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A gift of hope for women in family violence crisis

Melbourne friends on track to collect their 15,000th gift box to women in family violence crisis accommodation.

Selina Ife, New Day Box

A month before Christmas in 2012 Cyan Ta’eed read about a Canadian charity that organised gifts for women in family violence crisis accommodation over the Christmas period. At the time she didn’t realise that article, and the idea that stemmed from it, would impact more than 10,000 women fleeing family violence over the next four years.

A search for a Melbourne-based equivalent charity came up with nothing. So, after chatting with a few colleagues she sat near, Cyan and a small team launched New Day Box.

Cyan had already co-founded Envato, one of the most successful tech companies in Australia, and was excited about exploring a new side venture, despite being eight months pregnant and launching with a team with no experience in the not-for-profit sector. Suffice to say, New Day Box was a learning experience.

The early days of the initiative involved talking to family violence case workers all over Victoria. One of them was so moved to hear about what the team were planning she burst into tears. Many of the women who flee family violence leave with nothing but the clothes on their back. Those with children try to make Christmas as special for their kids as possible. There are countless services that organise gift drives for children, but the women themselves go without.

A dedicated team at Safe Steps family violence response service agreed to distribute New Day Boxes to crisis accommodation centres all over Victoria. They estimated 500 boxes would cover the festive season, a time that unfortunately sees a spike in family violence crisis.

Family violence statistics in Australia are overwhelming. One in three Australian women have experienced violence from a current or former partner in their lifetime and in 2016 on average more than one woman a week lost her life due to family violence. Last financial year Safe Steps provided over 29,000 emergency accommodation beds for women and children escaping family violence. (Ref: Safe Steps)

The team at New Day Box have always focussed on gifts, rather than necessities. Items like a nice hand cream, mascara or nail polish. Anything that might provide a little bit of luxury for someone who really needs it. A New Day Box is more than just material items – it’s a gift of hope. It’s a way to tell a women in family violence crisis accommodation that someone in the community is thinking of them and wishes them well.

Now in its fifth year, the New Day Box team have streamlined processes and have a thousands-strong community who give a gift of hope each year. So much so that the boxes exceed how many are required for the Christmas period, and are distributed all over Victoria well into the new year.

This year the team have partnered with St Kilda Mums, who have generously offered their warehouse for collection and will assist with distribution. That means in addition to women in family violence crisis, New Day Boxes donated to St Kilda Mums may also go to female refugees and asylum seekers, those experiencing homelessness, disabilities, mental illness, addiction and other issues. Unfortunately family violence features in many of these women’s history even if it is not the reason they currently need assistance.

Miss Collective have been a great support to New Day Box, sharing the message with their community and hosting our inaugural ‘packing party’ in Melbourne. While its reason for being is inherently sombre, the New Day Box team focus on making a positive contribution to women who are in need of having their day brightened.

This year the team hope to collect their 15,000th New Day Box. If you would like to help you can find out more information at newdaybox.org.

Girlfriend, you’ve got this

Girlfriend, you’ve got this.

Miss Collective’s Female Founder’s series kicked off with this resounding message from Justine Flynn, co-founder and Director of Brand for social enterprise Thankyou. After the initial confidence booster, Justine took us through the incredible story of Thankyou and sparked inspiration in each of her captive audience.

Hearing how Justine, Daniel and Jarrod overcame multiple challenges to see Thankyou have donated more than $4.69 million to aid projects to date, there were many key outtakes:

Find you ‘why’ in what you do

If you have a burning passion in your heart for what you’re doing, then in the face of obstacles you can always find a reason to keep going.

Leaders are learners.

Leaders are always learning, with everyone watching them. Being open to making mistakes and moving forward is essential for start up success.

Trailblazers don’t have Google maps.

Thankyou has been built on non-traditional approaches every step of the way, including flying a helicopter above Coles and Woolworths’ head offices to help get their products on supermarket shelves. There’s no one path to building a business, so forget the map and forge your own way.

We rise by lifting others.

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Be scared – but do it anyway

One of my favourite parts of Miss Collective and SheSays events is meeting amazing women during the pre-event drinks and networking. Last week at our Female Founders event with Cyan Ta’eed, I had the absolute pleasure of meeting brilliant women from all sorts of sectors and professions – IT, data analysis, tech start ups, digital agency and even a business owner in the niche medical tourism field! Networking doesn’t come naturally to me but I’ve never felt intimidated at our events – somehow, without fail, our attendees are consistently friendly and interesting to talk to.

But moving on to the main event – the super-smart and super-successful Cyan Ta’eed, co-founder and executive director of digital marketplace Envato. Which is basically a one-stop shop for everything people need for their creative projects.

Cyan and her husband Collis have built a worldwide success with Envato over the past 10 years, and the story of their journey is equally as inspiring as hearing about the leadership that Cyan and Collis continue to deliver to their organisation in it’s quite unique culture.

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What my time at Girls In Tech Catalyst Conference taught me

I’m still sifting through my notes, tweets and voice recordings about my time at Girls in Tech… but for now, it’s worth summarising my key takeaways from my 3 days at Girls in Tech Catalyst Conference and what I learned.

The women I met over the 4 days in Phoenix, were truly inspiring. Not only did I have the opportunity to spend more time with Adriana, founder of Girls in Tech, and some of her amazing organisation such as Shaima Ghafoor – Tumbler Sales at Yahoo, and Louise who heads up GIT Partnerships, I came to see similar drivers in these women, in myself.

We put on events such as Catalyst, to help other women succeed. To help other women (of whatever age) to be inspired, see success, learn from others and ultimately to drive change.

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Bec Brideson bringing us #LikeABoss

Bec managed to fit her 25 year career into 2 hours with our full house at Blix Spaces and opened the night by talking about the importance of supporting women in our industry… and damn straight we do! And that’s why we do what we do, and why we run our Miss Collective workshops, to try and help empower women in the marketing, media and advertising industry to reach their goals and help them level up their careers. 

Setting the stage, Bec talked to us about the purchasing power of women in today’s economy with women making 9 out of 10 household purchase decisions. Bec talked about how today’s advertising industry is really still stuck in the past…where we were influenced by war, with ‘guerilla’ marketing, ‘target’ audiences, etc. And whilst the world has mostly moved on from “men were men and women were the housewives”, there is such a big lag between our reality and the way that the industry is operating.

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Day One: Girls in Tech Catalyst Conference

Today was certainly a great way to kickstart the 3 day conference for Girls in Tech! Whilst we will be posting more detailed summaries on some topics post-conference, I wanted to keep you guys up to date with the first glance of what’s to come.

The day top and tailed with some incredible talent. Kara Swisher (@karaswisher) opened the day, moderated by Kym McNicholas (@kymbee), who set the tone for the day. Kara’s communication style was so authentic and unapologetic, she had the audience from the word go. Kara referenced an interview she did with Mark Zuckerberg, and talked about how in the face of gender disqualification, you can either be offended, or do something about it. That resonated strongly with me – we can’t expect change to happen if we don’t actively try to be that change in our actions.

Kym McNicholas interviewing Kara Swisher

Kym McNicholas interviewing Kara Swisher. Image credit @kymbee

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Welcome to Sunny Arizona!

Andrea Clarke & Steph Webster

These two female founders touched down in the US today, ready and raring to go for 3 days of inspiration at the Girls in Tech Catalyst Conference! A delayed journey from Melbourne to Los Angeles saw this duo stranded in LA for a few extra hours whilst waiting for a new connection through to Phoenix, Arizona. Those of you who travel through LAX know that it’s not so much fun waiting around, so we Uber’d off to Marina Del Ray for a sneaky brunch with some friends! 

Before even setting off, our Instagram post received over 300 likes, and the Qantas staff were kind enough to retweet and respond to our tweets! Setting the benchmark for social media success, we’re looking forward to sharing some of the stories and journey of the GIT Catalyst Conference with you over the next few days.

Miss Collective cofound Steph Webster & CareerCEO founder Andrea Clarke jetting off to Phoenix

Miss Collective cofounder Steph Webster & CareerCEO founder Andrea Clarke jetting off to Phoenix.  @miss.collective @careerceo

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Periscope – is it just another app?

I must say I was skeptical of “Periscope” and it being just another social media application. Working in digital, I usually feel the need to trial all new technology and platforms to give it a go, however with Periscope I truly never thought it would be a platform that engaged me.

Last week however, I participated in my first live Q&A via Periscope and I think I’m now converted. I took part in the first kick off session of “How to be the CEO of your Career” with Andrea Clarke, amongst 15 other participants in the program. Through the 20 minute live Q&A, I chatted live with other participants, asked questions live of Andrea which were answered real time, as well as the ability to re-stream the session for 24 hours afterwards. Follow Andrea on Periscope @andreaclarke22 to hear more about her program.

The platform allows us to source real-time feedback and engagement from our audience, with minimal effort and high reward. What if we could utilise this platform for brands to do cost-effective focus groups? Or facilitate small group of workshops that people can participate in on a global scale? My favourite part about the interaction on Periscope is the direct interaction with our host. When asking a question, it’s important they acknowledge the person who’s asked it, for example “Thanks for the question Steph,” and give their answer.

The appeal of this live streaming app is nothing new – it’s the ‘exclusive’ and ‘behind the scenes’ content that users want from a platform. The reason you follow celebs on Twitter, the reason you follow bloggers on Instagram and the reason that Periscope will try dipping a toe in the water and take a percentage of the 20% of our weeks that we spend in social media. Whether or not it has viability long term is still to be seen, but I can certainly think of some great ways we’ll be trialling it for @SheSaysMelb and @Miss_Collective in the coming months.

Incredibly, 10 million people have created Periscope accounts since end of March 2015, and nearly two million people use the app every day^. I guess I fall outside the “early adopter” category, but Periscope has just been added to the first screen of my phone.

^http://recode.net/2015/08/12/periscope-has-10-million-users-kinda/

Twitter: @stekko
Periscope: @stephwebster

Event Wrap Up: Mindfulness, Work & Me

It’s no surprise that we find it hard to find time for ourselves in the industries that we work  in. The industry of tight deadlines, ‘need it now’, endless emails and rising expectations, it’s difficult to find even a few minutes to reflect, let alone de-stress.

Joining 70 women and a few lucky men at SapientNitro on Tuesday night, we heard from Addie Wootten, CEO of Smiling Mind, and Steph Prem, founder of Premium Performance / Studio PP.

In 2015, 45% of Australians reported being stressed about work. We spend a third of our lives at work, so it’s crucial to our health and wellbeing that we learn to find some time and space to help ease the stresses of our jam-packed working lives. Approx. 90% of our audience admitted to being stressed at work, and hopefully we gave them a few take home ways to help reduce stress in their environments.

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