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  • The Sustainability Collective

Women empowering women

Updated: Jul 12, 2020

Inspiring female founders share their top tips, resources and success.

Twelve. That’s how many female CEOs are in Australia’s top 200 ASX listed companies. And only about a third of business owners and operators are women. Where are our female business and entrepreneurial leaders?


I can account for some of the most inspiring of those leaders in June as they were busy on the ‘Female Founder Roundtable’ discussion.


Our panel included Valentina Zarew, Mariam Mohammed, Franziska Iseli, Elke Keeley which was moderated by Start-up guru Cheryl Mack.

Female founders still face significant hurdles when accessing capital, tapping into supportive networks and selling themselves. The women from our panel have not only successfully navigated the start-up world by creating businesses that solve problems and make sustainable impacts while turning a profit, but they’re also giving back.


Following the mantra Mariam strongly believes in; ‘when you smash a ceiling, unlock a door, you have a responsibility to hold that door open for the next woman’.


To say the panel was inspiring is a disservice, they were more than that. They were real! Real women with real successes and real vulnerabilities. From migrating to unfamiliar worlds, navigating new and strange territories, surviving abuse and overcoming the fears of imposter syndrome.


Powerful, yes. Intimidating, certainly not. Empowering, absolutely!


The panellist hadn’t met each other before but felt like old friends catching up to share war stories, wins, funny anecdotes, impart valuable advice and lift each other up.


Here are their top 3 tips for female founders navigating the start-up space;


Mariam Mohammed

Mariam Mohammed, Co-Founder of Money Girl

  1. Go The F%3k to sleep!

  2. Validate before creating

  3. ASK FOR THAT MONEY!


Elke Keeley, Co-Founder of UrbanYou

  1. Just do it!

  2. Celebrate the small wins, and

  3. Take the olive branch when it’s offered, don’t be afraid to receive help



Valentina Zarew, Founder New Romantic

  1. Lead with your values, that will guide you!

  2. Surround yourself with a good support network

  3. Stay curious, learn from mistakes


Franziska Iseli

Franziska Iseli, Founder Basic Bananas, Ocean Lovers

  1. 1. Lead like a woman, play to your strengths

  2. 2. Have clarity on your vision

  3. 3. Let your work speak for you

  4. Assume that people want to support you, assume the best





The panel and the wonderfully engaged audience shared resources to help each other out. This is the magic that happens when we empower, connect and collaborate.





Top resources to help you on your entrepreneurial journey;





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