In today’s society where over a third of Australian girls are dissatisfied with their bodies at the age of four, it’s important that we start building resilience and investing in empowering our girls to be body confident, which is why we feel it’s important to discuss how body confidence in young girls starts at home.

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I have two options, both fantastic: I can attend a business conference dedicated to empowering women in advertising… or my daughter’s school presentation. It’s an age-old case of conflicting work and family events.

At first glance, it was a no-brainer. I would go to my daughter’s performance. But then I started researching the conference. It was dedicated to women in leadership and covered topics I’m incredibly passionate about. I could listen to others who have been in my shoes, discuss how to rise through the ranks, and learn more about supporting diversity both in advertising and the world around me. It looked awesome.

Suddenly, the choice felt impossible. I could spend time learning from other empowered women in my industry and advancing my career, or I could choose to celebrate my daughter and support her on her own journey to becoming a strong woman. Both were important celebrations of women, but ultimately, I still had to decide between doing something for my career or being there for my family. While it was important for me to celebrate women in my industry, I had the feeling that in my daughter’s eyes, if one person needed to be at her performance, it was me.

I’m not alone in this struggle. Working parents have been trying to balance professional and personal demands for decades. Do you choose to stay late and miss family dinner? Do you get to the office early and miss doing morning drop-off? Or do you stretch your timeline at work?

Instead of letting these decisions eat away at us, we should allow them to empower us. After all, just having, and owning, the ability to make these decisions is empowering in itself. Here are a few pointers to keep in mind when you have to weigh your personal versus professional priorities:

Go with your gut when choosing between work and family events

You usually know the right answer. What feels right is usually just that. But if your gut isn’t talking, take a beat. Find a quiet space and think. What will make you happiest and most fulfilled? Go with that one. And if that means family comes first, so be it. Or if you choose to stay for a presentation with your team, so be that, too. As long as your co-workers feel supported and encouraged and your family members know that they are number one, it will all pan out.

Be resourceful

While you can’t be in two places at once, your support can. In fact, your resourcefulness is probably one of the reasons you are where you are today. Use technology to help you be present when you can’t be. Or tap into the best resource of all: your support group. Work or family, there are people with whom you share a mutual trust and respect. Who better to ask for help?

It’s all too easy to tell yourself that having to choose between work and family in the first place means you’re failing. Instead, think of it as an opportunity to shine in both places — just in different ways. And sometimes, at different times.

Don’t waste time feeling guilty

Make your decision and stick with it. Feeling guilty will only prevent you from benefiting from the decision you laboured so hard over. Don’t spoil it. You make the choice to be somewhere, and you make the choice to enjoy it.

If you choose work, you’re not saying work is more important than family. If you choose your family, it doesn’t mean your career suddenly doesn’t matter. Those are extreme labels people might like to impose on you, but it’s more complicated than that. You’ll have the opportunity to make another choice in another situation, and if you find some semblance of balance in your choices, you’ll find balance overall.

Separate and conquer conflicting work and family events

Wherever you choose to be, be there 100%. Dedicate work hours to work and family hours to family. For example, let’s say you chose to go to your kid’s basketball game and leave work two hours early. So what? Deadlines are met, and the team knows you’ll be there to support them the very next day. And if you have to be absent at home one night, your family will rest easy knowing that the time you spend at home is dedicated to them.

Carve out time just for you

Ah, that impossible task of finding me time. The reality is, if you don’t invest in self-care, these decisions will be way harder than they need to be. Rather than approaching them with a calm, clear mind, your fears may take the lead, making it difficult to stay on task or be totally present with your family.

Just remember, your decision doesn’t mean one aspect of life is more important than the other. Make sure your family knows they always come out on top. They may lose a few battles, but they win the war. Meanwhile, you may find that these decisions make you a stronger leader at work by building empathy and time-management skills. If you can successfully balance family and work life, at least most of the time, you’re probably a much better leader, personally and professionally, than you’re giving yourself credit for.

So back to the original dilemma: You’ve got two options, both centred on empowering and supporting the women in your world. Which one do you choose?

Lexi HarperAbout the author
Lexi Harper, associate creative director at RAPP, embraces her passion for fusing ultimate precision, relevant tonality and an intimately understood target to craft break-through creative and lasting, memorable experiences.


You want the best for your kids, but what exactly is that? It’s tempting to give them the chances you wish YOU had growing up or encourage them to choose what you think would be best for them. It’s also tempting to raise them in the ways that experts say is best, but your children are unique and that advice might not be relevant to who they actually are. So, let’s take a look at how to raise children to be leaders.

First, we’ll ask, what is being the best parent you can be for them? To raise children to create the life that they truly would like to live. It takes vulnerability, honouring, trust, gratitude and allowance (for them and you). To raise your children to be leaders, you have to be a leader too. This can be done by:

Honouring kindness

My youngest son (now 22) was invited to join Mensa at age 12. He refused. He locked himself in the toilets at school because the teachers were pushing him too hard. As a young child, my eldest son was diagnosed with learning difficulties and put in special education classes that tried to make him fit into a system. However, that system did not fit him. 

Forcing anyone to be what you desire is dishonouring. Ask yourself, what is the kindness that will make the greatest difference to your kids?

Encouraging curiosity, which ensures creativity

Encourage them to explore whatever makes them curious. Making mistakes is a way of receiving more awareness from every choice. Allow them to take risks that may not work out! That’s curiosity and creativity in action. 

Children become disheartened when they are made to ‘choose’ something that doesn’t stimulate them.  When they make choices that may be making their life difficult, I ask, very kindly, ‘How is that working for you?’. This allows them to address the question from a space of curiosity and capacity for a change. 

If a child is resisting and reacting to being controlled, they are distracted from the awareness you are inviting them to. If you allow them to hold the reigns of their life, they can get clarity and make educated choices. 

The education system is linear, but your child’s world is not.  My eldest son (now 25) loves knowing how things work. He recently became obsessed with flying and building drones. This fascination created connections with a tech inventor, that is revolutionising the way power is created and used in the world. Together these leaders are changing the face of the energy industry globally. Creativity is generative energy that creates true leaders.

Building trust and letting them choose

Kids innately know what they enjoy and would like their future to be like energetically. Think back to your childhood. What were you fascinated by? What place does that have in your life now? Allow your children to follow their interests.

How many choices do you make for your children because ‘you know best’? What would it be like if you showed them how to trust their awareness and follow their intuition?

When a child trusts themselves, they’ll instinctively know who to trust as they become a leader. Being able to back yourself when no one else does, is what creates a true leader.

Offer total presence and awareness

As a child, I was OCD, ADHD, Autistic and couldn’t sit still in a chair. I failed at school because I couldn’t be linear. For a long time, I made that wrong, however, my sons are showing me how well this worked for them. I allowed them to be who they are, even if it made no sense to anyone else.

Of course, there are many paths to being a conscious, creative leader and these are some of the choices that have worked for my family. What are you aware of that would make the greatest difference for your kids? Ask them what they know too and get excited for the day that their awareness surpasses yours. Thats when their leadership capacity will begin to create an even greater future.

About the author of how to raise children to be leaders

Moira Bramley is a leadership and parenting expert, and certified facilitator for Access Consciousness, including the Wealth Creators Anonymous program. Moira is also an experienced investor and has many investments in property and shares, including a start-up led by her eldest son.


This week, inspirational woman Khadija Gbla is sharing her passion and personal experiences with advocacy, gender and identity, peer education, leadership and female genital mutilation. Despite receiving death threats to her and her son, Khadija stands up and speaks up for what she believes in.

Resettling as a refugee in Australia, Khadija regularly experiences discrimination, ageism, racism, sexism and mountains of stigma. Rather than letting it slide, she became interested in human rights at 13. This led her to her work as a human rights activist, coordinating domestic violence prevention and child protection. Additionally, Khadija is Australia’s lead female genital mutilation campaigner and voice. She provides training, advocacy and support for survivors and girls at risk.

Khadija Gbla shares her views on leadership

When I speak up there’s power in saying this is not ok, I’m going to challenge that and make sure it doesn’t happen. I’m going to be a part of the solution. We wouldn’t have had revolutions, or have the right to vote if women of that time didn’t stand up. Those women had to fight.

The only thing I’m in control of is what I’m doing in my life and what I’m doing is making a change. Leadership comes at a cost, people don’t talk about it but it does.

Being a woman in leadership has challenges. It comes with attacks and judgement. Women go to award shows and people are talking about what they’re wearing. Being a woman of colour, I get it from every angle and it’s exhausting.

Leadership is serving and nurturing others potential. It’s not about the limelight. It’s about asking how am I serving, supporting and nurturing others so they reach their potential? As a leader I treat those I work with as equals, respecting what they bring to the table. The people I lead make my life easy, the ideas they come up with are limitless and it’s a team effort. The girls I work with should be the ones on TV, speaking, while I step aside.

Peer education and mentoring

Peer education is what led me to be the leader I am today. Through volunteering, I found a space to see beyond my experience and past my pain and anger into something positive. I found my voice and realised my story and experiences were not just unique to me, but the stories of others as well. From this, I learnt that the personal is political.

People find benefit and validation in speaking to someone who has a lived experience like them, and it’s important not to minimise their experience and knowledge.

Female genital mutilation

As a survivor of FGM myself, I have had this passion and need to ensure it doesn’t happen to another little girl in the world, especially in Australia, where I live and can have the greatest impact.

FGM is done to little girls because of their gender and is a form of gender-based violence. People assume FGM only happens in Africa and ‘we don’t do that in the west’. This is untrue as FGM is a global issue and it is happening in Australia.

What we need to remember when tackling these issues is that culture is fluid, it constantly changes and evolves.  We must have a human rights focus as there is no space for racism in our fight against FGM. All children, no matter their culture, race, religion etc deserve to be protected.

The power of sharing my truth is that even though everyone may know what is or isn’t between my legs, I have saved girls from FGM and supported survivors. I have led Australia in a conversation about FGM as child abuse, deserving of our attention and efforts. I have influenced the way we tackle FGM in Australia and trained workers to provide an appropriate response. This means that I am saving lives.

Gender and identity

As a woman of colour who has to deal with the challenges of sexism and racism, intersectionality is very important to me. Intersectionality is the recognition that I face numerous forms of oppression and the many ways they impact me.  For example, I have to worry about my accent or whether to change my name on a resume because of racism.

As an intersectional feminist I believe that while another woman’s oppression is different from mine, I can still support their fight for equality and justice. We, as women, must acknowledge that our challenges as women differ from one woman to the next. Whether you’re an Indigenous Australian, Muslim woman, a woman of colour, a woman with a disability, a sexually diverse woman etc.  However, it is important that we show up and fight for each other. Our struggles don’t have to be the same for us to truly come together. It shouldn’t matter that someone else’s oppression doesn’t look like yours for you to care. We must challenge and dismantle our privileges to truly create an equal world.

If we don’t show up for others it will hold us all down. We need to support all women to ensure our feminism is inclusive. Unless we’re all free, none of us is free.

Khadija Gbla’s focuses for 2019

I believe that every year you should be doing better than last year. As such, I have a long list of what I want and each year I have goals and intentions I set for myself. My main one is that I want to write a book about my life as a former refugee, surviour of child abuse, FGM and domestic violence survivor; intersectional advocacy, being a black single mum, my African Australian identity and race politics. I also want to have more overseas speaking engagements.

A myth to debunk…

We understand that we live in a world where there isn’t equality but there’s a view that those who are marginalised are asking for a handout or need saving. That grates on me as what we’re asking for is a level playing field, not a leg up, favour or extra stuff. The fight against inequality is not about wanting a handout, it’s one of equality. We need to stop the stereotype that when a marginalised group speak up, and fights for their rights, that they need to be saved. Nobody is asking to be saved. It’s about equality and human rights.

Khadija GblaAbout Khadija Gbla

Khadija Gbla is a very passionate and inspiring African Australian woman. She is an award-winning human rights activist, inspirational speaker, facilitator and consultant. She has displayed great courage and determination in achieving her aspirations of giving women, youth and minority groups a voice at a local, state and international level. Khadija utilises her powerful and inspired voice to advocate for equality.

Khadija Gbla has featured on ABC news, the Courier Mail, the Herald Sun and her Ted Talk has received over a million views. Find out more about Khadija’s work https://www.khadijagbla.com.au/


The ability to drive in one direction for at least an hour or two, to then find yourself in a fabulous new place, teeming with great food, amazing wine and lazy, sunny days without end is right here.  All you have to do is hitch a caravan to your car and go for broke! Caravanning around Australia has so much to offer you and your family. It’s a perfect way to unwind and spend quality time with your loved ones. There’s no fussing about where you’re going to stay, how you’re going to get there – it’s all taken care of! Here are 6 tips for caravanning around Australia.

1. Be prepared

I know it seems like such a Girl Guides cliché, but you have to be prepared. If you are travelling around Australia, you have to keep in mind that you might be 375km between fuel stops (up to 800km in some areas) so you’ll have to carry your own spare fuel, food to last and your own water. Water is non-negotiable: especially in dry desert areas.

Make sure to carry your own fuel in case of emergency on a long run

2. Use Highway One

Also known as the M1, Highway One circles the rim of the country. It’s the only road that reaches right up North. It’s also the one most populated with rest stops, toilet facilities and overnight areas. These overnight areas are usually safe, as you’ll rarely be alone in one of them! Remember, caravanning can be a great social activity, too! Remember – sticking tonorth-south/east-west drives is safer than travelling on diagonals.

3. Stress less and go during off-season

You’ve been to the beach in summer, right? It’s crowded, hot and sticky. Fighting for a spot on the beach is no fun at all. So avoid going during summer, Easter and during school holidays. It’s definitely worth exploring places off the beaten track for some great spots unspoiled by an influx tourists.

4. Shack up in one spot as a “base”

If you love one aspect of Australia, it makes sense to explore it all. If you love wine, you can take your caravan to the Barossa Valley, unhitch the caravan and start exploring the region as a series of day trips! It’s a fantastic way to experience life in a different part of Australia without having to pick up sticks!

5. Always take the weather (report) with you

Just remember, Australia is a huge place with lots of weird weather (and no, I’m not just talking about a typical Melbourne day.) You might have to contest with 45-degree days, cyclones and big wets in the Top End. Know what you’re up for before you head there.

6. Embrace the caravanning spirit

Throw your itineraries and schedules away – caravanning is an adventurous way to unwind! You’re literally as free as the roads take you. No flights to catch, no timetables to follow; it’s as relaxing as you make it. Make new friends, explore new places and have more fun than ever before!
All images via Pixabay under Creative Commons CC0

 

Bill-Tsouvalas-Leaders-in-Heels-imgBill Tsouvalas

Bill Tsouvalas is founder and managing director at Savvy Caravan Loans – a part of the Savvy Finance group. Bill has been working in the vehicle and leisure finance business for more than eight years. He also writes car reviews and articles on car finance, chattel mortgage, insurance, consumer protection and insurance related topics.


It’s a common sentiment that most people want to ‘get their finances sorted’ before they have kids. The questions is, how do you know when your finances are actually ready and what should you be doing to prepare?

1. Take stock

Look at where you are at right now. If you haven’t already got a budget, then this is the first step you need to take. What debt do you have? Do you have any savings or do you live pay to pay? If so, it doesn’t mean you can’t have a baby, but now is the time to get a bit of structure and have a better understanding as to where your money is going.

If you are currently spending everything you earn, how do you expect to pay for the extras that come with being a parent?

2. Create the post-baby budget

Once you know where you are now, you then need to start mapping what your post baby budget would look like. This needs to include any reduced income due to maternity leave, and the added expenses such as nappies, formula, and child care.

Setting a realistic budget will let you know if you have enough money for all of these things, and should highlight how long you can take off for maternity leave if that is what you are currently considering.

If you are currently spending everything you earn, how do you expect to pay for the extras that come with being a parent?

3. Do you have an emergency fund?

This is an important feature in any well managed personal budget, but this is even more important if you are expanding the family. Firstly, if you don’t have one of these then you need to consider it. My general rule is to aim for 3 months’ worth of household expenses to be set aside for an ‘in case of emergency’ situation. Think about medical expenses, white goods breaking, freak weather events that mean you have to pay for an insurance excess. It’s hard to plan for all of these, so having an emergency fund is super important.

4. Do you have stable income?

Everyone’s jobs are different, but you need to consider how stable your income is. It may be slightly different from month to month depending on overtime etc, but do you feel confident that your job isn’t going anywhere? Think about the industry you are in, are there a lot of redundancies going around at the moment? Are you getting regular, consistent hours or is it all over the place?

It is likely the case that you will need to rely on one income for a period of time. Ensuring that income is as reliable as possible is important. This could mean getting a full time, permanent job or trying to position yourself in a large company that has great employee benefits.

An interesting trend to consider is that most employers are putting 6 month probationary periods into new contracts now, so if you are after a new role that is something to be mindful of.

5. Do you have all of your life insurances sorted?

Life insurance (including disability and income protection) are so much more important when you have dependents. Having enough life insurance to look after your children for the long term if something were to happen to you, should be priority number one. Depending on your personal situation, you can fund this via your superannuation account or your everyday budget.

It’s not all about the money, but putting yourself in the best position in advance will mean that when you get there, you will know exactly what your money is doing and how much you have to spend on your new family.

We love to spend money on cute outfits and overpriced gifts but the best gift you can give your future children is a stable and loving home, one that is not overflowing with debt, money stress and late bill notices.

 

Featured image via Pixabay under Creative Commons CC0