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Julie
Hirsch

Award-Winning Entrepreneur, Innovator & Advocate for Fairer Business

  • Exclusive
The mistakes we make are a crucial part of our journey, and do not diminish how far we have come.
Profile

This morning, 2 billion people drank a cup of tea. Yesterday morning as well, and in your team - almost anywhere in the world - 50% or more of your colleagues will already have drunk a cup of tea today.

But did you know that every tea - black tea, green tea, oolong tea, white tea - all come from the same bush?

Julie Hirsch has had the honour of joining millions of people in their daily cup of tea through her sourcing of teas and spices from Fairtrade tea gardens in Sri Lanka, China, Egypt and Madagascar.

From the lessons learned in building trusting partnerships with farmers and Fairtrade cooperatives in developing countries, Julie is passionate about sharing how to find and facilitate social good at every decision point a person and a business makes.

Julie’s acumen in ethical business, including her many years working in sustainability, led her to be recognised as Telstra’s Victorian Business Woman of the Year and honoured on Forbes 30 Under 30 list last year.

Current Work:

While tea is an inherently traditional industry, Julie and cofounder Nicole Lamond wondered whether this daily ritual was the perfect opportunity to support their wellbeing by blending nutrient-rich fruit and herbal extracts in their daily cup of tea. This idea launched them on a two-year research journey to develop a patented blending method for tea and vitamins, resulting in the world’s first 100% natural vitamin tea.

Tea drinkers and retailers loved the innovation, and Eloments quickly expanded to thousands of stores across 9 countries, raising Series A investment as part of the only 2.7% of VC funding that went to female founders that year.

As a result, Eloments was awarded the Most Innovative Company in Victoria by Kochie’s Business Builders, and Julie loves speaking about how the most persistent and radical innovation can be traced back to clean and simple ideas.

Julie is an uplifting speaker, grounding her deep understanding of ethical business and delicious innovation with colourful stories of Fairtrade tea gardens, and above all, a passion for a good cuppa.

Awards & Recognitions:

- Most Innovative Company, Victoria; Kochie’s Business Builders 2021
- Telstra Business Woman of the Year and the Telstra Emerging Leader of the Year, VIC, 2020
- Forbes Asia’s 30 Under 30 List, 2020
- Melbourne Young Entrepreneur of the Year - Food and Beverage; Business News Australia, 2019

Julie's entrepreneurial story has been featured in publications such as The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, The Herald Sun, and Kochie’s Business Builders.

Expertise
Talking Points

Creating Persistent and Radical Innovation

As Co-Founder of the world’s first 100% natural vitamin team, Julie created a product that was described by Telstra’s HR Group Executive as having the potential to ‘disrupt a whole category’.

Beyond product innovation, Julie will discuss how persistent and radical innovation is possible at every level of business and can lead to opportunities for profit and purpose, as well as empowering staff outside the C-Suite.
Julie’s own businesses have proved by creating an ethical supply chain and patent-pending manufacturing process that are the backbone of their product’s success.

Key Takeaways:
- Creating a culture that fails forward (or the Duvet policy)
- Innovative thinking at every level of business
- Building the confidence to become a challenger

Closing the Gap Between our Goals and our Dreams

As a young female entrepreneur, Julie’s journey in starting and building Eloments Vitamin Teas is proof of what is possible when you set the bar higher.

Many of us have big dreams, those ideas usually start with an ‘I Wish’, that we reduce down to tangible goals based on what we believe is possible. Julie is passionate about expanding our tangible goals to encompass the scale of our dreams.

Key Takeaways:
- How to build entrepreneurial bravery
- Lived experiences of overcoming barriers as a female founder
- Tools to increase the ceiling of what we think is possible

Building Impact at Every Level of Business

Fair and ethical decision making is possible at every level of business. Through both of her businesses, Julie realised that it wasn’t just through their certifications or donations that she could have impact.

Every decision was an opportunity for impact, from the warehouse where the goods were stored, the paper in their office to the farms that grew their tea. This creates a powerful environment for staff and leaders to make positive change within the remit of their role.

Key Takeaways:
- Identifying opportunities for impact from the smallest to the largest decisions
- Creating an ecosystem of empowered staff to make ethical decisions
- Every person becomes a change-maker every time we spend a dollar

Building the Next Generation of Innovative Entrepreneurs

An interactive presentation to inspire the next young innovator, entrepreneur, and social impact leader, tailored for VCE Year 11 / 12 Students in Business Management, or Secondary Students building their 21st Century Skills.

Julie represents the 1% of businesses started by a female entrepreneur under 30, having founded a Fairtrade tea company that secured shelf in 1500 stores during its first year trading, and raised over $1million in equity capital funding.

Your students will enjoy a funny, interactive and educational session that brings to life the concepts in core curriculum through real-world stories told by a Forbes 30 Under 30 list member.

Key Takeaways Include
- Nurturing the qualities to become a successful entrepreneur
- Baking impact into your business model
- How to build entrepreneurial bravery by understanding risk
- Managing Change through stories from the Global Pandemic
- How Julie and her business partner became part of only 2.7% of Venture Capital Funding to go to female founders in 2019, and how we can close that gap

Grounded Sustainability - Trust, Inspiration and Practicality

The sustainability actions of a company heavily influence how consumers choose products, with 61% of Australians saying that sustainability moderately or very much influences whether they buy a product (Capterra; n995). At the same time, consumer mistrust of "greenwashing" is on the rise, and practical complications to implementing sustainability initiatives are slowing down companies from reaching their goals.

With a decade of experience in climate action, spanning environment-NGOs and the for-profit sector, Julie deeply understands both the ambitious vision and complex practicalities of sustainability. Julie began her career in the environment sector, becoming the Deputy Director of the Australian Youth Climate Coalition, Australia's largest climate NGO, and serving 4 terms on the Board of Directors.

After seeing the on-the-ground impacts of climate change on farms in developing countries, Julie became passionate about Fairtrade, the most rigorous certification system supporting farmers and the planet, eventually leading her to found multiple Climate Pledge businesses with ethics and sustainability at their core.

In this interactive keynote, Julie will inspire with climate resilience stories from farming partners in developing countries, motivate with the challenges she has faced in tackling sustainability in her own businesses, and provide a practical framework for the many broad and varying ways that sustainability can be built into your business, from supply chain and packaging through net-zero targets.

Key Takeaways
- Motivate and inspire with on-the-ground stories of climate impacts and resilience, and how your business decisions can make a difference today
- Widen your view of sustainability with a practical framework of varying ways that sustainability can be built into your business, from supply chain and packaging through net-zero targets
- Understand the immense opportunity your sustainability practices have to build trust and transparency with your consumers
Media
Audio
Feedback
Julie gave us some really important and valuable messaging on the importance of having a strong business purpose, especially if you truly want to make a difference. It’s truly inspiring to hear from a self-made business woman, who has overcome numerous hurdles & challenges to establish a brand/business from scratch and deliver game-changing innovation in an extremely competitive landscape. She was outstanding, where their presentation resonated with the whole audience. Mars Australia

Julie was a wonderful presenter, she was knowledgeable, passionate and opened our students' eyes to the realities of entrepreneurship. The students were highly engaged and enjoyed the presentation. Always the worry when bringing guest speakers into the school is that students wont ask any questions; the students peppered Julie with questions which she handled with ease. We would thoroughly recommend Julie as a presenter.

Mount Evelyn Christian School

On behalf of the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, I would like to thank you for officiating as our Master of Ceremonies at the 2022 Queensland AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award (RWA). You delivered an engaging ceremony to a diverse crowd with skill and professionalism. Your personal accomplishments in leading a business that is focused on making a positive community impact exemplifies the spirit of the RWA, and I appreciate your sharing your success story with the finalists and attendees.

Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries
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