australian women and families with the best range of toxin free products at the best price.

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

That life is short, it’s so important to follow your passion and do what you love no matter how scary it may seem!

April 20, 2015

Inspirational Women: Kate Vale

To celebrate 12 months of SHESAID’s Inspirational Women series, this April we will be featuring some of our favourite from the past year. These women are leaders in their chosen field and have shared with us and our readers their expertise, knowledge and life lessons in order to truly inspire others.

RELATED: Inspirational Women: Aimee Buchanan

Name and role: 

Kate Vale, Managing Director of Spotify – Australia and New Zealand

Tell us about your role? What is it? What do you do on a day-today basis?

I manage a team of around 20 people in Sydney covering all aspects of the business from Sales, Label Relations, PR, Marketing and Business Development.  Every day is quite different – I can be going out on sales calls, speaking at events and conferences, managing our P&L and managing budgets, forecasting numbers, staying up late to get on conference calls, hiring amazing people, helping put together proposals, meeting labels and artists, attending gigs, etc.

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

I started my career thinking that I wanted to be in Human Resources, however after a couple of years in the job I realised it wasn’t for me.  My career took a turn when I started a role for TMP Worldwide who had just acquired monster.com.  This was my first taste of digital and was around 1997 when this ‘internet thing’ was just taking off. I knew this is where I wanted to focus my career and 17 years later it is where I remain. I’m very lucky in my current role at Spotify that I have been able to combine my passion for music and digital – it’s my perfect role!

Where do you find your inspiration?

I tend to draw inspiration from senior business leaders within the business I am currently working.  For example, at Google I was lucky to work with Sheryl Sandberg and Marissa Meyer – both very different leaders.  At Spotify, I take inspiration from leaders such as Daniel Ek and Jeff Levick.

Outside of work, I also draw inspiration from my family. My husband is one of the founders of digital start-up, ROKT, and they are doing game-changing things.  My mother has always inspired me. She worked hard to bring up my brother and I, balancing a career as a graphic designer with hours that allowed her to spend time with her children. I also love fitness. I draw inspiration from many individuals who have excelled in their fitness careers.

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

I have never had a specific mentor however I generally look to people I admire to inspire me to achieve my goals. I have been lucky in the companies I have worked for to have people on my side who have helped progress my career.

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

My first stumbling block was realising that HR wasn’t for me and trying to find a role that suited my skills and experience outside of HR. I was lucky that the role I found was looking for HR professionals to move into a sales-oriented role.  My next stumbling block (or so I thought at the time) was being made redundant from that role two years on.  This was literally the best thing for my career as I found a role at OzEmail (Australia’s 2nd largest ISP at that time) in the media sales department and there began my career in online advertising.

What are your goals for the future?

I have many goals both professional and personal.  I want to ensure I have a long and satisfying role at Spotify.  This is the most satisfying role I have had in my career and I am excited to grow with this extraordinary company.  I also want to ensure that my professional and personal career remains balanced.  I want to be able to spend as much time with my children as they grow. My family is the most important thing in my life. I love our annual family holidays – it’s what keeps me going!

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

I always tell people it is important to follow your passion.  If you can find a career involving your passion it makes work so much better.  There is nothing better than enjoying going to work! Also never give up. I have had to knock down doors to get where I am today. Always vocalise where you want to be. I would not be in this role if I had not have told Shakil Khan (an early investor in Spotify) that I thought Spotify was awesome and I would LOVE to work for them when they launched in Australia!

To indulge in some of Kate’s favourites, see here: Kate’s Pearlers

April 4, 2015

A Day In The Life Of… Michelle Lee

Ever wanted to step into somebody else’s shoes for the day and see what life is like as a magazine editor, a professional sportsperson or corporate high-flyer..? Well, SHESAID is giving you the closest thing to your very own Freaky Friday experience with our A Day In The Life Of… series.

Michelle Lee, Global Merchandising Manager for The Lucky Group

8am: First full day in Paris. Sitting in front of Galleries LaFayette. Starting the day with my double shot of espresso and a croissant, and yes, I’d like some butter with that.

9am: Heading towards Tranoi. Wondering who I’ll see there. Oh, there’s Mei from Steven Alan, and Rachel from Elizabeth and James. Time to do a kiss, kiss, drive by.

10:30am: Ran into Kerin from A-Morir. She just showed me a pair of crazy, embellished, BLING-y glasses she made for Gaga and Rihanna. Pretty rad, I like her hair. One for michi, please.

11am: Just confirmed with Steven Alan’s team the glasses we featured for April. Another nice credit to Luckyshops! GO Team!

11:30am: Still at Tranoi. Found an amazing new brand, Susan Susceptible – wovens with patchwork appliqué galore. I am susceptible and in LOVE – hopefully the LGs feel the same way.

Midday: Leaving Tranoi. Ready for coffee #2 with a double shot. Just ran into Jennifer Fisher at Americans in Paris, stalked her for an exclusive on the site, and the amazing collab she did with Baja East. Gave a big kiss to Ryan from Tome, told Chelsea to hit me up with Simon Miller when they are ready to open up distro. My ADHD is kicking in… I blame the beautiful clothes around me… I need that Edie Parker Clutch I just eyeballed in the corner over there. Give me, give me. Oh nice, they have fresh pressed juice here. Am I in LA right now?

2pm: Robin is poking my back to get to our next appointment. I need to stop talking. Sorry Ryan, next time. Leaving Americans in Paris, off to the Tuilleries.

2:30pm: Heat trap at the tent (Premiere Classe)  It’s like 90 degrees in here. I need some air… but need time to shop accessories. I must find some discovery points here.

3pm: Oh boy, Vittorio from Joshua Saunders is trying to convince me on glow-in-the-dark slides. Hmmm, I think I’m going for their furry multicolored sneakers instead. Lucky exclusive please. Woah, that just woke me up.

3:30pm: Minna Parrika, are these really rabbit sneakers!? Kristie Dash is going to be so obsessed, she just might just do the bunny hop for me. Can’t wait to tell her. Discovery, check check done.

4:30pm: Slowly fading. Going to Giuletta, can’t wait to see the shift dresses, but even more so to drink some espresso.

5pm: Espresso shots #3, 4 and 5. The clothes and coffee have resurrected me, a powerful combo. Looking at Eudon Choi’s colour pops. Need to get these amazing wide flared tuxedo trousers. Am I tall enough for these?

7:30pm: Just leaving the Giulietta team after 3 coffees, 3 biscotti, and 3 more brands closed, 3-3-3. Good things come in 3s.

8pm: Dialing the LA team. We are getting some Mansur Gavriel this week on the site. Just got note we have 1500 people on our waiting list for these bags, uh-oh. But a GOOD uh-oh.

9:30pm: Drinking a warm hot chocolate across the street. Why does this taste incredibly better here? Maybe it’s just Paris.

10:30pm: Tomorrow’s hitlist, MSGM, Carven, and NO 21. Not a bad way to start off the day.

11pm: Trying to convince my friends to go to David Bowie’s exhibition or the LVMH Foundation. Oh, and how could we forget Jeanne Lanvin’s exhibition is at the Palais Galliera this week! Note to self: Attend one and I”ll be happy.

Midnight:  Calling LA re: Mansur. Even our employees are going coo-coo over these.

12:30am: Wide awake with excitement, thinking about what I’ll see, who’s next and, most importantly, where I’ll eat my croissant. I hope tomorrow will hurry here.

April 1, 2015

Inspirational Women: Meredith Cranmer

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: Inspriational Women: Aimee Buchanan

Name and role:

Meredith Cranmer, Managing Partner of BEcause Brand Experience.

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

BEcause Brand Experience is an experiential marketing agency based in Sydney. We create engaging brand conversations and live experiences, designed to change behaviors and get people talking. I worked for the London office of BEcause for 5 years before moving to Sydney 3.5 years ago to do a joint venture start-up.

Typically, my day-to-day touches all areas of the business with a particular focus on business development, marketing and new business. I could be meeting with a client to discuss their brief and how experiential marketing could help them answer the challenge, leading a creative brainstorming with the team, developing our marketing plans and looking at future opportunities for the agency.

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

Looking back, I got the events bug quite early on in my career. Working at the MediaWorks in NZ as a broadcasting graduate, I conceived and staged an event up the Sky Tower in New Zealand. It was an outside broadcast, charity breakfast. They (Skycity) had never done anything like it before. I naively pitched the concept and delivered the event without realizing that it was a pretty big deal for a 20-something starting their career! I loved the adrenaline, practical creativity and ‘live’ aspect of the event. Seeing how an idea flies in the real world and how it instantly impacts peoples thoughts and behavior felt very powerful to me.

Where do you find your inspiration?

Everywhere! I love going to music festivals, exploring new places, camping and trying new things – be it a new restaurant that has opened, music or pawing through magazines. I do love a good bit of people watching/listening on public transport, too. I’m naturally curious – my friends would probably say nosey, so tend to like asking heaps of questions to solve creative problems.

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

I’ve had many different people help me in my career at different times. My parents, in particular my mum, always encouraged me to embrace opportunity and not be afraid to give things a go.

The turning point in my career was when I joined BEcause in London. Sharon Richey, the CEO and Founder of BEcause, employed me as an account director on one of the agencies biggest accounts. Her story and management approach has been incredibly inspiring to me. She actively develops the people around her, always playing to their strengths and never taking things too seriously. I remember being at an event with her one night and telling her that one day I’d like to have my own agency. In the years that followed, I did just that under her wing, starting BEcause in Sydney.

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

Moving countries and starting a fresh has definitely been a challenge. I left NZ to go travelling around Australia after gaining just one year’s work experience in broadcasting. After meeting my now husband in Australia, I moved to London with him. Despite buckets of enthusiasm, I didn’t find it easy to get a career-led job. Not knowing how the job market worked there, and with little contacts and local experience, I found it quite tough. I ended up temping for quite a long period of time for a local council on the IT help desk. Not exactly what dreams were made of. I did however learn that turning your computer off and on is a legitimate form of advice when things are going wrong!

When I left the UK and moved to Sydney to start BEcause, I did so again rather naively without any local market experience or contacts. The stakes were much higher with this move as I was venturing out on my own for the first time.

How did you overcome these?

I tried to meet as many people as possible who could help connect me in some way. Basically, I networked like crazy and always followed up on pieces of information or referrals. I’m not afraid to ask for help and always find it so humbling how people will go out of their way to lend you a hand when you need it most. So many people have helped me in both small and big ways. I try to remember to thank people and take the same approach when people ask me for my help. What goes around really does come around.

What are your goals for the future?

I would like to continue to grow BEcause, both locally in Australia but also expand into another market overseas. I love to travel and meet new people, combining this with work is the best of both worlds!

Globally, BEcause have launched a fundraising initiative for the marketing industry and its partners called ADD Positivity. It aims to make a positive impact on the lives of others by raising money for education-based charities. I’m hoping that our local team get behind the initiative and lay the local foundations for what is such an exciting, collaborative idea.

On a personal level, I’d like to tick off South America from the travel bucket list and one day go to the Burning Man festival.

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

Hustle. Work hard. Say yes to everything and get involved. Be open to gaining different experiences along the way. I believe life experience is just as important as on the job experience so get out there any try new things and take the opportunities that life presents you.

February 27, 2015

Inspirational Women: Lara Bingle

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: Michelle Bridges

Name and role:

Lara Bingle, founder and CEO of The Base.

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

I travel so much. I often say that I feel like I’m everywhere but nowhere. The Base for me is a 6am to midnight kind of commitment.

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

I was always so fascinated by beauty – hair stylists, makeup artists – I got to work with so many talented inspiring people on shoots that it felt like a natural progression to create something like The Base.

Where do you find your inspiration?

Everything! I never know who or what will inspire a great idea, so I try to be truly engaged in the world around me. 

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

Visionary, self-made women with inspirational careers (like Natalie Massenet, Victoria Beckham and Oprah). 

What are your goals for the future?

Family.

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

My advice would be – start now!

February 20, 2015

Inspirational Women: Haya Maraka

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: Sharon Williams

Name and role:

Haya Maraka, I wish I had one answer to that! Writer, stylist, consultant anything creative.

What do you do on a day to day basis?

No two days are the same for me! Sometimes I spend the day writing, others I am with a client shopping, and some days I am casting models! One thing I do do consistently is walk my adorable puppy Cleopatrick every morning.

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

Clothes were my first love in life, ever since I was tiny I always remember how much I loved clothes and shopping. So being in the fashion industry was never a decision I had to make it was just what I always knew I was going to do.

Where do you find your inspiration?

Everywhere of course! To me inspiration doesn’t generally have to be something beautiful or a place! Sometimes I will be walking down the street and see a construction man with paint all over his jeans and I will go home and decide that I need to paint my jeans.

The good thing about inspiration is you never know when it’s coming, but when it does, only good things come out of it.

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

I don’t have a mentor per say, I do have a lot of people that I admire that are sadly no longer with us, that I have never even met.  Reading about them and what they did is almost like having a mentor! I am obsessed with Diana Vreeland. As far as advice I go to my mother, she is very supportive and gives the best advice always!

What are your goals for the future?

I have so many goals for the future that I could never just sit here and list them in this interview. One of my major goals would be to get my book published.

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

I would say let go of what you think you want, and let the universe guide you, and also always listen to your intuition.

February 13, 2015

Inspirational Women: Sharon Williams

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: Ford + Harris

Name and role:

Sharon Williams, CEO of Taurus Marketing

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

I am founder and CEO of Taurus, an integrated marketing agency based in Sydney that enjoys a niche of servicing tech and entrepreneur clients. So day-to-day, I swim and run at the beach most mornings, get in to the office and then attend sales meetings most of the day, checking in with my COO and the team as I go. I have a lot of fun getting out and about and love my job.

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

I guess the light bulb moment for me was when I was told there was no future for me when I got pregnant with my first child and I turned this doubt into a source of inspiration and realised that it was a great opportunity to take the bull by the horns and to start my own company.

Where do you find your inspiration?

I find I’m constantly surrounded by inspiration whether it is my three children, my in-laws, my sister Lisa who died of cancer, my wonderful team – and the beach!

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

Yes, I have an informal chairman who acts as a mentor and I have been fortunate to be a member of various networking and mentoring groups from local gatherings to AICD and The CEO Institute where I chaired a syndicate for 3 years. Being surrounded by business savvy and liked-minded individuals provides an excellent network of support and mentorship.

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

Juggling babies without family around, husband being away on business with small children, whether to hire that first hire, take on office, take on loans for growth – all things to weather but maybe not stumbling blocks.

How did you overcome these?

I guess with tenacity, focus, hard work, biting the bullet, you just have to back yourself and go out there and do it.

What are your goals for the future?

More beach! I love my job but I have other interests, for example, I am an Ambassador for children’s charity Good Beginnings and have just taken on the Australian representative role of Advance.org which is a global network of over 2 million Australians here and overseas. Always lots to do! I guess it’s all about finding the ying-yang balance between work and play.

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

Hire the best you can and let go of staff quickly if they are not right, find mentors around you to guide you who have done it before and get work balance right from the start.

January 16, 2015

Inspirational Women: Terri Vinson

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: Ford + Harris

Name and role:

Terri Vinson, Managing Director and formulator of Synergie Skin

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

My day to day schedule is diverse; most days I will be working in our lab on new formulations or conducting research on cutting-edge ingredients to determine how I can harness them in my cosmeceuticals range to impact the skin in a positive way. I am also committed to education and spend much of my time travelling, hosting lectures at medical conferences and education workshops with my clients. I am dedicated to furthering knowledge on the principles of formulating and skincare in our industry.

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

I have always been fascinated with both beauty and science. A career in formulating has enabled me to marry my two passions. When I opened my skin clinic over 10 years ago, I realized there was a huge gap in the market for skincare backed by clinical data and scientific results. Furthermore, formulations on the market were riddled with harmful additives. Harnessing my chemistry knowledge, I started researching active ingredients in clinical journals, and became driven to create Synergie Skin.

I decided to focus 100 per cent on formulating in 2007. Having a clean science philosophy and formulating without harmful additives is so important to me. This became even more important to me when I became a mother of two. Being a mum, I always say: “If I won’t put it on my face, or my children’s face, then I won’t put it on my customers’ face.”

Where do you find your inspiration?

I draw inspiration from the feedback of my customers, both medical and beauty therapists and end user consumers.

Many people believe the beauty industry can be superficial, however I believe that physical appearance has a direct impact on a person’s self-esteem. My expertise is making clean and effective skincare and makeup, so if I can help create a positive change to a person’s skin and empower them to feel great about themselves, then I know I have done my job. This really inspires me to grow and enhance the Synergie range.

Did you have a mentor? 

I have had two prominent mentors in my life, the first was my high school biology teacher who really went the extra mile to ensure all of her students were engaged in learning and had an enquiring mind. Sir Gustav Nossal, a renowned immunologist from my Monash University years, has also really inspired me to excel in my field of formulating science.

Who/what helped you to get your career off the ground?

The people who have helped me in my journey are too numerous to mention! I’ve always known I could rely my own instincts and abilities first and foremost, and my wonderful team are a huge part of Synergie’s success. I started from nothing and grew organically. I have no regrets with anybody I have met or any experiences I have had in this industry, as they have all driven me to where I am today.  

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

Being a small company in a large pool of corporates, I have found it challenging to educate consumers that smaller, specialised boutique brands can offer superior results to department store brands in producing long-term, positive changes to the skin. Through my education forums around the world, it has been a challenge having to dispel some common myths surrounding skincare and to cut through the marketing hype. So many skincare companies make false claims when it comes to the results from active ingredients, and I make it a top priority to encourage people to do their own research and endorse skincare that is backed by clinical data and scientific results.

How did you overcome these?

Every product I create contains active ingredients that are backed by scientific, clinical data and all are certified cruelty free. My team and I always make an effort to educate in clinics (both in store and online) to demystify the skincare industry and expose the truth of good skincare.

What are your goals for the future?

I hope to give new markets the opportunity to have Synergie Skin. We are currently expanding distribution throughout the US, UK, NZ and parts of Asia. I am also proud we have come so far, given that we are 100% Australian made and owned, and our formulating and manufacturing is done all under the one roof at our Melbourne headquarters. I look forward to growing our global presence even further and taking on the new markets.

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

  1. Be really passionate about what you do and you will look forward to every day and its challenges and possibilities.
  2. Always seek to expand your knowledge and never be satisfied with what you know today.
  3. Persist with your dreams, have a clear vision and see it through to fruition.
  4. Don’t be afraid to work hard. People who work hard and are good at what they do always get noticed.
December 12, 2014
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