I’ve been told to dumb myself down and even dress dowdy so as not to scare guys off.
Stress is primarily what takes over when you don’t have effective time management skills. It’s highly valued and millions of people find this skill is thoroughly tested toward the end of the year. For example, at work everyone wants everything yesterday, social engagements are ample, interactions with others increase substantially and if you’re lucky enough to have an upcoming holiday planned, add that variable as well!
If you have kids, triple that load. They have their own social calendar and end-of-year events, plus the long summer holidays are at your doorstep. Without effective time management skills, you are at risk of making yourself physically and emotionally sick, plus you won’t have the capability or capacity to accomplish anything.
Luckily, that doesn’t have to happen and it all boils down to perfecting this essential life skill. You can use it all year round and the beauty is, the more successful, busy and responsible your life becomes the better it works!
So, what’s the secret? How do successful people manage to consistently meet deadlines, have high-pressure jobs and breeze through periods which would have most peoples brains in a tangle and stomachs in a knot! Lists. Lame right… But very effective!
As lame as you may think the proposal of lists are, just think what life would be like for CEOs, executives and professionals without organising appointments, having a vision and being able to break things down to achieve their objective. They brainstorm detailed ways in which to work toward some of the incredible things they envisage and are able to keep stress at bay whilst achieving it.
Why then should avoiding stress and getting the most out of each day look any different for you? Here’s a tip, it doesn’t! You might have career aspirations, run a home and family, have a job and a thriving social life and be in the midst of organizing events for the family. With this effective tried and tested skill, you can do it all without overwhelming, self-destructing stress rearing its ugly head!
Now, successful people have more than one list. They generally have a life plan of things they hope to achieve. Can you imagine Richard Branson’s list! Take over the financial sector, initiate a global warming solution – there’s nothing some people can’t achieve. This is the primary list. It includes aspirations, goals and always includes a deadline. It might have 100 things on it or 1000. You can add and remove items at will and make adjustments.
When you visually see what you want done, it can be overwhelming. Imagine if you had all that stuff on your mind each day, without a plan of attack. In effect, that’s what millions of people have going on at the finalé of each year. Talk about a road rage recipe and mental breakdown!
This is where list two, three, four or more, come into play. Breaking the primary list down into small achievable parts, based on priority is the key to achieving anything. Successful businesses have a plan and develop several others which provide guidelines for achieving it.
Breaking items down into yearly, monthly or daily tasks enables several things:
- Work out priorities of a goal
- How much of the load to take on yourself
- How much of the load to allocate to others
- Avoid overload
- Avoid stress and stress related illness.
The ultimate goal is to achieve and remain healthy. Highly ambitious people can often burnout, take on too much and succumb to stress-related illness.
The ultimate thing to remember about time management lists is this:
They are reminders of your primary focus and based on priority.
That folks is the essence of success!
Image via Virgin.com
Carolyn Hartz has an incredible story. At the age of 55, she founded SweetLife despite a not-so-sweet start in life, being raised in an alcoholic home, with no business experience, computer skills or any idea she was going to be so successful.
Her company is now in its 12th year and the most recognised distributor and manufacturer of xylitol-based products in Australia. Seeing a hole in the sugar-free market in Australia, Carolyn confesses she really did need to start from scratch.
I’ve been very fortunate to interview Carolyn for our SHESAID audience. Her answers reveal her personality, passions, secret of her success and her wit! So please grab a cuppa and enjoy reading about Carolyn’s journey, take in her advice and marvel at her wisdom. Thank you Carolyn, you certainly are a living, breathing inspiration.
What are your 5 most prominent personality traits?
My five most prominent personality traits are passion, confidence, optimism, compassion and drive. I have always been driven, which I think comes from growing up in an alcoholic household where there was barely enough money for food and clothes or to pay the bills.
I knew from an early age that I had to work hard to escape this environment and make something of myself. This was also the source of my compassionate nature, seeing first hand the vice-like grip a disease like addiction can have on people, and how they are sometimes powerless to help themselves.
What sort of employment background do you have?
Worked for an accountant for three years straight out of school, an airline stewardess for three years, and modelling – I was Australian Model of the Year 1974. Then when I was 30, I decided to be a stay-at-home mum to raise my children, but I studied part-time for three years and got my finance brokers licence.
I also completed a real estate course. I did not practice either, but a lot of the subjects I took were useful when I started my company at the age of 55, when the youngest of my children went off to university.
When did you consider becoming a business owner?
The seeds were first sown when I accompanied my husband to a conference in New York in 2000. I got talking to a woman who told me she had just bought into a company that sells xylitol, the natural sugar free alternative. I had given up sugar because I was diagnosed as pre-diabetic, but I was missing my sweet treats. She gave me some to try and I was blown away, because here was something that looks like sugar and tastes like sugar but has none of the harmful effects.
She then asked me right there on the spot if I would like to bring the product into Australia. The idea of owning and running a business had never been on my radar before. I replied that I didn’t think I would be able to do it, because frankly, I had no previous business experience. She was having none of it and said something that I will never forget: “Of course you can, you can do anything.” And that was the start of my journey.
What sort of support did you have?
Well, first of all there was my family who just told me to go for it, so that was fantastic. From the New York-based company I received both moral and logistical support. I knew nothing about imports, exports, distributors, labelling, packaging, or indeed anything about running the business.
Fortunately, they were so encouraging and patient. In the beginning, they even helped me to bring xylitol into the country from China, which is where it was being produced at the time.
Did you have a mentor? If yes, who were they and how did they help?
No. I taught myself with my husband’s assistance. Took a computer and business course while I was working full-time. Learnt on the job and from my own mistakes. I now have a business mentor who has helped me tremendously, especially in learning to focus and keeping me out of rabbit holes – my biggest downfall.
Can you tell us what steps you took to start and grow your business?
Because of my own health issues, I researched and learnt how to manage them without drugs. Everything was built on these principles and my business developed accordingly. Much of my learning is from my own experiences and talking to hundreds of my customers. Started small and grew with the business learning on the way. I did a lot of research into my products and the health industry.
Bear in mind that the only people who had heard of xylitol were dentists, so I was really taking a leap into the unknown. The public knew nothing about the product and neither did naturopaths, doctors and dieticians. So I had to beat the drum for it.
I went to dozens of expos to introduce xylitol and spoke to thousands of people. I also took out an ad in a small magazine that featured health articles. The response was phenomenal and we sold out pretty much straight way. This convinced me that I had a viable business option which could succeed.
I learnt importing, packaging, marketing, bookkeeping, etc and all the tools I needed to run my business ‘on the job’, but I also did a business course about three years after I started as the business grew very fast and became much larger than I ever anticipated. I had only thought I would work 3 days a week not 7 days a week!
You’ve mentioned you had no computer experience and you did a computer course. What sort did you do and what did it teach you?
I took a week-long course for absolute beginners, because the only thing I knew was how to turn the computer on, and only then if the button was in a prominent position! The course taught me so much, including how to use a word processor, how to navigate a desktop, how to create and save documents, how to work with files and how to start and shut down a computer. And I have my very patient husband to thank for showing me how to send and respond to an email. I truly learnt the hard way by my mistakes.
You also did an online business course. What sort?
For three years I studied EMyth, an American course which I loved as all our assignments were based around our own business. It was part-time and done by phone and online. It was a thorough grounding in just about everything to do with owning a business, such as writing a business plan, marketing, taxes, communication tools, business organisation, cash flow and running a successful online venture. It was very real and helped me see where one could improve every aspect of your own business, not just text book learning.
Would you recommend a business course to others wanting to become their own boss?
Oh, absolutely. Before starting SweetLife, I wasn’t aware of just how many different skills business owners need to run a successful operation. You need to be able to do so many things and handle such tasks as negotiations, business management and market analysis. Passion and determination will only get you so far, and that isn’t far enough. A formal training also prepares you for many of the eventualities that may crop up.
Furthermore, as your business grows and develops, the range and complexities of your skills will also need to grow, and whether through formal business training or a mentor, you need the proper tools to tackle fresh challenges and search for new opportunities. You are the only person who has a deep emotional connection to your business and you owe it to yourself to be fully prepared.
What tips could you offer others who want to begin their own business who are getting older?
First of all, do it. Don’t even entertain the thought that you are too old to start anything new, let alone something as bold as a brand new business venture. You are not too old.
I would also say, start your business to solve a problem. Be the solution that consumers are looking for. And solve a problem that you are passionate about. For example, I am passionate about providing Australians with a healthy, natural, sugar-free alternative.
Starting and running a business is hard work, requiring perseverance and commitment; and while passion on its own won’t make your business a success, it will keep you energised and focused. Be prepared to work hard, keep learning, ask people for assistance when you don’t know something, make mistakes, fall down and keep getting up.
My final tip is to ignore the naysayers, and there will be plenty of them, especially if you are someone who has to blow out lots of candles on your birthday cake. The only way you will silence the cynics and doom merchants is by becoming a success.
Look, I started when I was 55 with a product nobody had heard of and you could list my previous business experience on the back of a very small stamp. As you can imagine, there were plenty of naysayers who all said there were too many cards stacked up against me. I listened to none of them. Once I set my mind on my business venture, I went for it 100 per cent. Failure is not a word I use.
What advice can you offer others who have experienced trauma /abuse/addiction to create a meaningful, successful life?
It is very difficult to give advice to anyone, as we are all so different and our experiences are different. The best advice I received was from people who had gone through similar circumstances and really understood how it feels; people who have come out the other end and accepted what had happened to them in the past and have propelled themselves forward using their past experiences to achieve their dreams.
I try to inspire others in this way as well. Encouraging them not to go back, not to dwell on the past, only work on the future. We can’t change the past, but we can have enormous effect on the future. Of course the old memories will resurface when life gets difficult, but to remember that the worst is over and the future is now up to us as an individual.
At this stage, we control our own destiny, we are no longer held back by the past. That time was possibly out of our control, but now we are in control of our own future and we can strive forward to be happy and successful in whatever we choose to do. Know that it will be difficult at times but that is OK. Don’t be hard on yourself.
The most awakening time in my life was my time at Holyoake (similar to Alcoholics Anonymous I think) when I was 37-years-old (30 years ago), where I participated for many months as a co-dependent, as I wasn’t an alcoholic. I not only learnt how to cope with other people’s alcoholism, but I learnt a lot about myself and my own issues that had developed as a result of being brought up in an alcoholic environment.
I learnt to understand why I behaved the way I did and I learnt to forgive myself and be proud of who I was. I learnt not to be ashamed of my past but to embrace it. In doing so I not only helped myself, but I could help those around me. I could actually inspire other people to follow their dreams and never be held back by a past they had no control over. Thirty years ago it was not as accepted as it is now to speak up so it was not easy. How lucky we are today that times have changed so much.
For thirty years I have said: I am what I am today because of my experiences ‘yesterday’. I like who I am today. My past has made me strong, compassionate, driven, understanding and very aware of those who have or are experiencing personal trauma. I know it can be difficult at times to move on, but remember: the ‘glass is always half full’, it’s what we do now that counts.
The past can’t be undone, but the future is in our hands. It is clean and bright, we just have to embrace it. There is no such thing as failure – failure is just a stepping stone to success. One can have a successful meaningful life. Sometimes, I think I am even better off because of my past as it has made me aware of what I DON’T want in my life.
I only focus on what I do want in my life and I know that it can only happen if I make it happen. Very importantly I have made sure that my own family have the very best start to life that I can give them.
Click here to find out more about SweetLife Australia.
Get fired at least once, make quick decisions and get up early are some of the wise words from Vogue editorial director Anna Wintour in a new book titled Winners And How They Succeed by Alistair Campbell.
The uber-successful editor has become renowned worldwide with her trademark bob, dark sunglasses and commanding nature.
Her role was parodied by Meryl Streep in the film, The Devil Wears Prada, yet Wintour states that she is never that hard on her staff because “perfection doesn’t exist”.
Despite being one of the most famous women in fashion and publishing, Wintour says that her most surprising trick is pretending to be sure of herself, even if she isn’t.
“It makes it clearer for everyone else. Most people prevaricate. I decide fast.”
Wintour also admits in the book that she cannot shoot an editorial, write a story or make a dress but her strength lies in being organised and a good delegator.
“People work better when they have responsibility,” she says.
Two Brisbane tradies are helping to dispel gender-bias and industry stereotypes after launching both a successful renovation business and a women’s workwear clothing label.
Instead of being deterred by the very small number of fellow Australian women working in the construction industry, apprentice carpenter Juanita Mottram, 34, and builder/carpenter Laura Madden, 32, (pictured below) are building their own empire (erm, literally).
As part of the only one per cent of Australian women working in construction, the long-time friends take great pride in encouraging other women to take up trades. Starting their renovation company in 2010, Eve Renovations, Juanita and Laura capitalised on a gap in the market, launching a solely female workforce and providing a much-needed supportive hub for women wanting to learn a trade.
Now in its fifth year of business, Eve Renovations specialises in both domestic and commercial projects. “We want to show women that they can achieve anything, and provide a pathway for female apprentices to get a start in the construction industry,” Laura says.
“It’s something that we are passionate about; we receive so many requests from young girls wanting to do work experience with us, or asking us the best way to get into a trade, so it’s really important for us to open that dialogue and put trades on the radar for women choosing a career, or considering a change.”
Not content there, in 2012, Juanita and Laura were also inspired to launch their own line of women’s clothing, Eve Workwear, after being unable to find fashionable and functional work gear.
What started off as a hobby has now developed into a full-time design, manufacturing and distribution business, with the brand enjoying a 200 per cent growth in combined retail and online sales since July last year.
Now, the pair is hoping their new collection, No. 26, launching in February, will further revolutionise the workwear market by providing stylish and durable women’s clothing which increases wearers’ comfort and confidence.
“We were sick of not being able to buy work wear that fitted properly and looked good, so we made the decision to launch a label that is designed and tested by women for women and the feedback has been phenomenal,” Juanita says.
“Our new collection No. 26 has street edge, practically and versatility not available in industry clothing. It has been influenced by the raw toughness of vintage workwear, but still encompasses a feminine and fashionable look. You will find it in fashion, not tradie magazines!
“Through both our construction and workwear businesses we want to break the stereotypes and start a conversation that changes the face of the industry.”
Interestingly, the pair quashes the notion that lady tradies have to overcome huge obstacles and/or that sexism is rampant in the industry.
“We really can’t speak for all women out there, as any obstacles we have come across we have overcome,” Juanita says. “Obviously, one of the hardest things is to get a break with your apprenticeship, but that’s irrelevant of gender I think. It’s a lot of hard work! But the rewards far out way the sacrifices along the way.
“Over the past few years we have seen an increase of positive stories in the media about women in male-dominated industries. It is a long and persistent journey to a point where hopefully one day women aren’t even looked at twice when they turn up to site and throw on their tool belt – it’s just an everyday occurrence. For this to happen, women need to support each other’s journey and be positive role models for the next generation.”
While both tradies are heavily involved in the two businesses, Laura manages the renovations side and Juanita manages and designs the clothing. “Sometimes, it feels like we have multiple personalities!” Juanita says. “Laura obviously has input into every design and has to test every sample made out on site.
“We hear amazing stories of women working in diverse roles where they want the durability and safety of clothing, but also versatile, feminine and desirable workwear.
“We’ve heard from all the usual trades – electricians; painters; carpenters; plumbers; mining workers and landscapers – and other roles which require the same purpose-built clothing, such as make-up artists; artists; theatre producers; farmers; retail assistants; baristas and the list goes on.”
And, when asked about what the biggest societal misconception there is about female tradies, Juanita is typically both passionate and level-headed. “The biggest misconception is that you have to be a certain type of lady to do a trade,” she says.
“Take gender out of the equation – it takes a special type of someone to do many different types of jobs/roles. It [trades] just actually needs to be an option for girls when they are looking at careers while at school; something that isn’t presently done.”
Visit www.eveworkwear.com.au and www.everenovations.com.au.
Each week, SHESAID features an inspiring woman who has been kind enough to share her story with our readers. She might be a leader in her chosen field, someone still on their own path, striving to make a difference or simply someone with a remarkable story to tell. These women contribute their own knowledge, expertise and life lessons in order to truly inspire others.
Name and role:
Nicole Lamond Philp, director of Universal Village, a Fair Trade food company that imports and distributes Qi Tea and is also the owner and distributor of Rhino Coffee.
What do you do on a day-to-day basis?
I run all aspects of the business and outsource operations to a 3rd party logistics company. I have a national sales and merchandising company that does my sales nationwide. Mostly I’m focused on marketing, including promoting Qi Teas which are in Woolworths, IGAs and soon to be in Coles. Some of this is creative work, which I love the most – creating campaigns, writing copy etc.
How/when did you know this what you wanted to do as a career?
I’ve never really thought of it as a career, it’s more that I wanted to be involved in Fair Trade – I wanted to introduce Fair Trade into Australia and see it in the mainstream.
“Fairtrade is about better prices, decent working conditions, local sustainability, and fair terms of trade for farmers and workers in the developing world. By requiring companies to pay sustainable prices, Fairtrade addresses the injustices of conventional trade, which traditionally discriminates against the poorest, weakest producers. It enables them to improve their position and have more control over their lives.”
Where do you find your inspiration?
People who take a different path in life to the one they were born into – people who take up the challenge of what they are ‘called’ to do is really inspiring. Any work (whether art or in business) that is striving for what is good, true or beautiful is awesome.
Did you have a mentor? Who/what helped you to get your career off the ground?
Yes, I do have a business mentor, Dale Simpson of Bravo Consulting. He’s been fantastic. He keeps me looking at the big picture – what am I trying to achieve? Because the goal wasn’t about a $ profit figure or something so tangible. It’s easy for one’s dream to get buried in the day to day minutiae and Dale helped keep the dream alive, so to speak. And it’s so valuable to have someone in your corner on the days when you feel like chucking it all in!
What were the stumbling blocks, initially getting started on your career path, and since then?
The fact that I didn’t really know what I was doing when I started the business was a bit of a stumbling block! I’d also only ever worked in admin, I’d never been the person at the top actually making decisions. It took me a long time to get out of that mindset and grow in confidence.
How did you overcome these?
I went and did the first year of an MBA, then switched over to the Master of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, which was a great course.
What are your goals for the future?
To meet really inspiring people who are making the world a better place. To grow Qi Tea to be the most significant green tea brand in grocery in Australia and to see Fair Trade products in every household in Australia. To become more loving. To live in a house that feels like I’m living in a work of art. To spend some time living on a boat or in a shack near the edge of the world.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to follow the same path as you?
Choose something you’re passionate about and go for it! A general rule of thumb in the early days is everything costs double what you budget and will take twice as long as what you think, so always, ALWAYS crunch the numbers. Timing is the essence of life and each year brings its set of (hopefully) victories and challenges. Take time to reflect and appreciate and learn from them all. Never compromise your values or your dream to make the world a better place.
Are you despairing of ever smashing through that metaphorical glass ceiling and rising to the top of your chosen profession? SheSaid has persuaded real-life women who are scaling the heights of seven very different fields to share their stories – and what they credit with their success.
The Retail Afficionado: Jennifer Jones, 38 (above)
Former Diesel Clothing managing director and founder/CEO of homewares company Have you met Miss Jones, a lifestyle-publication favourite
Tell us your potted career history: I witnessed first-hand the passion and love my parents had for their homewares business in the Philippines and I made it my personal goal to start my own business by the time I was 30. So just shy of my birthday I resigned from Diesel Clothing. First I tried my hand at selling almost anything and then, on my Dad’s suggestion, I went back to the Philippines to source a homewares collection.
Have you had to make personal sacrifices? The most confronting aspect of moving from a corporate career to your own business is the sheer amount of work you need to do yourself. I didn’t want to take out loans or get investors so I started with my savings and a fierce determination to succeed. While you do make sacrifices, especially financial, you know every aspect of your business and how to do things, and you have more time to do the things you love as you’re calling the shots.
What do you credit with your career success? I was told that when you start your own business everything you’ve done in the past, no matter how insignificant, plays a part in your success. This couldn’t be more true and all the roles I’ve had in the past have given me instinctive knowledge about starting my own company. We now release two full ranges a year of over 300 items and supply over 800 stores across Australia. Find something you truly love doing, then make it your job!
The Banker: Melanie Evans, 36
Head of home ownership for Australia’s second-largest lender, Westpac Group
Tell us your potted career history: I started in banking at 17 years old while studying my undergraduate degree. Having held senior product, marketing and P&L roles in banking, super and investments, it’s fair say I’ve grown up in a male-dominated environment!
Have you had to make personal sacrifices? I believe that those who achieve career success – as defined only by them – tend to be highly successful in life beyond their career too. So I’m very conscious of leading a happy and healthy life. I’ve never thought of anything as a sacrifice. I make explicit decisions on a daily basis about how I spend my time and I own those decisions. I’ve had very good role models in that regard. I make time to go for a run in the morning or at lunchtime, I prioritise family commitments, I make sure I eat well. I don’t hide the fact that I am spending time on myself because I think I am better person for it.
What do you credit with your career success? Understanding your business and most importantly your customers; hard work and tenacity; building solid relationships based on trust and respect; challenging convention and encouraging others to challenge your own thinking; always learning by seeking out people and experiences that will give you new perspectives; caring about people and developing those around you; enjoying yourself and being happy.
The Engineer: Sally Glen, 40
Australian director at Independent Project Analysis (IPA), the industry leader in the quantitative analysis of project management systems
Tell us your potted career history: I don’t recall really choosing engineering but growing up in the outback and being good at maths seemed good perquisites… and I happily went off to remote Tom Price for my first job. I’ve had three out of four good bosses, only two employers and interesting work. From starting in construction and project management, my work now involves governance and project economics, plus evaluating over 200 projects in the last decade (flying and airports are overrated!). Lots of public speaking, including teaching project professionals, is not where I thought engineering would take me.
Have you had to make personal sacrifices? We decided early on to have one of us home and it was an economic decision that I work. I have worried about how much I’ve been away from the girls (now five and seven) during their very young years. I think that has probably been harder on me than them and maybe it is giving them good role modelling for what is possible. The single income has postponed some plans but it has been of enormous comfort to me from many overseas locations that the kids had a parent at home.
What do you credit with your career success? I manage everything in large part because of my husband’s role as stay-at-home parent. I have an aptitude for process improvement and the puzzle solving that goes with operations management, and I have a scenario planning mindset to seeing off problems. Being more senior is isolating and I have to work on those likability issues that tend to be felt more by women. I credit my children for teaching me to be “present” and I have a small, core group of family and friends who help with my sanity from time to time. I also run.
The Journalist: Kate Mills, 40
Former editor of BRW magazine and founder of www.professionalmums.net, a platform for flexible work opportunities for women in law, accounting, engineering and management consulting
Tell us your potted career history: Nearly a lawyer, but then accidentally fell into journalism and instantly loved it. Started in legal journalism but spread into becoming a general business commentator and spent the last three years as first female editor of BRW.
Have you had to make personal sacrifices? As editor my life came down to my family (husband and two girls) and work so I have been through periods where you just don’t see friends and you have to keep an eye on your physical and mental health so you don’t burn out. Any sacrifices have been worth it though – I love what I do.
What do you credit with your career success? Hard work and some luck. Early in my career I met an editor at a party who gave me my first big break – she overheard me making a group of lawyers laugh and thought I would be good value! I am like a lot of women who are the quiet hardworking ones that get things: we need to make more noise though about our achievements – that is one reason more men get ahead. My new motto: hear me roar!
The Lawyer: Anna Elliot, 38
Senior associate and leader of the Sydney labour and employment team at global top-20 law firm, Squire Sanders
Tell us your potted career history: I trained as a lawyer at Hammonds (now Squire Sanders) in the UK. After five years, I moved to Sydney with the intention of staying for six-12 months and returning to my role in London. After a brief career change honing some invaluable business development skills at KPMG, I met my husband and realised I was staying. So I re-qualified and continued my career in employment law in commercial firms here. Seven years later, I received a fantastic opportunity to re-join Squire Sanders to set up the labour and employment team in Sydney, when its newest Australian office opened in November 2012.
Have you had to make personal sacrifices? Yes. Although moving to Sydney was the right decision for my personal life, it set my career back about five years and I am still catching up with my former UK peers. I also took less time off for maternity leave, and had less time at home once I returned to work, than I would have liked. I absolutely love being a mother and I am also passionate about my career – I have been very fortunate to have a husband and employers who are supportive of both.
What do you credit with your career success? Being hard working, committed and driven. Also maintaining relationships and never burning my bridges, which was a key factor in being approached for my current role.
The Property Manager: Kate Brown, 36
Group director, sustainability for global property company Grosvenor, run for the Duke of Westminster
Tell us your potted career history: Completed a Masters degree in Art History and found my first job in property as a graduate asset manager in London, moving into development soon after. Once professionally qualified, I was posted to Sydney as a development manager, taking on the new (international – across our 19 offices) role of group director, sustainability five years ago.
Have you had to make personal sacrifices? The first three years of full-time working while undertaking a post-grad course – four nights a week, four hours a night just for the lectures and coursework on top – was very tough. I kissed goodbye to ANY social life! Now with a young family and an international role, the sacrifice is different: time away from home.
What do you credit with your career success? Never being afraid to ask the question; for a new challenge. People only know what you want if you tell them. So many people are dissatisfied… don’t die wondering! There was a need for my role but it didn’t exist. I asked the question and after some discussion it was created. Also being prepared to feel scarily out of my depth. Being a group director aged 30 was a little daunting – I made plenty of mistakes, but had to learn quickly.
The Television Careerist: Sarah Stinson, 33
Executive producer, Channel 7’s The Morning Show and Daily Edition
Tell us your potted career history: I started in the newsroom at Channel 9 in 1998. I was meant to do a week-long internship; I ended up staying for 8 months, simply by creating new jobs for myself. From there I went to the Today Show as production assistant and after two years, to my dream job at A Current Affair, starting as a researcher before moving up to senior producer. I then went to Today Tonight (Channel 7) as a producer and was promoted to chief of staff, where I really cut my teeth in management. This paved the way three years ago for my progression to executive producer of The Morning Show, and more recently the Daily Edition.
Have you had to make personal sacrifices? On the face of it, yes – I’ve been called back from holidays for every form of natural disaster. In my early 20s I spent more time in a dark edit suite than a dark nightclub (in retrospect, this may have been a good thing). I’ve spent pretty much every Sunday morning for the past 15 years chasing stories when I should be sleeping in. But this is a lifestyle, not a job, so I wouldn’t necessarily call them sacrifices, but rather a relatively small price to pay for long-term gain.
What do you credit with your career success? I have always been resourceful and incredibly determined. If someone tells me something can’t be done I see it as a challenge – an invitation to make it happen. I love recognising talent in other people and helping them to play to their strengths. More than most industries television is a team sport – it’s a constant relay. We all rely on each other to get the best product to air each day. And the two vital ingredients for any successful career: gusto and gumption.
Which women inspire you? We’d love to know your female role models and who you look up to!
Nicole is the founder of TheMoneyMentorWay.com and developer of the 12-Step Prosperity Plan, an achievable and even enjoyable blueprint to take Aussies from worry to wealthy. Nicole’s writing has earned her top personal finance awards in both the United Kingdom and Australia. Her career credits include founding and editing The Australian Financial Review’s Smart Investor magazine, and reporting and editing for the magazine arm of the UK’s Financial Times. Author, qualified financial adviser and Fairfax’s Money Matters columnist for the last decade, Nicole is a regular on television and radio. She talks money without the mumbo jumbo. Follow her on Twitter at @NicolePedMcK.
The women who appear on this page are selected by consensus of the SheSaid editorial staff and are duly invited to participate. If you wish to nominate an inspiring woman to appear in this ‘moving and shaking hall of fame’, please contact us.
Name Monique Dews
Occupation/Title Radio Newsreader/presenter
Company/Organisation DMG – Nova 96.9 (Sydney’s new FM station.
Star sign Aries.
Describe a typical day? When I get in around midday my first priority is to get a quick debriefing from the breakfast team on what is shaping up as the hot news, issues and showbiz goss of the day. I’ll then be looking for the hottest new angles relevant to my audience while touching base with the drive announcer Phil O’Neill to see what’s cooking in his show.
What’s the best part of the job? The constant challenge of presenting news and information that’s both relevant and entertaining. It’s news with twist, and when something big happens it’s an adrenalin rush like no other. I also get to work with a bunch of creative people who are constantly forcing me to bust my boundaries. I like that!
What’s the worst part of the job? The hourly deadlines mean you don’t have a lot of flexibility in your day. I finish work around 8 at night, so it’s a mad rush to be home for Ally Mc Beal and Dawson’s Creek?(it’s all important demographic research).
What was your first job & how much was in your first pay packet? When I was 13 I worked at Nambour Heights Corner store all day Saturdays for 15 dollars. I didn’t have any ‘work clothes’ and had to borrow my mother’s skirts.
What did you want to be when you grew up? After watching Brooke Shields in Blue Lagoon, I decided I wanted to be an actress.
What exactly is a mentor? According to The Macquarie Dictionary it is ‘a wise and trusted counsellor’. Way back when, Mentor was the friend of Odysseus and the guardian of his household while he tripped off to Troy to see Helen (you must remember the wooden horse story? Don’t worry, it doesn’t matter!)Back to more recent times. The Australian Businesswomen’s Network www.abn.org.au administers a five-month mentoring program for women who currently run their own business. Suzi Dafnis, (pictured) the ABN’s National General Manager, co-ordinates the program for the Sydney CBD area on behalf of the NSW Department of
State and Regional Development. The Department itself organises regional programs around the State. The program is a NSW Government initiative only. If you’re outside NSW contact your local Government to ascertain what’s available in your area.The NSW program, which has been running for four years, and was initially piloted in response to research showing many were women starting their own business, but not experiencing the same business growth as their male contemporaries. The program matches women who are just starting their own business with women who have been successfully operating their own business for four or more years.
The matching process is achieved through a needs analysis. As Suzi Dafnis explains: “The mentorees say ‘these are the areas that I’m really strong in and these are the ones that I’m really weak in’ and then we match them up with someone who has the skill set to match their short-term goals and the areas where they’re weak.” Age, background, personality and industry sector are not part of the equation when finding a match. It is regarded as a relationship that has to be around the outcomes that have been identified by the mentoree.Applicants for the mentoring program, both as mentors
and mentorees, do not need to be a member of the ABN and do not need to be from any particular industry or profession. To be eligible as a mentoree applicants must be in their first two years of business and must derive 80% of their income from their business. Dafnis stresses that the program is not for women who have a business ‘idea’, but is to help those already trading to develop and improve their business.”At the end of the five months some mentorees say ‘thank you very much and goodbye’, and some go on to keep in contact with their mentor for years afterwards,” says Dafnis. The commitment to the program, however, is for 20 hours one-on-one and to achieve set objectives during that time.
Successful women are actively encouraged to participate within the program as mentors. High calibre businesswomen, including recently Maree Lowe, winner of the Telstra NSW Businesswoman of the Year Award and Director of computing company AIS Solutions, are approached and are usually receptive to the idea because they value the networking opportunities it offers them, as well as to their potential mentoree.
Selena Mazuran, founder and owner of FBI Fashion College www.fbifashioncollege.com.au) participated as a mentor to freelance graphic artist Charl Parris. Both enjoyed the experience and felt that it was worthwhile and rewarding. Mazuran believes that after five years of running her own business, she is qualified to advise on the realities of establishing and running a small business.
Charl Parris describes the first meeting of mentor and mentoree as a little like a blind date: “You don’t actually know who you’re going to be matched up with. The process is a bit ‘oh my God, is this person going to be right for me?’ but Selena and I didn’t have any teething problems at all.”
Mazuran and Parris ‘went back to basics’ and looked at what Parris really wanted to achieve. Together they prioritised and structured Parris’ business so that she could operate in a balanced and systematic way.
“The most important thing I learnt is that you can’t do everything at once and that timing is everything,” says Parris. “I found it very supportive and even after the program Selena said she would continue to be my mentor for as long as I wanted. I do ring her up on occasions for advice and she’s always got time for me.”
Seven years ago Sue Ismiel (pictured) was working in a private hospital as a medical records officer, today she operates a company that manufactures a market-leading hair removal product, Nad’s www.nads.com.au)
Recently Ismiel’s business success was recognised when she was awarded the Ethnic Business Award for a business with a turnover of less than $5m. Remarkably, Ismiel began her company with no traditional business skills; she succeeded because of her personal belief and her self-confidence. A personal philosophy she aims to pass on to her mentoree, Katrina Hemingway.
“The major weakness in Katrina that I noticed was her lack of self-confidence. She had every other tool that a businesswoman could need, including education and knowledge,” recalls Ismiel.
“I hadn’t been in the workforce for eight years,” explains Hemingway. “I used to be a sales rep and marketing manager for IBM, but spent eight years rearing two children. The youngest has now gone to school and I felt I wanted to do something for myself. I wasn’t the tennis-luncheon set.”
Hemingway (pictured) now runs Gift Search www.giftsearch.com.au, a gift buying service for busy executives. She recognised the program as being well-rounded and good value for money. “For a thousand dollars, of which the Government pays $500, you receive 20 hours of mentoring time with a mentor carefully selected to meet your needs.
As a mentor, Ismiel has a wealth of practical knowledge and experience to share, but she has also gained from the experience herself. She has met inspiring and successful women and has given her own self-esteem a boost.
As Ismiel and Hemingway approach the end of their mentoring partnership, they believe that their relationship has turned from being one that was initially very instructional to one that is now very co-operative. “I feel enthusiastic about Sue’s business and often give my own suggestions, whether she likes them or not, but she listens and I feel like I’m giving something back to her as well,” concludes Hemingway.
During the five months that each program runs, mentorees and mentors participate in a number of training sessions and presentations on subjects relevant to running a small business, as well as spending time together in one-on-one sessions. In order to monitor the success of the program, and because the program is subsidised, the NSW Government has put in place formal evaluations. Participants complete a detailed questionnaire at the end of the first, third and final month of the program. At the end of the program there is a formal graduation at which all participants are presented with a certificate to acknowledge their involvement.
Lynnette Dorn, the Department of State and Regional Development’s Women in Business Manager is more than happy with the results the program has achieved. Most recently 59% of participating mentorees claimed an increase in their business turnover; 16% increased their staff level and 95% believed that they had increased their business confidence and skills.
For further information on the Small Business mentoring program, contact Suzi Dafnis at the Australian Businesswomen’s Network www.abn.org.au on (02) 9923 2899 or through firstname.lastname@example.org, Or Lynnette Dorn on (02) 9338 6704 or email email@example.com.