This International Women’s Day we’re spotlighting the phenomenal people who work all year round to champion, advocate and help improve the lives of women in Australia.
Improving women’s economic security is no easy feat, and yet it’s the mission of Global Sisters to achieve this outcome for women in Australia that need it most. We’re backed by an incredible team who help us challenge the status quo every single day – our dedicated and passionate Board of Directors.
In the lead up to International Women’s Day we sat down with three members of our Board; Nicky Sparshott (Chair), CEO of Unilever Australia and New Zealand, Rachel Kelly Investor, Advisor & Director, and Michael Sadaat of Block to hear their personal stories of why they became involved with Global Sisters.
They share what inspires them, what drives them, and the number one thing they want to tackle to improve outcomes for Australian women.
What inspired you to become involved with Global Sisters? What does it personally mean to you?
Nicky: “We’re not all afforded the same start in life. Yet women, from all walks of life, have incredible ideas, belief, purpose and tenacity. If only, they had the right support to bring their ideas to life. I wanted to be a part of that. I wanted to support their journey.
Also, helping women find financial independence that not only sets them up but has the ripple effect for their families and communities truly resonated with me and I needed to play a part in that”.
“I think many of the opportunities I’ve had are because people believed in me, and they gave me a hand when I needed it the most. They gave me a chance to prove myself and caught me when I fell. When I was invited to join the Global Sisters team I was in awe, and felt passionate to serve their mission.
I also felt saddened that there were so many women, incredible women with big ideas, who were facing tremendous barriers and didn’t have the support to realise their own ideas and dreams. There is a big difference between equity and equality, and I personally felt working as part of Global Sisters would help change this narrative for more women”.
Michael: As someone who grew up with a mum who was a strong female figure in my family, I was immediately drawn to the mission of Global Sisters in helping empower women. My mum did not have a lot of formal education, but she worked incredibly hard and was an inspiration to me and my sister.
It is a real privilege to have the opportunity to work alongside Global Sisters in helping achieve its mission. Although I love my ‘day job’, the work of Global Sisters has such a unique impact on countless individuals – not just the women starting micro businesses, but their families and communities.
Rachel: Being able to support Global Sisters has been an absolute privilege. I was first introduced to Global Sisters at a pitch event in Melbourne, several years ago with Nicky Sparshott who now has become the Chair of Global Sisters. At that event I got to learn about Global Sisters and about the important work that they are doing, helping women to own their own economic future and helping them turn their passions into a means to provide for themselves and their families. Incredibly inspiring!
The pitch was one of the most inspiring nights. There was so much vulnerability and openness shared – I admired all the Sisters so much for sharing their genuine stories. Global Sisters is an amazing organisation, and they have built an incredible community like no other, who are genuinely trying to support and connect and help one another. I knew then I wanted to help this cause.
What inspires you about the women of the Global Sisters Community?
Nicky: Their tenacity, their courage, their openness to learn and their selflessness in the face of adversity. The thing that strikes me the most in the community is their willingness to share whatever they have, even if whatever they have is not hugely abundant. There is a generosity amongst the community that is absolutely incredible.
Michael: I love their optimism and passion. They all have unique stories, and have demonstrated incredible resilience to achieve their goals.
What is your advice to others on how they can help or get involved?
Nicky: The simplest thing to do is get involved with Global Sisters and help one woman. Helping just one woman can have a ripple effect. There are so many ways to do this; become a coach, invest or donate, buy from her on the Global Sisters Marketplace, or help her become an active member of the community and receive their incredible business support.
Rachel: There are so many ways we can all help. My advice for everyone is to visit the Global Sisters Marketplace and see the beautiful products that are on there. They are bespoke and unique and all have fantastic Sister stories behind them. Even better knowing you’re helping to support a community that helps the broader community every day. We all have beautiful gifts to buy all year round, why not make it extra meaningful.
Also, what really resonates with me is the ability to help the community and let them know what Global Sisters can offer women. Their business support offering is incredible and meets women where they are at – they help women with ideas and passion, and nurture them through to business launch and then growth. More people need to know this community exists, because it has the capacity to help so many more women.
What do you most want to change to fix the system?
Michael: Removing the barriers to women creating micro businesses is something that must be a priority. It is hard enough to come up with a good idea and then implement that good idea in a way that creates a sustainable source of income. By removing the barriers, and creating an ecosystem of support, we can empower more women to achieve financial independence.
Also, Australia’s welfare policy settings can act in a way that inhibits the ability of women to take the leap towards starting their micro businesses. Governments have an opportunity to pilot new ways of enabling women to escape long-term welfare dependence – innovation in policy making is required!
Nicky: We assume that everybody in a country as developed as Australia has access to economic participation, but they don’t. The tension point is to think that these problems faced by women are outside our borders, and yet they are not. Our welfare system doesn’t reflect the challenges associated with so many circumstances, including being a single parent. There is so much to fix but it can only be fixed with new thinking.
Women’s micro business is the unsung hero of our economy. Why do you think it plays such an important role in economic participation and financial independence for women?
Michael: For too long, traditional employment has not provided the flexibility and opportunities that women desperately need. By starting their own micro businesses, women can fulfil their passions while earning income in a way that allows them to juggle their lifestyles. We need to ensure that our social policy settings encourage – rather than discourage – women from starting their own micro businesses.
A huge appreciation to our dream-team Board of Directors: Nicky Sparshott (Chair), Nick Garrett, Rachel Kelly, Jackie Lee-Joe, Louise Capon, Michael Saadat, Michelle Matthews.
Thank you for your contribution to the women of Australia.
Our community of women celebrate YOU today!
There are many ways to get involved and support her this International Women’s Day, read more here.
To learn about our founder Mandy Richards and the reasons on why she started Global Sisters, read here. She sheds light on the economic barriers facing women today, and her big ambitions to fix the system.