If the start of 2018 is any indication, this year it’s all about the ladies! From CEOs climbing up the corporate ladder to entrepreneurs blazing their own path, there’s never been a more exciting time to be a woman. As we work towards equality on the global front, right here in Brisbane there are plenty of game changers making their mark. We’ve rounded up some of the standout women to watch.

Sammy Power

Women to watch

CEO – Jan Powers Farmers Markets 

As the daughter of the market’s namesake, Sammy Power’s initial role entailed walking around sampling the fresh foods. Now she runs the show and has implemented systems and strategies for every area of the business.

“My philosophy is to hire great staff and then let them do their job. I am not a micromanager. I am the face of the markets so I do a lot of that side of things and I like to take the macro approach and look into the future for opportunities. We have a few new markets about to launch this year which is wonderful,” she says.

Kelly Maniatis

Women to watch

Business Owner & Organisational Psychologist – Left Field Co.

As one of Australia’s leading Organisational Psychologists, Kelly knows what it takes to make a great leader.

What inspires you?
I’m inspired by people who are living their dreams, focusing on meaningful outcomes like family, health & well-being and making a difference.  I work with some incredible business owners and leaders who amaze me with their vision, tenacity, their abilities to overcome failure and obstacles and their desire to create work environments for their people.  I love partnering with them as we work together in creating these workplace environments.

What’s next for you personally and professionally in 2018?
Personally: my oldest son goes to kindergarten this year so I really want to be there for him. My second son will be two this year, so look forward to spending time with just him. Professionally: I will be working with select business owners to improve their leadership teams and produce profitability in their business. I am offering two programs, one for leaders and one for individuals.

Natalina Ford

Women to watch

Director – Ford PR 

As a publicist, Natalina assists her clients with PR and Digital Marketing to take their businesses to the next level. With an extensive client base here in Brisbane, Ford PR is looking to expand to Asia in late 2018.

What inspires you?
Random acts of kindness and people who work hard in business, especially other like-minded businesswomen.  There is so much we can learn from each other in this life, so why not take the opportunity.

What does your role entail?
As a publicist, I assist clients with PR and digital marketing and I work very closely with them on their communication strategies to the media and to their customers.  At the moment, lifestyle and hospitality is a real focus for me and has been for a while now.  It’s fun and challenging to work with dynamic and varied people and it’s very rewarding when you see the amazing results and the direct benefits to our clients as a result of our engagement.

What led you to create Ford PR? How has your business grown? 
I had a drive and ambition to work for myself and working with others versus just working for one organisation.  I knew that I would always start my own business and when I was ready to make the leap into the unknown, I did—and I have never looked back.  Sometimes you’ve just gotta go for it!  At first, I started off with a restaurant and café as clients and it just continued to grow from there, along with the awareness of what, I do which has been fantastic. I get a lot of word of mouth referrals within the lifestyle and hospitality industry and it keeps me very busy.

What are you most proud of?
As corny as this sounds, I have to say, my mother. She is a first-generation Filipina and has worked really hard in her life and continues to still do.  She is what I am most proud of and I’m so glad to call her my mum.

Louise Owen

Women to watch

Artist – Elaurante 

2018 will be a huge year for the self-proclaimed creative, imaginator, fashionista, colourist and texturist, who will be holding her first full exhibition in the second half of the year. She is also a mother of two and wife to her best friend.

What inspires you? 
Strong women, the feminine form, shape, travel, architecture, classical fashion eras.

What does your role entail? 
I am Elaurante, the CEO, Creative Director, the Artist.

What’s next for you personally and professionally in 2018?
To share my love and passion for my work globally, let the world know who Elaurante is and the passion and love I have for people and life shared with the world. To have an elegant and grand launch of my work to share with the world a side of me they don’t know.

Penny Wolff

Women to watch

CEO – Wolff Coffee Roasters

In addition to managing the operation and marketing side of their burgeoning coffee business, Penny is also passionate about implementing social change.

What inspires you?
Quite simply I love to inspire others. I love sharing and instilling skills, knowledge and education, to bring about positive change in others lives.

You’re a huge advocate for social enterprise, why this is so important to you?
In the last two years we have developed several initiatives that highlight our social responsibilities with coffee farmers at origin.  A strategic objective we are working hard to achieve is “creating strong coffee connections” that clearly reinforces our ethical and honest practices.

Recently we visited Chania Coffee Estate in Kenya to see one of our African farmers Boyce Harries. Spending time with Boyce and his workers on the farm, I quickly saw the need to assist the local community.  With a keen interest in education, I visited the local Makwa Primary School and instantly noticed the lack of resources. We were saddened to see that children did not have access to clean drinking water. So we set about organising a water tank for the school to be installed. It is a wonderful feeling to know that we have been able to assist in the broader coffee community and help many others.

We are “Proud of our Producers” and in 2017 we had three “Farmers in Residence” Boyce Harries of Chania Estate from Kenya, Edwin Martinez of Finca Vista Hermosa from Guatemala and Alejo Castro of Volcan Azul from Costa Rica. Our vision is to create strong coffee connections with our farmers, immersing them in our business so they can witness first hand how their beans are enjoyed and how the market reacts to their product.

Rebecca Hall

Women to watch

Founder & Director – Method X

As the head strength and conditioning coach, Rebecca works with many elite dancers and athletes. 2018 is set to be massive, as she embarks on creating an online platform, among other things.

What inspires you?
A really hard workout, music, a persons determination beyond any limit to chase a dream or a goal. To be honest, I am attracted and inspired by passion, texture and ambition.

What’s next for you in 2018?
Professionally, 2018 is enormous! This year I am launching new workshops and intensives for dancers in my new MX Studio that is due to open in February. I hope to have an amazing team of people working at MC by the end of 2018. This year is going to be enormous, but I’m one of the lucky ones that can say I have never worked a day in my life.

Sal Oliver Lange

Women to watch

Director – Barefoot Physio 

In 2017, Sal won the Business Achiever Award which recognises leadership and business acumen. For Sal and Barefoot Physio, 2018 promises to be even more exciting.

What inspires you?
Barefoot was born out of frustration, I couldn’t find a clinic I truly wanted to work in as a physio (one that supported and celebrated their staff) and I couldn’t find a clinic that I truly wanted to go as a client (one that was full of clinicians with amazing skills while also having those extra special fireworks that lets you know it has heart)… so I created it. When I hear stories of people working in places they don’t feel supported I am inspired to be part of the change and when I hear people like Simon Sinek talk I am inspired that we live in an age of this incredible change. And I am part of it.

You won big at the Business Achiever Awards in 2017, what did you win and why were you recognised?
I won the Business Achiever Award which recognises leadership and business acumen. Genuinely, that was a serious shock to win (I know everyone says that but it’s legitimately true!). I think I won this because of my attitude to leadership, one that I believe I have had for some time. I have a deep-seeded belief that all people are worthy and to me, everyone matters. Everyone has a story to tell, no judgement. And I am on this planet to create environments for great people to thrive.

Chernae Silk

Women to watch

Director – The Brow Bar 

For Chernae, 2018 brings great opportunities for both personal and professional growth, with The Brow Bar expanding their services and cosmetic brand into salons globally. “I love inspiring women to chase their dreams. They need to know there is no glass ceiling. That the sky is the limit and by taking action you can achieve anything. Do not hold back! You are in charge of your own destiny. Dream it, then do it!”

Caroline McCulloch

Women to watch

Director & Designer – Frankie4 Footwear

In 2017, Caroline was awarded the Lord Mayor’s Business Person of the Year, and 2018 looks to be just as big, as she aims to build her brand awareness internationally.

What inspires you?
My mum. She is a huge inspiration to me. She really ran the show when she and dad had a wheat and cotton property outside of Goondiwindi. All businesses have to overcome or accept adversities, but in my opinion, farming is one of the toughest industries. My parents work ethic, adaptability and resilience have taught me a lot of skills for managing my own business hurdles.

You recently won the Lord Mayor’s Business Person of the Year 2017. Why were you recognised?
In the 14 years of managing my businesses, I’ve been given the opportunity to learn a lot.  At one time or another, I have pretty much done every role of our businesses; I’ve been the podiatrist, the receptionist, in charge of marketing, I’ve liaised with website developers, managed fit-outs, photographers, and printers. I managed leases, recruited staff,  put through wages and done rosters, I’ve even done my share of pick and packing. I’ve made some great business decisions, and I’ve made some bad ones too.

What are you most proud of?
I’m really proud of my team. I employ just over 40 staff between our two businesses; FRANKiE4 and All Podiatry & The Shoe Co. Both businesses are heavily integrated, so really it is one team all working together. We may be a small business, but I have a  crew that punches above their weight in the amount output, quality of work and goals that are being achieved right now. Richard Branson wrote in one of his books; ‘employ for attitude, and train for skill’. I love this saying, it has changed our recruitment process, and we are getting the best-suited people for our team. I can only do this with the very best team.

Natasha Chipman

Designer – Natasha Schweitzer 

Growing up in their mother’s jewellery studio, Natasha and her sister Alex got first-hand experience of the design and creation process. Inspired by their travels, architecture and their own imaginations, the girls have built an enviable career.

So, what’s next for the jewellery label in 2018?
“We are very excited to be launching our bridal collection in May, which will consist of wedding and engagement rings, and bespoke pieces for the bridal party. We are expanding our reach both domestically and internationally, and hope to have another boutique by the end of the year. Stay tuned!”

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