I am incredibly passionate about gender equity – Ashleigh Streeter-Jones

Tell us about yourself? I am many things: an intersectional feminist, an advocate, a sister, a daughter, a partner, a friend, a volunteer, a board director, a founder, a speaker, a writer, a person with a disability but most of all, a person full of hope! I am incredibly passionate about gender equity, and am strongly committed to leaving the world better than I found it. I love traveling, reading, and people in my life. I dislike bigotry, cooking, and pineapple on pizza.

What’s the biggest obstacle you’ve ever had to overcome in your life? I’ve had an incredibly privileged upbringing to which I owe a lot, I would say my biggest obstacle is – and has been – my health. Living with a chronic condition that impacts my physical and mental health means that I have to be considered and careful about some of the choices I make, how much I work, how I spend my time, and how much time I allocate for self-care. It’s taken me a long time to accept this but I’m getting much better at managing it.

What is your business or job? I am an intersectional gender activist and advocate, and recently started an initiative called Raise Our Voice Australia which aims to have more young diverse female and non-binary persons leading the conversation in domestic policy, foreign policy, and politics.

How long have you been in business or your career? I’ve been engaged in activism for over 10 years, including public speaking, campaigning, writing, and working with communities. Raise Our Voice Australia is my latest venture and was launched in September 2020.

What do you love the most about your current job? I love my current job because it allows me to meet and connect with incredible people – I learn something new every day. Plus, I’m incredibly passionate about changing the face of leadership and supporting young diverse women to become the next generation of public leaders and I love spending time working towards this goal.

Who has been your greatest influence in business or your job and in your personal life and why? It’s hard to point to one greatest influence – my parents have shaped my worldview and encouraged me to always look outside my own experience, I’ve met most of my closest friends through volunteering, and having people around me who are motivated and values aligned is an incredible gift, and at home, my partner is more supportive than I could ever home for and is so gracious in supporting me every step of the way, including the majority of our housework. As for the broader community of women I’ve met through volunteering and in online communities, they support my learning, keep me accountable, and always encourage me to keep going. So, I’d have to say that it’s the people around me who keep me laughing, who keep me motivated, and encourage me to dream big and reach those goals!

What would you say is your greatest professional accomplishment to date? I’m fortunate to say that I’ve had a few – being a key part of the campaign to get child labour on the G20 agenda back in 2014 is one I’m incredibly proud of. Backing myself and moving from Melbourne to Canberra to back myself and go after the career I wanted is another big one – oh, and co-facilitating the largest political Take Over in the world, leading to founding my own organisation!

What do you do to inspire other women?
This is a challenging question because you don’t always get feedback from the people you’ve inspired. Through my Instagram account (@activist.ash) I focus on sharing my work, amplifying the voices of other womxn in the community, and being honest about the challenges of activism, burnout, and living with a chronic condition. I find this is a great way to connect with like-minded people and share some of the great work that’s being done in the world.

What inspirational qualities do you possess?
My partner has long said that one of my greatest qualities is my optimism. As an activist and someone who’s passionate about change, you need to maintain the hope and belief that things can and will get better, particularly when confronted by challenges. When I know what I want to achieve, I’m fairly determined and find it easy to motivate myself to get the job done.

What’s your advice for other women that may want to do what you do? There’s never a bad time to start, and if in doubt, don’t be afraid to start by listening and amplifying the voices that are already out there. And always be intersectional in your actions – ask who’s in the room, whose voice is being heard, who’s being listened to, and how you can make space to bring others up.

What’s the best advice you have received in business that you wish to pass on to Nikki’s blog? Sometimes, you’ve just got to start! It’s easy to get bogged down in all the research, but sometimes, you’ve got to take the first step and focus on impact and getting it done.

What do you do for fun/relaxation? Spend time with the people I love. This always fills up my cup!

What’s the best way for our women here to connect with you? I’m on instagram @activist.ash, at www.ashleighstreeterjones.com, or hello@ashleighstreeterjones.com

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I run my own beauty business, Self Love Lounge – Morgan Johnston – Australia

Tell us about yourself? Hello, I’m Morgan, I’m originally from Dunedin in New Zealand, and I’ve been living in Australia for the last eight years. I’m married to my wonderful husband Tyler and we have two fur babies Chazz and Asti. We love it here in Brisbane. The big city vibes and country friendliness of the community.

What is your business or job? I run my own beauty business, Self Love Lounge, (formerly known as Paris Texas Beauty) with my team we offer facial treatments, waxing, brows, lashes, and organic tanning. We’re huge advocates of self-love and incorporate it with everything we do. We believe beauty is inside out. We have a community beauty bookshelf, host self-love Sunday zoom calls once a month, and have hold events in our space, workshops on makeup and skincare. It is so much more than a beauty salon.

How long have you been in business or your career? I’ve been in my career for the past 11 years and have been running my own business for the past almost 6 years.

Please tell us what being a business owner means to you and why you became an entrepreneur in the first place? or … What you love the most about your current job? Being a business owner has been an amazing experience for me so far, I’ve gained so much confidence in myself over the last six years and have learned so much about myself and the industry. Before I set up my own business, people always told me that I should run my own salon, and, quite frankly, that idea terrified me! Shortly before I opened the salon, I found myself without a job and was invited to look at a space which was available in a building and before I knew it, I had invested in the property, I was buying supplies, my hubby was helping me freshen up the treatment rooms, and I was excited to welcome my first clients.

Who has been your greatest influence in business or your job and in your personal life and why? I wouldn’t say I have one influence person but more look up to all women in business as a whole. I’ve been inspired by so many strong-minded women who I’ve come across in my life and career, and I love chatting with clients and like-minded businesswomen about their personal journeys and how they’ve succeeded in what they do. I love meeting new connections at the woman in business events, I love listening to their stories and listening to podcasts about business.

What would you say is your greatest professional accomplishment to date? I think success looks different to all of us, and it was around the 2-year mark of being in business that I started to feel successful in my own way. I’m numbers-driven and have always set financial targets, and once I achieved them, I found it was especially important to celebrate the success, as I feel we tend to let these accomplishments pass us by without giving them the attention they deserve. Then adding my team, this has been a huge accomplishment and I am so grateful for it every day and it makes me so excited as to what we can achieve together. Our 2020 rebrand has been huge as well, very proud of it!

What do you do to inspire other women? I genuinely believe in lifting other women up and being each other’s inspiration, both in business and in our personal lives. It’s quite easy for women to be competitive with each other and let jealousy seep in but that’s not good for either party… I always encourage others around me and keep a positive mindset. I have been a Look Good Feel Better volunteer now for 5 years and giving back to the community helps me to inspire others.

What inspirational qualities do you possess? I like to think that I’m hard-working and once I set my mind on a goal, I put a lot into achieving it. I also value qualities such as loyalty, trustworthiness, and approachability and feel that if I didn’t possess these qualities myself, I wouldn’t have achieved as much as I already have in my business.

What’s your advice for other women that may want to do what you do? The advice that I would give to other women who want to start their own business would be to not overthink it and just go with your gut. I’d remind them that they’ve got all the skills they need to make it possible and all they need to do is believe in themselves. Having an amazing group of strong-minded business girlfriends really helps me to achieve my goals and keep going, and my network has grown so much over the years, so it’s so important to talk through your ideas and have people who understand you.

What’s the best advice you have received in business that you wish to pass on to Nikki’s blog? I often liken being in a business like first training to run. You just have to keep putting one foot in front of the other. Keep going, don’t give up! Accounting software is like your Fitbit to keep the data so next time you can be faster, go longer. Achieve whatever it is that your working towards. I spend lots of time investing in training sessions and workshops and receive great advice from people who specialise in topics that are specific to my industry such as new treatments, product education sessions, and business development. I’d also make sure your mindset is kept in check, with a gratitude journal, daily affirmations, or meditations. Podcasts and coaching are great for this if you need extra help.

What do you do for fun/relaxation? My doggies keep me fit, every morning we head out for a walk or run, it’s my favourite part of the day. It’s particularly important for me to have a separate personal life away from work so I set aside Sunday and don’t look at the work phone/emails. My husband and I don’t make any plans and enjoy activities such as walking our doggies and finding new exciting dog-friendly cafes close-by. We love exploring the Hinterland on weekends away. We also like to Skype our families back in New Zealand and have a ‘Date Night’ one Saturday a month, which is especially important to us. I also love to keep in touch with my girlfriends and try to call them or have a coffee together at least once a week.

What’s the best way for our women here to connect with you? You can connect with me personally on Facebook, Morgan Johnston. On our website, https://www.selflovelounge.com.au/ Follow us on Instagram and Facebook. Or call on 0488226935

Just press the pedal and get going – Saija Mahon – UK

Tell us about yourself? I’m an entrepreneur of 10 years now, Founder and CEO of my Digital Marketing Agency Mahon Digital Marketing Ltd (www.mahondigital.co.uk) We operate our offices in the UK where I live, and also in my home country Finland. I’m a very passionate business person, a people person. Cannot live without coffee and music! I’m also a very proud mum to my little girl Naomi.

What is your business or job? Digital Marketing, we help businesses to be visible online in front of their target market via activities such as Google Ads, SEO, social media, and content marketing.

How long have you been in business or your career? 10 years this year actually! What an anniversary year it’s been (Covid-19).. didn’t expect a pandemic to hit us on our anniversary year, but, we are still here and still helping businesses to succeed through these very challenging times.

Please tell us what being a business owner means to you and why you became an entrepreneur in the first place? or …  What you love the most about your current job? I absolutely love being an entrepreneur, love to tackle various challenges and situations from day to another, however my initial reason for becoming a business owner was to have freedom in my life, run my life and business as I vision it, and being able to do what I love the most at the same time – digital marketing.

Who has been your greatest influence in business or your job and in your personal life and why? There’s a lot of people who have inspired and motivated me throughout the years in business, however, I’d definitely name my own wonderful father as one of the biggest. He’s been an entrepreneur for the past 30 years (and more) and I’ve got the best guidance and support from him.

What would you say is your greatest professional accomplishment to date? Definitely being able to run my business through this pandemic, employ people, and keep business going for us and our clients.

What do you do to inspire other women? I’m a part of quite a few female founders/business owners networks and hopefully, by sharing my story, my knowledge, and tips & tricks in business, I can inspire others too.

What inspirational qualities do you possess? I do believe I have pretty strong stamina and energy to get through anything in this life. Challenges do not scare me and I always strive to learn from challenges when I face them.

What’s your advice for other women that may want to do what you do? Start now. I used to think ‘I’m not ready yet’ too much at the start of my journey. Just press the pedal and get going! There’s so much that can be and will be figured out on the way.. entrepreneurship is a journey. Enjoy it and hop on!

What’s the best advice you have received in business that you wish to pass on to Nikki’s blog. ? Never be scared of mistakes or failures, there’s always something to learn from them. You can better yourself and your business by going through challenges and they should not be seen as scary.

What do you do for fun/relaxation? I listen to and dance to music. Can’t live without it.

What’s the best way for our women here to connect with you? You can email me at saija@mahondigital.co.uk Always happy to connect!

Never be afraid to dream it and believe you can make it happen – Jan Cavelle – UK

What is your business or job?  These days I am a full-time business writer and author.  I have my first book being published on 4th February in the UK (2nd July Australia and 6th July in the States).  It is called Scale For Success and is all about helping people grow their businesses.   In writing it, I have had the help of 30 truly amazing entrepreneurs and big household names.

How long have you been in business or your career? I was an entrepreneur for nearly 40 years so I learned a thing or two there.   During that time I started to write articles for a digital business publication so I have been doing those for about 10 years now.   The book – not sure when you take it from!  But a year, if we go from when I got offered a contract by Bloomsbury Publishing.

Please tell us what being a business owner means to you and why you became an entrepreneur in the first place? or …  What you love the most about your current job? I loved being an entrepreneur for a long time but I burnt right out by the end.   Writing I love in a whole different way.  It is something I have wanted to do since I was a small child so a huge passion of mine. I am also passionate about campaigning to encourage entrepreneurship and have been involved in many different ones over the years.   Now, I get to put the whole lot together and write about entrepreneurship to encourage others – how lucky am I ?!

Who has been your greatest influence in business or your job and in your personal life and why? Has to be the inbuilt determination to provide for the kids when they were small at the start of my career.  In my writing, the encouragement of one editor in particular in the early days when I was writing online, my editor at Bloomsbury and my son, who told me to go for it with the book when I was having a melt-down moment and wondering if I could.

What would you say is your greatest professional accomplishment to date? I was lucky enough to win business awards but they are pretty transient.  I had opportunities such as being one of 50 women chosen to be representing the UK Government in an EU scheme to encourage enterprise.  Debating at the Cambridge Union comes pretty high. But winning a publishing contract to become a published author is a real childhood dream/ bucket list thing for me.

What do you do to inspire other women? I don’t do anything solely for men or women I am afraid, but for both the book and the articles I write I search out and speak to some truly amazing women entrepreneurs in vastly different sectors and I hope that by featuring their incredible achievements that will inspire other women to follow in their footsteps.

What inspirational qualities do you possess? Arghh!  That’s the sort of question I hate as I don’t see myself as inspirational really.   But – I guess a determination to keep going when others would have given up, grit as they call it.  Plus I know that in the last three years I have gone on a big personal development journey, partly but not solely in doing the book, and I am proud that I can still do that in my sixties.  In fact, it is good to sit here and say now I am the sum of the woman I have been but one hell of a lot better than I was.  I hope to keep going that way.

What’s your advice for other women that may want to do what you do? Never be afraid to dream it and believe you can make it happen.  Have a vision board of what you are aiming for and what it looks like or something to represent it where you can see it every day.

What’s the best advice you have received in business that you wish to pass on to Nikki’s blog? You will regret not trying far, far more than you will ever regret failing.  Failing is just a step to success.  You don’t start without trying.

What do you do for fun/relaxation? Very simple things; reading, music, walks on the beach and in the countryside.   Not one for the high life!

What’s the best way for our women here to connect with you?

via my website which is https://jancavelle.co.uk

https://twitter.com/@jancavelle

https://www.linkedin.com/in/jancavelle/

https://www.facebook.com/JanCavelleWriter

https://www.instagram.com/jan.cavelle.scaleforsuccess/

Youtube channel coming shortly which will also be just Jan Cavelle

Step one of liberation achieved, then Covid happened – Shae Isaac – Australia

I am Shae, a 43-year-old from Melbourne. Over 10 years ago I started a small business called Smart Artist Music Management, after studying Business Music Management at uni. After several years of juggling part-time work and managing bands literally making no money (poor struggling artists), I chucked it in to go back to the full-time grind in accounting administration. 

 About 5 years ago I was just about to rebrand my small business and open up to all types of business (not just music and arts-related) and finally get out of accounting admin when my mother was diagnosed with terminal ovarian cancer. I became her primary carer, taxi driver, emotional support person. Naturally, all plans were put on hold so I could spend as much time as I could with her. When my mother was nearing the end of her life (2 years ago), she sat me down on her hospital bed to give me a few home truths. You see she knew I was capable of so much more than I gave myself credit for, and she knew that my creative and business talents were worth more than being stuck in the career I had somehow found myself in. She didn’t want me to waste my life doing what was not true to the person I am. 

I took a year off life after mum died. I still worked in the accounting firm, but in that time I managed to travel around the world, really growing as a person, developing ideas, and hatching plans to start phase 2 of my career.

In January this year, I re-launched my business, renaming it ‘Smart Artist Management’, a Digital Business Administration and Design Agency. Open to clients and businesses from all industries. Incorporating my administration experience of setting up businesses and general admin work with my creative side of web design, photography, and writing. A one-stop-shop for all your business needs. The launch went so well that I landed enough new clients to go part-time at the accounting firm.

The launch went so well that I landed enough new clients to go part-time at the accounting firm.

 Step one of liberation achieved.

 Then Covid happened.

Foreseeing tough times ahead for small businesses I was prepared to lose a few clients that had signed on. While a few postponed until the time is right for them, I managed to keep many of my new clients and have been adding more to my client list over the last few months.

I am completely undeterred by Covid and aim to step this business into overdrive in 2021 so I can achieve step 2 of liberation; my business successful enough to never have to work in accounting admin EVER again.

That kick up the bum my mum gave me in the last days of her life really stuck with me. I have pushed myself out of my comfort zone on so many levels since her passing. I travel solo, I write about my travels, I have the confidence to approach people to look at my creative work, I have started selling my photography work, I believe that Smart Artist Management will be successful and I am so willing to go the hard yards to make sure that it happens. My mother is my constant inspiration and the person who drives me each day to push harder and be the best person I can possibly be.

To get in touch with Shae – https://www.smartartistmanagement.com/

Follow my travel blog is called The Bright Eyed Explorer: https://www.thebrighteyedexplorer.com/