International Women's Day is celebrated on Monday, 8 March 2021 and is an important opportunity to celebrate women's achievements while calling for greater equality.
This year's theme is #ChooseToChallenge, and over the next few weeks, we will be sharing a selection of incredible women who embody this theme.
Next we have curated a list of 10 women who excelled as entrepreneurs and leaders in business and social enterprise.
Naomi Simson is one of Australia's most prominent entrepreneurs and co-founder of The Big Red Group. The BRG currently houses several brands including RedBalloon, Adrenaline, Lime&Tonic, Albert AI (Marketics) and Redii.com with the purpose of shifting the way people experience life.
Naomi has helped lead her team through the sudden arrival of Future of Work as they adapted to remote working. Through this process, she has gained incredible insights on how to manage a remote team, particularly in times of crisis and uncertainty. She believes that understanding the human elements of isolation; emotional resilience and the need to belong, and leadership decisions need to be rooted in a productive framework.
Naomi is passionate, inspiring and determined - a colourful speaker with rich and vivid stories - she challenges audiences to think differently and is one of Australia’s most sought-after Speakers.
Emma Isaacs is extraordinary. A business owner by the age of 18, a property investor by 19, a millionaire by 23, and a devoted mom of 6 we could all learn a thing or two from Emma Isaacs.
Emma is a visionary entrepreneur, author and CEO, who scaled a small networking business into an international community of thousands of engaged women within just 10 years. In her presentations, Emma is raw, authentic and fearless as she shares openly and candidly what has worked for her in building one of the world's largest community for women, and equally as important, what hasn’t. Emma is the perfect choice for any audience but is particularly suited to women's events, entrepreneurs, sales teams, independent consultants and distributors.
Julie Hirsch is Co-Founder and COO of Eloments Natural Vitamin Tea, a world-first 100% natural vitamin tea and overnight success securing shelf space in 2000 stores worldwide in just over a year.
Julie was named Telstra’s Victorian Business Woman of the Year and listed in Forbes 30 Under 30; she has an exciting vision for the future: of ethical business practice through innovation. Her passion and mission are to realise that vision by building companies with innovation, disruption, and fair trade at their core.
Lisa Messenger is the vibrant, game-changing founder and CEO of Collective Hub, an international speaker, best-selling author, and a global authority on disruption. Lisa is the undisputed queen of pivoting and future-proofing businesses.
Lisa’s passion is to challenge individuals and corporations to get out of their comfort zones, find their purpose, change the way they think, and to prove there’s more than one way to do anything. She encourages creativity, innovation, and an entrepreneurial spirit, and lives life to the absolute max. With fans including Sir Richard Branson and New York Times, best-selling author Bradley Trevor Grieve and a loyal fan base of close to a million followers across all her social media handles, Lisa’s vision is to build a community of like-minded people who want to change the world.
Anoushka Gungadin is an experienced CEO, Board Director, Entrepreneur, Author with a career across four continents in the last 20 years. She works at the intersection of Cultural Intelligence and Leadership.
Anoushka is passionate about helping organisations understand, engage and realise the potential of an increasingly diverse talent pool and marketplace, and shows how unconscious bias is an obstacle for a company's growth. In her presentations on inclusion, diversity and leadership she unpacks how bias affects how organisations make decisions that impact employee engagement, organisational culture, client experience and brand perception and provides strategies to move beyond this.
Jodie Fox was a co-founder and the creative director of Shoes of Prey. The business launched in 2009. It allowed people to design their dream shoes online, get them expertly manufactured, and have them shipped anywhere in the world within two weeks. The startup broke even at two months, hit multi-million dollar revenues in under two years, raised tens of millions in funding from top-tier investors and shipped to more than 100 countries. All the metrics pointed to huge scalability. To a huge business. To a huge success. But it didn’t succeed, and in 2018 the business failed.
Jodie tells the truth of what it is like to be at the helm of a global business. From the high highs of besting Karl Lagerfeld on global awards to the low lows of closing the doors on your dream. Her incredible story shares lessons on innovation, culture, people, peak performance, raising capital, building a brand, finding suppliers, doing business in China and, most importantly, how to learn and grow from your successes and your mistakes and be ready every day to reboot for the next challenge.
Meggie Palmer is a confidence creator. Her infectious positivity motivates everyone she interacts with - the CEOs she coaches, the audiences she speaks to globally and the millennials she trains to overcome imposter syndrome. A high energy leader, facilitator and inspirational speaker, Meggie is on a mission to close the pay gap. She is the Founder & CEO of PepTalkHer - a passionate and devoted community of more than 15,000 people globally.
Meggie is usually based in New York but is currently in Sydney and available for in-person events this International Women's Day.
Anne McKevitt is a serial entrepreneur who has been highlighted as among the world's most admired and powerful business leaders by many publications including Time Magazine, Forbes, The Times and the New York Times.
She has advised and worked alongside 52 Heads of State including 3 US presidents; President Bill Clinton, President George W Bush and President Barack Obama on poverty alleviation, global health, climate change and education.
Emilie Sydney-Smith is CEO of ExO Works, a corporate transformation consultancy that helps large organizations like Visa, HP, BHP and Procter & Gamble; protect themselves against disruption and incorporate the attributes shared by the world’s fastest-growing companies, and build new business lines that could grow exponentially.
Emilie has previously led some of the company’s biggest client projects. In her presentations, Emilie shares practical, easy processes that she has successfully used with her Fortune 500 and smaller clients to prepare them to survive and thrive in the era of accelerating change.
Kate Mills is a highly experienced business journalist, thought leader, innovator and speaker. She has previously edited Business Review Weekly and CFO Magazine. During this period she interviewed hundreds of leaders, chief executives and chairmen-a rare opportunity that has given Kate a unique insight into what makes a successful business.
Kate’s secret gift is to host the event, connect with the audience and pull together disparate themes and conversations during the event into punchy insights that the audience can take home with them. These skills are even more essential to an MC or event host in the virtual era!
Amanda Johnstone is the CEO and Co-Founder of Transhuman. She is a technologist, inventor and investor, primarily in emerging technologies.
Amanda is a standout change-maker of her generation. She is an energetic, charismatic and forward-thinking technologist. She founded the mental health app ‘Be A Looper’, preventing suicides in over 87 countries. In 2019, she was awarded as a 1 of 10 “Next Generation Leaders” under 35 globally by Time Magazine. She was the first Australian to receive the honour and is 1 of 100 in the history of the awards to be highlighted, and in 2020 she was named The CEO Magazine's Startup Executive of the Year.
Lisa King is the founder of Eat My Lunch, one of NZ’s most successful for-profit social enterprises on a mission to ensure no child goes to school hungry. Lisa believes that business cannot just be about profits anymore and that business can (and should) bring about social change. Using an innovative model, Eat My Lunch has shown you can do well and do good simultaneously.
Since it was commencement in 2015, Eat My Lunch has given over one and a half million lunches and is an innovative and successful model that is sustainably transforming Kiwi kids' lives.
In 2020, Lisa launched AF Drinks - alcohol-free beverages to help the sober curious explore a different relationship with alcohol.