press progress

Short Stories that Press for Progress Issue 2

Imagine being one of Australia’s first female lifeguards. Or, walking out of your home on a canefield in the middle of the night to escape a life and a marriage that wasn’t for you. How about becoming non-technical founders of a business whose sole purpose is to help correct the gender pay gap, by helping women access more opportunities in the gig economy. Or, backing yourself and using your intellectual property to help other businesses grow, instead of feeling like you and your family are owned by a corporation.

Every one of the female leaders in our community has pressed for progress in their own lives.

They haven’t existed, they have lived. Through their lived experience, they are determined to help others press for progress. Whether that’s helping women become financially independent and successful, using art to explore new ways of thinking to solve the world’s biggest problems or developing an app to save you time. Enjoy these short stories of how some of our female leaders have pressed for progress to celebrate the theme of International Women’s Day.

Helen Russo, Life-First Financial Strategist, Encompass Wealth Financial Planning

Helen Russo, Encompass Wealth FInancial PlanningI started my own business so that I could be true to my values and beliefs around the delivery of financial advice. Particularly, the importance of thoughtful, compassionate client-centred relationships based on honesty, integrity and trust. In my own business I am accountable to my clients, not the vested interests of employers or organisations. Only 23% of financial advisers are women. Of that about 5% are actual client facing advisers. The rest work in an administrative capacity. As a fellow female I understand the challenges of female discrimination on so many levels and how this impacts lives.

I am consciously aware of and concerned about the challenges that face women on a daily basis. Work, care giving, parenting, being alone (due to divorce or death of a partner) and financial difficulties.

My business helps women. I work from a place of emotional intelligence supported by strong technical skills, ongoing training and study. My business provides women with supportive and life changing financial advice taking into account all their personal and financial circumstances. I am the shoulder they can lean on and the hand that’s held because I understand. I have had my own challenges as a woman. It has shaped how I run my business, provide advice and look after my clients. I partner with women to help navigate the journey of their financial life. Taking them from where they are now to where they want to be, through education, life coaching support and financial strategy. I provide all encompassing whole of life planning taking into account emotions, preferences, health and well being to attain their wealth.

Nikki Jenkinson and Angela McKenzie, Co-Founders and Directors, Cahlia

Nikki Jenkinson and Angela McKenzie Cahlia

We started Cahlia for a number of reasons. Personally we were looking for flexibility, control over our future, and a way to contribute to the world in a more meaningful way. Professionally, we had a front row seat to that changing employment landscape with the emergence of the professional gig economy, and we could see the gap in the market that our business would provide a solution for. We knew after significant market research and our corporate experience that women, business, and the economy would benefit from what we created. We are both passionate about changing the way of work. We support skilled, experienced and professional women across the country to access meaningful work, and businesses to tap into this incredible talent pool who are productive and outcomes focused.

The future of work is a work anywhere model that is flexible, holistic, and project based. Perfect for women and the needs of corporate Australia.

Cahlia connects skilled and experienced female consultants with meaningful projects to support the growth of their businesses.  Our consultant community is also connected with each other, with the tools, templates and resources they need to set up their businesses, and a genuine support network to tackle the challenges of working independently. Large and medium businesses use Cahlia to seek the best pre-vetted female consultants across the country.  As market leaders we also provide insight and market leading research in the areas of engaging and leveraging female consultants in the gig economy; including pricing, engagement models, positioning, ROI and broader workforce planning. By connecting women with project opportunities (essentially acting as their BD Manager), we have created a channel that assists in the sustainability of female consulting businesses and the ability for females to access consulting as a viable career choice.

Fiona Damon, Mindset and Business Coach, Elite Coaching

Fiona Damon Elite CoachingI worked in corporate for many years. I invested countless hours and long nights into attaining multiple degrees and impressive job titles with impressive companies. After giving birth to our amazing daughter, I went back to work when Amelia was 10 months’ old. She went to daycare and I went straight back into a high demand role. Whilst I loved the challenge of the role, success no longer had the same feeling, compared to the time I was missing with my family. I was ticking the “Super Woman” box. But, I knew something was missing.

Once the project I was leading was delivered, I made a choice. I chose to make a difference in a different way. I knew that I had valuable skills and knowledge which I could share with other business owners. Elite Coaching was born. Now I empower business owners to create change and grow their business in a sustainable way, without requiring “just more hours on the tools”.

I have flexibility in my own business to manage being a Mum, a wife, a sister, and a woman who can have it all.

At Elite Coaching, we work with business owners who are committed to take their business to its next level of success. And it’s so much more than that. Any business will only grow as much as the owner does. One of my longest standing clients is a business owner who has created a niche business with an all-women team. It’s an established business and has had its fair share of challenges. Whilst the business was generating revenue and had a steady stream of customers, its financials did not reflect the potential of the business. When I first started working with the owner, she wasn’t even paying herself a wage. Through working with Elite Coaching, she has developed more than business acumen. She has developed the self-confidence and given herself the permission to treat her business like a real business. She no longer sees “profit” as a swear word. Her business expansion and longevity means she can work with even more clients and employ even more staff. This is one of the many success stories Elite Coaching is proud to continue being a part of.

Dr Cathryn Lloyd, Director, Maverick Minds

BLOG IMAGE Dr Cathryn LLoydI have a long relationship working at the intersection of arts and business, which essentially is creativity. Establishing Maverick Minds was my response to bringing creativity, business and arts together. To help others shift their thinking, gain new perspectives and create positive change. Maverick Minds continues to evolve. It is a work in progress as I deepen my practice and understanding of these dynamic arenas.

I listen deeply to get to the heart of what matters. To understand people’s motivation and intention. I support and challenge my clients thinking, and ways of being in the best possible way. Creativity is our greatest resource and needs to be cultivated along with courage if we want to create meaningful change. Maverick Minds helps people to focus on this vital human capability and to value it.

Fabiola Gomez, Founder and Visionary, LUXit

BLOG FEATURE IMAGE Fabiola Gomez LUXit 20170502I founded LUXit to streamline and elevate the mobile beauty industry, supporting our clients and freelance artists who sought a service that regulated a process that can often be so tricky to navigate. LUXit is also about love for self, and premium service provided on demand by our LUXit Partners who are so passionate about what they do.

LUXit facilitates the lives of women across Australia, allowing beauty appointments to fit into their varied schedules and lifestyles seamlessly. And, the women working with us as LUXit Partners are now offered another stream of income to focus on their skill and develop their craft with a supportive team behind them.

Nikki Casey, Personal Stylist and Image Consultant, Nikki Casey Consulting

Nikki Casey Personal Stylist and Image ConsultantI was working in the fast paced Corporate world of the 90s. Both in training and advertising, and couldn’t help but notice certain incongruities. It seemed to me that Corporate branding and employees were not in sync. Highly skilled people were not getting the jobs they deserved. In fact, they were letting themselves down with an incomplete visual of who they were.

I realised then that there was a real need to complete the picture. A total package. An impactful presence. A visual representation of qualities and skill sets that spoke before words. That first impression and so it goes. It was then that I embarked on my business as Personal Stylist and Image Consultant and why I remain passionate about it!

Women from all walks of life seem to have several traits in common. Lack of self confidence, self esteem and self worth for many and varying reasons. By styling and dressing women appropriately, whether it be for an update, career change or simply an occasion, the change in demeanour and body language is very real. Looking good relates to feeling good, resulting in greater confidence. Whether it’s needing a personal brand or a powerful presence, dressing is about where you want to go and how you want to be perceived. That’s where I come in.

Carol Fox, Confident Communication for leaders, Carol Fox & Co,

Working across multiple industries, I conduct masterclasses to help people excel in their personal and professional life by becoming more confident in their interactions with others.

With over 20 years of collaborating with all levels of sport, Government, not-for-profit, education and corporate clients, I still enjoy the thrill of teaching participants concepts from my best-selling book – “Confident Communication for Leaders”.

My desire to lead and educate others stems from a rich background in sport. Having been Victoria’s first female Surf Lifesaving Professional Lifeguard, I was proud to race alongside men in Ironman events due to the lack of opportunity for women. My master’s thesis: “Women’s Perceived Barriers to Elite Coaching Positions in Australian Sport” was used widely in the Australian Sports Commission when determining policies for women in sport. I am now the President of Women Sport Australia, the peak advocacy body for women in sport, and we are working to close the gender gap in wages, leadership positions, media time and access to sporting facilities.

Applying what we learn from sport and elite performance to our own life at home and the workplace allows for us to perform at our best with grace, flow, strength and confidence.


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Posted by Alanna Bastin-Byrne - Femeconomy Director

CEO of the house, community builder and a globetrotting nomad. Background in Marketing and Communications leadership in the UK and Australia.