Recently at Leaders in Heels we got together for ‘Strategy Day’. It was a day to assess where we have been, where we are now and whether or not the magazine is headed in the right direction for us and for you. Our facilitator, Ozlem Beldan from the Spirit of Womankind kicked things off with an activity based on the key points from Simon Sinek’s famous 2009 TED Talk: ‘How Great Leaders Inspire Action’. We hope that by sharing the exercise and our results you will also be inspired by Sinek to challenge your everyday activities!

Sinek Who?

Before we jump into the activity we should introduce the man himself: Simon Sinek. The New York based ethnographer, (now speaker, writer, blogger and philanthropist and more), spent years studying the behaviour of leaders and discovered a common pattern that separated the average from the great. He realised that great leaders inspire action by promoting WHY they do something, not by selling WHAT they do. So he developed a simple diagram to explain this and called it ‘The Golden Circle’ – cue activity.

The Activity – The Golden Circle & the Golden Question: “Why do you do what you do?”
why how what golden circle Simon Sinek

” Most people can easily tell you WHAT it is that they do and HOW they do it, but struggle to understand and articulate WHY they are spending each and every day working on something

As per the picture the Golden Circle is made up of 3 rungs of seemingly simple questions to ask of yourself and your business:

  1. WHY do you do it? – The reason for existing.
  2. HOW do you do it? – Your USP or production methods.
  3. WHAT do you do? – The products sold or tasks you engage in.

What is your ‘WHY’

Sinek explains that most people can easily tell you WHAT it is that they do and HOW they do it, but struggle to understand and articulate WHY they are spending each and every day working on something. But as he repeats over and over to emphasise that the WHY is the most important question: “people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it!”. He stresses that leaders cannot expect to attract motivated staff members and businesses cannot expect loyal customers if they themselves are unsure of their purpose. This also applies on an individual level and to any aspect of life, as if you are unclear on why you are doing something, chances are it will soon become a chore and you will look for a way out.

“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it!

You can watch full Ted Talk below:

‘How Great Leaders Inspire Action’

Our Results

We looked at this Golden Circle with regards to our roles at Leaders in Heels. Collectively we decided that the WHY behind this magazine is to empower, educate and inspire women to chase their dreams as well as to promote gender equality in the home, in the workplace and, ultimately, in society.

HOW we do this is by recruiting passionate women to be regular and guest contributors, connecting with like-minded organisations and entrepreneurs, and speaking up about contemporary issues facing women.

WHAT we provide is an online magazine that features articles on business, career development, inspirational women, gender equality and work-life balance. We also run networking events and foster an online community of women in business.

We also considered our individual motivations for working for the magazine, using the same three questions. Our Founder and Publisher, Kasia, explained that she was raised in Poland by her mother after her father passed away when she was just 13. Luckily her mother was a strong and confident woman and who taught Kasia that “a man is not a plan” and that she should speak up and ask for what she wanted. But after moving to Australia in 2008 she realised that this was not common behaviour and that her colleagues were continuously being overlooked for promotions due to unconscious bias, stereotypes, and worst of all, because they didn’t put their hands up. She says “I created Leaders in Heels because I wanted to dispel the limitations women put on themselves. My aim is to empower women to reach for the top and educate them on how to take control of their lives, finances and careers.”

Similarly, Yolanda, our Social Media and Community Manager, says that she is passionate about changing the ideas women have about themselves. She loves the happiness, inspiration and motivation that the site provides readers and devotes her time to making sure as many women as possible feel this.

Lifestyle Editor, Erica, explains her WHY as “being able to join my love of writing with helping women to be the best they can”, a statement that Leanne, our Chief and Tech Editor, identifies with. She believes that the stories she and her fellow contributors write for Leaders in Heels play an important role in shifting the thinking of what women can do in this world.

I agree with my colleagues and am motivated by my personal philosophy that the work I engage in should serve a greater purpose than just delivering me a pay check. Leaders in Heels is a place where I feel supported to learn and grow and also where I have the power to positively influence other women’s lives.

Now it’s Your Turn

This exercise was invaluable for us at Leaders in Heels, both as a team and individually, as it forced us to reassess our whole purpose for being. We have come out on the same page with a clear understanding of WHY we do what we do. I have personally also applied this to other aspects of my life, particularly when weighing up a decision, and it has helped me to focus simply on whether or not it is relevant to my goals at this point in time.

We couldn’t recommend this activity any higher, and just want to say “Thank you Simon!”

We’d love to hear how you go with the exercise, and ultimately WHY you do what you do! Tell us in the comments below to keep the inspiration rolling. And don’t forget to ask your friends the Golden Question!

Good Luck!

For more on Sinek:

  • Watch his TED Talks
  • Visit his Website (If you get stuck some courses are available to help you discover your WHY)
  • Check out Ozlem Beldan Spirit of womankind website to arrange a strategy day for your team

International Women’s Day (March 8th) is a day to celebrate the achievements of womankind, to recognise the contribution of our gender to worldwide peace and development and to bring issues that are directly affecting us to light.

This year marks twenty years since the fourth World Conference on Women in 1995 where the Beijing Platform for Action, a plan for increasing women’s rights, was developed and signed by 189 countries. The theme of this year’s International Women’s day events is ‘Beijing +20’, designed to spark a review of the document in regards to the progress that has been made in the campaign for gender equality, as well as to encourage further action.

Back home, the Australian National Committee for UN Women hosts events all over the nation. They suggest that you can get involved with the campaign by attending or hosting an event, becoming a member, selling ribbons or simply donating.

These are all fantastic ways to support the movement, but if you cannot commit the time to these initiatives, do not stress, you can still play a part!

There are many organisations operating across the world with the aim of empowering women to take control of their lives and achieve financial independency. This International Women’s Day, why not support these women by purchasing an item from one of these companies or charities? Better yet, gift them to your girlfriends and colleagues to spread the word about International Women’s Day, socially conscious organisations and the issue of gender equality!

Without further ado, let us introduce you to 9 such organisations that you can support to make a difference in the lives of women this International Women’s Day.

Gifts for International Women’s Day

1. Sawa Australia NSW Inc.

SAWA (Support Association for the Women of Afghanistan) Australia NSW is a charitable organisation whose current major project is providing free education to Afghan refugees via Heward High School in Pakistan. It is one of the only schools in Pakistan that remains open to Afghan girls where 147 students currently attend from grades 1-12.  Amongst more traditional subjects, the students are educated on the topic of women’s rights in an effort to change the next generation’s perception of gender roles.

To support the cause you can purchase an Eco Shopping Bag, available in a wide range of colours, or a pack of 6 gift cards to send to your girlfriends this IWD!

Eco Shopping Bags $10 each, Sawa Australia NSW Inc.


2. Popinjay

Popinjay is a company that grew from Founder Saba Gul’s realisation that artistic talent in her home country of Pakistan was stifled due to the lack of connection to the world market. So she set out to be the voice between the local and global markets and in the process developed a successful brand that is about quality over quantity, locally sourced raw materials and intricate handcraft. By providing above average wages and training Gul has enabled the women she employs to become financially independent.

Popinjay offer a range of limited edition products, including clutches and totes made from handwoven fabric and detailed with silk embroidery.

Baracoa Zip Clutch $205, Popinjay

3. Oxfam Shop

At Oxfam they are working on a sustainable solution to poverty that involves providing people in need with the training, resources and market exposure necessary for success. Oxfam currently has trading relationships with 136 producer groups in 38 countries (even including Australia!). They use their Oxfam shops to sell these hand-made and fair trade goods and by making a purchase you are supporting the small-scale producers around the world, as well as helping to raise funds for new and existing programs.

In store or online you can find a variety of unique goods including children’s toys, home décor, kitchen supplies, clothes and accessories, books and cards and food and drink at very affordable prices!

Jewelled Metal Cuffed Bracelet $16.95, Oxfam Shop


4. On Purpose by Kate Spade

Kate Spade has developed a range of handmade goods under the brand ‘On Purpose’. This is a side project of the company, who has set up training and production facilities in Masoro, Rwanda. They stress that the initiative “is not a charity project” and that they are “training them to become a profitable supplier and participate in the global marketplace”. By employing 150 women from the Masoro community they have been able to positively impact the lives of some 20,000 people in the community.

The On Purpose range extends across all brands under the company – Kate Spade New York, Kate Spade Saturday and Jack Spade (for men) – and you can purchase everything from bags, scarfs and jewellery, to beanies and hand-stitched pocket squares!

Kiss Me You Fool Clutch $198, Kate Spade On Purpose


5. Moeloco for the Hope Foundation

Kathy Wong’s MoeLoco, is a socially conscious brand that has been developed in line with the ‘buy-one-give-one’ business model to combat poverty, particularly amongst children. This means that for every pair of shoes purchased they will give a pair of shoes to the Hope Foundation for allocation to an orphan in need. This simple system will help the children avoid injury and health problems and attend school.

Currently MoeLoco stock beautifully designed thongs that feature inspirational messages on the top and sole. This is so that when you walk in the sand, you leave behind words of kindness such as ‘love’, ‘happiness’ and ‘peace’. How great is that?!

Dream Crazy Flip Flop $35, Moeloco


6. The Brave Collection

The Brave Collection is based in Cambodia and aims to empower women through job opportunities. They employ local women from disadvantaged backgrounds, single mothers or those with a disability to work in their studio producing hand-woven and carved jewellery. In return the women receive a fair working environment, above average wages, benefits such as health insurance, and are able to bring their children to work. In addition, The Brave Collection donates 10% of their profits to fight human trafficking and collaborates with local organisations to educate and empower the local women and girls through creative arts programs.

Each piece of jewellery sold by The Brave Collection has been dyed, woven and carved by hand. The ‘Brave Bracelet’ featured in the picture is one of their signature pieces. See their website for more beautiful designs!

Brave Bracelet (Deep Moss) $38, The Brave Collection


7. The Akola Project

The Akola Project is a not-for-profit organisation that believes the only sustainable way to reduce poverty is to empower women to become change makers in their community. They do this through a six step model that includes building community infrastructure, providing vocational training, producing globally competitive products, rewarding workers with above average wages, assisting beneficiaries with health and financial advice, and encouraging and supporting the women to embark on their own business venture. This approach means that each woman can support 10 children and is equipped with the skills and resources to make a better life. Until recently, Akola’s main focus has been communities in Uganda, but they have just introduced a program in Dallas, Texas.

Akola women create beautiful accessories using local materials and techniques. The cherry on the cake? 100% of the profits from the sale of these items are reinvested into the project.

Drape (Chartreuse) from $96, Akola Project


8. Women for Women International

WFWI run training and development programs for women in 8 countries to help them rebuild their lives after war. These programs provide the women with in-demand skills and a health education and inform them of their rights so that they may become active in household and community decision making.

Featured on their website is the link “Shop with a Purpose” where you will find the products created and the shops endorsed by WFWI. Recently they launched their first cookbook titled ‘Share’ that includes local recipes from around the world as well as individual stories of the women that completed the WFWI program. You will also find contributions from world-renowned chefs and humanitarians. What’s more, 100% of the profits go back to the program. The perfect gift for that master chef friend of yours!

‘Share – The Cookbook’ $28.34 (on Amazon), WFWI


9. Global Girlfriend

Global Girlfriend is a GreaterGood online store, which means that every purchase made gives a charity royalty between 5-30%.Global Girlfriend’s charity of choice is GROW (Girl’s Right to Opportunity Worldwide) who work to assist young girls to attend primary and secondary school by providing them with the necessary resources and covering tuition fees.

The products sold on Global Girlfriend’s website are women-made, fair-trade and eco-friendly and sourced from all over the world. You can find many affordable gifts, great clothes and accessories and find out all about the organisations who make them.

Bangladesh Botanical Note Paper & Pencil $10, Global Girlfriend


By purchasing a gift from any of these organisations you are making a real and positive impact on the lives of the women producers and their families across the world. International Women’s Day is a great excuse to check these organisations out and to realise the power of our daily spending in making a difference.
Happy International Women’s Day!



Ozlem Beldan

Ozlem is the Founder of Spirit of Womankind – a platform for facilitating womankind’s reconnection to their truth so they feel free to design the lives they truly want to live. Ozlem is also an Associate at Xplore for Success – an organisation dedicated to driving gender equality in the workplace.

Sarah Phasey

Sarah is based in Melbourne, Australia where she is completing her Business degree.

Feature image credit: Moeloco