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Global CEO, Multi Leadership Award Winner, Author, Migrant, Business & Social Entrepreneur

Do the right thing by yourself and you will always do the right thing by others.


Sadhana Smiles is a CEO, Multi Award Leadership Winner, Author, Podcaster, Migrant, Business and Social Entrepreneur. She epitomises the concept of having it all.

Starting her career as a receptionist she has created a brand that has placed her amongst her peers as a thought leader and industry commentator.

A descendant of slaves, arriving in Australia at the age of 16, with dreams of making a mark, Sadhana Smiles has blazed her own trail. She has a strong voice on the issue of diversity and brings business and personal experience to the conversation.

Sadhana shares her challenges and struggles openly on how being born a woman in a culturally oppressive society impacted her.

She was appointed CEO in 2011, the first woman in her sector. She shares how her mentors have all been men, yet she has found a very feminine way to lead. She epitomises what visible leadership looks like today.

Sadhana is also the host of two podcasts - Business in Colour, and Future Fit Leadership where she has interviewed many high profile leaders.

Sadhana also believes in giving back, leaving the planet a better place. She has done this through Walk a Mile in Australia and her not for profit Links Fiji.

Sadhana Smiles is authentic, funny and resonates with audiences as they connect with her incredible story.

In 2013 Sadhana won the Vic Telstra Business Woman Award and in 2016 named 100 Women of Influence Winner.

Sadhana is very intentional in how she leads her life and her drive comes from her desire to leave the world she influences a better place.

Talking Points

Blaze your own trail: How to make your mark in business and life

Sadhana Smiles is one of a handful of culturally and linguistically diverse leaders in the country, using her influential position to make a difference in Australia and Fiji.

She believes there are untapped opportunities in the business world today, where anyone at any level of the organisation can step up and become a leader for change.

We need empowered, driven, inclusive innovations but more importantly we need people to believe that they have the power to be heard and make a difference.

In this keynote Sadhana will give you the playbook for how to blaze “your” own trail and create your own career path by being brave enough to speak up and shake things up.
Sadhana arrived in Australia as a young 16-year-old migrant, with only one thought in her mind – freedom from a culturally oppressive environment.

Two years in boarding school, 1 year in TAFE and she made the decision to get married to stay in Australia. (as you do!)

In 6 short years she took on the role of CEO, won the Vic Telstra Business Woman award, was named one of 100 Women of Influence and turned the business she was in from a virtual unknown company to the fastest growing network in Australia.

Blaze your own trail is her journey, sharing her lightest and darkest days, rebuilding her life and relationships to become on of the most respected women in her industry and a role model to women in the many diverse communities in Australia.

First and Only's: The diversity and inclusion challenge lessons from a migrant leader

Did you know that organisations that have a clear diversity and inclusion policy are 21% more profitable! So why are our organisations not embracing the change rapidly.

Sadhana Smiles believes if she can reach a leadership position in Australia, having landed on our shores (alone) at the ripe old age of 16 from Fiji, with no university degree and no real plan for her future then anything is possible for any of us!
Sadhana is one of a handful of culturally and linguistically diverse leaders in Australia. She is well known for challenging business leaders on their understanding of diversity and believes it’s not just about more women in leadership roles but about people who come in different packages – ethnicity, ability and sexuality.

Culturally diverse people often have double glazed glass ceilings to break through - one in their own culture and the other in their business.

In this challenging and riveting keynote, Sadhana shares with you the challenges she faced being born a woman in a culturally oppressive environment, the lessons learnt and her experiences arriving in Australia in the early 80’s.

Today Sadhana often finds herself in the “first and only” situations – being the only woman or the first woman of colour.

“All of these experiences have helped form the resilient and determined person I am today” says Sadhana. “ I have also used my difference to create a brand and competitive advantage for myself.”

Today Sadhana sits on a number of boards, acts in an advisory capacity and is a popular speaker at conferences.

I Want What She is Having

Life isn’t about finding yourself, life is about creating yourself.

Imagine what you could achieve if you removed fear from your life. Sadhana Smiles has done exactly that.

Born into a culturally oppressive world, Sadhana broke the rules early. Arriving in Australia at the age of 16 she overcome the extreme differences and culture shock through overcoming her fear or rejection and took on the Australian life head on.

It wasn’t until her 40’s after her divorce and a breakdown that she became focused on her career. In 6 short years she took on the role of CEO, won the Vic Telstra Business Woman award, was named one of 100 Women of Influence and turned the business she was in from a virtual unknown company to the fastest growing network in Australia.

She epitomises visible leadership where you have visibility to self, others and the collective.
“My collective experiences have made me who I am today and how I lead. I know what I bring to the table, I am very clear on my values and how a business can give back to their people and communities they work in”.

“I am privileged to lead organisations, to have other men and women of colour see me and believe that if I can do it so can they”.

I want what she is having is the story of a young migrant girl who arrived in Australia not sure what she wanted, she ended up being the first female CEO in her sector, winning leadership awards, building a brand and being fearless in everything that she took on.

Your people will be inspired, moved, they will laugh and cry and want some of what Sadhana is having.

Future Fit Leadership – Unlocking tomorrow

In an era defined by rapid technological advancements, global interconnectedness, and unprecedented challenges, traditional leadership models are being reimagined and our workplaces are dynamically adapting.
We know the static paradigm of the industrial era simply doesn't work for today's knowledge economy. But! We don't yet know what the new paradigm is exactly.
What are global CEO’s and changemakers doing in this space and what are their future ready strategies around skills, capability, talent, culture and mindset.

Sadhana Smiles is the host of the podcast Future Fit Leadership, that is regularly in the top 50 podcasts in Australia.

She has interviewed leaders from various industries and in this presentation, Sadhana will distil the most impactful lessons and strategies shared by top leaders and innovators featured on the podcast.

Whether you are a seasoned executive or an aspiring leader, this session will provide invaluable perspectives on staying agile and visionary in an ever-changing world and gain a deeper understanding of what it takes to be future fit in leadership.
Sadhana nailed the brief. Her presentation hit just the right tone for our virtual International Women's Day presentation. She was great to work with in through the preparation, and told a candid but inspirational story of her journey that could appeal to both the female and male audience. AECOM

I heard your talk this morning and got so much out of it thank you for your energy, wisdom and inspiration. I feel really motivated both as a manager and as an employee from thinking about what you presented and setting high levels of accountability for myself and my team.

Ardoch Youth Foundation

Sadhana is a fabulous presenter . I would actually go as far as to say that she is in my top 5 presenters of all time. I do see a lot leadership speakers in my profession and not many keynotes are able to speak about the how in leadership. she does it so well, with elegance, warmth and succinctness. Sadhana has this uncanny ability to not only draw you in with her honesty, professionalism and vulnerability- but she is able to communicate practical tips so effectively , that you feel compelled to immediately embed them into your leadership toolkit. She can unpack a leadership problem, tell a fabulous story and dissect gender and diversity with frankness. Her ability to nail a brief astounds me and she really shines in question time . It is always an absolute pleasure working with her.

Women and Leadership Australia & NZ

Sadhana was brilliant. Snappy presentation with so much valuable content hitting on many aspects discussed through our day's event. Her ability to share her story' with such impact and relationally made it a truly enjoyable session.

Strata Community Australia

Sadhana is an incredible key note speaker we engaged for our Australian Women's Network Business Summit. She had the attendees laughing and crying and applauding her successes at the same time. Professional at all times and incredibly giving of her time - we highly recommend Sadhana as both a key note speaker and an authority in Real Estate and Leadership. We look forward to working with her again

Event Negotiators

We asked Sadhana to present the opening keynote at our National Franchise Operations Conference to 130 franchisor executives. This was a tough audience as they are her peers. Sadhana delivered a clear, powerful and engaging session. Her slides were informative, her stage presence was highly credible, and her message combined outstanding business and personal development lessons. The audience rated her in an extremely positive manner. She added great value to our conference and I would highly recommend her as a keynote presenter for any conference.

Franchise Relationships Institute

I had the pleasure and honour of hearing Sadhana Smiles speak recently at the Australian Women in Business Summit and it was honestly nothing short of life changing. He fresh approach delivered a focus on being real and authentic with engaging content and a feisty driven and empowering attitude. Her talk filled the room with a captivating energy and I felt like everyone could really relate to her on so many levels because she was so 'real' in her delivery. I've seen a lot of speakers of the years and Sadhana is definitely one I'll never forget.

Ka'llure Jewellery
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