I’m a business owner who loves helping other businesses. I started Inspiring Women with a dear friend, Chris Andrews in 2005, it is a business women’s networking group, the original one on the Northern Beaches based in Sydney, Australia. Inspiring Women offers a business connection community specifically designed for women.
Unique from other networking groups, Inspiring Women proactively works to create business between members. We help women like you develop both personal and business relationships, in which you can learn and advance.
I worked for a local Chamber of Commerce, of which I was president many years ago. I was a director on the board of Northern Beaches Business Enterprise Centre (which was closed down through the wisdom of State government). I am still involved with BEC’s in different ways as well as am on boards for not-for-profit groups in the area.
My training was primarily through the school of hard knocks, though I have met some sensational business people when I started my business who wanted to help me….
Describe yourself in 3 words: Focused, Passionate, Sensible.
What is your life motto? Focus on the future; don’t dwell too much on the past.
When did you start pursuing your career and how long did it take to become successful? Inspiring Woman wasn’t something I pursued, it pursued me. Many years ago I was working in a business enterprise centre, one that helped businesses during that time I got calls from woman if there were groups fir networking – there weren’t. I got sick and had to stop everything and eventually I recuperated and I decided I’d start running Inspiring Woman as a hobby part-time. That was back in 2005 and it was pretty much successful from the day it started, it supported the community and husbands encouraged their wives to come.
How many hours did you dedicate to pursuing your dream? Lucky I described myself as focused. I can put as little as 10hours a week or 60. I’m very good at compartmentalizing when deadlines are due and staying focused when projects are on.
Describe how difficult the business is? I don’t find the business difficult, but like anything when you make it look easy, it’s actually not…so maybe it’s more difficult than I think. Each year the challenges change. At the moment there are a lot of networking groups around, so my focus is to ensure we’re not just ‘another networking group’.
What is the mistake that taught you an extremely valuable lesson? I’m a believer in treating people how you wan to be treated. I have a trusting nature. I think the issue with that has been that sometimes I have trouble saying no.
What is the best piece of advice you have been given to date? Remember to teach things in many different ways and don’t move on until the person understands it.
A long time ago, while working as the first female planner in the Gas industry a senior employee reminded me that I was once brand new, when I was wondering why this person could do this particular task. As you become more experienced you don’t even think about how you had to think things through when you were beginning. You might say something that could totally deflate someone…it’s easy to think that the person is stupid, but maybe you’re not explaining it right.
In your mind do you think that formal training is essential? Depends on what education you mean. I mean I have no degrees; my tertiary education was in graphic design, which has nothing to do with what I’m doing now. However, when starting a business I took myself off to community colleges to learn business planning and financials – and was an avid reader, but not everyone’s like that. So yes, for some things I think you need training and not just wing it as some tend to do.
Do you think having a mentor is important? How would you go about getting one for this industry? Yes, considering I run mentoring programs, yes, mentors very important – if you want one. I’ve watched some fascinating changes in people that have found the right mentor. It’s great to have that different style of thinking. A good mentor will question you and question your boundaries.
What are some steps emerging talent can take to start/further their career? I think when you are really good at something it normally stands out. If you are in a career you enjoy, your peers should notice and hopefully management will notice your talent and it should be nurtured. Listen to that (if you agree) and nurture it. Go out and get some further training or find someone who is successful in that industry and find out how they got there. Be curious, that’s important.
What kept you going when you felt like giving up? There have been times when I thought, what the hell am I doing? Every time I have thought that I have got a sign that has just been extraordinary; it confirmed to me without doubt to keep going.
Recently there was a lot of health issues in my family, which I thought might’ve meant less time doing what I loved and doing more time caring. I found myself thinking maybe it’s time to let go, and that night I got two of the most amazing testimonials, one saying that if it hadn’t been for what you do, my business would never have been where it is now – that feeds me and fires me on every time.
Do you believe that ‘making it’ is about luck and being in the right place at the right time? I think you make your own luck. There’s that old saying that goes, “the harder I work the luckier I get”. Maybe for 0.05% it has been luck involved, but I haven’t met anyone like that. I think for the most part it’s because they’ve put themselves in the right places and worked hard.
Sometimes you don’t know what you are looking for and if you happen to be lucky and hear a conversation or sit next to somebody…I’ve seen that happen so many times that I know that’s not just luck.
Also…When you’re feeling you’re lowest that’s when you need to get out…in so many of my networking events I’ve heard woman say, “I wasn’t going to come out tonight” and that night they met someone, they sat next to somebody who could help them.
For some upcoming Inspiring Women’s Networking Events.