It is important to understand your purpose or your “WHY” – Carla Jayne Smith – Australia

Tell us about yourself?

I was raised by my grandparents (Mum and Dad) on a Marae up the Whanganui River in New Zealand. A small village, where culture, family, and people are the most important thing. The values of my culture, my upbringing, and the influence of my Mum and the elders of my marae would become a major contributor in my future life and career as a businesswoman and leader. I have been in Australia since 2012 and I am married to my soul mate, and my biggest fan Ritchie. Together we have a blended family of 5 children and 9+ Grandchildren.

What’s the biggest obstacle you’ve ever had to overcome in your life?

I was a teenaged mother and a school dropout. I was also told that I would amount to nothing.

What is your business or job? 
Embrace You, Stylist. I am a Stylist and I run Confidence Building Programs for Women. The women come from all walks of life and from all types of situations, but generally a place of hardship and trauma, such as drug addiction, probation, violent relationships. The women have often been stripped of their self-confidence and are on a journey of rebuilding their lives and their self-worth.

How long have you been in business or your career?

I have been a stylist for over 30 years. Have had my own business since 2015.

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 used to work for one of the most powerful fashion icons in the world, Karen Walker for 15yrs as her righthand. My growth as a business leader developed under her guidance and with her complete support. It was tough at times, but it gave me the confidence and the know-how to step into my own dream of being a business owner. My role now, allows me and my team to empower other women, enabling them to step into the best version of themselves. We use the fundamentals of styling, identity, personal presentation, and grooming. When you are part of a transformation or a shift in a woman’s self-belief, it is the most moving experience for all involved.

Who has been your greatest influence in business or your job and in your personal life and why?

My mother Rose (grandmother) who has passed. She demonstrated kindness. She helped women and children often. I am an example of that. I was left in an orphanage as a baby when she found out, and without hesitation, she scooped me up and raised me as her own.

What would you say is your greatest professional accomplishment to date? There are a few, however, the one that means a lot was when I won a Young Business Achievers Award. I won this award based on achieving leadership success in my role for Karen Walker. I was a General Manager with no formal qualifications, and I was achieving outstanding results and success in every part of my role from sales growth to happy loyal staff. For the award, I was up against, accountants, junior lawyers, etc…One judge asked the question, so how do you achieve all of this with no formal training? My answer: I was raised around the greatest leaders on my Marae, in business, they are called a CEO, in my village this role was my Uncle Morvin. And the list goes on…. from the HR manager, supervisor, team leader, team. This is what I observed, and these were transferrable skills that I could apply, not only to my leadership role but to my life.

“Hei aha te mea nui o te ao, he tangata, he tangata, he tangata” translated: What is the most important thing in this world, the people, the people, the people.

What do you do to inspire other women?

I lead, not follow, I am innovative and creative, I am self-assured. I turn up.

What inspirational qualities do you possess?

I am 100% sure about my purpose. Every day I am focused on this. I have a positive outlook. A never-give-up attitude.

What’s your advice for other women that may want to do what you do?

It is important to understand your purpose or your “WHY”.

What’s the best advice you have received in business that you wish to pass on to Nikki’s blog. ?

It wasn’t advice it was more of a statement by Karen Walker’s husband Mikhail Gherman, said “When they Zig, We Zag”

What do you do for fun/relaxation?

I enjoy being home and listening to calming music, my favourite at the moment is The Sacred Chants of Devi, Mother Devine. This type of music takes me to my peaceful place.

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

Facebook is the best way, through my personal page, Carla Jayne Smith.


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, or


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, 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 ( 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 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

Youtube channel coming shortly which will also be just Jan Cavelle

Starting my own business has been the greatest lesson of my life – Amanda Stokes, Australia

Tell us about yourself?
I am an Author, Presenter, Educator, and mother to 3 children aged 7, 10, and 11 and the Founder of Raising Strong Daughters.

What is your business or job?
Three years ago, I had a sliding door moment. In May of 2017, I had come out about a private 20-year battle I had had with bulimia. I went on a journey of unlearning everything I had known to be true about food and my body. I had this moment where I realised that if this was my story- a well-educated, intelligent woman, then it would also be the story of many suffering silently. I knew I had to give it my voice and so I started the Mirror Movement at the end of 2017 to help mothers become better mirror models for their daughters. When I went to my Principal- I was working as a teacher at a private all-girls school, to say that I was going to start blogging over the school holidays, I was told as an employee that I wouldn’t be allowed. I made the decision with 3 days left of the school year, to resign and take a chance on myself.

How long have you been in business or your career?
I ran the Mirror Movement for 2 years at a terrible financial loss. I wrote a book that I struggled to get people to hear about, I ran events, and no one turned up. I had such an important message to share, that when anyone did hear my story, they would say everyone needs to hear it. I knew it to be true, I just could not get the word out. I also believe looking back, that there was shame attached to people coming to my workshops, as in mothers felt like they were admitting they were doing something that was impacting their daughter’s body image if they signed up…. It was an incredibly challenging time that had an enormous impact on my relationship. My husband was resentful at us having lost not only my $100 000 a year income but that we were losing money with every move I made. I knew I had to keep believing in myself. At 20 I knew I was meant to do big things, but I also understood I needed life experience first. When I came out about my disorder, I really believed that I had found my area and I was so confused that things were not taking off. At the start of 2020, after applying for 30 teaching jobs that I didn’t get, I knew I had to give myself one last chance, that there was a reason that the doors to teaching and giving up weren’t opening to
me. I decided to pivot. The Mirror Movement became Raising Strong Daughters, and instead of body image being everything, it became a component of a much greater whole. Suddenly people wanted to listen. Suddenly people turned up. Just before COVID-19 hit, I ran a sold-out event in the exact room 12 months earlier no one had turned up. Then COVID-19 arrived, and I found myself refunding all my events. I pivoted once again and turned my workshops into a book-‘The Tween Mother’s Tool Book: Raising Strong Daughters’ which I released in September.

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? When I was making decisions about what to become when I was younger, I was unsure whether to enter teaching or Social work. If I had my time again I would’ve studied Psychology, but I entered teaching and was driven by becoming the teacher I’d needed when I was growing up- someone who saw students as more than scores but as whole individuals. In the early days teaching allowed me to focus on wellbeing, it allowed for creativity, but over time it became more and more about data and the curriculum became more and more crowded and my passion waned. I have always known I was meant to do more. Starting my own business has been the greatest lesson of my life. Reframing costly mistakes into lessons has allowed me to grow. I have had to practice self-belief and self-compassion when those around me had given up on what I was trying to achieve. As the founder of Raising Strong Daughters, I love supporting mums by empowering them to raise girls who know themselves, who understand others, who get to learn and understand all the things that I wish I’d known when I was growing up. This work fills my soul.

Who has been your greatest influence in business or your job and in your personal life and why? In the early days, I would compare myself to others and feel deflated. Everyone had more followers, more success, more opportunities and that was tough to deal with. In the end, I had to stop watching others. I often reminded myself that the bread aisle in the supermarket was full of different breads that showed up each day because everyone liked different bread. I started focusing on myself because I was the only one I could change. My greatest influence has been me- my attitude and my approach have impressed me. I have had to build myself up when others had given up on me.

What would you say is your greatest professional accomplishment to date?
I think my greatest accomplishment to date was having my book rank #3 in Parenting Girls next to Michelle Obama in first place and Steve Biddulph in second. I am now probably ranked 35 but being third in that moment was an incredible achievement and a taste of what is possible.

What do you do to inspire other women? I show up. I share. I am honest and real. As a parenting expert, I get it wrong sometimes because my kids are not perfect, and their mum is not perfect. I am human. We all make mistakes sometimes,
but it is how we learn from these moments that allow us to grow. My motto is to always be better
than yesterday and what a gift it is that life gives us tomorrow to try again.

What inspirational qualities do you possess? I think my most inspirational quality is my ability to believe in myself. After a lifetime of punishing myself during those years of disorder, I now practice self-compassion. I am kind to myself always and I think that is inspirational.

What is your advice for other women that may want to do what you do? Keep going. I could have quit a gazillion times and I was encouraged to. If you believe in yourself just keep pushing. Put your head down. Don’t look at others, just focus on yourself and remember that there’s no such thing as an overnight success, and remember the bread aisle.

What’s the best advice you have received in business that you wish to pass on to Nikki’s blog. ? We only get one life, so live with no regrets.

What do you do for fun/relaxation? I love sharing a cheese board with friends. Laughter and great banter fill my cup to the brim! I also love having time to just be wildly creative and then working out how I can make my wildest dreams come true!

What’s the best way for our women here to connect with you?
You can find me on Instagram @raisingstrongdaughters_
Or Facebook
Or you can visit my website

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 –

Follow my travel blog is called The Bright Eyed Explorer:


Don’t get distracted by what others are doing – Annette Densham – Australia

Tell us about yourself?  I was born 50 years ago in Tasmania to a paint salesman and gypsy in waiting. After my father left when I was three, we moved and moved and moved houses as mum went looking for safety and security. Because we were always on the move, I found my safety on books – loving Enid Blyton books and then moving onto Agatha Christie and Stephen King. This love of books developed into a love of writing, of asking questions, of wanting to know more about the world. And when kids my age, at 10, we’re being asked what they want to be when they grow up, I knew exactly what I wanted to be…and that was a journalist. When I am not writing, I’m reading – I devour books, immersing myself in other worlds and adventures. I also love traveling, going places to expand my mind and understanding of the globe we live on. A few years ago, I did a stand-up comedy course and found I love writing jokes and being on stand; it is such a buzz. I have been with my husband Earl for 25 years and he is my best friend, together we love going to rock concerts and you can still find us up the front, grooving to the music. We also love exploring wineries and love a beer. Together, we have two sons – Zayde and Qwyn – and we’re in awe every day of what amazing young men they are.

What is your business or job?  I am in partnership with Lauren Clemett – together we started The Audacious Agency. It is a hybrid blend of marketing, personal branding, and storytelling. One of my superpowers is being able to take people’s stories and create opportunities for them to share those stories so they can connect with other people. I do this by writing articles, blogs, and award submissions.

How long have you been in business or your career?  My first experience with journalism was when I was 15 and I did work experience at the South West News. I loved it. I have been in the media space since I was 19, working as a journalist and in editorial until I was in my 40s. When I went back to work after having kids, I ventured into corporate communications until my role was made redundant because of a ‘financial restructure’ and that is when I started my own PR agency.

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? It is an incredible skill to be able to listen to someone’s story and then capture it in words … words that they read and are blown away by how you have told their story that it moves them.  When I write awards, I love digging deep into someone’s background to see what makes them tick and why they do what they do so I can showcase their amazingness.

Who has been your greatest influence in business or your job and in your personal life and why? Me. I often wonder why I am not influenced externally by others. I think it is because I spent so much of my younger years by myself, that I had to look in for motivation. My greatest influence is me and I didn’t realise this until 2020 when I wrote a book about my younger years, Digging into all my mess and yuck, I found a deep-seated grit that permeated my life, that saw me get up, time and time again, sometimes when I could have been forgiven for crawling back into bed and staying there. Of course, there are people I admire but they are not famous or infamous, they are everyday people like my mum, who fought every single day for us as little ones to be feed and clothed, my son Qwyn, who has autism; his journey through the school system has been fraught with bullying and isolation but he is one of the most well-balanced people I know. My eldest son Zayde, who like many siblings of those who needs more attention, is quite resilient, funny, and ever so witty; his intelligence and insights into the world are incredible. My husband Earl, who has been on this journey with me for half our lives; is such a deep and intelligent thinker. I admire his brains and his desire to understand the world.

What would you say is your greatest professional accomplishment to date? Surviving in business for almost 10 years is a stand out; I am the most hopeless business person – all that admin, finance and other stuff that is not in my wheelhouse does my head in. I just want to write but somehow, I have managed to still be in business without upsetting too many people and having some money in the bank.  The next one is recovering from the impact of COVID on The Audacious Agency – Lauren and I kept showing up. At times, I felt like it was the universe telling me to do something else. In March we lost all our clients, it felt like too much to start again. But we did and has a cracker of year especially when it came to award submissions …and we helped so many people we were recognised the third year in a row with a Grand Stevie Award – you do not win one of those unless you have helped lots of other people.

What do you do to inspire other women? I encourage them to embrace their stories … that they are worth hearing and reading. That every single one of us has the power to influence those around us. Not the ‘get paid’ type of influence – the much more powerful type of showing up every day and doing your best influence. I think we forget that people are watching and when you live with authenticity and vulnerability, you inspire others to action. I am open about my journey through life, my stuff ups and challenges because life is not all sunshine and rainbows and selfies. It can be a messy, crazy place and by sharing my story, I hope to encourage others to open up about theirs. You never know who you will touch.

What inspirational qualities do you possess? Candour, grit, resilience, tenacity, humour, and gumption. I would love to say I have lived a charmed life that was all peaches and cream but I haven’t. I have had to overcome some incredibly traumatic life events and I have done so by digging deep and finding the bright in the dark.

What’s your advice for other women that may want to do what you do? Surround yourself with people who have aligned skills that you can draw on, invest in your personal development because business success isn’t just about the systems and processes, it’s about what goes on between your ears.  Reach out to others in the industry for support and mentoring; there are many incredible women out there who understand the value of collaboration, not competition.

What’s the best advice you have received in business that you wish to pass on to Nikki’s blog?  Don’t get distracted by what others are doing; that is a slippery slope into comparisonitis and feeds the imposter syndrome that lurks inside all of us. Run your own race but never be afraid to ask for help. There is no point suffering in silence when there are many amazing humans that want to see you succeed.

What do you do for fun/relaxation? I read, laze in my beautiful beach beanbag at the beach with my hubby and a good book, I love live music so we see lots of bands, I love dancing to said bands and we love trying new wines and beers.

What’s the best way for our women here to connect with you?  Email: or  Website:

I lead by example. I don’t give up – Pip Meecham – Queensland Australia

Hi, I’m Pip! A mum to one fabulous soon to be five-year-old girl called Lucy and the owner of ProjectBox. I love the smell of coffee but can’t stand the taste, instead, a strong hot chocolate is my go-to hot drink, I’m a swag lover, a geek at heart, and shamelessly sing at the top of my lungs while driving. I believe in passionate people, about doing what you love, and about no boxes.

What is your business?

ProjectBox – I work with people to look at how they do the things they do (their systems) to create how-to guides (standard operating procedures) and to help them to become more efficient and more effective. I’m also a go-to gal for technology and software questions.

How long have you been in business?

ProjectBox was born 2.5 years ago, prior to that, I had another successful business working as a Virtual Assistant.

Please tell us what being a business owner means to you and why you became an entrepreneur in the first place?

I always knew that I was destined for more than working 8:30 to 5 for someone else but it wasn’t until I became a mum and returned to work that the urge kicked up a notch. That’s when I started up as a Virtual Assistant (VA) – this was just over four years ago, just before being a VA became a huge thing and ‘the norm’ for businesses to have.

It quickly became more than just a job. I was building something that was going to give me the flexibility I needed for my family, and soon after that when my marriage broke down, it gave me the flexibility needed to be a single mother.

Being the business owner of ProjectBox is the most exciting thing I have ever done. I’m building something that I am incredibly proud of (all my hopes and dreams are wrapped up in here somewhere), something that is helping people, and something that gives me the freedom and flexibility of being a Rockstar mum and also having not just a career, but of having something that I LOVE showing up for every day. It’s one hell of a rollercoaster ride but it’s a ride that I love hanging on for.

Who has been your greatest influence in business and personal life and why?

My dad has always been one of the biggest influencers in both life and business. He is a successful businessman in his own right meaning that his words of wisdom are ‘normally’ sound and come from his years of past experiences! He has ALWAYS been my biggest supporter which when you are playing entrepreneurs and start-ups is important to have not just to seek advice from but also to lift you up on the hard days, to remind you what got you here, and to empower you to keep moving forward. It is because of him I have a ‘what is the worst that can happen’ attitude and because of him (and my mum) that I give so much to others.

What would you say is your greatest professional accomplishment to date?

Honestly, the fact that ProjectBox is still here. People always talk about how tough the first five years in business are and about how many don’t even survive their first three. It’s not until you are in the midst of it that you finally understand. Yes there are many happy clients, lots of positive reviews, and a bunch of successful projects, but I believe that my biggest professional accomplishment is all the stuff that sits behind that. Learning basic code so I could build my first website, mastering knowledge extraction on myself so that I can sell my IP, being flexible on what ProjectBox ‘is’ to adapt to changing environments, being referred to by my peers as the Queen of Systems (a title I am happy to hold!).

What do you do to inspire women?

I share my story. I am very open in where I have come from, things I have been through, have done. Giving complete honesty in my triumphs and my failures. Nothing is covered up, I share all the nitty gritty of just what I’ve done, what I do, and what I myself aspire to. I show them that it is ok to fail and that everything is possible.

What inspirational qualities do you possess?

I lead by example. I don’t give up – I am persistent. I am incredibly passionate. I have courage! I have a zest for learning. But the biggest one? I am authentic.

What’s your advice for other women that may want to do what you do?

Be really clear on what it is you want to do, on what problems you want to solve. Make sure you have the cash flow or the means to access the cash flow as the first few years are so irregular – get comfortable with your numbers and also the fact that sometimes they are going to look mega scary! Find someone to hold you accountable, work out who you can rely on for support – sometimes your friends and family aren’t the best people to help keep you moving forward. Find your courage – you will need this! Just get started, don’t sit around all day wondering what if. If you strongly believe that you are capable and that you have the means, then just do it!

What’s the best advice you have received in business that you wish to pass on to Inspiring Women Today?

It’s not easy but you just have to keep going.

It’s such a straightforward statement, but one that so many of us take for granted. Just like our personal lives, business isn’t what it’s made out to be on social media. Yes, there are a bunch of success stories about people who found some magic solution to start turning over six or seven figures and these keep making their way into your news feeds but the reality is that those people are few and far between. For most of us, it’s a labour of love and a lot of hard work!

What do you do for fun/relaxation?

My daily routine for this is singing in the car, as soon as my daughter is at kindy, the windows go down and the stereo gets turned up….loud. I then sing my lungs out until I get to where I am going.

The other one is camping – I love nothing more than escaping from the house for a few nights, living off the basics and having a chance to just do nothing.

What’s the best way for our Inspiring Women Today members and blog guests to connect with you?

Come and connect with me on Facebook or LinkedIn – search for Pip Meecham. You can also email me at or feel free to give me a call on +61 420 679 812.

I was afraid before I realised it was my time – Latanya Farquharson, Toronto, Canada

Starting a business seemed so far in my periphery, now that it is a reality I felt empowered to share my story with the amazing women who are reading this right now. I can’t even begin to explain how fearful I was when I was inspired to start my business. I quit around 20 times before realizing that starting a stationery business was something I was meant to do. I would sit there and talk myself out of it to the point that it seemed like it just wasn’t something I was capable of. However, that lingering feeling in the back of my mind and the gentle nudge of my husband prompted me to look further into entrepreneurship and how my talent could impact the world.  

Fast-forward, I have been in business just about a year and being a business owner means freedom to me. Being a business owner gives me the ability to set my own hours, work as much or as little as I want and set my own salary. Being a business owner brings me great pride with the fact that I am able to create a life that I choose. I don’t think there is anything more empowering than owning your own business. I mean, don’t get me wrong, owning your own business is not a walk in the daisy field by any means, but having the chance to choose every day to do what you love and enjoy makes the hard days much easier and the great days even greater!

The reason I became an entrepreneur was mainly because I wanted more of an ability and capacity to give back. As a child, my mother was a single mother who sacrificed and strove to be the best mother possible. She was and still is. However, with young children, the community was so pivotal in assisting my mother to give my siblings and I all we needed. I remember one Christmas seeing so many gifts under the tree that I still remember it to this day! That was a community. So I promised to myself if I ever had the capability to give back that I would do it to the best of my ability. Entrepreneurship has allowed me to set my business up in a way that a portion of our proceeds is donated to a local Toronto company that engages young people across Canada who are navigating poverty and homelessness to pursue the Arts. Cool isn’t it?

Who has been your greatest influence in business and personal life and why?

My greatest influence in business/professional life would have to be my parents. Both of my parents arrived in Canada as immigrants from Jamaica and both created pathways for themselves in business; my mother in the corporate world and my father as an entrepreneur. My father owns a professional transport company that began as an individual moving company and he transformed it into a company that transports large ticketed items all around Ontario. His business is full time and fully sustainable. My mother worked in a large multi-national company in their HR department for over 12 years and was a V.I.P in her department. As a change of scenery, she now works with youth on an in-home basis as a mentor.

They by far are my biggest influences because they represent me personally on both sides of my spectrum. Currently, I work in the legal field in tax consulting however, I run my business on a part-time basis. It’s nice to be able to talk with them about their experiences and use their experiences to become a better all-around person. My mother has always been a generous person and I am so glad her generosity rubbed off on me to want to create a business that aims to give back in as many ways as possible.

What would you say is your greatest accomplishment to date?

My greatest accomplishment to date would definitely be making the decision to become a Christian. All of my life’s accomplishments after becoming a Christian I can 100% attribute to having strong Christian values and maintaining my faith. A close second would be accomplishing my goal of launching my business. My business was a thought for over 3 years before I decided in 2018 that I would officially launch.

What do you do to inspire women?

I carry myself with dignity and grace wherever I am. I inspire women by being unapologetically myself. In my opinion, inspiration doesn’t always have to be a planned conscious thing! It can be living your life the best way you know how and not being afraid to be vulnerable and share your fears and failures with the world. Let’s face it, sometimes things don’t work! Inspiring women through my failures and successes is something I think I do unintentionally but makes such a huge impact!

What’s your advice for other women that may want to do what you do?

My advice to the woman who wants to do what I do is to do your research! Research is very important before starting any business. The stationery business can be very lucrative if you niche yourself in something that you are passionate and talented at. For me, I have a wide imagination. Event and wedding stationery allows me to use my imagination when a client asks to have stationery created for a winter wonderland great Gatsby dinner party on a Tuesday night. My advice is to make sure you understand your market and how your unique talent can contribute to it. Saturation is very prevalent in the stationery market and knowing your talents makes it easier for you to “get in where you fit in”, and dominate of course!

What’s the best advice you have received in business that you wish to pass on to Inspiring Women Today?

“Instead of begging for a seat, build your own table”! – My translation, the longer you take to capitalize on your great idea the less time the world has to embrace it. If you have an amazing idea that you think the world should know about, don’t wait on someone to magically offer you a seat at the table, build a table and create opportunities for people who share the same vision as you.

What do you do for fun/relaxation?

  • I love to play soccer;
  • Pampering myself at the spa, self-love is important;
  • Travelling;
  • Netflix nights at home with my husband;
  • Holidays with my family.

About the Author

Latanya Farquharson is the lead graphic designer and owner at Elegantly Angeleta, a Toronto based boutique specializing in special event and wedding stationery. Latanya’s designs have been featured in Canadian Wedding magazines and Blogs and is called upon for her creative mind by wedding professionals in Canada. Latanya prides in the fact that she is able to wander off into the abyss and create stationery that is not always “cookie cutter”. She has a special interest in vintage, rustic and non-traditional designs.