Why is the Rare Birds initiative close to your heart?
When Jo first asked if I’d like to be involved with Rare Birds, I knew immediately this was going to be something special and important. I’ve been fortunate in my life to have an entrepreneurial and incredibly supportive father who taught me to always wear my passion and constantly dream wider, further, broader and bigger. He bred in me a confidence that whatever my brothers could do, I could do too. This mentorship he provided me consisted of what I believe are all the necessary components required to grow a healthy entrepreneurial spirit: support, inspiration, advice, and the right tools. This is what we need to do for fledging female entrepreneurs of today to soar towards their dreams; and this is exactly what Rare Birds is all about!
What do you see as the important factors to your role as a Rare Bird?
For me, it’s impossible to deny that a huge part of my own success has come down to the contribution and blessing of people in my life whom I could trust in for support. Now, I’ve reached a chapter where I want to pay it forward. Mentorship has become a large part of what I spend my time on and is what I identify my role to be as a Rare Bird. I think it is such a beautiful act of selflessness and gratitude; providing these women I mentor with guidance and even just a space where they can feel safe gives me a tangible sense of contribution to something greater than just myself.
Why should aspiring women entrepreneurs seek out a mentor?
I think many people – male or female – harbour a common misunderstanding of seeking help as a sign of weakness or not being able to “do the job”. The best lesson you can ever learn is that you don’t have to be a lone wolf as you’re chipping away towards your dreams. I see a mentor’s role not as a dictator or even as a position that is entirely official. Most of the time, it’s just about being a soundboard and sharing experiences that set someone off on the right path. A mentor is a supporter, a confidant and a voice of experience.
Who are the key women influencers you look to for advice?
I am ever grateful for the huge network of wonderful women I have in my life; each special in their own way and who I look to for support for their own individual reasons whether they be professionally, spiritually, or mentally. Some include fellow Rare Birds, like Layne Beachley – seven-time ASP Women’s World Champion surfer and Chairman of Aim For The Stars – a very close friend of mine who I met through her Sister-In-Law. Layne is one of those fresh breaths of air! She is completely unaffected by her success and has taught me about what can happen when you stay unwaveringly confident and live with true guts and passion. She has cultivated a whole crop of women in sport and completely revolutionised the perception of female surfers globally – no easy feat.
Lisa Messenger – founder of The Messenger Group and Chief Editor of The Collective magazine – is another. She’s the type of woman who can turn the smallest inkling of an idea into something massive. I admire her transparency, and her ability to be open enough to recognise the parts in her own self or a project that aren’t right. It takes courage to be as honest with yourself as Lisa is.
And finally, what’s your personal definition of a Rare Bird?
We’re all unique, we’re all a one-off, but to be rare is something else. I believe a real Rare Bird is a woman with unrelenting passion, a grounded belief-system and a constantly ticking desire to make the world a better place – and not just for themselves. The definition of a Rare Bird has nothing to do with your job title or your material gain; and everything to do about pursuing activities that make a difference.