I’m a Funny Introverted Vegan! – Heidi Lumsden – Australia

Who are you?

Hello! My name is Heidi, I’m a funny introverted vegan, empath who is 29 years young. I’m a Gemini, a photographer and homeschooling Mum of two, Melody 6 and Odin 18 months. I have had endometriosis, I’m engaged to be married to my aspergers partner of almost 10 years and we also have two beautiful fur babies. One of whom has cancer. Wow, writing this all down made me realise how badass I am. Everyday I fight for my happiness, my kids happiness, my health, and my (out of the ordinary) life choices. I wouldn’t say it’s ‘easy’ being me but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I was given this life for a reason and I won’t take it for granted.

What is your business?

I am what I like to call an artistic portrait photographer. Basically I turn people into a piece of art they can keep forever.

How long have you been in business?

I started taking photos professionally about 5 years ago when my daughter was about 1 year old. I have been a newborn photographer, pet photographer, boudoir, weddings, events, couples, family – you name it. Now I like to focus on artistic portraits, it’s where I can really let my creativity loose. I do still offer wedding and event photography but I’ve trained my partner to tackle those for me. He takes the photos and I edit them.

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

To be honest, it just kind of happened. I had been into photography for a small amount of time before I was gifted my first camera. That camera got me through some hard times. I choose to be a business owner now because of the flexibility. I can homeschool my children during the day while taking photos on the weekend and editing at night. It also gives me something that’s just for me that I enjoy, my art.

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

Lauren Bath. She was the very first travel photographer and influencer on instagram. She has inspired me the whole way. I still remember how I was so excited to meet her and how much I looked up to her and now she tells me how much she loves my photos and how I could teach her about portraits. She’s pretty amazing.

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

Being chosen as the photographer for Garage Ink Manor by Teneile Napoli who is a famous tattoo artist and another woman I look up to and admire. I was also given some amazing news that I can’t quite share yet.

What do you do to inspire women?

I’m not sure.

What inspirational qualities do you possess?

The fact that despite my chronic disease I never give up.

Whats your advice for other women that may want to do what you do?

Pick up the camera, take photos every day. Keep trying and know your worth.

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

Do your taxes.

What do you do for fun/relaxation?

Take photos, no seriously I love it. Spend quality time with my family, watch a Netflix series with my partner.

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

You can find me on Instagram:

The GFC was the best and worst time for me – Julianne Davies – Australia


If you had asked me 10 years ago what I would be doing in 10 years the answer would not be working as a professional direct seller selling high end anti ageing skin care and devices. I probably would have told you I would be managing a team of sales professionals in one of the 5 star hotels in Brisbane.

You see I had enjoyed an amazing and exciting career in tourism and hospitality spanning over an 18-year period. I loved working in the industry, it was exciting and the travel opportunities were amazing.. however life changed and when my son was born I faced the difficult decision – what to do about my career?

What I could not get past was how I was going to manage the juggle of working full time with a baby. At the time my son was born life was chaotic – my husband had just bought into the family electrical contracting business, we had just sold our family home and were building a new one and my employer at the time advised that going part time was not an option.

What was I to do? I loved what I did but I really could not see how it was all going to work, my job was not a typical 9-5 tick and flick role, there were industry events to attend, usually after normal business hours, breakfast meetings with clients, wining and dining of prospective clients .. how would I do all of that AND be a mum to a baby that did not understand tender deadlines or the importance of maintaining KPI’s.

So I made the decision to leave my career, deciding that raising my child and supporting my husband was the right thing to do for now.. I say for now because I knew that this was never going to be enough long term.

During that time the best and worst thing happened to us and that thing was the GFC – the Global Financial Crisis. It was devastating for my husbands business; over night the phones stopped ringing and the work dried up. It was also at the same time my husband decided to enlist the services of a business coach. This was by far the best thing that happened because during the coaching sessions we found out about LEVERAGED INCOME. I had never heard of it before and remember writing it down to Google later.

It was during this research on leveraged income – where you do the work once and you get paid repeatedly for doing that one piece of  work – that I discovered Direct Selling, or MLM (Multi – Level – Marketing) after reading the book by Robert Kiyosaki Business Of The 21st Century.

I had been first introduced to direct selling previously, but to be honest I thought that I was way too important with a real job to look at direct selling where you sold over priced products to your family and friends who really only bought from you once because they felt sorry for you.

Boy was I wrong! After doing some due diligence I realised that done well and choosing the right company, marketing the right products you can build a very successful business that requires no staff, no stock, can be built in any country where the distribution channel exists and could provide a lucrative income based on your individual efforts and the combined efforts of others AND it was the perfect business model for those seeking leveraged income.

I could not believe that I had dismissed this business model years previously because I was not open to new opportunities.. what an idiot.

Once I understood the model I then set out to partner with a direct selling business that ticked my boxes – I had to love the products, they had to be consumable – I wanted repeat business, they had to be unique and in demand – no use renting videos, look how that turned out for Block Buster, the company had to be rock solid and the financial rewards had to be there, I wanted to be well rewarded for my efforts and the sales team I was going to create.

Once I had decided on the company I then set out building a business, you see right from the get go I treated it like a business. I tracked my expenses and my income; I tested and measured my activities based on my results. Was it perfect – NO – is it rewarding – YES.

Now down the track I have a thriving and growing direct selling business. I successfully transferred all my existing and learnt some new sales and marketing skills, which I apply in my business today. I am still partnered with the same company I partnered with when I first joined the ranks of direct selling and to be honest life and business keeps getting better.

My greatest reward is helping men and women look and feel younger at every age but to also provide a partnership opportunity to create a new stream of income whether it be to by the extras in the weekly shop, or pay for the kids school fees or in my case replace my corporate salary working smarter not harder. Direct Selling is not for everyone but it is for me. My only regret is I had opened my eyes to the possibility sooner.

If you want to contact Julianne you can on the following:

Dream and Believe In Yourself – Tori Athanasia Nikolaou – Australia

I was born in Wollongong, NSW on 22 April, 1995.

I am of Aboriginal descent from my mother’s side of the family. I belong to the Worimi People from Taree, NSW and the Gambangirr People from Nambucca Heads, NSW. My Greek heritage comes from my father.

I have been brought up in a very cultural environment and am proud of my Aboriginal and Greek heritage.
As a little girl growing up with my older sister, Teisha Anastasia Lea, we watched out father Tony fly aeroplanes in the Kimberly’s, WA, Mt Isa, QLD, the Northern Territory, Wollongong, NSW and Greece. He has now been flying for Virgin Australia based in Brisbane for 15 years.

We lived in Greece for 6 years from 1998-2004 before we came to Brisbane. I found it very challenging living in a foreign country, learning the language and cultural customs. I am very fortunate to have the opportunity to have strong family values and embrace both my cultures.

I always had a dream to follow in my father’s footsteps and fly a big jet one day.

When I finished Year 12 at Lourdes Hill Girls School in Brisbane in 2012, I started my Student Pilot Licence at Redcliffe Aeroclub, but my health issues forced me to stop my training for a year. I had cysts on my lower spine and had multiple surgeries over a six-month period. Being a young female, it took a toll on my self-esteem and confidence. Walking around with a device stuck to my lower back to help prevent infection failed and two more operations later I slowly began to heal. I had to reassess my options whilst in constant lower back pain. After speaking with my parents about my passion to continue my dream of becoming a pilot I spoke to my mum and dad and my dad took me to the Gold Coast in October, 2016 to look at flying schools. Immediately I fell in love with Australian Wings Academy based at the Gold Coast Airport. The school had a reputation of providing elite support and individualised training to tailor each student at the school. I enrolled into Australia Wings Academy at Coolangatta on the Gold Coast in November, 2016.

To date I have obtained my Private Pilot Licence in May 2016, and recently my Commercial Pilot Licence in October 2017 with a Diploma of Aviation. I am still currently based at the school where I am finalising my Advanced Pilot Training Program and hope to finish in April this year. It has been very challenging overcoming some of the barriers especially in the flying industry. For instance, being a female in a male dominated industry. At times I have doubted my own ability to get through the gruelling study needed to get to this point.

I have learnt to do the best that I can do and by putting in the hard work I can succeed and believe in my dreams of one day flying a big jet and work around the world doing what I love.

I believe that a major factor in why and where I am today being by the support of my family, but also to prove to myself that there are no barriers in being female and being Aboriginal and Greek descent. I am surprising myself everyday with hard work and dedication, constantly teaching me that the sky has no limits for me in my professional but also personal abilities.

Dream and believe in yourself and they will come true.

My favourite saying is that, “There is always a second chance for everyone, you can start off bad but end good”.

A Strong Woman
Is one who feels deeply
And loves fiercely.
Her tears flow as abundantly
As her laughter.

She is both soft and powerful,
Is both practical and spiritual.

In her essence a Strong Woman
Is a gift to the world…

Mum Life – Work, Kids & Every In Between – Leanne Fuller – Australia

How did I come to work from home?

It is always an interesting journey when you become a mother and know that there is something more to life than working around the clock and trading time for money.

Naturally after the birth of my first daughter I looked for opportunities to work from home – I aligned with a network marketing company but I soon found that it wasn’t my true passion and within 5 months of Evie’s birth I had returned back to the workforce.

My personal life and career collided at lightning speed with the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s in my mother. I thought I had it all worked out with having my mum and sister looking after Evie while I went back to work. I felt torn working for money and in my career or giving up that freedom and flexibility to become a stay at home mum.

I tried unsuccessfully I might add at the time to be at home working a business I wasn’t truly passionate about and all the of demands of being a mum, sister and daughter. My mental health began to suffer and I felt like my identity was being stripped away. I was flailing around in every aspect of my life.

Soon after I returned back to nursing in hospitals and working night shift so that I could make money and still care for my daughter. This also naturally took a toll and we made a decision to send Evie to daycare. I got back into the groove and we found out we were expecting Audrey.

I worked up until 37.5 weeks pregnant because financially we needed the support of the money I was able to bring in.

Post pregnancy the days and nights blurred into one – but I knew importantly I didn’t want to repeat the history of my first post partum journey. I wanted to take control of my health – physically, mentally and financially. I lacked energy, ate almost everything I could get my hands on and lived off caffeine and sugar. I wasn’t turning up as the Mum or wife I wanted to be.

5 weeks after Audrey was born I contacted a good friend and asked her what she was doing.I had watched her journey for the best part of 2 years but knew I wanted a health solution.

So I started the cellular cleanse program I now can’t go a day without putting into my body. Within a week I had energy to burn, my body recalibrated from craving junk and processed foods I even went 21 days without a coffee.For anyone who knew me this was a miracle in itself. I started to sleep better and so did my baby.

It wasn’t just the physical transformation but the group of people who surrounded me – my sense of purpose soared.I was surrounded by positive and like minded people who pushed me to be the best version of myself and spiritually I also became a better person. I started to have faith and pray to God. On a personal level life was definitely not easy at the time post birth of Audrey and I am forever thankful for saying yes to putting myself first.

Naturally when I started to gain results I wanted to look at the business opportunity and knew that I was aligning with a company and products that I am truly passionate about.

I have a well balanced lifestyle with working my home business, spending quality time with my loved ones and have resumed nursing one day a week whilst I build up my business and a legacy I can be proud of developing for my children and generations to come.

About the Author

I am a Melbourne mum of 2 girls Evie 3 years,Audrey 7 months old and a stepson Dom who is 11.

I have always had a passion for caring for people and health and wellness. So it was natural for me to be drawn to my calling as a registered nurse in busy hospitals around Melbourne specialising in Emergency and Intensive Care.

However as with most careers although flexibility has always been an option it came at a cost to spending time with my children and husband.

You can contact Leanne on email at or visit her FaceBook page at


To think In One Split Second Your Entire Universe Can Change – Sally Cowman – Australia

To think in one split second of time that your entire universe can change is some what far fetched for most people. Gee I even use to think this too.

I thought time was on my side and deep down I really never thought that I would have an injury that would stop me from doing a sport I love so much, let alone stop my life as I knew it.

It was just like any day, I got up early to get out on my bike for training and headed out to meet the airport group ride. But that is all I can remember until my first recollection of being in hospital. My first memory of being in hospital was on the fourth day after my accident, which I found out later from talking with my mother about that time.

11th March 2007 is a date that will stay with me forever. My life was never going to be the same after this day and I like to think that everything happens for a reason or for the greater good for myself and others in some way, which is why I’m sharing my story with you.

Racing my bike was my world, it was everything I had set my sights on and I was hoping to race professionally for the years to come. On March 11th 2007 the universe had other plans for me. Well, at least I think so as I’m still here to plan:) I had a crash in a group ride which resulted in a collarbone fracture but also bleeding and swelling on my brain. My mother told me I spent four days in ICU and the rest of the weeks in another high dependency ward, I don’t remember any of that only three little moments and I only remember one of my visitor’s. But Mum assured me I had a lot of visitors and she said that my hospital room looked like a florist.

When I was out of hospital I still only remember little snippets but I do remember thinking, I need to focus on my recovery now and put the fact that this happened out of my mind and just get on with it. I had short term memory loss, double vision, slurred speech, numbness down my left side and balance issues. I had a constant migraine and I couldn’t do much but sleep (even that was painful) once I was out of hospital and sent home with my parents to have them look after me. It was a long road to recovery, taking roughly four and a half years until I felt I could live my life to my potential again. Not as an elite athlete but in general.

After all the positive mind training I did for my cycling racing for example NLP and Cognitive behavioural therapy, I had heard people use this for their recovery from all types of injuries. So I decided to do just that. It took a lot of dedication but for some reason I was so positive after this accident thinking that it would make me stronger, I think this was mostly from my sport psychology training I had done and I think that had set me up in the best way possible to recover. I also heard about neuroplasticity, which they call this a re-wiring of the brain. This is where an undamaged part of the brain takes over the function which was previously managed by the damaged area.

I was always quite upset when I came home from my rehabilitation appointments. At the first appointment that I can remember, we basically talked about writing notes and appointments down so it would be easier to remember things and I wouldn’t miss appointments like I had been doing. My doctor also told me I’d be able to ride to about 80% of my normal capacity in two years’ time, now that was very hard for me to hear. I’d never want to believe my doctor and I sure as hell tested everything he told me. I went and rode approximately 500kms the next week with great difficulty. I’d get to the coffee shop with the bunch and have to sit and compose myself while everyone got coffee. I couldn’t see clearly, would have a throbbing migraine and my left arm and leg were extremely numb. Friends would ask if I’m ok but I’d just say yes, as I got to learn that most people wouldn’t know how to respond  if I told them the truth, which is fine, I just think the awareness isn’t there about brain injury. After this week of riding I had to spend the next week in bed, I had a constant migraine, blurred vision and vomiting. So, the doctor was right.

When I was attending another rehabilitation appointment is when my doctor told me that I would loose my balance if I kept pushing hard while exercising when my left arm and leg went numb. Of course I had to test this too. I was careful about it and didn’t test it while I was out on the road but the first time I tried to push it was on the ergo (indoor trainer). I couldn’t really go too hard on the bike anyway as I’d get a migraine almost instantly but I tried to do some efforts and I got through them ok. But as the day went on things were spinning and I felt a bit off. I went to college that night and just got home, I was pegging some washing out on the line and I lost my balance and fell onto the verandas railing. A few days later I kept going in a swimming session when my arm and leg felt really numb, it felt really strange in moving my arm at this point and I got out of the pool and over I went. So I knew the doctor was right and what a clever man to know that, I thought back then.

Funnily enough the next time I saw my doctor was after I had my first fall off my bike since my big accident. He was entering into Paddy Pallin, where they were kind enough to let me work a couple of days a week during my recovery. I had a sling on from the fall as I had partially torn my rotator cuff in my shoulder and my doctor started shaking his head. I said quickly, I didn’t hit my head so it’s ok! My doctor was getting some equipment for a holiday he had coming up but oh what a coincidence that he had to come into the shop on that day!  I said to my doctor, oh and by the way, you are right! I do loose my balance when I keep pushing the exercise when my arm and leg go more numb. He said “Well, I’d like to think so after my years of research”. But he also had a bit of a smile on his face.

So after the specialist told me he didn’t know if my balance issue would resolve and if I’d be able to fully race again, this is the same attitude I took to it. I tried as I wanted to prove that wrong, like everything else even though the doctor was right before, but this time he wasn’t sure himself and there was that doubt which meant that’s a possibility to me that I can get better.

After reading about neuroplasticity and other books about the brain. I set on re-wiring mine, I raced club racing and pulled out before the last lap most weeks and of course pushed it too hard at times and had some very close calls but I was cautious as I didn’t want to put others at risk of being hurt if I fell. I also practised visualisation, where I imagined I was able to complete a race with no balance problems. Eventually I was able to complete the last lap and sprint and was back to winning the A grade women’s at the club racing, it was a hard road but I got there in the end and my neurologist gave me the clearance to race in open races, that means state and national events. That was around the end of 2009 so only 2 years and 8 months after the accident that resulted in brain injury. I was over the moon and the Cronulla Criterium was in three weeks! So I set my sights on doing that. I also was able to compete in my first State championship since the accident, which we won! But I also had a very rocky road afterwards.

I still had a long way to go in my recovery at this point but I never gave up and I tried to be as positive as I could about the experience. I received a scholarship to study a business and marketing diploma the year after my accident and from using my brain when it was very hard to, really helped in my recovery and my doctors even said how amazing the recovery I had made. I never really believed this until I started my nursing degree and then went back to read my discharge summary from hospital and then understood the medical terminology of my brain injury and the extent of the bleeds. I thought WHOA! I have made a massive recovery when you look at the statistics.

I have just completed my first year of nursing looking after other people with brain injury and from my personal experience I felt this gave me a real understanding to help and provide support in the best way possible. I want every one with brain injury and anyone for that matter to know the anything is possible and to always have hope. If I was that unwell and can recover to almost 100%, Then that is a darn miracle!, no one that sees me or talks to me can tell I’ve had a brain injury. I have learnt through this experience to never give up and that using my brain to study and do mind training/exercises was the key factor in me recovering so well, I will always do some sort of study now because I know this. When people say use it or you will lose it, certainly rings true to me. If I can get through this, I now know I can get through anything and you can too!

About the author

Growing up in Brisbane Queensland, I started cycling racing when I was eight years old. I fell in love with the sport and set my sights on being the best I could be. I won my first state championship shortly after starting in the sport, going on to win a junior national championship and placing 7th in the World under 19 championship time trial in 2002. After having a great 2006 season racing in Europe with the Australian Institute of Sport and an Italian professional team, and competing in races such as world cups and Tour de laude (France) my cycling career was cut short when I had an accident in a training race which resulted in bleeding on the brain. After nearly 5 years on I felt I was recovered enough to live life to my potential again. After knowing how terribly hard it is to have injury to the brain, I developed a compassion for anyone going through brain injury, stroke and people with similar symptoms that come from these medical conditions. With this compassion came the want to help others going through this, so I started a bachelor of Nursing in 2013 with this goal. I reached my goal and worked my graduate year as a registered nurse in a neurology unit. I am aiming to get back into cycling racing but mainly as a hobby now but I will always ride for fitness and fun.

I’m So Glad I Did it My Way Because I’m Here To Tell The Story – Anni Diamond – Australia

This is not just another cancer story. 1 in 2 Australians will be faced with this disease.

How did I attract this disease? Well nearly 20 years ago my husband had an accident which left him with an acquired brain injury, which years later manifested into dementia. Years and years of grieving for a stranger and feeling total resentment for having my life ripped away from me took its toll on my body. Life as we knew it was gone. We had to find a new normal. Losing our income and having to make every decision on every topic, from finance, to meal planning, to entertainment, to raising a family, rehabilitating my husband, to generating income and everything in between wore my body down.

After my husband’s accident, I was forgotten. Suddenly it was all about him. All our friends would be asking how he was. No one thought to ask how I was. Probably a good thing that they didn’t, because I was slowly dying inside and if someone had asked me how I was, I would have let rip.

On the outside, it looked like I was coping, but on the inside I was screaming out for help. There’s no book that tells you how to navigate brain injury let alone dementia. Constantly living on adrenaline and emotions played havoc with my immune system until eventually my body couldn’t fight for its own life. On November 23, 2013 I was told I had Colorectal Cancer.

Stage IV with lung mets. I had to find a way to live with this inconvenient disease while I found ways to heal my body and look after my husband who was diagnosed with dementia one month before my diagnosis. I did not want mainstream intervention. I wanted adjunctive/alternative therapies.

I’m so glad I did it my way because I’m here to tell the story. I’ve seen many of my cancer buddies come and go. Many of my cancer buddies who chose conventional medicine, died before their time, not from the disease, but from the treatment. That was not going to be me. The mental gymnastics one goes through to stay sane and keep moving forward is unbelievable. I often ask myself how I have kept it all together.

Cancer is about living, not dying.

I researched, I interviewed doctors and practitioners from different corners of the globe all the while looking for answers. There are amazing therapies available and also tests that you can have (not in Australia) that can tell you exactly what will cause apoptosis or the cancer cells. Having all of this information was paramount to me getting on with the job of healing, keeping my family from falling apart with fear and running my small business. I needed to have income to pay for my treatments. Because I chose not to have the traditional poison that our current system offers, there is no Medicare rebate, nor does my private health fund “coff” up any funds. You are totally on your own with this and if the disease doesn’t kill you, the financial stress of the disease just might.

The saddest part of this disease is that if you buck the system and choose to do it the way I’ve done it, people use up all their money just to stay alive, and then when you kick it’s arse, you have nothing left except your health. No house, no super and no money in the bank. The stress of that alone, could set off cancer. I have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars saving my bones.

Cancer has been a gift in many ways. It has taught me so much about myself and about others. Cancer is not a journey, it’s a marathon and you need to become a warrior.

This marathon you are running requires constant navigation. I treated this disease like I ran my business. I had a plan and executed it, but was prepared to tack into the wind and make changes when necessary. Having cancer set me on a different path. I was getting calls from strangers asking me what I was doing to be well. So I shared with those that wanted to listen.

Today, my small business looks very different from the business I had before the disease. I don’t have all the answers, but after 4 years of keeping myself healthy and well I certainly know a thing or two about this disease and more importantly, I know what I would do to prevent it in the first place.

I now offer electro lymphatic drainage and thermography in my business.

Sending healing hugs to all the readers.


About the Author

Anni Diamond is a mother, carer, business owner and cancer thriver. She lives on the Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia. Her life has been a roller coaster ride of business success and failures. From the first chain of health clubs in Australia with her husband in the 1980’s, to becoming the largest private provider of education in the country, making BRW’s list of top Australian exporters in the 90’s, having 13 local colleges and being a leader in education for overseas students. In 2015 Anni was inducted into the Australian Beauty Industry Hall of Fame. Anni is passionate about sharing her strategies for success, but more than this found her voice after a diagnosis of Stage IV colo rectal cancer. She was only offered palliative chemo and radiation, which she didn’t want. This led Anni on a new journey of searching for her own cure using adjunctive/alternative therapies and sharing that knowledge with those that are open to receiving it.

All I wanted was an Education and to Stand on My Own Two Feet – Anna Thomas – Australia

The first time I experienced sexism was at the hands of my mother. I grew up in Richmond, Melbourne where my parents ran the local MCG  pub and my mother imported shoes. My mother had a strong

belief that girls should not be educated. Instead, our ‘duty’ was to be ‘barefoot and pregnant’ and this caused friction in the household between us when I was growing up because all I wanted was an education and to be able to stand on my own two feet.

Due to her belief that education was wasted on girls my mother attempted to take me out of school when I was in year 11. I fought to stay and thankfully my grandmother supported me in my quest to earn an education and finish high school which I did.

When I was 19, Mum kicked me out of home and I have supported myself ever since, working multiple jobs to put myself through university where I studied and completed a Bachelor Degree in Social Science. My grandmother, through helping me to stay in school and encouraging me to go to university, was the first experience I had of female empowerment. Her actions and support changed my life.

Without this experience, I don’t believe I would be as passionate about female empowerment as I am today and I thank my mother for this learning as it enabled me to pursue something I really care about. Since graduating from university I’ve run large teams in a variety of industries and established my own consulting, recruitment and training company which I ran for over four years. My clients included Telstra, CBA, Crazy Johns, Australian Air Express, Origin Energy, Officeworks, Nokia and Siemens amongst others.

I’ve worked in banking, technology, insurance and am now the Chief Operating Officer of real estate franchise, Stockdale & Leggo, a role I took on in 2012. In this role I am responsible for setting the strategic direction for Stockdale & Leggo. This involves setting and holding the vision, developing the growth strategy, ensuring we have the right technology infrastructure and rolling out innovative group marketing strategies which achieve cut through in a tough industry.

I am great at leading, mentoring and managing people and genuinely love feeling like I am making a difference. We have just over 1000 people in the overall group and I take that responsibility very seriously. It is a great privilege to be at the forefront of such an incredible company, working daily with many people I now call friends.

Due to my own disempowered childhood, I am incredibly passionate about empowering women in real estate and have worked to equalise the playing field within our own network by setting a goal of having 50/50 ratio of male and female franchisees by 2020 (currently we are at 20/65) which is a significant improvement from when I commenced, when we had only 3 female franchisees.

Having seen and experienced first hand the lack of support for women within the industry, I decided to establish a community which holds an annual event to inspire, motivate and support women within the real estate industry to step confidently into more senior roles and in the process take control of their own financial future. ‘Empowered Women in Real Estate’ is a movement, which holds one of the industry’s few women’s only events, designed to inspire and empower women into believing in themselves and chasing their dreams.

This event also raises money for charity through a silent auction where prizes are donated by sponsors and all money raised is given to a nominated charity. This initiative also helps dispel the industry’s gender wage disparity and raise awareness and support for women in the workplace. I reached out to some heavy hitters to establish further support including Domain, Westpac, Audi and Deloitte Private which has helped awareness spread more quickly. I’ve also now established an EWIRE Committee with some prominent female leaders from within and outside the industry to help push the movement and its mission forward.

My passions outside of my work are my two children and my husband. We live on 22 acres just outside of Melbourne and we grow our own fruit and vegetables, with two dogs, one kitten and 12 chooks. I play basketball with my son Will regularly and have started running again. I used to be a triathlete when I was younger but after getting married, having two children and taking on the COO role, I had not made this a priority however this has changed recently after a health scare.

In 2018 I’m focused on spending more time with my family and growing the Stockdale & Leggo franchise, continuing on with my role as Brand Ambassador for Empowered Women in Real Estate and hoping to positively influence the industry as a whole.

About the Author

Anna Thomas is the Chief Operating Officer of major Australian real estate network, Stockdale & Leggo. She was recognised as a Telstra Business Women’s Awards Finalist in the Corporate and Private Award in 2016, a 2017 Finalist in the Real Estate Business Awards ‘Industry Thought Leader of the Year’ Award and a Bronze Stevie winner in the Woman of the Year category in the 2017 International Business Awards.

She is also the Founder and Brand Ambassador of the ‘Empowered Women in Real Estate’ initiative, a community empowering women to believe in themselves and step forward into leadership roles.

For further information, interviews or speaking engagements, please contact Chiquita Searle e: p: 0423 686 380






Divorce is Never Easy! – Joie Serrano – Australia

Everyone’s divorce story is different. Everyone’s coping mechanism differ from one another. But the one common denominator in these stories is the emotional wallop almost everyone experienced. If you are experiencing divorce right now. My heart goes out to you. I know the heart rending pain it could bring. I know about divorce. I am a divorcee too.

My ex and I had trouble synchronising. We just didn’t mesh. We just didn’t fit. As hard as I tried to deny it, my marriage was irreparable. Divorce was inevitable. Despite the widespread familiarity of the effects of divorce however, it didn’t prepare me nor helped minimised the onslaught of pain and grief. I was devastated. Faced with depth and breadth of the loss of my hopes and dreams is probably one of the most challenging aspects of my humanity. My world reeled.

Life has just thrown me a curve ball and I had no choice but to accept it. My world collapsed all around me as the process unfolded. I was in such a low ebb as it launched me into uncharted territory and disrupted my very identity. I found myself going through the motion as I struggled to create a comforting sense of structure and normalcy in my life. I dragged myself to work to
maintain a semblance of life order.

It was tough but I need to do it for my little one and to maintain my sanity. I exhausted myself physically. I tired myself so
strongly that at the end of the day I had no more energy left to think about my worries. I allowed myself to freely mourn my loss. I sobbed away my pain, but jealously guarded my thoughts. I know a certain amount of anger and bitterness is justified, but I didn’t let it beat me up. I didn’t want to get stuck in anger. I didn’t hold a grudge thinking that, why should I – while I am being angry, the other person is out there partying! I forced myself to stop playing and replaying scenes from the split which I was wont to do during the first few weeks.

I tried to slam a door in my mind every time an inner voice would pester me with what ifs and & if only’s. It became like a game of mind over matter to me. It was a tall order but I eventually forced myself to do it. Through the haze of pain and even at my lowest, I tried to maintain my faith that, “there is always light at the end of the tunnel”, faith that, “this too will pass”. I kept repeating these beliefs and it eventually became my mantra.The empowering repetition of my mantra helped reinforced my belief that there is indeed a silver lining somewhere in all these darkness.

It has helped sustained me. In hindsight, I don’t think I would ever get to where I am now though, without God and my healthy, strong support system composed of Jean my boss, my family and friends. As divorced rocked my life, I sought solace in God. Jean, my family and my friends became my anchor. But even as I struggled to rise out of my slough of respond and tried to
stay afloat , I never lost of the possibilities ahead.

I am confident that I am a veritable tough girl. I can do it. I tried to get a grip on myself and promised that I will rebound from divorce. That, I will never allow myself to fall in the wayside nor crumble under the weight of the transition. I pulled myself into the moment as I slowly psyched myself into recovery, made myself adapt into my new singledom and tried to live in the present. Slowly, I regained control of my life and developed a positive mindset. I began my personal transformation too as I
committed to fully own my humanity.

Compared to most people i know I am pretty slack on the exercising front. But with my renewed psyche, going to the gym became easy and fun. I went on a diet. Had my hair colour changed and went on a shopping spree. I dated. Yes, I dated. LOL.I felt good about myself. And as I stirred myself towards rebuilding my world, i felt that had finally regained possession and control of myself and my destiny.

My divorce was recently this year. I felt twinges of regrets for what might have been but I felt a greater sense of pride in what I had accomplished in so short a time. Today, I am still a full-time nurse but I also rediscovered and have reconnected with passions I have set aside. I went back to modelling and professional singing and became a bona fide radio broadcaster of 4EB, a digital radio broadcasting.

Early this year I joined a TV Reality and Modelling Competition which paved the way to my representing Australia in the Ms.Megaverse Competition at the Dominican Republic this coming December. On top of these I am now the Marketing Executive of Ms. Earth Australia. I am by no means in my final destination but I know I am in a good place. My journey was not easy but it was a wonderful learning and unlearning experience.

Life is beautiful!!!

About the Author

Joie Serrano is a single mum with a beautiful daughter, she has been divorced for 2 years now.

She works full time as a Nurse in Wesley Mission Queensland, and also works as a Marketing Executive of Miss Earth Australia, Radio Broadcaster for 4ebm 98.1 /Digital Radio Brisbane. She is also the current Ms. Megaverse AU 2017 and will be representing Australia later in 2017 at the Dominican Republic for the World Finals of Megaverse. She is also a professional Musician and a Runway Model.

This is ME! Real & Raw – Renate Halleen – Australia

I grew up in Melbourne with a half brother and sister. My mother was not a nice person as was my step father too.

I endured years of child sexual assault, child abuse and drugs. Being the eldest child I took charge of nurturing my younger siblings, trying to protect them also.

My mother giving me drugs on most occasions to serve her husband and later most males that visited or stayed. Beaten by her If I stepped out of line, the house had to be clean, the food had to be cooked, the younger siblings needed attention.

At just 12 my mother took off with a new boyfriend, took my sister but left me behind, she left me with him.

At 14 my mother came for me, I was excited that she did, took me away from him, but I was quickly treated badly again. I left with a hairline fracture to my temple and a very swollen face. I was placed in a woman’s remand centre to protect me from my mother.

I asked to be placed as a state ward, I did not want her to be anywhere near me, or her boyfriends and male friends. I was told I was too dumb, too stupid and no one will ever like you. I am lazy, all I ever did was try with all my heart.

I kept trying to go to school, I was told in year 9 to leave I will never make it, and like before “Im dumb”. I didn’t want to do cooking or sewing, I wanted to fix cars, and to do wood working, but I’m a stupid girl, too dumb, too silly.

I left school, I rebelled against everyone, took off from the children’s hostel and formed a relationship, a boyfriend, a violent abuser and …… so was the next one.

I was pregnant at 15 and then gave birth at just 16 years old.

Through all the domestic violence, rape, child abuse, child sexual assault, through all this crap. The constant verbal and physical and spiritual abuse, I am not lazy, I am not dumb, I am Intelligent, I just took the wrong turn as I didn’t know any better.

I have since been diagnosed with Idiopathic Hypersomnia, Hyperkinetic ADHD, Acquired brain injury and PTSD.

I have never been an addict, I have educated myself with schooling or hospitality training. I also have other training and skills, I have learnt many lessons along the way, I got knocked down, I got back up again and again.

One thing for certain, I have always felt as though I am a healer and also I wanted to help.

I help out with certain charities such as, Support the Girls Australia. Where ever I can, I give my time and my healing hands to heal and nurture. I love what I do, It’s my calling……

I am now a fully qualified Remedial massage therapist. I graduated and I have a Diploma and I’m proud of ME, I am ME !

About the Author

From the age of 15 I have tried to educate myself from different schools and training facilities. I loved cooking for a time and even part owned a coffee shop.

With 5 grown sons and a lot of life’s experience under my belt especially dealing with ADHD.

I also enjoy and encourage good health, good food, make and use bath bombs and Magnesium creams etc. for the relief of muscle cramps, pain, and to just relax. People don’t realise how depleted they are of this crucial mineral.

I now have a new business and a new direction, A tight Knot massage and Alternative Therapies.

You can contact Renate on 0405 030 968 or by her Facebook page

You Too can Thrive at Seventy Five! – Lyn Traill – Australia

“I am a late sizzler.” That’s what I wrote in my book “Sizzling at Seventy”. Now I believe that I have proved that not only can you sizzle, you can absolutely thrive at seventy-five. I thought my life was wonderful at seventy and made a smug statement in my book that, as a reformed victim, I felt that I could cope with anything life threw at me. Well, life decided to check me out and threw me the biggest curve ball of all.

Following on from some unwise relationship choices, in my early sixties I met the love of my life and I thought I had found my ‘happy-ever-after’. We had a wonderful, enriching marriage and he was the icing on the cake for someone who had worked hard to crawl out of victimhood and kick some pretty impressive goals. I had no idea what lay ahead.

I became a teacher because I hated every day of my school life and wanted to prove that education can be enjoyable for everyone if individual differences are acknowledged. The school system never suited me and I was excited in my forties, to be given a year on full pay to go to university, which added to my qualifications in special education. This was my opportunity to assist teachers to bring out the best in students who, like me, didn’t fit the system. I’d be lying if I said that everything I tried was a success, but I was able to implement many successful breakthroughs. Always driven by my passion, it was during this time that I wrote a published series called, “Thinking Sideways”, which was inspired by Howard Gardner’s notion of different intelligences. Other published works reflected strategies to help students get the most out of language. I was on a roll, but hadn’t been prepared for the resistance I encountered along the way. If I had only had the confidence afforded to me now, I would not have let others push me down because I now know that I was on the right track. There were some fabulous experiences in education but after a particularly nasty spate of bullying, I retired from education at the age of fifty-five to begin the next important journey.

I took on a business partner and created a Registered Training Organisation, Traill Blaze Communications. I thought that as an educational consultant, I had so much experience in training, but of course, once again there were many challenges. I have no regrets and am so grateful for the steep learning curve. My thirst for learning stood me in good stead and I undertook many courses in my desire to serve clients. Becoming accredited in all Human Synergistics diagnostic tools was a useful ploy and we managed to build up a strong clientele.  I learnt how to ‘fake it till you make it’, but, sometimes I found it difficult. An early contract we had with an engineering company, proved to be challenging. I overheard a rather arrogant man say, “Women are allowed to be smart as long as they are ugly.” Apparently, I wasn’t ugly enough! It just made me more resolute to do my absolute best.

Early on I began to realise that although our clients asked for consultation, most of which entailed common sense answers, it wasn’t sustainable. Instead of being told what to do, I realised they needed coaching to make their own decisions. This lead me to undertake several coaching courses, the most valuable being the Graduate Diploma of Ontological Coaching, which was both personally and professionally life changing. My business partner had long moved away and I went on alone, apart from two years as a director in a training college.

There were some personal traumas, but once again, I am so grateful that I became stronger and at last stepped into my true self. I was no longer a victim and began to believe that I had something to offer the world. This made such a difference because, where previously I had compromised in relationships, I now felt good enough to attract something better. In fact, by this time I didn’t need anybody in my life, I was happy on my own. Then I met my lovely Mick. I talk about the miracle of that in my book. At the end of the book he was very much alive and my life was amazing. Six months later he was taken with a melanoma and brain tumour. I was unprepared, not only for the grief of losing my beloved, who had inspired me to write the book, but I reeled from the behaviour of some who dealt with his death in unexpected ways which impacted mightily on my mental health. I have learned so much from the next terrible eighteen months and see them as valuable.

So much has happened since then. I feel I have much to offer in assisting women in their search for wholeness and I love this work. I love to speak, I love to coach and I love to write. How lucky I am to be able to have the opportunity to do all three. I truly believe, with all my experience, that once you have your vision, you do all you can, and then watch the miracles happen. I had no idea that life could be so fabulous and I know that it is absolutely possible to thrive at seventy-five. It is never too late to find your ‘fabulous’.

About the Author

Alongside a successful career as an educational consultant, author, and training director of a leading vocational college, Lyn has been in demand as a management consultant since 1997, specialising in executive coaching, culture analysis and customised training.  More recently she works one on one with her intuitive coaching practices which include regression therapy and ontological (way of being) strategies. Her book, “Sizzling at Seventy – Victim to Victorious” has proved to be helpful to many and is being republished. It is available on Amazon or on Lyn’s website.

Lyn’s warm and perceptive personality allows her to easily engage and encourage people. Her passion and humour are infectious, allowing others to feel readily at ease. She is available for one on one coaching, group coaching and speaking.

Contact Lyn on 0407 131 474 or email Lyn at or visit her website