Inspired by… Allison Tsao

Allison Tsao, Humans Who Lead

1. Tell us what this quote means to you and how it inspires you on a daily basis
This quote captures how I’ve evolved in my own life – my journey of growth. Too often, we as human beings suffer because we want to change things that are out of our control. We struggle so much because we think to ourselves, “if only I could change that person, or if only that person would listen.” What we don’t realise is if we change ourselves – our attitudes, mindsets, and behaviours – that we can actually affect real change in the world. It’s called role modelling, or as Gandhi put it, “being the change you want to see in the world”. We must focus on developing ourselves in order to contribute to the positive evolution of humanity.

2. What drove you to start your business Humans Who Lead? And you recently moved across the world to live in Australia didn’t you?!
Yes! I moved to Australia in November 2014 with two suitcases. It was a total leap of faith, I had never even been to Australia, I only knew two people in Sydney, and I didn’t have any job lined up. I had been climbing the big corporate ladder in NYC for 8 years when I realised that that life wasn’t going to be for me. Something in my soul was telling me there was something else I was meant to do and distancing myself from my NYC lifestyle would give me some space to reflect on what that was. So fast forward 3 years, I’ve been working with a boutique consulting firm in Sydney, helping organisations through transformational change. Being in executive meetings most of the time, I realised that the pain I  experienced in corporate America felt very similar in corporate Australia. People are struggling! They are stressed, so busy, and simply overwhelmed with the complexity of the world. There are just so many demands on us as humans these days, how do we make sense of it all and lead lives that are fulfilling and energising amidst all this change?

3. Miss Collective is all about helping women Level Up. Who's helped you Level Up in your career?
If you asked me this five years ago, I would have said no one. Hah! Seriously though, in my younger years, I thought I had to figure it out all on my own, and I was terrible at asking for help. I felt like “asking for help” meant I owed someone something in return. That is simply not true. My own growth has profoundly shifted how I think about asking for help. For me, it’s about two things. It’s about surrounding yourself with people who want to lift each other up and sharing who you are, vulnerabilities and all. This is why I love Miss Collective, because that’s what you’re all about! The other thing I’ve learned is that help takes on a lot of different forms. It doesn’t always have to be formal mentorship. Rather, nowadays, it seems like everyone I meet is helping me Level Up. I learn something from everyone I meet – even the people who criticise and judge. That’s not to say that I take everyone’s advice, rather, I consider it and weigh in and take on what I feel is helpful to me because I know myself.

4. How do you keep the balance between work, life and play? Do you get a chance to do anything for yourself?
Oh, isn’t this the million dollar question? There’s no such thing as balance! It’s all about integration! (Disclaimer, I wrote my thesis on work life integration). Balance assumes that something has to be traded off, it almost inherently creates a sense of guilt in that trading off. I like to look at life as an integrated dance of work, life, and play. What this practically means is that as long as I stay present in the moment and am enjoying what I am doing, I don’t think about work, life, and play as distinct and separate from one another. This, of course, isnt’ easy. Sometimes I find myself going too fast and realise I’ve gone into hyper-doing mode. That’s when I have to slow down and listen to my body. The human body, if we can pay more attention to it, is such a smart instrument that is finely tuned to tell you when you are not integrated, or not in balance.

5. What’s your go-to Podcast at the moment?
I don’t listen to podcasts (am I the only one out there?!) I’m a terrible auditory learner so my mind literally blanks out when I listen to books on tape or podcasts.

6. If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self, what would it be?
Know yourself and value yourself. Once you do, your potential will be limitless.

7. Our three go to pieces of Tech at the moment are Canva, UMUN and Slack to help us be more organised and on top of things! What piece of tech are you loving that helps you work smarter not harder?
– zoom, they are awesome. We have virtual team mtgs all over the world all the time now. We record mtgs, webinars, etc. and share them on mobile and desktop. We share screens and collaborate together. For some reason, it just feels easier with zoom than it did with all the other virtual tools before it.


Inspired by… Jess Ruhfus

Jess Ruhfus, Founder, Collabosaurus

1. Tell us what this quote means to you and how it inspires you on a daily basis
I love this quote because it reminds me that success is up to me! Waiting around gets you nowhere, you need to go out there and create opportunities for yourself.

2. So other than having the best name ever (!) tell us about Collabosaurus and what drove you to start the business?
Everyone hated the name to begin with! Luckily, I stuck to my guns and I’m so happy I did - Collabosaurus is fun and memorable, and we get so many comments on it.
Collabosaurus is a matchmaking platform that helps brands grow through powerful marketing collaborations in social media, products and events. We’re a marketing tool up to 30x less expensive than other digital advertising (and much more fun, in my opinion!)
The idea came about because I was frustrated sourcing effective brand-to-brand marketing collaborations while working in PR. We were pulling together venues, caterers, goodie bag inclusions, photographers & instagram-worthy event experiences for media launch events - and it was such a time consuming, scramble of a process. Tinder was becoming popular and I thought: “how amazing would it be to have a Tinder-style platform for brand partnerships?”
Now, we have built a community of over 30,000 businesses, big and small, across fashion, beauty, lifestyle, B2B, food & beverage (and more!) in 5 countries, all looking for brand collaboration opportunities.

3. Miss Collective is all about helping women Level Up. Who's helped you Level Up in your career?
My business partner, Nick! He was heading up the development of Collabosaurus - so we had already established trust and a great working relationship - and we decided to officially become business partners about 18 months ago. Nick has a background in the financial services industry and his perspective has been extremely beneficial to the business. He motivates me and has had a huge impact on the business’ success so far.

4. How do you keep the balance between work, life and play? Do you get a chance to do anything for yourself?
Running an online software business is a 24 hour job, however over the last year I’ve made it a priority to invest in myself! I haven’t taken a holiday in the 3 years I’ve been running the business, and instead I indulge in making sure I get enough sleep, see friends at least once a week and spend quality time at home. You do have to make time for these things - I go as far as blocking it out in my calendar - but it’s 100% necessary and worth it. I work at a greater productivity level if I’m not burnt out and stressed.

5. You’ve recently started your own fabulous podcast! It’s cued up on our phones! What other podcasts are you loving at the moment?
Yes! That was such a difficult project for me - I had no idea how unnerving it was to edit hours of your own voice recording! Thankfully, I have outsourced this part of the process now haha. To check it out...
For iphone: https://itunes.apple.com/au/podcast/stop-collaborate-listen/id1335910301?mt=2
For android: we're searchable on the Stitcher App, otherwise you can listen to the episodes straight through their pages in http://collabosaurus.com/resources
Other podcasts - there are so many! My all time favourite is How I Built This, and I also love ‘Building a Story Brand with Donald Miller’ it’s a very interesting take on communicating & presenting in an engaging way. I’m a B2B SaaS nerd, and there’s a podcast exactly for this! It’s called The Growth Hub Podcast and it interviews B2B SaaS founders, like me (although far more seasoned)

6. If you could give one piece of advice to someone starting out in their career, what would it be?
Even if you’re packing event gift bags all day, you’re learning, making valuable connections, and making an impression. Do all things with the right attitude and your career will move quickly in the right direction - everyone started out running coffees and ordering office supplies, it doesn’t make you less of a person, in fact it presents a unique opportunity. When you make your way further up the ladder, you’ll also have a grateful mindset because you earned every little bit of success you achieve.

7. Our three go to pieces of Tech at the moment are Canva, UMUN and Slack to help us be more organised and on top of things! What piece of tech are you loving that helps you work smarter not harder?
Collabosaurus of course! It reduces what currently takes 6months to accomplish, down to about 3 - 5 weeks. In terms of tech, I am also obsessed with Yesware, The Dropbox App and the new ‘Send & Archive’ feature in Gmail.