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In the spirit of Christmas…


While many of us can get consumed with the parties, shopping and the glitz and glamour of neighbourhood Christmas lights during the festive season, there are always some to remind us of the true meaning of Christmas; the spirit of generosity.

The participants of the Business Blueprint charity bike ride are just one example of individuals that put things into perspective for us during the Christmas season. Each year the charity, Hands Across the Water, organises bike rides throughout Thailand to raise funds for Thai children left alone and homeless after the Boxing Day tsunami. One of the biggest and well known bike rides- the Business Blueprint charity bike ride, begins on the 23rd of February 2015 and involves participants riding 500km from Bangkok to Phuket, to help fundraise for local Thai orphans and their communities.

One such individual is Brisbane woman Kim Hall, who after hearing about the experience from friends, was more than up for the challenge.

“The challenge of the ride definitely drew me in, as I always used to love bike riding…I am also so blessed to have a beautiful little girl that I adore, and the thought of children that don’t have that nourishing, all-encompassing love that parents can give is heartbreaking.” She said.

Hands across the Water aims to provide this nourishment and support. After witnessing the number of children left homeless and alone after the Boxing Day tsunami, founder Peter Baines established the charity in 2005 and in 2006, ‘Hands’ was able to build the first orphanage in the Thailand town Baan Tharn Namchaido. Since 2006, ‘Hands’ have focused on supporting and educating hundreds of children and their communities across Thailand. The committed team focus on building sustainable projects such as […]

A Possible Revamped Paid Parental Scheme on the Cards: Food For Thought For Working Mothers


Recently Prime Minister, Tony Abbott announced he will be restructuring his signature Paid Parental Leave (PPL) policy over the summer in a bid to win Senate support. In the aftermath of this announcement, many Women are suggesting that a policy offering affordable high quality childcare may be a better incentive to working women within Australia.

Danielle Isdale from the SBS reports on the findings below:

The original Paid Parental Leave (PPL) scheme, outlined before the federal election, proposed a maximum payout to new mums of $75,000 over six months.

Mr Abbott won’t reveal what the new scheme might look like, saying only that paid leave will still be determined by women’s wages, and savings will be directed into childcare.

The revamped scheme is speculated to include a new means test that would exclude women on salaries of more than $150,000 per year.

But some mothers say they would rather have good quality, affordable childcare, than paid parental leave.

Sydney mother Ellie Fuller is expecting her second child in a few months and will soon start maternity leave. Paid parental leave isn’t on her mind – she’s more concerned about her childcare spot.

“This child is going to be born in March so the following year I am going to have to make the decision whether it starts at 10 months old, which I’m not sure I am comfortable with, or I lose the spot,” Ms Fuller told SBS.

Other mothers SBS spoke to in Sydney shared similar concerns.

Susan Egan is going back to work next year so she’s more interested in the availability, affordability and quality of childcare, than she is about the paid parental leave debate.

“You put your name down and you are on a waiting list for three years, which […]

Vision, Passion and Living a Whole Life: Leadership Advice From Gail Kelly

 For today’s blog, we thought we would share a little inspiration, from one of Australia’s most successful female business leaders, Gail Kelly. Gail, the CEO of Westpac, announced her retirement last month and in doing so, took the time to reflect and share all that she has learnt in order to help her lead and smash the glass ceiling.

She claims that her transition from teacher to bank teller to chief executive, “doesn’t seem conceivable or possible or probable”, but her journey proves that with determination, positivity and a passion for what you do, you can reach remarkable heights. Gail herself, is now in the running to become the first woman and Australian business person to win the 2014 Morningstar chief executive of the year award after being named as a finalist.

Her seven life-lessons for success are as follows:

(taken from her speech at the St George Bank Foundation lunch in Sydney)
This does go back to living in a small family, a happy family, in Pretoria and the very positive influence of my mum and my dad, particularly my dad, who was inherently a very optimistic person.

He had that wonderful flavour of, you can choose in your life how you respond to situations and you should actively choose to be positive, to see the world through a glass-half-full perspective. You should choose even in difficult times to look for the learning, the insights, the opportunities, the next steps.

And it’s a life skill, not just a business skill. I sometimes have to remind myself as I am going home at night and have had a really tough day that I can choose how I walk into my home. I can choose to be warm and embracing and […]