Queensland Voices Tanya Meessmann Founder Girl Shaped Flames

Queensland Voices: Tanya Meessmann, Girl Shaped Flames

Tanya Meessmann founded Girl Shaped Flames, a social enterprise dedicated to developing confidence, courage, and entrepreneurship awareness in teenage girls from Grades 7-12. This is done by facilitating opportunities for Queensland girls to connect with strong, positive female role models who come from a wide variety of backgrounds, across diverse range of careers.

Tanya was driven to start Girl Shaped Flames after noticing a concerning trend in the young female graduates who came to work for her in her then corporate career. While generally they were friendly, positive and eager to learn, they were also crippled by a lack of self-belief, confused about their career pathway, and scared to fail. They would hold back from taking up exciting opportunities, second-guess their instincts and diminish their own capabilities. After mentoring a number of young women throughout her career, she saw the rich and immediate benefit that they took from her mentoring.

Girl Shaped Flames has been running since August 2017 and in that time has engaged 2200+ teen girl and parent participants and connected them with 165 Extraordinary Women role models.

If we expect our girls to head into underrepresented fields, take pride in ambition and drive to reach their full potential, then Tanya believes it’s our responsibility to prepare them. Most importantly we need to show them that we believe in them. And that we’re here to fan their flames into infernos. To be the futures across our state and on the world stage!


Creating something that genuinely and positively impacts each person, helping schools enhance their girls’ development beyond standard curriculum.

Taking Girl Shaped Flames into the regions, so all Queensland girls have equal access to the program.

Pursuing a career finally fuelled by purpose, setting aside security and comfort while raising a young family, to dedicate my energy to something I believe in.


I was born in Mackay, grew up in Yeppoon, and was educated on the Gold Coast. Beyond the important lifestyle aspects, including an abundance of natural spaces, Queensland offers a state-wide community. No matter where you go across the Sunshine state people are supportive, welcoming, and offer immediate trust and positivity.

I was impressed upon returning from working overseas by the incredibly high calibre of talent, companies and initiatives in place, operating a global level from the comfort of their wrap-around balcony. Queensland continues to prove itself to be a world player, and I am proud to be able to raise my children here and show them a life that’s both ambitious and balanced.


To shape the strongest, most confident, skilled and determined generation of teenage girls that the state has ever seen.

I want to build a tribe of courageous young women. To encourage them earlier in their careers to positions of leadership. To have them build their careers here and abroad, but to bring their skills back and grow and invest back into Queensland. I dream of a time when every teenage girl wakes up with the fire in her belly burning bright and strong. Determined to find and follow what she is passionate about, put her skills to use, and believe she not only can achieve what she puts her mind to, but that she has as much right to do so as anyone else.


“If you don’t ask, the answer is no.” I’ve turned to that advice for guidance, when I need help to keep moving forward and grow. And to have the courage to make a decision that would take me out of my comfort zone, but toward something potentially great. As a gender, we’re not conditioned to ask for things. Yet those who have made the greatest impact and progress have done so through initiative and collaboration.


Queensland is built by amazing Queenslanders. Every day women in Queensland are taking action to make Queensland safer for women, to help women’s health and wellbeing, to build women’s economic security and to increase women’s participation in the workforce and female leadership. Femeconomy is showcasing 20 women from across Queensland that are delivering the Queensland Government’s Women’s Strategy. 

Queensland Voices


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Posted by Jade Collins - Femeconomy Director

Jade Collins has 20 years’ global experience in corporate executive Human Resources and management consulting roles in the Mining, Energy and Aerospace industries, leading large scale, complex multi-million-dollar change management programs. Jade finds the combination of her HR, Psychology and MBA qualifications and her leadership experience is invaluable for increasing gender equality in leadership across industries. Jade was a member of the Queensland Government's Strategic Advisory Group for the Toward Gender Parity: Women on Boards Initiative and the 2019 CQU Alumni of the Year for Social Impact for her work with Femeconomy.