Discover the secrets of two fearless females from Gravity here!

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In celebration of International Women's Day 2016, we spoke to a couple of our fabulous female members who are really shaking up their respective industries. We love to see women working their magic in the business sphere and being exposed to this everyday inspires us to create workspaces that allow them to flourish. We are so lucky at Gravity to have energetic, positive and inspiring women in all of our workspaces, with each of them adding to the collaborative, enthusiastic atmosphere in each location.

Read on for some tips on how these two ladies have handled setbacks, who their inspirational influences are and what advice they have for budding female entrepreneurs out there!

First up, we spoke to Maz Coote, founder of Coote Connex, which is a full-service boutique communications agency and consultancy based in Sydney. Maz is a PR professional with almost a decade of experience across the beauty, lifestyle and fashion industries, Coote Connex is driven by boutique, case-by-case strategies that are result-oriented. She is literally fearless in everything she takes on and we're pretty sure you will have seen her bright sunny smile and heard her laugh if you have ever worked at Gravity in Sydney!

 

WHO HAS BEEN THE BIGGEST INFLUENCE TO YOUR SUCCESS?

I live by the mantra that to be successful you have to be like a sponge - you have to be willing to listen and learn - DAILY.

Not from one or two people but from multiple people that have certain expertise in areas you may be lacking. You cannot know it all and I know, if I thought I did and operated in that way I would fall on my face.

To run a business you have to be decisive without question, know where you are going and where you want to go - at all times.

Have a hands on approach, work your business dawn to dusk, lead in your own style and let no one compromise that, however there has to be a balance between this and being able to absorb, when it comes to the expertise of those around you. Know where you lack skill - and take the time to pad this out with the skills of those around you.

Sometimes the simple act of listening - can pay dividends.

 In terms of a person that I lean on and that drives me in business - my father works alongside me in the business, he is a trusted advisor - and has a mind geared to business. I count myself lucky, and it has been a wonderful experience working together so closely.

WHAT HAS BEEN THE BIGGEST SETBACK THAT YOU’VE HAD TO OVERCOME IN YOUR JOURNEY? WHAT HAS IT TAUGHT YOU?

With ten years experience working for other companies in this market - both internal PR departments and agency side - I launched Coote Connex, a PR Agency specialising in the Beauty, Lifestyle and Tech Sectors, just over 5 months ago now.

Whilst I wouldn’t term it a set back as such - we have been fortunate our growth has been rapid,  and we now have a wonderful client base of exciting clients. That has meant we have all stretched ourselves and put in the long hours necessary for a start up to overcome the challenge of rapid growth, but it has it's fun side.

 We have been able  to move quickly to put in place the right team and resources, to properly serve our clients - and so that we can continue to grow. This has been possible also because we joined Gravity and it has been key in helping us to facilitate seamless growth, without the headaches normally associated with that process.

I have also learnt, from personal experience that setbacks have to be anticipated, you must take time to think what might go wrong under various scenarios and then how you are going to proactively deal with those potential problems.

I developed a long term goal which was to start my own agency I worked hard to learn all I could about the entire business process and after 8 years I knew I could do it, that is probably the most potent way to avoid setbacks as you have already faced them and overcome them in another environment.

WHAT IS THE DRIVING FORCE BEHIND EVERYTHING YOU DO…WHAT KEEPS YOU MOTIVATED & DRIVEN ON A DAILY BASIS?

Happy clients. Contributing to the success of our clients - large or small - day to day, is what gets me out of bed at the crack of dawn and sees me emailing until the early hours of the morning.

I should say here I am a night owl - I do my best work at night, and always have - again something I have learnt about myself. 

There is nothing more satisfying than seeing a great piece of press for a client - or executing a successful activation or event.

WHAT’S NEXT ON YOUR "TO CONQUER" LIST?

We would love to be working with more clients in the start up space, we have built a strong Beauty Arm and Food and Beverage dominated arm - one of my goals with building the agency was to allocate space on our books in addition to working alongside what is a new generation of start ups - to deliver tailored programs,  perhaps not traditional PR strategies 

But rather short bursts of PR that deliver the results they require in a crowded marketplace to make noise and the right noise.

ANY ADVICE TO THE WOMEN WHO ARE ON THEIR OWN BUSINESS OR ENTREPRENEURIAL JOURNEY?

 Lock in those meetings you don’t think you have time for with people that want to help you or want to partner with you, take the calls with suppliers or specialists in certain fields that want to pitch in new ideas for your consideration, take the time to look for and speak to suppliers beyond those that you may have considered the only way to execute something (out of habit) - make time, be open to ideas.

 It is so easy to think you don’t have time and maybe you don’t  - I often wake up and  look at the sheer volume of emails and like anyone else I feel anxious and  there is no possible way I could squeeze in another meeting or call, but I buckle down and process and you know what, it all gets done and the joy I get when my Client is delighted drives me to the next level.

My advice:

Work very hard but take time to feel the pleasure of achieving your goals and the success of your clients.

Next up, we spoke to Sally Lovegrove, of Blue Pencil, one of our Brisbane members. She gave us this wonderful synopsis of her journey to date:

I’m Senior Account Director with Blue Pencil Advertising – the love child of IM and an ad agency.  With over 25 years experience in the industry, I’ve seen a lot of changes in advertising, but my core beliefs remain the same – deliver great work, be one step ahead of the client and make their job easier.  I’ve worked for a boutique and mid size agencies, and been lucky enough to have worked on a range of clients from automotive to retirement living to fast paced retail.  I’m a team player and never afraid to roll up my sleeves and tackle something out of my comfort zone (cliché I know).   I’m the only female at Blue Pencil and many moons ago, one of the Directors was my co-ordinator – interesting turn of events that I’m now working for him.  

My down time is spent "managing" my non-stop eating teenage son and my ADHD dog.  A core group of fabulous women who I’ve had the pleasure of knowing for over 25 years have been my rock through all the ups and downs that life has thrown at me.  And I’m a culture nut – theatre, ballet, musicals and music – love it all.  

We are so grateful she took the time out from her busy day to chat to us!

WHO HAS BEEN THE BIGGEST INFLUENCE TO YOUR SUCCESS?

There are 2 people who have been fundamental in my professional growth. 

The first was Lesley Richmond – I was only a few years into my career, still very much finding my way, and not really knowing the direction I could take in the advertising industry.  I was “green” and young.  Advertising was Lesley’s life, she was incredibly well respected, intelligent and a woman of few words.  I was half way through a 3 month contract with her agency, and I was floundering with people management skills.  She pulled me aside one day, and said to me (paraphrased)… You’ve got what it takes, and I can see that you don’t suffer a fool.  Those few words were all that I needed.  Those words have stayed with me (and followed my reputation around too).

The second person was another head of an agency, with an incredibly strategic mind – I was somewhat in awe of him, and to this day, I’m not sure if he fully understood how brilliant he was.  He shared his knowledge, he encouraged everyone to reach higher, with no negativity if you reached and failed.  I learnt more about myself and my client service abilities in my time with that agency than anywhere else I’d worked – simply because he allowed every person to explore without fear. 

WHAT HAS BEEN THE BIGGEST SETBACK THAT YOU’VE HAD TO OVERCOME IN YOUR JOURNEY? WHAT HAS IT TAUGHT YOU?

I was retrenched from an agency two days before coming back from maternity leave.  That was a tough period, and I’ve always lived by the philosophy of, whenever possible, never burn your bridges.  That time didn’t necessarily teach me anything new, but it did prove to me that not burning bridges can pay off.  Within a few weeks I was back working with an agency that I’d worked with years before – they wanted me back and made a place for me.

WHAT IS THE DRIVING FORCE BEHIND EVERYTHING YOU DO…WHAT KEEPS YOU MOTIVATED & DRIVEN ON A DAILY BASIS?

This is easy – doing and delivering great work for my clients, and a desire for knowledge.  Rarely does a day go by where I haven’t learnt something.

WHAT’S NEXT ON YOUR TO CONQUER LIST?

Chess.  My son is keen for an opponent and it’s something I’ve wanted to learn for a while.

ANY ADVICE TO THE WOMEN WHO ARE ON THEIR OWN BUSINESS OR ENTREPRENEURIAL JOURNEY?

Don’t allow fear to dictate to you.  There will always be times when self doubt creeps in, but if you don’t believe in yourself, how can you expect anyone else to?  Feel the fear and do it anyway!