Lauren Shuttleworth #SheInspires

Lauren Shuttleworth is determined to create change in the most sustainable and impactful way possible. Creating Words with Heart, her custom design stationery business, she is an inspiration to women entrepreneurs everywhere. Helping to fund education days for girls in developing countries as well as only using eco-friendly materials for her products.

Her interest in social enterprise came about after a volunteering trip at a school in Kenya, where she saw firsthand how hard it was for girls to stay in school because of a lack of funding.

“I always knew that I wanted to run my own business and philanthropy was always something that was built into me and my siblings lives as really important growing up. I’d always done lots of volunteer work and wanted to find a way to bring that into my job.”

“Coming back to Australia I was trying to think of what would be a really good model for a social enterprise. I was at the airport, and walked into a stationery store and saw a notebook that had this really awful messaging. It said something like boys, heels, blogs, lets go back to the basics and I just thought that this isn’t the type of messaging that should be on notebooks.”

“I then thought that I could definitely do something that would be more sustainable, that could have an impact and that would have more meaningful and empowering messaging.”

“I’ve always been a fan of messages that are a bit more feminist and kind of tongue in cheek, we had one notebook that said, girls just want to have fun-damental human rights,” she said.

Lauren said that it wasn’t that hard to figure out how to create the notebooks sustainably. “There are a lot of sustainable options for stationery in terms of the core product, like recycled paper is not a new thing but its not branded well. A lot of people don’t realise just how much water, energy and wood they save by choosing recycled products.”

With so many more choices becoming available for the creation of eco-friendly products, Lauren believes that, “even as consumers we can look at how we purchase products every day and how those decisions can make a big impact on the environment.”

“Often, we talk about climate change as this huge big intimidating problem that not one person can solve but there are a lot of things that we can all do. Like recycling, not using plastic straws or bringing our own coffee cups. Small changes like that which are really not that difficult to implement add up to a big impact over time,” she said.

As another part of Lauren’s vision, Words with Heart is passionate about providing empowerment for women and girls, “I think just talking about it is important and acknowledging that there is still a very big gap. It’s also important for women to lift each other up and to mentor and share knowledge to help those that are coming up behind us.”

“Also, I think that a lot of men I speak to are not aware of the difficulties that women face in life, and I definitely think men becoming allies in the movement is important,” she said.

The fact that she is still in business is one of Lauren’s biggest achievements so far, “there are a lot of social enterprises that start but find it hard to push past that first phase. But to still be growing and to be profitable nearly three years down the track is definitely a big win.”

Another achievement is the fact that she is a woman in a male dominated space, as only around 4% of founders of tech start-ups in Australia are women. “It’s a really tough environment for women, it’s still very much a bro-culture and its still well and truly thriving in Australia. Its definitely tough to break through that,” she said.

Lauren’s ultimate goal is to fund a million days of education by 2020, with 80,000 days being funded so far, she is also looking to expand Words with Heart into the US next year.

But she said that “there are times when I have big lofty goals and there are other times where I feel grateful to just be doing something I love and to be creating an impact and to be growing at a good rate. I’m very thankful but also ambitious at the same time.”

Published on October 4, 2017 on SheBrisbane

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5 Fearless Ways to Fuel your Inner Fire

Confidence always seems to be that secret trait that only a lucky few appear to possess, but I’ve come to realize that it isn’t something that they are inherently born with. Instead they have sought it out and cultivated it, watching their own confidence expand as they experience the world. Nothing worthwhile comes easy, and the major step of gaining confidence is embracing fear and stepping outside of your comfort zone. It doesn’t matter if you take baby steps or giant leaps, anything will do to help you spread your wings and light your inner fire. Though it may feel scary at first, know that you’ll eventually become used to it and you will end up reaching for bigger and better goals. So, go ahead and fuel your inner fire by adopting any of these tips and tricks.

1. Take an improvisation or drama class

Taking either an improv or drama class is a great way to build up your confidence slowly and surely. Playing fun games and letting loose is the perfect way to de-stress and not over think. It will also help with developing your public speaking skills and help you learn new ways of expressing yourself. Also, the main rule of improv is to always say yes, and confidence is just on the other side of yes!

2. Start a sport like roller derby, kick boxing or self-defense classes

The crazier the sport the better, as it teaches you fearlessness and new ways to have fun. Kickboxing and self-defense can give you a sense of confidence in your own physical abilities, and you will be amazed at what you can achieve if you are constant and are putting in your best efforts. Roller Derby is a fantastic team sport that will boost your spirit and let you become a true badass on the rink.

3. Take a solo trip

Everyone knows travel is good for the soul, so why not take a trip. It doesn’t have to be to the other side of the world. Even just to the next town for a weekend away by yourself will do wonders. Traveling alone fosters independence and leads to a greater sense of self and the confidence to face anything.

4. Volunteer

What better way to improve yourself then to help others. Whether you volunteer at a local thrift store, or at an animal shelter, get out there and help in any capacity that you can. You’ll view the world differently and gain a new perspective on life, appreciating everything you have.

5. Dress up for yourself

Put on THE OUTFIT. You know the one, where everyone compliments you and you walk down the street with your head held high and a flirty wiggle to your walk. The kind of outfit that makes you glow from the inside out, giving you the kind of confidence to glance a little bit longer at that cute guy or feel like your strutting down a runway. While it may seem superficial, it’s really not, it’s a way of projecting your inner flame that just needs more coaxing to burn brighter.

Published on October 5, 2017 on TotalMeTox

 

Declutter your Closet Along with Your Soul

 

Let’s be real, how much of your closet do you actually wear? 30%? Do you know that you are clogging up your heart along with your hangers? Getting rid of those clothes you won’t wear or that need to be ditched will not only free up your closet space but free your soul as well. Things that you didn’t even realize could be taking effect on your conscious mind. Taking you back a few steps instead of pushing you forward into the wondrous future of your new and improved closet.

First and foremost are the ex-boyfriend’s items, whether that be his comfy hoodie that you bring out on occasion just to smell and reminisce about the good old days, or his old hat that you wear down to the shops to hide your unwashed messy hair. They are coverups and reminders of a relationship that ended, and you need to break up with the items as well. Even though you might not realise it, items can influence your moods, covering your messy hair with his hat, can bring back memories of how you thought you weren’t good enough for him. Ugh, you don’t need that kind of negatively in your life. Now, it’s up to you whether you post them back peacefully, throw them in the trash or burn them. Whatever helps you sleep at night.

Your old high school cheer skirt that has seen better days, or your middle school sweater that you put on every winter just to take pride in the fact that it still fits. These are unnecessary items, sure if the memories they hold are dear to you then keep them, but if they aren’t that important then throw them away. You are looking towards the future and you don’t need the validation of high school cliques or your skinny middle school self anymore.

You lost ten pounds. Yes girl! But somehow your clothes don’t reflect your amazing figure. You still bust out those old trackies and sweatshirts that fall down to your knees. Don’t hold onto them for comfort’s sake, throw them out and relish in the fact that you can buy brand new clothes that will help you embrace the new you.

Sometimes the things we love the most must be set free, that includes those heavily scuffed, well-worn boots with the missing buckle that you are holding onto in the hope that they will magically repair themselves. Sometimes it’s best to let go as you never know what is waiting around the next corner or in the next shoe store window.

Published on September 28, 2017 on TotalMeTox.com

Michelle Loch #SheInspires

 

Cultivating our brainpower to enhance our leadership skills will be the next big thing in the self-help development sphere and neuroscience leadership coach Michelle Loch is on the forefront, helping businesses and organisations create better work environments.

“I had found that using neuroscience as a foundation for leadership development just explained so much for people, it puts the hard science behind what we used to call soft skills, emotional intelligence, getting along with each other and how to connect with people,” she said.

After studying under David Rock, founder of the Neuroleadership Institute in New York, Michelle said that she caught the bug and started doing further studies around neuroscience, “I guess I was in the right place at the right time.”

Michelle now delivers a range of programs that aim to enhance employee engagement and create more useful and beneficial communication skills and conversations.

“Most people think they are pretty good listeners and communicators but interestingly it’s the most common aha moment that people have when they do my program, they end up saying they didn’t realise they were such bad listeners.”

“We tend to be listening for all the wrong reasons, and we need to understand that the way we can best help others is to listen in a different way,” she said.

Good quality conversation is key and according to Michelle “there is value in investing and developing that as a skill, to really listen and to support the creation of insight. Unless we have insight, we don’t really change behaviour, insight only comes when we stop, we think and we reflect.”

Creating a substance mindset is also important and is Michelle’s real passion, “I think we are living in a shallow world and I feel like we are floating on top of the water.”

“It’s about stopping and thinking, what do you really want, what’s really important in life? We live in a what and a how world, what do I need to do and how do I need to do it. But we often don’t stop to think about the why. As a result, we end up doing a lot of things that are quite unfulfilling, that leave us feeling depleted and wanting more.”

“Another coach told me the best piece of advice, to simply be bold, I’ve never forgotten that and I think that we’ve become far too politically correct. I think that we manipulate, we avoid, we skirt around issues and it’s all such a waste of time,” she said.

Michelle strongly believes that neuroscience can change us as a society, “I’ve been really concerned about who we are becoming, living in this western world and I think we are potentially on quite a destructive path. It’s because we have become very me focused rather than we focused.”

“We are going into protective mode and we don’t really know how to engage anymore, social media and smart phone devices have sort of fed into that,” she said.

Throughout her 11 years working in the neuroscience leadership space Michelle states that her biggest achievement is “being able to conquer some of these skills for myself and applying it to my family. I’m very conscious in providing a substance grounding for my children within this shallow world, so they have the better capacity to cope and that they are able to stop and make really insightful decisions.”

“I guess I’m also proud of my ability and I think it’s my strength to take what is relatively complicated neuroscience and translate it so it’s useful for us. That’s where I put my energy, how do we take all that wonderful work that is being done by neuroscientists and how do we use it to better ourselves and our society,” she said.

Find out more about Michelle here!

Published on September 27, 2017 on SheBrisbane

Greta Bradnam ‘From Broadway To La Scala’

 

#SheBrisbane caught up with singing maven Greta Bradman to discuss her performance in the show From Broadway to La Scala coming to Brisbane in December. According to Greta, audiences can expect “a lot of laughs and hopefully a few teary moments, but in a good way.”

“I think that we love to welcome people in a way that hopefully makes them feel like for that time when they are in the audience, we are all just one big family. It’s a really good time to enable people to kick off their heels and relax and not have to worry, they can be swept up in another world.”

Greta described it not only as a tight and professional show but with genuine, heartfelt moments and amazing music. “Our director does a great job in creating conversation in between songs and there are some hilarious conversations between Teddy and David, paying each other out.”

She said that working alongside Teddy Tahu Rhodes, David Hobson and Lisa McCune was the highlight of the show for her, “they are such incredible artists and we have such a great time together, it’s a real pleasure making music with them.”

Greta’s album Home is due to release early next year, inspired by all of the songs of her childhood. “Singing with my grandma and my dad, songs that remind me of really happy times surrounded by people I love and who love me.”

After having surgery on her neck last year, Greta wasn’t sure if she would be able to sing again, having to bow out of for any singing for 6 months. Missing it terribly, she said that, “I sing all the time, in the shower, when I’m doing the dishes, when I’m preparing breakfast for my kids, let alone when I’m rehearsing or performing and I found it really bizarre not being able to sing.”

“It was really horrible, but at the same time I guess it’s one of those situations where I focused on other things which I was so grateful for, such as my family and all the singing I had done already. It brought a lot of that into sharper relief and showed how much it really meant to me, and luckily everything turned out fine,” she said.

Greta is also on the advisory board of the Arts Wellbeing Collective and has a Master’s degree in Psychology. As an advocate for the better care and understanding of mental health and wellbeing, she shared her advice on the practice of mindfulness. “It’s such a great tool for busy lives, either in helping performance whether that be in stage, sport or work or even just talking with strangers.”

She said that it’s just like doing a rep of an exercise in which you need to constantly practice to become better at it. “The power is in those moments where you thank your mind, where you see your mind wander and gently guide it back over and over again,” she said.

Greta said that she loves walking to the train and tries to focus on green things in nature like grass or leaves. “Even sitting on the train like a curious scientist casting no judgement and observing my surroundings helps, it provides a sense of calm and focus as I carry on throughout my day.”

Published on September 15, 2017 on SheBrisbane

Let’s Count At Work

 

With one in six children in Australia starting school behind, it’s important for parents to have a role in the development of their child’s early maths skills. Just in time for National Literacy and Numeracy Week (4-10 September), the Lets Count at work program is helpful in supporting parents in recognising the importance of not just reading to their child but using everyday games and activities to develop their early maths skills.

Let’s Count at work is a program for parents which is delivered through their workplace. An experienced educator from The Smith Family runs a one-hour workshop with practical tips and resources parents can use to help their child develop numeracy skills during those critical early years.

As well as giving parents the confidence and skills to support their child’s learning, Let’s Count at work is a fun and unique way for an organisation to engage their employees.

Let’s Count at work is a growing social enterprise delivered by The Smith Family – making the workshops an easy way for businesses to support the charity. The workshops are paid for by the business with the funds channelled back into The Smith Family’s education programs for children in disadvantaged communities across Australia. The Smith Family are also working on options for stay at home mums and parents who work from home as well.

The workshop is based on the principles and activities used in the Let’s Count program, which was developed in particular to support children from disadvantaged backgrounds and has been shown through a three-year evaluation to increase the maths skills and enjoyment of preschool-aged children, their parents and carers.

There are numerous ways that parents can help their children develop their numeracy skills in everyday life scenarios, for example by cooking together, measuring ingredients or even at the park, by identifying shapes and examining heights and lengths.

Published on September 21, 2017 on SheBrisbane

 

FashionAble 2017

 

FashionAble has become one of Brisbane’s premier fashion events, celebrating ability and diversity all the while helping to support people with disability in Queensland to achieve their dreams. Organised by Multicap, all funds raised will go towards providing disability support for people all over Queensland.

This year’s show will be headlined by Models of Diversity ambassador Jason Clymo. A former medical student, Jason turned his attention to modelling after an accident in 2014 left him paralysed from the waist down.

The former medical student from Victoria has since featured in various campaigns and catalogues, and is now an ambassador for Starting with Julius and Models of Diversity, organisations that promote diversity in the fashion and model industries.

“I am excited to have this opportunity with Multicap,” he said. “Not only because it will be my first runway experience but also because I love that FashionAble is all about inclusion and diversity. I am campaigning to change the fashion and modelling industries. My huge end goal is that it will no longer be exciting that someone in a wheelchair is on the runway – it will just be normal. We deserve to be recognised.”

Multicap Chief Executive Officer Joanne Jessop said Multicap was delighted to have Jason on board. ‘FashionAble is all about celebrating ability and diversity so to have Jason involved is wonderful,’ she said.

Hosted by Channel  7 personality Kim Skubris, The event will showcase some of Queensland’s best and emerging designers such as When Freddie met Lilly, Sacha Drake and Maiocchi.

Published on September 18, 2017 on SheBrisbane

A Chat With Casey Donovan

 

Back on the grid after sometime away, Australian singer Casey Donovan has just released new music after 7 years off the scene. Her EP, Off the Grid & Somewhere in Between showcases a range of emotional and highly personal songs.

The 2004 Australian Idol winner has restarted her musical career after a long period of time away from producing her own songs. She has slowly but surely  regained the spotlight this past year though, being crowned Queen Of The Jungle on the 2017 season of I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here, along with appearing in a range of stage productions.

But in regards to her music Casey found that after constantly performing covers for people, she knew that she was capable of creating her own music and had to prove to herself that she could still do it.

She’s hoping that listeners get good storylines and messages from her songs. As she said, “music these days are losing storylines with most of them not having that anchor to what they really mean.”

While she can’t pick her favourite track as they all have a special place in her heart, Casey did say that she, “loves Lonely and the haunting sadness that it brings as well as Hear Me Now with the massive cinematic sound and voices.”

Casey’s EP was created using money raised by a crowdfunding site. She said that it was an interesting experience but very daunting asking people for help. “Because I’m a very independent person, I had to take a breath and go you’re not giving up, you’re just merely asking for help.”

“The crowdfunding process was very stressful because once it was getting closer I wasn’t sure if we were going to make it, but then on the last day it started to jump and luckily we got there,” Casey said.

Starring in theatre productions such as The Flowerchildren, The Sapphires and We Will Rock You, Casey said that she loves being on stage. “It’s a challenge for me, it takes me out of my comfort zone and I just enjoy it so much, it’s such a different anxiety.”

“I’ve taken something away from every character, I loved playing the Killer Queen in We Will Rock You. She was a great villain and she just had this gutsiness and this sexy and sassy image about her, at some points I was like, why can’t I be a little bit like this,” she said.

Looking over the past 12 years since her initial rise to stardom on Australian Idol, Casey said that if she could give her younger self a piece of advice it would be to just breathe and know that it’s all going to be okay.

While her advice to other creatives and women in general is to get out there and enjoy life and love what you do. “There are a lot of people out there that are going to tell you no and that’s when you turn around and you go, yes I can do this!”

Published on September 11, 2017 on SheBrisbane

A Weighty Issue In Hollywood

 

Another day and another body shaming incident, this time in its birthplace of Hollywood. Just recently British actress Gemma Arterton revealed on a podcast by The Guilty Feminist the terrible remarks she received while on the set of one of her movies. Where a producer considered Gemma’s weight an emergency and flew out a personal trainer straight away to ‘fix’ the problem.

Gemma was understandably shocked at the comment, “You know when it’s like ‘Is it that f—ing bad that I need an emergency?’ … [it was as if they were] like on speed dial, ‘Get that trainer out here now’. It was so traumatic at the time.”

“They’d measure me and they’d call up the personal trainer at like nine at night going: ‘Is she in the gym? And if she isn’t why isn’t she in the gym?”

One of her producers also told her not to eat some dried apricots on set, to which she responded with, “Do you know what? I’m going to eat about all 20 [apricots], then I’m going to go home and eat all the stuff in the mini bar.”

An ongoing and demoralising issue that is always cropping up throughout film sets and on red carpets, the continuous pressure is setting more absurd standards and creating more body hatred and insecurities. Words can actually hurt and can impact a person’s mindset and their perspectives on themselves, creating unhealthy fixations. Considering that these comments are made in such an environment like Hollywood where you are judged wholly on your looks, it makes unwarranted comments like these so detrimental.

Game of Throne’s star Sophie Turner spoke to the magazine Porter about the unfairness of the constant judgement last month, “I was consumed with thoughts on weight and the idea that you have to be skinny to be an actress, and that I wasn’t skinny enough to get jobs.”

“There are times when I have done jobs and they’ve told me that I have to lose weight, even when it has nothing to do with the character:  It is so f—– up.”

By having more actresses share their own experiences, this can hopefully become a starting point for change in the industry, it may be gradual at first but any progress is worthwhile and can help towards installing a greater sense of acceptance. From that, change can be affected beyond the narrow minds of Hollywood and out into the broader population.

Published September 11, 2017 on SheBrisbane

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