5 Must Watch TED Talks for Women Entrepreneurs

I am SUCH a TED Talk addict. If I need a quick 20 minute inspiration boost it’s the first place I turn. TED talks have taught me so much – about social change, technology, happiness. But they have been especially valuable to me in my journey as an entrepreneur. Being able to directly and easily connect with women who have gone before me and created great, incredible companies is so very inspiring and motivating. Especially when they talk about how they started, the huge challenges they surmounted, and the things that got them through the lows.

So – I thought I’d share my top 5 favourite TED talks for women budding entrepreneurs.

1) Gayle Tzemach Lemmon: Women Entrepreneurs, Example Not Exception


I love this – ‘we do not invest in victims, we invest in survivors’. Women make strong, powerful entrepreneurs, not just ‘mum-preneurs’, or micro-financed business owners – entrepreneurs.


2) Elizabeth Gilbert: Your Elusive Creative Genius


A beautiful, uplifting talk – especially good for times you’re feeling a bit lost or anxious or helpless in the direction of your business. You really need to watch this one – trust me!


3) Jessica Jackley: Poverty, Money—and Love


Kiva is an amazing story, and it started out as just an idea. But the ripple of change it has created across the world is phenomenal. Jessica has a moment of emotion as well, and its powerful to see the true passion she has for her cause.


4) Sheryl Sandberg: Why we have too few women leaders


I’m such a big fan of Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook. If you’ve read her book ‘Lean In’ you will love this – she has three powerful pieces of advice for women aiming high.


5) Leymah Gbowee: Unlock the intelligence, passion, greatness of girls


This one is my favourite. This one will move you and stir your passion to change the world – I promise.


Did I miss some great ones? Share your fav TED talks below!

7 Amazing School Girls Who Are Changing the World

You might have seen the viral ‘Like A Girl’ video and campaign recently – and if you haven’t, stop what you are doing and google it right now! Basically, it calls into question some pretty disempowering phrases about girls that have become cemented in our communication – ‘throw like a girl’, ‘run like a girl’, ‘hit like a girl’ etc. There’s been this (more…)

How to Find Your Life’s Purpose (from someone who did!)

One question I’m often asked by interviewers and supporters is ‘How did you know that the idea for Words With Heart was ‘it’ for you?’ I suppose it’s the kinda question that we’re all looking for the answer to at some point in our lives – what are we passionate enough about to invest all of our time and energy and resources in for decades and decades to come? Or, in it’s simplest form – ‘How do I find my life’s purpose?’.


7 of the Most Inspirational Women in History

Need some Monday inspiration? Surfing through the pages of history, there are innumerable women who have contributed towards society, politics, sports, fashion, society and pretty much the world in general. Some you’ve probably heard of before, but there are others who’s enormous successes have been hidden away. Here’s a list of seven such inspiring women who struggled, paved the way, and made their own destiny.

1. Victoria Woodhull


“Women, no less than men, can qualify herself for the more onerous occupations  of life. ” – Victoria Woodhull (1838-1927)

Although little known today, American suffragist Victoria Woodhull was the first woman to ever run for President of the United States in 1872. She made a fortune with her sister on the New York Stock Exchange and was one of the first women to open a Wall Street brokerage firm and they were among the first women to have found a newspaper, Woodhull & Claflin’s Weekly, which began publication in 1870. Woodhull went from rags to riches twice, her first fortune being made on the road as a highly successful magnetic healer before she joined the spiritualist movement in the 1870s. She was honored by the Office of the Manhattan Borough President in March 2008 and was included in a map of historical sites related or dedicated to important women.

2. Helen Rubinstein


“Hard work keeps the wrinkles out of the mind and spirit.” – Helena Rubinstein (1870-1965)

Helena Rubinstein, born as Chaja Rubinstein was a Polish-born American business magnate. A cosmetics entrepreneur, she was the founder and eponym of Helena Rubinstein, Incorporated, which made her one of the world’s richest women. Rubinstein emigrated from Poland to Australia in 1902, with no money and little English. Her stylish clothes and milky complexion did not pass unnoticed among the town’s ladies, however, and she soon found enthusiastic buyers for the jars of beauty cream in her luggage. Spotting a market, she began to make her own.

3. Coco Chanel

coco chanel

“Fashion fades, only style remains the same.” – Coco Chanel (1883-1971)

Coco Chanel, born as Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel,was a French fashion designer and founder of the Chanel brand. Along with Paul Poiret, Chanel was credited with liberating women from the constraints of the “corseted silhouette” and popularizing the acceptance of a sportive, casual chic as the feminine standard in the post-World War I era. A prolific fashion creator, Chanel’s influence extended beyond couture clothing. Her design aesthetic was realized in jewelry, handbags, and fragrance. She is the only fashion designer listed on Time magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century.

4. Amelia Earhart

Amelia Earhart

“Please know that I am aware of the hazards. I want to do it because I want to do it. Women must try to do things as men have tried. When they fail, their failure must be a challenge to others.” – Amelia Earhart (1897-1937)

Earhart was the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. She  received the U.S. Distinguished Flying Cross for this record. Thereafter, she joined  the faculty of Purdue University in 1935 as a visiting faculty member to counsel  women on careers and as a technical advisor to the Department of Aeronautics.  She also wrote best-selling books about her flying experiences and was  instrumental in the formation of The Ninety-Nines, an organization for female  pilots.

5. Ayn Rand


“The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me”- Ayn Rand    (1905 – 1982)

Ayn Rand born Alisa Zinov’yevna Rosenbaum was a Russian-American novelist, philosopher, playwright, and screenwriter. She is known for her two best-selling novels, The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, and for developing a philosophical system she called Objectivism. The Objectivist movement attempts to spread her ideas, both to the public and in academic settings. She has been a significant influence among libertarians and American conservatives. After graduating from high school in the Crimea at 16, Rand returned with her family to Petrograd (as Saint Petersburg was renamed at that time), where they faced desperate conditions, on occasion nearly starving.
After the Russian Revolution, universities were opened to women, allowing Rand to be in the first group of women to enrol at Petrograd State University, where, at the age of only 16, she began her studies in the department of social pedagogy, majoring in history and when on to writing some of her best books.

6. Rosa Parks


“I have learned this over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear” – Rosa Parks  (1913 – 2005)

Rosa Louise McCauley Parks was an African-American Civil Rights activist, whom the United States Congress called “the first lady of civil rights” and “the mother of the freedom movement”. Parks refused to obey bus driver James F. Blake’s order, in Montgomery, to give up her seat in the colored section to a white passenger, after the white section was filled. Parks’ act of defiance and the Montgomery Bus Boycott became important symbols of the modern Civil Rights Movement. She became an international icon of resistance to racial segregation. She organized and collaborated with civil rights leaders, including Edgar Nixon, president of the local chapter of the NAACP; and Martin Luther King, Jr., a new minister in town who gained national prominence in the civil rights movement.

Parks received national recognition, including the NAACP’s 1979 Spingarn Medal, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the
Congressional Gold Medal, and a posthumous statue in the United States Capitol’s National Statuary Hall. Upon her death in 2005, she was the first woman and second non-U.S. government official to lie in honor at the Capitol Rotunda.

7. Margaret Thatcher

Maggie Thatcher_7 

“If you set out to be liked, you would be prepared to compromise on anything at any time, and you would achieve nothing.” – Margaret Thatcher (1925-2013)

Margaret Thatcher was the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990 and the Leader of the Conservative Party from 1975 to 1990. She was the longest-serving British Prime Minister of the 20th century and is the only woman to have held the office. A Soviet journalist called her the “Iron Lady”, a nickname that became associated with her uncompromising politics and leadership style. As Prime Minister, she implemented policies that have come to be known as Thatcherism. Her political philosophy and economic policies emphasized deregulation (particularly of the financial sector), flexible labor markets, the privatization of state-owned companies, and reducing the power and influence of trade unions.

Who are your favourite women from history?

Awesome Women – Interview with Carmen Hawker, General Manager of The Global Women’s Project

In light of the tragedy unfolding in Nepal at the moment, we’ve got a special post in the Awesome Women Series for you. Carmen Hawker, General Manager of The Global Women’s Project, had actually been kind enough to agree to this interview a few weeks ago, but we wanted to get it up as soon as possible to share her incredible story with you, along with the amazing work she is currently undertaking as part of The Global Women’s Project emergency response in Nepal. She is one amazing woman, and sure to inspire.
What’s your story? Tell us a little bit about yourself.
My story. Wow. Well, I’m hoping it’s only a quarter of my story so far at the ripe old age of 26, but that was very nearly not the case last year! I had been passionately working away for a few years in the women’s health sector in family violence service coordination and prevention of violence against women with a BA and a Masters of International Relations (Gender) under my belt – and I could feel myself starting to burn out. I’d been privileged enough to travel a lot as a kid so didn’t feel the same urge to travel in my late teens or early 20s as many of my friends but at 25 I decided to take off and travel around Southeast Asia for three months.
My plan was to do a bit of solo travel to get out of my comfort zone and also to spend time travelling with my lifelong friend Alice and my beautiful partner Sam. Two and a half months into my trip I was starting to flag after having an incredible, but rather hectic, time travelling through Burma, Laos, Thailand and working with The Global Women’s Project’s grassroots partner Stung Treng Women’s Development Centre in Cambodia. I arrived in Kathmandu, Nepal, at midnight on March 13 for the final leg of my trip. On the agenda was some work with our amazing partner, the Women’s Foundation Nepal, and a trek in Pokhara. Well, let’s just say the universe had other plans. I had a splitting headache when I arrived and after attempting to brush it off for 36 hours, it wouldn’t budge and was getting a whole lot worse. So my gorgeous, and now life-saving, friend Alice packed up my things and threw me in the back of a taxi and asked the driver to take us to a hospital.
As it turned out I didn’t have an ordinary headache. I had two gigantic blood clots almost completely blocking the two central veins in my brain. The next three and a half weeks were a blur. I spent almost a month in ICU there in a pitch black isolation room where it looked, for all intents and purposes, that I was going to die from a stroke or be severely impaired. Luckily, my body responded like a boss. I survived, luckily. I was then medically evacuated back to Australia to begin a very, very long recovery process! So I guess that’s not a little about myself, but that’s my ‘story,’ thus far in a nutshell.
What made you want to start up The Global Women’s Project?
Well it was actually started by two incredible women, Kate Williams and Briony Mackenzie, and I just happened to be in the right place at the right time! That time and place was queuing for chais at Seven Sisters Festival. I was practically recruited on the spot and joined the team alongside another absolute superstar called Lauren (there’s obviously something about Laurens – they tend to be amazing!). It was a magical moment and one I’ll never forget. I met my soul sisters that day and the rest is history, as they say.
What has been your biggest success and biggest challenge?
One of my biggest challenges has been to find sustainability and balance in my approach to work. I like to work hard, I like to feel like I’m achieving something and I like to be all things to all people. This just isn’t possible and I’ve had to learn that the hard way. I burnt out, went travelling to regenerate and nearly found myself not here to tell the tale.
Ironically, nearly dying was the best thing that ever happened to me. My experience in Nepal last year forced me to re-evaluate my entire life. I know all too well that everything can be taken away from you in an instant. So ‘If not now, when?’ became my (wo)mantra and I’ve had to make some very difficult decisions and major changes. One of those was giving up my paid work, which I enjoyed and at an organisation that I loved, to focus solely on The Global Women’s Project and my recovery. This decision, although extremely difficult, was incredibly liberating and has unleashed an energy and decisiveness that I’ve not had before. I feel as if I’ve finally been able to step into my own power.
So here I am, the General Manager Australia of The Global Women’s Project, working almost seven days a week for free! That’s a pretty damn big success out of a major challenge!
Any advice for women wanting to start up their own charity?
Do it. Don’t be afraid. Be part of something bigger than yourself.

Carmen’s inspirational workspace with her Words With Heart notebook.

Who inspires you?
A line of damn strong women in my family who are resilient and compassionate beyond belief. And, of course, the people I have the honour of working alongside, the women we work with in Nepal and Cambodia and all of the badass trailblazers who’ve come before me.
Do have some ‘words with heart’ to leave us with?
There is nothing like the solidarity of the sisterhood. There just isn’t.
Where can we go to find out more about The Global Women’s Project?
Well, as we know, there was a devastating Earthquake in Nepal on Saturday that has left thousands dead, many more thousands injured and millions displaced in need of urgent assistance. Our fearless Director Briony lives and works alongside the Women’s Foundation Nepal and was in Kathmandu as disaster struck. We were actually talking at the time. Briony just sprung into action and with the team here in Australia, we started a Nepal Emergency Appeal to provide women and their families with urgent assistance & supplies in the critical days following the quake. We have been overwhelmed by the response to our Appeal and by the incredible generosity of people wanting to donate and support our efforts on the ground.
We have developed a targeted response to the specific needs of women, who are disproportionately affected by natural disasters, and are providing a gendered lens to relief and recovery efforts across Nepal. With WFN, we are doing everything we can to support women and their families through this horrendous time by using our donations and injecting them into the local economy to buy supplies and facilitate community and women-led solutions to relief and recovery.
The GWP relief response to the Nepal earthquake.

The GWP relief response to the Nepal earthquake.

A lot is often written and said about women’s vulnerability during natural disasters but that overlooks the crucial role women play in disaster management and risk reduction and how incredibly resilient they are. Women are amazing and we have never been so convinced of this having overseen what has happened across Nepal in this past week.
While the funds raised through our Appeal will go towards meeting the immediate needs of women and their families in the wake of this disaster, let us assure you – we are there for the long haul. We are a sustainable development organisation that focuses on long-term grassroots partnerships and we ain’t going anywhere! For more information about the Appeal, please visit our website: http://theglobalwomensproject.com.au/donate/

10 Inspiring Quotes from Remarkable Women

Women wear a lot of hats. They undertake many different roles – mothers, daughters, executives, dreamers, doers etc. Following is a list of favourite inspirational quotes from successful women around the world, who did not give up and made it big.

long distance swimmer Diana Nyad

1) ‘I am willing to put myself through anything, temporary pain or discomfort means nothing to me as long as I can see that the experience will take me to a new level. I am interested in the unknown, and the only path to the unknown is through breaking barriers, an often painful process.’

Diana Nyad (American author, journalist and long distance swimmer) Image Source

2) ‘Never give up, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.’

Harriet Beecher Stowe (19th century author, activist and abolitionist)

Eleanor Roosevelt

3) ‘I could not, at any age, be content to take my place by the fireside and simply look on. Life was meant to be lived. Curiosity must be kept alive. One must never, for whatever reason, turn his back on life.’

Eleanor Roosevelt (Politician, diplomat and activist) Image Source

4) ‘I used to think I was the strangest person in the world but then I thought there are so many people in the world, there must be someone just like me who feels bizarre and flawed in the same ways I do. I would imagine her, and imagine that she must be out there thinking of me too. Well, I hope that if you are out there and read this and know that, yes, it’s true I’m here, and I’m just as strange as you.’

Frida Kahlo – (Mexican artist and feminist)

5) ‘Define success on your own terms, achieve it by your own rules, and build a life you’re proud to live.’

Anne Sweeney – (Former President of Disney-ABC Television Group)

6) ‘I don’t believe in guilt, I believe in living on impulse as long as you never intentionally hurt another person, and don’t judge people in your life. I think you should live completely free.’

Angelina Jolie – (Everyone knows Angelina Jolie!)

Google's Marissa Mayer Named Yahoo CEO

7) ‘I always did something I was a little not ready to do. I think that’s how you grow. When there’s that moment of ‘Wow, I’m not really sure I can do this,’ and you push through those moments, that’s when you have a breakthrough.’

Marissa Mayer (CEO of Yahoo) Image source

8) ‘I learned to always take on things I’d never done before. Growth and comfort do not coexist.’

Virginia Rometty (CEO of IBM)

9) ‘Freeing yourself was one thing; claiming ownership of that freed self was another.’

Toni Morrison (Novelist, editor and professor)


10) ‘We need to accept that we won’t always make the right decisions, that we’ll screw up royally sometimes – understanding that failure is not the opposite of success, it’s part of success.’

Arianna Huffington (Co-founder and Editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post) Image Source

Awesome Women – Interview with Celia Boyd, Co-founder of SHE Investments

Following on from our Q&A last year with Young Australian of the Year nominee Madeline Price, we’re kicking off a new Awesome Women Interview series. I’m pretty excited to be bringing you the inspiring stories, humble lessons learned and excellent advice from a bunch of incredible ladies who are out there changing the world.
So today we’re featuring the hugely accomplished Celia Boyd – she has a pretty impressive list of achievements in the not-for-profit and social enterprise sectors. Holding a Masters of Community and International Development from Deakin University, Celia has worked for NGOs like the Oaktree Foundation and World Youth International, and has held a coveted place as a Young Social Pioneer with the Foundation of Young Australians. In 2014 Celia co-founded the social enterprise SHE Investments – a start-up focused on empowering women in Cambodia through small business and training and development. She’s definitely a woman to watch.
What made you want to start up SHE Investments?
I had been working in the field of international and community development for a few years, and my partner James had started becoming really interested in business, after he started his own small business with a partner in 2012.  He wanted to learn more about impact investing, and whether this was used as a tool for social and economic change in developing countries, and he gradually convinced me that it was a pretty cool idea too.  I am really passionate about gender equality and feminism, and believe that to make the deepest impact possible, investment needs to be made into women.
After spending a lot of time researching, we discovered that yes, impact investing was happening in South East Asia, but these investments were typically quite large, and there wasn’t a lot happening at the SME level.  We learned that there were little or no support structures in place for women entrepreneurs to start or scale their businesses to become profitable and sustainable SMEs, and so we realised that we could fill a gap, in a place where there was a lot of need but also a lot of opportunity.  So that’s how SHE was born.
Panha presenting her vision board
I think ultimately the reason that we started SHE was because it excited both of us and we became really passionate about it – so passionate that we decided it was worth trying, worth leaving our home for, worth selling a business (as well as everything else we own!) for, and really committing ourselves to.  When you’re that excited and passionate about something you need to see it through!
What does gender equality mean to you?
To me it means that people of all genders, whether they identify as male, female, transgender, or other, are considered equal within all aspects of society – economic, social, civil, political… everything.  That all people have access to the same rights and opportunities, regardless of their gender.
Tina & child in front of her micro business (solar battery charging station)
Any advice for women wanting to start up their own project or business?
Back yourself, and other people will back you.  I don’t have the best self confidence, and I’m constantly working on it, but if you back yourself – even if you’re just faking it ’till you make it (which I do all the time) – then you’ll be surprised by how many people will want to back you too.
Who is your biggest inspiration?
So many people!  My parents and my sisters, and my partner James, who has risked a lot to follow what he is passionate about and believes in.  My amazing feminist friends, Jess and Elyse, among others.  Inspirational, powerful and passionate women such as Jan Owen, everyone I’ve met through the Young Social Pioneers program (a Foundation for Young Australians initiative), and the School for Social Entrepreneurs.  And obviously Beyonce.
Do have some ‘words with heart’ to leave us with?
If something excites and motivates you beyond anything else, then you have to follow it.  You don’t have to want to “change the world”, you just need to do what makes you feel excited about life.
Where can we go to find out more about SHE Investments?
Our crowdfunding campaign page!  www.startsomegood.com/SHEinvestments
And our website: www.sheinvestments.com

Supporter Snapshot: Four Questions With Emma Cloke

Emma­­­ Cloke is an inspiring artist from the UK who has found her passion during times of adversity. Not only does Emma produce beautiful pieces of art (see Malala above), she transcends an important message I think everyone can take inspiration from: What do you do when faced with adversity? For someone like Emma, who has suffered from horrific depression for 12 years while being stuck in limbo with medical professionals regarding her disability, she chooses to face her adversity with courage. Instead of letting her disability beat her, she uses it as an opportunity to show her 10-year-old daughter how to be a striver and survivor with humour. For Emma, everyday is a blessing and a reason to live.

How did you find your passion for art? Was there an ah ha! moment when it just clicked with you?

Art is something that I have always done and turned to, even as a child. I believed art to be a hobby until my health declined and I felt invisible and incapable to provide for my family. My confidence has always been a problem over the years and recognising a value in myself a struggle. My family and friends saw my work and encourage me to sell some, so I jumped in at the deep end in September 2014 when I was accepted to be part of the City of Colour Festival held at The Custard Factory Birmingham England. This was the first time I had ever had to submit work to see if it was good enough to be included and, luckily, I was accepted! I sold my first print and was so excited.

Who is your biggest inspiration?

In general, people who try to face adversity inspire me; if I had to choose well known figures of inspiration then they include The Dalai Lama, Nelson Mandela and in more recent years, Malala. If you face adversity in life and try to find a way to inspire and be inspired, progression within yourself and society can happen… that’s my mantra anyway! What a wonderful Tea party I would have if these people dropped by, tea, cake and good conversation!

What is the most important thing you have learnt from your journey?

The most important thing that I have learnt on my journey is to carry on regardless! To smile daily, to laugh at yourself and to inspire your children.Children are also affected when a parent becomes disabled; you need to keep their lives light and free. Onwards and upwards is the most constructive thing that I have embraced as I have realised tomorrow is another day, things you can change for the better do and the stuff that you can’t change accept and move forward.

I also asked Emma to ask her 10-year-old daughter what she thinks the most important part of getting an education is… (I love her reply!)

The most important part of getting an education is being able to have any job in the world. I can be a scientist like Marie Curie AND a writer like Jaqueline Wilson. Education must be important as girls are kidnapped to stop them going to school and Malala was shot. This makes me sad and makes me work harder. One day I would like to meet Malala and thank her for helping girls all around the world- Love Summer- Lili Cloke, Author and Scientist want to be!

You can check out more pieces of her incredible art on her Facebook. Thanks for being such an inspiration Emma!

Keep Calm and Study! Our Top 5 Study Tips

Are you feeling absolutely weighed down by study and deadlines? don’t worry- so are we! It’s definitely that time of year again which is why I thought I’d compile a list of our top 5 study tips!

1. Practice mindfulness

Mindfulness is one of the buzz words that’s circulating at the moment- and there’s a reason why. Research shows that practicing mindfulness can reduce stress, anxiety and depressive symptoms. It also increases resilience and enhances work performance.

Smiling Minds is a web and app based program which was developed by a team of psychologists with expertise in youth and adolescent therapy. It’s also free! It’s an excellent first step for those who don’t know much about mindfulness but want to learn all about it. You can read all about Smiling Minds on their website here.

Smiling Mind Australia

2. Create an inspirational study space

Take 30 minutes out to create a space where you will enjoy spending a lot of time, will inspire you to reach your goals and that is clean and uncluttered. I created my own inspirational study space by writing inspirational quotes onto pieces of paper and sticking them behind my desk- it’s really helped me! I’ve found when I feel stressed I take a few moments out to read the quotes and I instantly feel inspired. I got the idea off Pinterest, which have so many other awesome ideas for study spaces. Check it out here


Inspirational study space from Pintrest


My inspirational study space


3. Focus

Sometimes the allure of social media can become all too much and people find themselves switching from social media to important assignments. This can create a huge problem because research shows switching between tasks massively decreases performance and increases stress levels. Something that can help is setting a timer and focusing on one task for just 10 minutes. When the 10 minutes is over, you’ll be so focused on the task at hand you won’t want to stop!

4. Eat healthy

Brain foods are the best foods for this time of year! Welcome oily fish, almonds, blueberries and whole-grains into your diet. Make sure you steer clear of sugars, processed foods and alcohol. My study food secret is putting chili on everything! It gives me heaps of endorphins to keep on studying when I’m feeling fatigued.

5. Keep calm!

If your having trouble with this one there are lots of natural remedies out there to help! Try Rescue Remedy, a blend of 5 different bach flower remedies and it is designed to help you through any stressful situation.

Good Luck!