We asked 10 women in business and in their careers what they would tell their younger selves, this International Women's Day.

Rosann Santos - Speaker

Rosann Santos - Women leaders ARNA interview international womens day each for equal women leaders work and laptop bags for women

One thing I'd tell my younger self is to hone your essential skills to perfection. Women face an uphill battle in earning their respect in the workplace. This is a harsh reality that once you get over you can move forward and accept that essential skills, often called soft skills, make a huge difference in your reputation at work and authority, respect, and credibility in your industry.


Lauren Hamilton Founder of Digital Narrative

Lauren Hamilton - Digital Narrative International Womens Day feature each for equal interview ARNA women leaders work and laptop bags

Better done than perfect. That's what I'd tell my younger self!

Back in the day, as a 26 year old Groups Sales Head at a large media company, I would work back until all hours, making sure every pitch, every presentation, every client experience was perfect. I'd get up early each day to do a perfect gym workout, and blow dry my hair so it was perfectly straight before dressing in my perfectly matching outfit.

Fast forward four years, and I was a young mum with a baby that never slept and screamed all day, and no chance at all to do anything perfect. Suddenly, 'pretty good' had to be good enough. In how I looked, in what I cooked, in the tiny bits of time I scraped together to exercise. And I realised, perfect had been holding me back. So, when I didn't want to return to 'ad land' I decided to begin my own business, and get things done immediately, without waiting for the timing, or my knowledge, or my network to be perfect.

I built my own website, designed my own logo, forged my own path. I guessed, and learned on the fly, and watched YouTube tutorials, and went to meetings with my dirty, curly hair whipped up in a bun. 8 years later, I've never been happier, or busier with my business. It turns out it didn't need every font to be identical, and every pitch to be rehearsed. It just needed me to be my authentic self, to work hard and put my heart and soul into it - and stop presenting a glossy, perfect veneer to the world!

Petra Laranjo - Speaker, Author and Coach

Petra Laranjo International women's day each for equal, women leaders, work and laptop bags for women

Discover and connect with your Purpose, aligned with your values and then only start looking for a job!

Goodness, I job-hopped when I was younger. I chased my skills and passions - because that's what you do, right? Do what you love, what you're good at and you'll succeed! Problem was that I was (still am) multi-passionate so, eventually, I got bored or wasn't enjoying the administrative part of my passion or reached my ceiling of what I wanted to achieve, so I'd hop to the next exciting adventure...and then the next one.

I'd tell my younger self, 'Self, don't chase your passions.' I'd also tell her to, 'Find and connect with your Purpose - your WHY. Align them with your values and everything will fall into place.'

You see, it's not about the job description. It's about your WHY, your reason for being... your Purpose.

When I realised this, everything changed in my personal and professional life.


Vanessa Lovie, CEO at Bsale

Vanessa Lovie - International Women's Day - women leaders ARNA work and laptop bags

I would definitely tell my younger self not to worry about what other people think! Aussies are so susceptible to the 'tall poppy syndrome' especially women. I was always one of those people who stood back and listened to others opinions, or allowed the loudest person in the room to dominate. I had no idea how to stand by my own values and opinions - I never wanted to stand out. If i did, then i was knocked down, so I would go back to standing quiet.

After 10 years in business I've learnt, you don't have to be loud to stand out. You just need to know your value. You have to believe in yourself. Believe in the decisions you make and believe that you're on the right path. There will always be people with opinions. There will always be people wanting to hold you back or wanting you to feel you cant achieve. It makes people feel safe if we all stay in our lanes.

So my advice, don't stay in your lane. if you want a great life , you need to challenge it. You may loose friends or upset people along the way - but thats ok. If they cant support you in the great moments, they were probably just waiting for you to fail. Unconditional love becomes an incredible feeling.

The proudest thing I have as a woman business owner is that I have control over my daily activities and my teams activities. I am a believer in a life well-lived. I never want my team sitting in an office 9-5 and depressed in life. I want them happy and felling fulfilled. i want them picking their kids up from school, working from home, swapping a shift to go to an appointment, having a healthy balance. My team work harder because of this support.


Louise Edmonds - Publisher for MenStylePower

 International women's day each for equal, women leaders, ARNA work and laptop bags for women

I am a men's stylist and digital publisher, in fact, one of the only female publishers of exclusive men's lifestyle content in Australia.

If I could tell myself one thing when it came to my career, it would be NOT to listen to anything a hater said. It would be to trust in my intuition always and never doubt it. First impressions that you feel in your solar plexus are always true and trusting. If I could tell myself one thing when it came to myself, it would be stay true, heal the broken parts as quick as possible and be kind to yourself. When it came to my dreams, pursue them recklessly. When it came to relationships, it would be stay patient - they are learning too. When it came to my future, it would be - don't be discouraged. 

I believe that our elder women can help mentor our new generation (both male and female) to make this world incredible. Because we need each other #thefutureismaleandfemale


Georgina Bowden - Coach

Georgina Bowden coach - interview with ARNA for IWD each for equal - women leaders work and laptop bags

Stop playing small. You're better than you think you are and everyone sees you very differently to the way that you see yourself. Your knowledge and expertise is sought after, and your integrity, empathy and sense of humour are valued and will help you to go far.


Nikki Hamilton founder of Seedling Digital

Nikki Hamilton Founder of Seedling Digital - ARNA interview for IWD each for equal - work and laptop bags for women

I'd tell myself that a career doesn't have to look traditional. It's not a straight line, and you may not end up where you thought you would. But if you trust yourself you'll pivot and make choices that feel right, you'll ultimately feel more fulfilled and be more successful than you once thought you could be.

I'd tell myself that always doing your best work, being kind, and building relationships are the most important factors in growth.


Clea Sherman - Copywriter

Clea Sherman Copywriter - ARNA interview for IWD each for equal - work and laptop bags for women

Reaching out and asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness. It shows you are willing to learn. Speaking up early will also save you from many stress-filled, sleepless nights!

Erin Sing - Founder Modern Currency

Erin Sing - Founder of Modern Currency ARNA interview women leaders, international women's day each for equal, work and laptop bags

“Your career isn’t a competition, you’ll achieve the most from supporting others, raising others up and being true to yourself.” The communications industry can be very cut-throat – it’s a hugely competitive landscape that can be incredibly bitchy – and it’s easy to be pulled into the competitive rat race to get ahead. But what I’ve found is my biggest successes and my biggest growth as an individual has come from supporting others, choosing to lead others (instead of competing with them), believing in myself and staying true to myself. Trusting in the timing of your career (and life!) is an important lesson – you are exactly where you need to be.


Elly Johnson - Speaker, Mentor

I’d tell my younger self that you don’t have to have everything sorted from the start but to get more serious about setting yourself up financially from the start. Essentially we work to live and we think we have all the time in the world to get the ‘money stuff’ sorted. But then all of a sudden you are 50 and even though you may love your chosen path, if you haven’t set yourself up to have the freedom that comes with true creation of stable wealth, then you are still a slave to working to earn money.

I would tell myself the sooner you can set yourself up with great financial investments that at just keep building on themselves, then the sooner you can have the freedom to follow your passion or follow your heart or follow your dreams without feeling tied to anything or anyone.

I’m a huge fan of Wonder Woman and I believe that every woman has some extra super power within them that has not yet been ‘unleashed’.

I say; spend time with yourself (and/or with a great coach) to go deep on your true passion and what you want to achieve in this lifetime. Dream big and aim high and believe that you can have it all - and have heaps of fun getting it.

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