We love reading the stories of the inspiring women joining us in Fiji, so we thought you might enjoy them too! Here's the story of Cortney Thomson...
I moved to Sydney two years ago from Brisbane to start my own business, and I’ve done the obligatory rounds of women’s networking groups but swiftly moved on. I didn’t really think I was searching for anything; I have good supportive friends (albeit most of them are in Brisbane), challenging and exciting co-workers and a super supportive family. But as I build my new life in Sydney and I connect with lovely humans around me I definitely feel as if I’m missing some connections with women who take risks.
This is an important definition for me because I’ve suffered a minor identity crisis over the past two years. When I quit my job to start a business and then moved to Sydney to start a new life people started calling me an “entrepreneur”. Women’s networking groups were all catering to the female “entrepreneur”. And I felt like a fraud. I know some truly amazing and inspiring entrepreneurs and I am nothing like them. I don’t think like them, behave like them, solve problems like them, or want the same things as them. Feeling like a fraud when you’re starting out, taking risks and trying to make strong decisions about the future doesn’t set a great tone.
I think people thought I was being humble or insecure - but I wasn’t. I was being honest.
Over the last two years I have not based my decisions on doing things the way other creative, innovative and clever entrepreneurs were doing things. I focused on what I was really great at: process, strategy, operations. Basically I’m really great at making other people successful, and I redefined this so that I was making my own business successful, with the right people in place to have the entrepreneurial insight I couldn’t.
I was drawn to Nurture Her through my brief brushes with Libby through BUF Girls. I’m completely addicted to the energy and positivity of these women every morning. What I have been drawn to about Libby - apart from her delightful energy - is I feel such a sense of inclusiveness. No one body is the same, no one woman is the same, there’s no one size fits all regime or way of thinking. Be positive, give positive, support positive. You seem like women who take risks. Not defined or confined by much. This is what has drawn me to what you’re both doing with Nurture Her.
In addition to all that, I’m a woman in a man’s world. I work in some of the most male dominated industries and always have. I thrive in it. But where women before me have paved the way for me to be able to work in these industries with a level of expected equality, I need to pave the way for future generations with an increased level of perceived equality, felt by everyone. The way I lead, the way I behave and the conscious and proactive changes I try and make in my professional world will have an impact on the future... and yeah... I need some help with that. I need some back up, some support and some fresh ideas to keep this responsibility alive.
- I’m Cortney Thomson. I’m 34.
- I am a major shareholder and Chief Operating Officer of Carbonix, a drone manufacturer. We design, build, integrate and sell drones (big ones) to the commercial market. We basically saw a massive gap in the market between the hobby/consumer drones (the drones you all see flying above you at the beach) and military drones (that cost millions of dollars). So we build (at our factory in Sydney) high performance drones (with about a 3m wing span) using carbon fibre and sell them to mining companies, oil & gas etc, for a fraction of the military cost (but about 80% of the capability).
- My job is to run the business operations. Everything from project timeframes and delivery, market analysis and product definition, business development and marketing, HR...and the list goes on.
- My background is in business management and B2B corporate communications. I spent my formative years in communications for investment banking, and my previous life running long-term accounts in gas, mining, electricity and a long list of other technical industries.
- I define myself as technical comms specialist. I make technical data and information about businesses accessible to the market. I find the secret sauce in a business and build its vision internally, and to its customers and the broader market.
- In stark contrast to this, I also started Kaemp 8848 Australia. Kaemp 8848 is a Nepali-owned and manufactured line of adventure gear. My boyfriend and I stumbled upon this humble family-owned shop in Kathmandu and fell in love with their story and their gear. Kaemp 8848 clothe more than 50% of the sherpas on Everest because their gear is THAT good. I have the exclusive licence to distribute in Australia, and am in the process of setting up the online store right now. This is not a money-making venture, but one where I know my efforts will contribute straight back to Nepal. I’ve met the owners, I’ve met the workers. I know the way to help them is to sell more of their goods (I asked them), so the more I can sell the better their economy will be.
I’m excited about the prospect of connecting with more women who take risks and seize opportunities.