11 Influential Brisbane Women To Watch In 2024

Here’s to you

By Penelope Pelecas | 22nd March 2024

From leaders shaping the future of retail, hair, and beauty to dedicated creatives, project managers, and compassionate fertility doctors, our community is bursting with incredible female-driven talent and we’re eager to shine the spotlight!

Emily Zhou and Neena Carter

Founders, Ambedo Beauty

Ambedo Beauty

Everyone says, ‘never go into business with friends’, but besties Emily Zhou and Neena Carter are proof that sometimes going against the norm pays off.

“It really was a two peas in a pod situation; two friends whose passions and interests moulded together to create Ambedo Beauty,” Neena says.

“It has only made our personal friendship stronger, and we always consider how lucky we are that our interests and strengths complement each other so much!” Emily, who has a background in business, and Neena, who is beauty obsessed, founded Ambedo Beauty on the basis that everyone deserves access to high-quality, affordable, and fun nail products.

So, the duo created a 6-in-1 solid gel nail polish palette, which they like to call ‘nail shadows’, that can be easily applied at home.

“We found that many people find it hard to apply liquid gels at home, so we wanted to create a solid textured gel that anyone from beginner to pro can use in the comfort of their home,” she says.

“Whether it’s mums with young bubs who want an easy-to-use product or someone who wants to take their nail art to the next level, our product can suit everyone’s needs.”

As for who does what within the business, Emily lives for behind-the-scenes, crunching numbers, while Neena loves handling the more front-facing elements of the business, aka social media.

“We just ‘gel’ incredibly well together and find that our respective roles in this business intertwine perfectly,” Neena says.

We can’t wait to see what this female-founded business does next!

Christine Ledingham 

Partner, Potentia Solutions Leisure

Lina Rooftop

If there’s one woman making waves in Brisbane, it’s Christine Ledingham from Potentia Solutions Leisure, the hospitality powerhouse behind Lina Rooftop, Soko Rooftop, Carmen Tequileria, Claw BBQ, and Soul Green.

“I’ve been in the hospitality industry for over 20 years now,” she says.

“I started as a waitress, moving my way up the ladder to Events Manager and then Business Development Manager for Marriott before moving to Dubai.”

After two years as the International Group Sales Manager for Fairmont The Palm, Christine took a role as the Sales and Brand Marketing Director for her now-husband’s business, and as they say, the rest was history.

“Nothing felt impossible in Dubai, and we brought that mentality back home with us.”

Christine and Ross have since opened seven successful businesses in Brisbane (they’ve sold off two), with a few more in the works this year, including one at the highly-anticipated Queen’s Wharf – the details of which are still under lock and key. When Christine is not busy organising content shoots and dreaming up out-of-the-box events with her team as Director of PR and Marketing, she likes to spend her days off walking her dog and catching up with friends over a movie.

“Building and operating venues at this level and at this pace can quickly become your everything,” she reveals.

“Now I have learnt that balance really is key, and that rest and relaxation is as important as the fast-paced grind.”

As for what it’s like being a female business owner in the hospitality industry, Christine says, “For the longest time I really worked in the shadows, building our brands up in the background, but never writing myself into the story. What I’ve learnt though is that we need to see more women out there kicking goals.”

Rebecca Taylor 

Brand Photographer, Rebecca Taylor Photography

Rebecca Taylor 

Rebecca Taylor’s mission has always been to inspire women to step into the spotlight and to have their contributions recognised. Visual communication, especially portrait photography, has been a theme throughout her creative career and is clearly the secret weapon to her success.

“Beyond the commercial and business benefits of having professional portraits taken, the real power lies in the deep personal transformation that can happen during the photoshoot,” Rebecca explains.

Rebecca Taylor Photography launched in 2010 and her business now includes leadership branding photography, visibility mentoring, and brand strategy to further support her clients in building a public profile with impact.

“One of my biggest insights as a personal branding photographer has been understanding the insecurities that arise whilst being photographed. I then coach my clients through the process of bringing their authentic self into the photoshoot.” Rebecca, who spends her downtime almost always surrounded by good music, great food, and inspiring conversation, is gearing up for another exciting year ahead.

“I am partnering with Brisbane leaders for branding photo experiences and touring my signature photoshoot events in Sydney and Melbourne,” she says. “I also can’t wait to facilitate my Leadership Visibility Breakthrough program in 2024.”

Dr Lisa Harris

Founder, Maiden Health

Maiden Health

As the founder of Maiden Health, a leading obstetrics, gynaecology, and fertility practice, Dr Lisa Harris has followed a career path dedicated to women’s wellbeing, creating a footprint of warmth and excellence in the heart of our community. Founded in 2018, Lisa’s vision was to create a practice where women of all ages could come and feel supported, and the quality care they received would be personalised to them – where no one would feel like just another number.

Now, Maiden Health comprises an incredible team of specialists and support staff who all fit with the practice’s guiding principle of ‘women caring for women’. In a busy modern lifestyle, the team puts women’s health and wellbeing back in the centre, where it belongs. Lisa’s passion for women-centred care traces back to her days as a medical student.

Since then, she has dedicated her time to supporting women through some of their most significant life moments – whether it’s guiding expectant mothers through pregnancy or providing support to those facing gynaecological or fertility challenges.

Lisa’s recent collaboration with world-leading fertility company, Genea, marks an exciting chapter for Maiden Health. Genea delivers the highest IVF success rates in Australia, and the collaboration underscores a shared commitment to excellence, compassion, and realising the dreams of parenthood for every individual.

“This means our fertility patients will benefit from advanced treatment options and unwavering support, ensuring they have the greatest chance of success and a commitment to preserving their fertility and starting their future family,” Lisa says.

As the journey unfolds, Maiden Health remains steadfast in its mission to place women’s health and wellbeing at the forefront, guided by a vision of quality care, innovation, and support for every woman who walks through its doors.

Amelia Jane 

Founder, Milly The Space

Milly The Space

When Amelia first started The Milly Space from her garage in 2020, she never envisioned it would evolve into what it is today.

Not only is she the owner of a popular Gold Coast hair salon, but she also runs online masterclasses for aspiring hairdressers, which has seen her travel all around the globe, and is the proud owner of The Milly Club, a chic apparel business for creators (if we weren’t already in the publishing business, we’d make the jump to hair and makeup just to wear her fabulous aprons, they are that chic).

“After a year of working from home, I craved a team  environment and there was so much demand from other stylists for me to share my education – this meant I needed a much bigger space!” As for how she manages all three businesses, Amelia says it’s quite the juggling act.

“There is always a lot to juggle, but I love that no day is the same,” she says.

“I service clients and manage Milly The Space and the beautiful team. I curate, film, and create content for my education platform, as well as plan and teach masterclasses online and globally. I also design and manage The Milly Club.”

And this mum-to-be isn’t slowing down anytime soon. She’s not only welcoming a baby boy in July, but is also gearing up to launch a clothing brand later this year – so it’s fair to say Amelia doesn’t do things by halves.

“I have worked hard and achieved a lot in the past two years and this year I want to focus on celebrating my achievements with the hope I can inspire others to do so too.”

Samara Searle 

Company Director, Beauty Boost Aesthetic Clinic

Beauty Boost Aesthetic Clinic

Samara Searle always knew she wanted to open her own aesthetic clinic. She had a passion for both medicine and beauty, so it was a no-brainer she’d eventually go down this path, however, before she made the move to the cosmetic world, she was working as an intensive care nurse.

Since 2018, Samara, who has seven years’ experience as an advanced cosmetic injector and trainer, has been slowly chipping away at her dream. She first started Beauty Boost Aesthetic Clinic as a side hustle before turning it into a full-blown business in 2022, and she’s now just relocated to the beautiful suburb of Teneriffe.

“I feel a stigma has been built [around] injectables from society and celebrities, when really, if placed correctly in the face, you can enhance someone’s natural beauty,” she says.

“I love the trust clients put in me with their faces!”

A normal day for Samara starts with a leisurely wake up, before getting stuck into the work day, which includes everything from client bookings and appointments to social media content. As for what’s in store for the year ahead, Samara is looking forward to seeing what the new space brings and hopes it becomes a one-stop shop for all your beauty needs – watch this space.

Grace Maher, Melita Burton, Tina Worland, Lesa Podbury, Sunshine Fitzgerald

Hummingbird The Shop, Style Me Luxe, Antica Style, Dressed At Windsor, Our Sun Room

Grace, Melita, Tina, Lesa, and Sunshine are proof there’s nothing more important than building a supportive network of like-minded women around you.

There’s nothing more refreshing than seeing women supporting women and we absolutely adore the comradery between these five leading fashion ladies. With stores all around Brisbane, we couldn’t help but wonder how Tina Worland of Antica Style, Lesa Podbury of Dressed at Windsor, Grace Maher of Hummingbird The Shop, Sunshine Fitzgerald of Our Sun Room, and Melita Burton of Style Me Luxe, became friends and why their friendship is important.

“After surviving Covid, it became increasingly necessary to check in with fellow business owners to see how we were holding up,” Sunshine says.

“Lesa and I were already the best of friends, and I regularly ran into the other girls in West End picking up stock.”

Grace, whose store resides in Paddington, took it upon herself to start an Instagram group.

“It has really only been in the last year that we have actively come together to just hang out, unwind (and be wined), and talk all things fashion, business, and life,” she says.

“The five of us have very unique and individual styles and instead of seeing competition, we have all embraced our differences and really appreciate and admire what each of us do.”

Lesa, who has been a friendly face in the Windsor community since 2017, agrees, saying, “I believe it’s important for the community to know that although we operate similar businesses, there is no competition between us, only respect and support.”

As for why they love what they do, Tina from Antica Style believes it comes down to one thing, “The transformation on a woman’s face when she is happy with her reflection in the mirror is priceless.”

While Melita says, “I love changing women’s views about loving their body no matter what size or shape and pushing their boundaries when it comes to fashion and style.”

Grace on the other hand, loves the passion Brisbane women have for fashion, saying, “What I love most about Brisbane and fashion is the love of colour and fun, and that women really do love expressing themselves through what they wear. From a jazzed up pair of sunglasses to a fabulous sequined dress, fashion should be fun and I think Brisbane really understands and embraces that.”

We can’t wait to see what these wonderful ladies do next!

By Penelope Pelecas



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