If you’ve never been to 9 to Thrive before, one thing to know is that we have our main stage with interview and panel sessions, but we also have a second stage with an equally packed schedule of inspirational female speakers too.
The Garage Stage is the place to head if you want to dive deep into advice and inspiration from successful businesswomen. We really got down to the nitty-gritty, covering everything from women’s financial well-being to starting an online business and even taking back control of your hormones.
First, we have to shout out to the major sponsor of the Garage Stage, realestate.com.au. As Australia’s biggest property site with over 1 million Aussies visiting every day*, they know a thing or two about business. Better yet, they are big supporters of women in the workforce and women in key leadership roles. 44 per cent of their executives are female, and they have a goal to reach 50 per cent by 2020. High-five to that!
Okay let’s get into everything we learned at the Garage Stage (well maybe not everything, it was jam-packed with info and insight for two days straight!) but here are some of our biggest takeaways.
First up, we heard from Catherine Fitzpatrick, General Manager of Group Customer Relations at Commbank, for Your Financial Wellbeing.
Catherine spoke about money, a topic many women don’t feel comfortable discussing. And according to Catherine, that’s the problem. Research shows that women don’t have comfortable conversations about money and distance themselves from their finances, something Catherine says is vital to tackle. “Women need to be active in their financial wellbeing, it’s important to have conversations about money, to get really honest and engaged about our finances,” she says. “Money shouldn’t be a scary story; it should be one you’re interested in.”
Women earn less than men, on average have less superannuation because they often work part-time when raising young families or caring for older relatives, and are often self-employed, which means many don’t pay themselves any super. So when women go through a relationship breakdown or divorce, they are more likely to find themselves struggling with lower funds. While women play a large part in everyday financial decisions, they are less likely to be involved in planning, acquiring and managing long-term investments, research shows a staggering 85% of women under 35 do not understand fundamental investment concepts. Catherine also pointed to the research that single women over the age of 55 are the fastest growing group falling into homelessness.
If you’re in a relationship, Catherine’s tips are:
1. Share responsibilities
2. Have transparency of who is spending the money and where
3. Have a voice in decision making
And if you’re unsure about your own financial wellbeing or the future, then “Ask for help. Just take the first step”. If you are looking for ways to boost your financial wellbeing, manage your day-to-day finances or plan for the unexpected, check out CBA’s Financial Wellbeing Hub for more info.
Next up, Emma Bannister from Presentation Studio joined us for Impact Matters.
Emma is the queen of presentations and says that unless you can nail your presentation, you’re not going to sell anything, be promoted, receive investment funding, and the list goes on! We all sat up a little straighter in our chairs after that!
Emma taught us to always have two prepared documents at any presentation. She says slides need to be simple and visual but to always provide your audience with a second document that’s more in depth and something they can take home. She also says that when you’re presenting, “Be the person your best friend thinks you are. Pretend you’re chatting to a friend and then you will come across as a real human being”. We love any advice that says to be yourself, thanks Emma!
Our CEO Olivia Ruello then joined Marcele De Sanctis from the Centre for Leadership Advantage for Two Steps Ahead.
We partnered with BSchool and the Centre for Leadership Advantage earlier this year on a world-first whitepaper. The research explored something very close to our hearts, women in leadership, and Liv and Marcele discussed the findings during this session.
More than 2700 women from all different sectors in all different roles took part in our survey. Our research found that women are facing numerous challenges at work, which include; biases about whether they’re prepared to take on new roles, juggling multiple roles, and the mental load. Liv says, the thing that shocked and saddened her the most, was to learn just how many of us don’t feel supported by other women in the workplace.
Marcele told us that developing good leadership and culture is a marathon, not a sprint. “Learning is a lifelong journey, be kind to yourself,” she says. While Liv reminded us to extend kindness outwards too, “Be kind to others, particularly when they step up into a leadership role. When you believe in someone, tell them.”
To finish Day 1, Rebecca Burrows, the GM Segment Development and Marketing at Australia Post and business owner Sonya Michele from Dog and Boy joined us for Growing Global.
Rebecca admits that growing a global business can be seriously tricky and intimidating, but she wants small businesses to take advantage of exporting opportunities. She told us that 33 per cent of our GDP comes from small businesses, yet only 1.2 per cent of overall exports come from small business.
To a small business owner thinking of taking things international, Sonya says you have to “research and be specific”.
“Don’t just say ‘I want to go global,’ find countries who have free trade agreements in place and use them. You won’t have overnight success but be patient, be prepared, and take it one step at a time.”
Before we get on with our biggest takeaways from Day 2, we have to give a special mention to the hosts of the Garage Stage, Lise and Sarah. The duo, also known as Those Two Girls, are besties from Brisbane who made the trip down to Sydney and Melbourne to be our second stage hosts. They were awesome and hilarious and we can’t wait to do it all again with them soon in Brisbane.
To start Day 2 off, nutritionist and author Michele Chevalley Hedge joined us for Tired But Wired.
Michele considers herself to be “madly, deeply passionate about food and mood and mental health.” She is a champion for eating whole foods to get your hormones in balance. “1 out of 10 people in Australia are suffering from a cognitive or neurological brain dysfunction,” says Michele.
She wants us to take a deep look at the foods we’re putting into our bodies and to realise that everything we eat impacts our hormones, our mood, and our mental health. Her best advice? “Just eat real food, whole food. Unpackaged and unprocessed. And as often as possible.”
Next up Melissa Browne and Gemma Watts joined us on How To Start An Online Business.
According to Melissa, before you even think about starting a business, you need to figure out your business model first. “What’s the reason for starting your business? Do you want it to be a side hustle? Do you want to be in this for the long haul? How long will it take?” These are just some of the questions Melissa wants you to ask yourself before you take the plunge.
Social media expert Gemma says to grow an online audience; you need to have value behind every single post, don’t just hit your followers with sales captions all the time. “Social media needs to be educational,” she says. And when you don’t feel like you have anything that particularly valuable to give your audience, there is no point posting, “We can all recognise a post that has gone up just for the sake of posting.”
If you don’t know Jade Hameister, then it’s time to get Googling. Despite being the youngest person ever to complete the Polar Hat Trick, Jade is extremely humble about her big life. When Emma asks her how she speaks to her friends about her achievements, she simply replies, “I don’t really talk about what I do.”
Jade tells the story of being 14 years old and sitting in a helicopter with ex-special forces men who were completing the same expedition as her. “I was sitting in a helicopter in my pink pants with pee on them (she’d had a little mishap using her pee cup earlier), and I thought ‘What the hell am I doing here?’. But then I remembered my dream and why I was there, and that’s what kept me going.”
Jade is wise beyond her years and gave the entire audience a clear message about fear. “I feel like fear is a choice,” she said. “There is rational fear when you know there could be potential consequences and there are times when you are just creating the fear in your head.”
And to anyone who has a big goal or a dream but is paralysed by fear and doesn’t know how to take the first step, Jade says to just start. “If you think too much about it or if you think too much about failing you won’t even try. For me, I didn’t even know how to ski when I set about doing this thing that I needed to be able to ski to complete. You just have to give it a go.”
Hearing about all Jade had achieved at only 17 (did we mention she has a book coming out next month?) and her future plans was a great way to finish up two days of hard-hitting life advice.
Thanks to all the speakers, everyone who came along and special thanks again to realestate.com.au for making this stage come to life. Bringing all these powerful women together at 9 to Thrive makes us all warm and fuzzy inside, and we can’t wait to do it all again in a couple of weeks. Brisbane, you’re next!