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Why Values Drive This Entrepreneur’s Business

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When Perth-based Megan Del Borrello left her role as Managing Director of a digital agency to launch Gloss Marketing Communications with her business partner, she was adamant to ensure that their company values were starkly different to the values entrenched in the corporates they’d worked for.


“The number one thing in agency life is profit – but this was something that we didn’t want to focus on. We really wanted to change the way businesses are working with agencies… and that was one of the reasons we focus on small business startups,” Megan says.

With their keen interest in educating small business and not-for-profits to help them understand the online space, Megan and her business partner Katrina Giura designed Gloss Marketing to have a core focus on fostering the growth of small businesses through strategy development, marketing management and educational workshops.

Megan says their biggest company values are honesty and communication: “We are really quite open in our business. Sometimes in our industry people aren’t as open and honest as they should be, so we lay everything on the table with our clients.”

Another value Megan and Katrina believe in is passion. “We really enjoy what we do, so if we are not having fun or if we aren’t passionate about it, it isn’t going to work,” she says.

Megan meets with her Rare Birds mentor regularly to help develop the business and to receive guidance and support, and she notes that sharing similar values as her mentor has been incredibly helpful. “My mentor has helped me with discovery questions to identify if a client meets our values, which has really helped the way we look at clients and the people we want to work with.”

Now, when choosing who they will work with, Megan says that potential clients need to share the same values as them, and have some kind of community involvement – such as sponsoring local sport or supporting charities – because that’s what she and Katrina are passionate about as well.

The values of the company permeate through their entire business, from the clients they work with to key suppliers. The company works with B Corp organisations, such as Beyond Bank, because these are member-owned, with profits going back into the community.

Being driven by such values has created a sustainable business model for Gloss Marketing that is both profitable and ‘doing good’ simultaneously. Megan says for their clients: “It’s really important for us to educate these businesses, because we know they can’t afford marketing agencies to do all their marketing for them. It’s really just about maintaining those great relationships with the clients and keep asking about the impact that they are having on the community, and holding them to an account.”

If you want to hear more stories on initiatives that are values-driven and creating positive social change, check out the Social Impact Festival, running from 18-28 July, in Perth.


This Mentor Relationship Actually Helped Triple The Size Of This Business

Hong Kong Business People Commuting Concept
The time you spend with your mentor can be fundamental to growing your business – and yourself.


Leonie headshot b&w (1)Leonie Henzell, Founder and Managing Director of  gourmet hamper company Bockers & Pony shares how she makes the most out of time with her mentor.


Q. How did you meet your mentor and establish your relationship?

LH: Two years ago, after James Stevens sold Roses Only, he approached me again and requested to invest in B&P. He had approached me to invest previously and I’d said no at the time. The situation seemed so different this time – he was now unencumbered and he could spend time focusing on B&P, and that just seemed like a better situation for me, so I agreed. So this is a slightly different situation in that my mentor has also been an investor in my business.

Q. How often do you meet with him and how long do you spend together?

LH: James is intense. It can seem almost like a cyclone coming into your life – in a nice way! He infuses his energy, approach and strategy into the business, and what I do. James lives in Sydney and I live in Melbourne, so we have to use technology. It can be a phone call whenever I need; it can be email all the time. He is very responsive. We use FaceTime – have long phone conversations. We might meet quarterly in person.

Q. How do you meet?

LH: I actually find in person is the best. When I do spend the time with James, I go to Sydney. There is so much more connection, trust and respect in person, than via email and telephone conversations. Because I have to travel to meet with James there is also that consideration of what you have to get done together. I’m conscious of not wasting his time and spending that time wisely.

Q. How do you prepare for meetings with James? What information or guidance are you trying to get out your meetings?

LH: The key is preparation. When we’re having a weekly meeting over the phone I make a list of things I’d like his advice on – it might be particular problems I’m having, getting advice on what his experience has been in the past, his thoughts on the different approaches I could take. When we’re spending the day together there’s more chunky preparation involved, so I’m ready for more in-depth discussions. I have a lot of information and data prepared, whether it be financial, customer trends, results of previous marketing efforts. Any information I can pull will help decide how I can move forward and will assist James to provide sound advice.

Q. What have you been able to achieve as a result of having a mentor?

LH: In the last two years we’ve been able to triple the size of our business. In terms of financial success that’s a big achievement. For me and for our business it has been the ability to develop a whole gamut of new skills as we grow. It’s fast paced learning. James is a good networker – a connected businessman. He’s also been able to help me build my own networks.

James also helps me with the confidence to make particular decisions. He’s been through everything that I have to go through. He’ll say, ‘What’s the worse thing that can happen?’ It’s about getting me to take a bigger view and challenging my way of thinking. I feel as though he’s so persistently kind that the theme is always there and he’s patiently waiting for me to grow. There’s definitely a level of closeness in that relationship – he’s committed to me and my business, and I’m committed to growing.

Q. What are your top 4 tips for mentees?

1. Be prepared for your meeting with a view to not wasting your mentor’s time. They’re generally busy and successful people. If they’re giving time to you be prepared to get most out of situation.
2. Be open, honest and raw. Let yourself be open to change. It’s not easy, but important.
3. If it’s a short meeting, go in with one really big problem. If I’ve got 15 minutes with James I’ll go in with my biggest problem and use that time with him to help figure it out.
4. Be open to modelling some behaviour of a really successful person. There are definitely some of James’ behaviours and skills, and way he approaches life, that I can see make him successful. I try to emulate those characteristics myself.


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Diversity And The Power Of ‘Bringing Everyone Around The Table’

At a special event in Brisbane to launch the Ambassador events program in the city, diversity and mentor relationships were hot topics of discussion.


Our Rare Birds Global Ambassadors for Brisbane, Co-Founder and Managing Director of Gilimbaa Amanda Lear and Co-Founder and Director of Gilimbaa David Williams, discussed with Rare Birds Founder and CEO Jo Burston the beauty of diversity and why entrepreneurs need mentors to support them. Here are the top three takeaways:

1. Seeing your end game first

Amanda says that what sits at the heart of an entrepreneur is their desire to bring something to life. She identifies entrepreneurs as ‘makers’ – people working on things, figuring out different ways around them, seeing something and wanting to bring it to life, even if they have to “eat tuna out of a can for years just to see it happen”.

She says as an entrepreneur “you see things so clearly, you almost see your end game, and you figure out a way to get there”.  Entrepreneurs are used to “getting knocked down most days” but Amanda says, “you get knocked down seven times, and you get up eight”.


2. The beauty in diversity

David says he wants his daughter to grow up in a world where we don’t even have to have conversations about what diversity in the community looks like. David wants his daughter to grow up in a world where it’s normal to be a female entrepreneur and “a female Aboriginal entrepreneur”.

Amanda likens a lack of diversity to “an artist that’s only ever used two coloured paints in their paint box – how boring is that?” She says diversity “is about bringing everyone to the conversation, using every colour, and seeing where that takes you and making that an exciting thing.

She also says, “we should be more confident and we should embrace more the emotions that come with bringing everyone around the table”.

Amanda says diversity means recognising the different emotions you feel with different opinions and perspectives, and that often they’re not easy emotions as you’re learning and discovering things in a totally different way than you have been brought up with. “But that’s a good feeling and we should learn to ‘lean in’ to that feeling and embrace that feeling, because on the other side of that change and magnificence sits there.”


3. The benefit of having mentors who know you really well

David says mentors are of great value, “if you can learn the lessons they’ve learnt and benefit from the mistakes that they’ve made”. Amanda says that aside from their invaluable experience “in the trenches”, the other beauty of her mentors is that “they know me really well”.

She says her mentors, “know my strengths and they sure know my weaknesses”. They will call her out on things, will hustle her when she needs to be hustled and, “they’ll keep me going when I need that push”.

Amanda says, “I find the honesty of those conversations from being mentored probably the most valuable things because, whether you realise it or not, sometimes you can be avoiding things that you’re not even realising you’re avoiding until someone goes, “look at it, and deal with it, now”.

Do you need a mentor to help guide you through your own entrepreneurial journey? Contact Rare Birds community leader Sarah Coull at for details about joining the Rare Birds Mentoring Program.


Sharing Entrepreneurial Experiences With The Wagga Community

This week we connected Wagga Wagga with the global Rare Birds community as we launched the Ambassador events program with entrepreneurs and business leaders in the local region.


Our Rare Birds Global Ambassadors for Wagga Wagga, Simone Eyles (Founder of 365cups), together with Joe Williams (Professional Athlete and Motivational Speaker) and CEO Jo Burston discussed why it’s important to ask for help and the importance of sharing our entrepreneurial experiences with others. Here are the top four takeaways:

1. Why we need to share our experiences

Simone says the startup journey can be “a really hard learning journey” and you need to connect with people to take away the loneliness of being an entrepreneur. Simone says, “there’s a lot to be said about storytelling” because when you hear stories from others who have had similar experiences to you there is comfort in knowing they have felt the same way or experienced similar things. Simone says if we share our stories and connect with each other “we can achieve great things”.

2. Helping others along the way

Joe says that just like the Rare Birds mantra of #ifshecanican, he tries to be that role model for young Aboriginal people and for all young people, regardless of their skin colour or background. “I try to help every single person that I can, because helping them helps me too,” he says.

Simone says that it’s really important to share the knowledge that you have picked up along the way. She is both a mentee and a mentor, and tells people who come to her with ideas, “if I can do it, you can do it, too”.


3. Just ask and just do it

Simone says, “I’m no different to anyone else in the room – I just get shit done.” Her key advice is to, “just ask, just do it, and keep it simple” and she says if you do this, “you’ll be surprised at what you can achieve”.

Simone says after she had a trip to Silicon Valley in the United States and experienced how people in the business community there operated (they were willing to help her connect her with whomever she needed to speak to), she “came back with a really different mindset” and now asks a lot of different people for help. Simone says, “I’ve asked a lot of people for stuff, and no one has ever said no – it’s awesome!”

4. Enjoy the ride, and learn from it

Joe says that during every setback he experiences, no matter what it is, “I find a lesson in it, and I find gratitude in it”.

Simone says she has had her fair share of tough times, but she has no regrets and doesn’t look back. She says entrepreneurship is not for the fainthearted, “but the rewards come” so you need to enjoy the ride and remember that entrepreneurs, “do a lot of things that don’t make sense and that’s why it works”.

Do you need a mentor to help guide you on your own entrepreneurial journey? Contact Rare Birds community leader Sarah Coull at for details about joining the Rare Birds Mentoring Program.


Why You Can Push Through Barriers With Strength And Resilience

Rare Birds Ambassador for Wagga Wagga, former NRL player and boxer Joe Williams was named 2016 Citizen of the Year in Wagga Wagga, not just for his sporting accomplishments but for his honourable work in suicide prevention.

WILLIAMS, Joe Head Shot (1)

Joe has had an extensive sporting career, playing in the NRL for South Sydney Rabbitohs, Penrith Panthers and Canterbury Bulldogs before switching to professional boxing in 2009.

Joe has been World Boxing Federation (WBF) World Junior Welterweight Champion twice and won the World Boxing Association Asia Continental title in 2014.

1% improvement a day is all you need to achieve great things and push through those barriers. – Joe Williams

Finding strength and resilience

Apart from being involved with professional sport for over 15 years, Joe now spends his time working to inspire youth and individuals through motivational speaking workshops entitled The Enemy Within.

Privately, Joe has had his own battles, struggles and setbacks, which culminated in his own suicide attempt in 2011. He reflects on these experiences in his raw and honest speeches about suicide prevention and wellbeing education.

Joe works alongside disengaged youth in high schools and primary schools, drug and alcohol rehabilitation centres and gaols. Joe has mentored youth and adults on resilience and adversity, focusing on how even minor improvements can have major impacts.

Connecting with communities

Joe has strong ties to his Wiradjuri heritage and dedicates much of his time to assisting Aboriginal communities. He works full-time as the Aboriginal education worker at Mater Dei Catholic College.

As a Rare Birds Ambassador, Joe Williams is representing the role that all fathers, husbands, sons and brothers can play in promoting greater opportunities and respect for women.

“My fiancé, daughter, mother and sisters are among the strongest, most beautiful women I know,” says Joe. “I treat every woman I encounter with the same respect as I would respect them”.

Would you like to nominate a high calibre entrepreneur or business leader to be a Rare Birds Global Ambassador? Contact Rare Birds Community Leader Sarah Coull to find out more:


The Rare Birds Ambassador Driving Social Change

This Brisbane entrepreneur and Rare Birds Ambassador is using storytelling to put Indigenous rights and communities at the heart of her business and our society.

Profile shoot for Gulimbaa

Amanda Lear is currently the Managing Director and Director of Strategic Communication and Film at award-winning creative agency Gilimbaa, which promotes Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists and initiatives.

Carry on amazing women, we the world are all behind you. – Amanda Lear

Co-founded alongside David Williams and Ben Johnston, Gilimbaa was born out of a passion for community-driven creative strategy and storytelling.

Gilimbaa means “today” in the language of the Wakka Wakka people of central Queensland and represents the agency’s ambition to keep Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture at the forefront of the creative field.

Managing the growth and development of the business, Amanda drives client campaigns and communication strategies to incorporate Aboriginal talent into contemporary design and communication.

Chasing social change, not just profits

Gilimbaa has received nationwide and international recognition for its work and front line impact on areas ranging from youth mental health, domestic violence, reconciliation and child safety. Gilimbaa has also taken on a range of high-profile projects, including the design of a G20 summit.

Amanda has spent the past decade working across the country with communities to drive social change through Gilimbaa’s passion for community and human rights-focused creative strategy.

After being announced as an award-winner at the 2013 Telstra Business Women’s Awards, Amanda has used that platform to champion diversity and inclusion.

She regularly speaks on gender equity, human rights-driven creative practice and her passion for small business and its role in shaping the nation.

Amanda is leading Gilimbaa’s next exciting venture as they launch their not-for-profit branch of the company, The Gilimbaa Foundation, which aims to grow and support Indigenous representation in the creative and arts industries.

It’s all about attitude

Amanda sees entrepreneurship as a “long-distance goal” that requires dedication, the right team and sometimes, a little perspective.

“You are a fearless explorer, and with a strong vision and a strong idea that you can measure, you will get there,” says Amanda. “When you do, it will be glorious.”

She is a proud member of UN Australia’s Women’s Committee since 2010 and has recently been announced as a Rare Birds Global Ambassador for Brisbane, Queensland.

“It is sheer joy to be named a Rare Birds ambassador and have the opportunity to shine a light and shine it bright for female entrepreneurs who are shaping and inspiring communities from Papunya to Pitt Street”, says Amanda.

Would you like to nominate a high calibre entrepreneur or business leader to be a Rare Birds Global Ambassador? Contact Rare Birds Community Leader Sarah Coull to find out more: