Tag Archive: Inspirational Women

  1. So ashamed


    Somaly and Em


    I’ve just returned from a screening of Half The Sky, a documentary about the oppression, and subsequent empowerment of women and girls around the globe. It was produced off the back of a book of the same name by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn. I read this book years ago and it deeply impacted me. Many of the actions and projects I’ve birthed since then were inspired by that book, and a want – no, a deep need – in me to do more than what we’re all doing here, now.

    The emotions the documentary stirred in me and my team (we all went to see the film together) are very raw this week, because it features Somaly Mam, (left) an extraordinary woman who was our guest speaker at Business Chicks in Sydney just last Friday. Somaly was trafficked into sex slavery in Cambodia at the age of 11 or 12 (she doesn’t know how old she was exactly because she’s never known her birth date or her real family). Somaly is a living, breathing example of a courageous woman who has had every wrong card dealt to her, but she’s overcome this with incredible kindness, love and forgiveness.

    Somaly has devoted her life to rescuing young girls from brothels, and providing them with shelter at one of her centres. She’s gifted them with education, healthcare, and above all, love. She trains these young survivors to become a voice and they travel around educating men on safe sex and encouraging them not to frequent brothels. It’s an incredible result from a tragic situation – these girls are the faces of the world’s second largest crime and multi-billion dollar industry – human trafficking.

    As I sat watching this documentary, I was overwhelmed with sadness – particularly the part where they showed a little three year old girl who’d been raped and subsequently sold by her mother to a brothel (I have two daughters – one is three and the other is 16 months) but the emotion I was more overwhelmed with was shame. Shame at the thoughts and questions that fill my head each day by choosing to live the life we all do here, now – I’m ashamed that I worry about which private school my girls will go to; I’m embarrassed by the food my daughters leave on their plate each night or worse, throw on the floor; I’m angry at the conversations my husband and I have about which overseas holiday we’ll enjoy next. All these thoughts and questions seem so trivial and small.

    I’m trying to do my bit to wake people up here in Australia, in the same way I’m trying to wake myself up. At Business Chicks we tell the stories of women doing brave, amazing things in our magazine Latte and on our website every day; we find speakers with heroic stories to tell and big lessons to teach and we put them on our stage at our events; and my team and I try and be role models to others through our actions and beliefs. But, as I was last night, I’m often left feeling a sense of emptiness – that we all could be doing much, much more.

    This Friday I head to Uganda with a bunch of Business Chicks members to see the on the ground impact on women and girls that The Hunger Project is able to achieve. Business Chicks has now collectively raised more than $355,000 for The Hunger Project, and last week at our event we raised more than $11,000 for Somaly’s foundation.

    I’m proud of that, but I’m not done. I hope never to be entirely done.

  2. A case of the "I can’ts"




    We had such a fab morning on Friday in Brisbane at the Business Chicks brekky. Professor Fiona Wood was the speaker, and as always, she was exceptional. And… I was feeling great as it was the first night I’d spent away from my baby (now 13 weeks) and I got six straight hours of sleep – bliss! (more…)

  3. Yeah, but HOW do you do it??




    I interviewed Catherine Harris, Chairwoman of Harris Farm Markets last week. We’ll be running that interview in the next edition of the Business Chicks mag, Latte (which incidentally is shaping up to be a bumper issue. If you’re not yet a Business Chicks member become one here so you can receive an annual subscription.) (more…)

  4. Play a bigger game


    One thing I suck at is self-promotion. I watch a lot of people around me propel their businesses forward through being vocal about their achievements, but it’s something I know I have to get better at. (more…)

  5. Learning from the best

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    I really believe I have the best job in the world. I get to work with the most intelligent, enthusiastic and committed bunch of women; travel the country meeting interesting individuals; make a real difference in people’s lives; and work with some incredible brands (and the people behind them) along the way.

    But by far, the best perk of my job is learning from amazing people.

    A few years ago, when I first bought the Business Chicks business, Amber (who’s been with me for over four years now) and I sat in the audience listening to one of our amazing speakers. We both looked at each other and had the same thought at the same time. We said “Jeez, how lucky are we to get access to these people and to learn from them?”

    Yesterday was our Business Chicks Lunch and Learn event in Melbourne. The event sold out in under two weeks and there were about 550 people in attendance. We gave away a stay at the new Crown Metropol; a high tea package; a Mimco bag; beautiful roses and loads more. The room was electric with the usual Business Chicks buzz.

    Janine Naomi Kristina and Natalie

    Janine Allis, Naomi Simson, Kristina Karlsson and Natalie Bloom

    Channel Ten’s Natarsha Belling emcee’d the event and our speakers were Naomi Simson from RedBalloon; Janine Allis from Boost Juice and Kristina Karlsson from kikki.K. Such a stellar line up of entrepreneurial talent. When Janine was unexpectedly running late, I called on Natalie Bloom from Bloom Cosmetics who just happened to be in the audience. After a tiny bit of coaxing, she joined the panel and her insights and experience were fantastic.

    All four women share the same challenges. Janine talked about how in the early days she struggled to be present with her kids and she’d work every night until 2am (earning her the nickname ‘laptop dancer’ from her husband).

    Naomi talked about her most challenging time – the day she fired herself from the business and stepped back from it, letting others run the show. She talked about the need for tax reform in this country and how important values are to a business.

    Kristina advised us to have many mentors because just like friends, you get different things from different mentors. She also spoke of her cash flow troubles when she was first starting out, and how the banks wouldn’t take a risk with her. She even had to sell her partner’s house to get kikki-K off the ground. I loved hearing her talk about how every business should have a big clear vision; and also loved her advice: “don’t say no, say how”.

    Natalie talked about how she was forced to get more creative through the GFC and how she only hires passionate people for her business, saying the rest would take care of itself.

    All four women have shown tremendous guts, resilience, hard work and determination and it was a privilege to be witness to their success. We’re fortunate to have such brilliant role models to learn from, so thank you ladies for inspiring us all.