Debbie Carr – Managing Director of Voxy Lady Speakers Bureau

Deb Carr is Managing Director of Vox Recruitment, Voxy Lady Women’s Speaker Bureau and Principal of Coyote Management International Speakers Bureau, Debbie serves on the Membership Committee of AMCHAM (American Chamber of Commerce in Australia). She had been a founding Board member of two charities.

In February 2011 she was appointed to the Board and currently serving as Deputy Chair of CAN (Consumers Activity Network) Mental Health, to help raise awareness of this cause. Debbie’s experience in mental health has been in supporting her brother with depression and dealing with his suicide.

Debbie’s company, Voxy Lady was nominated for a Stevie Award in the category “Women Helping Women” in 2011.

She is available for speaking engagements and personal mentoring for individuals who wish to start up a small business, become a speaker or coach. 

Describe yourself in 3 words: Courageous, Fun and Determined.

What is your life motto? You only have one life, go live it!

When did you start pursuing your career and how long did it take to become successful? In 2004 I started my first speaker bureau without any capital, marketing, sales, or business planning experience at all.  In fact, I was working as an office manager for the Federal Government.  It’s been hard journey and along the way I have many times I questioned my sanity. Lucky, I have been mentored by the best, however most of my skills I have taught myself.  In 2007 I fell into recruitment and spent 5 years in the industry then moved on to form my own boutique agency as well as working in the speaking industry.  I saw a gap in the market in 2009, for a women speakers bureau when I realised most of the speakers on my bureau were males; so started to build a women’s speaker bureau. We rebranded the women’s bureau in 2010 to Voxy Lady and in a short time of about 8 months I’ve managed to build a recognised brand.  Not bad for a kid who left school at 16 without school certificate!

How much time and effort did you dedicate to pursuing your dream? I live and breathe my dream and have done from inception. I am constantly looking at ways to be innovative and grow the business.  I am so passionate about my business that it doesn’t seem like work for me. Don’t get me wrong – it’s stressful and sometimes I wish I had another me to help!

What are the challenges in your line of work? I think being able to compete with the long established bureaus, however at time of writing, we are the first and only women’s professional speaker bureau in Australia and my intention is to take our business to New York as well!

What is the mistake that taught you an extremely valuable lesson? Bad hiring decisions – you would think a recruiter could get that right! 

What is the best piece of advice you have been given to date? You are your best salesperson in the business. 

In your mind, is formal training essential?  No, work to your strengths. My strengths are networking, marketing and building a brand.  In fact only today one of my speakers said to me in regards to a project I’m working on, “This is an ATM for you Debbie because you are so good at connecting people,”- however don’t ask me to do the accounting or administrative parts in the business because I don’t have the training and it doesn’t inspire me at all.  Bring in the people who can do that for you. 

Do you think having a mentor is important? How would you go about getting one for this industry? Yes! I have had so many mentors by the books I’ve read, the speakers I represent and business people. These days I am a mentor to others and it thrills me when people seek my advice and use it! I’m in the mentoring industry, so finding a mentor is easy, we represent many mentors at Voxy Lady and my other bureau Coyote Keynotes. 

What are some steps those starting out can take to start/further their career? The first steps in running your own business, in my opinion, is to be absolutely passionate about what you are embarking on. Do your research to ascertain if there is a need for the service you offer and know exactly where you want to go in your mind. I would also suggest that you have the courage and tenacity to keep going when times are tough.

I have successfully built my own personal brand as well as Voxy Lady by blogging, networking, writing articles and by being seen.  Many of my articles are on www.debbie-carr.com which is my own personal website, not our business website. 

What kept you going when you weren’t at your best?  Self belief. I have unshakeable self belief in what I’m doing. 

Do you believe that ‘making it’ is about luck and being in the right place at the right time? I think it’s about believing and seeing in your mind that you will get there. Once you have a mindset that is positive, read your affirmations, visualise what you want to achieve, network in the right places and don’t entertain negative thoughts you will create your own luck.

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