Meet Renee. It was while she was in 11th grade Renee realised she wanted to be a TV reporter. After school she pursued her passion and studied journalism at university. For the past five-and-a-half years Renee has been working around NSW as a News Reporter at NBN and loves being able to cover a myriad of different stories. Inspired by fellow women in media such as Lisa Wilkinson, Sylvia Jeffreys, Mia Freedman, Sarah Harris and Jessica Rowe — Renee strives to make her mark in the community by being present and not only telling people’s stories, but also really listening to them. She is a positive advocate for women in her industry and loves getting to know the people behind the stories on the nightly news. She is a Strong Woman.
Meet Rebecca. After studying eight years at university, Rebecca worked for over a decade as a Clinical Psychologist. Seeing mostly police officers and military veterans, she found herself working very long hours with a heavy emotional load. Noticing that things had become a little out of balance in her life, and feeling disconnected with herself, Rebecca decided to take a break. During this time, she explored ways in which she could share her knowledge with a wider audience and her 12-week positive psychology program, Happi Habits, was born. Rebecca’s passion for community and creating connection is evident in her online presence as she encourages people to live courageously, in an expansive and inspired existence. She is a Strong Woman.
Meet Azure. A poet, creative, entrepreneur, author and public speaker, this woman has lived the past 12 months with transparency and grace. After being surged into spotlight following her discovery by Former First Lady, Maria Shriver and Oprah, Azure has remained in the public eye working as a commissioned poet and public speaker. Despite her brilliant success, the harrows of life and heartbreak are no stranger to Azure, and 2016 saw her existing in a space of vulnerability and bravery— putting her entire life on hold to rebuild her heart. Admitting imperfection and always leaving room for growth is something that many of us struggle to do— especially on such a platform as social media-- but Azure continues her tireless pursuit of honesty in a world of manicured authenticity. Her focus for 2017 is to find contentment over being happy, and her newfound venture as half of Spare Pages is a beautiful reflection of her persistence, creativity and love of love. She is a Strong Woman.
Meet Lauren. A News Camera Operator at NBN Newcastle, Lauren spends her days filming and editing the nightly news. Unsure of what it was she wanted to do in life, Lauren started a university degree in Environmental Engineering, then changed to Business, before taking time off to figure out her passions. Realising her love of documenting things on camera was actually something she’d engaged in from her teen years, Lauren saw an advertisement for a Communications degree at university and applied! She then went on to work at NBN, working her way up from Autocue, to the transfer booth and is now the only female camerawoman at NBN! Her love of storytelling and connecting with people through media drives her, as she continues to wave the flag for all aspiring camera women in the Newcastle area. She is a Strong Woman.
Meet Kuda. Coming from Zimbabwe in 2008, Kuda was brought up with the mindset of working hard in a job that can be done anywhere in the world. Nursing was this job-- and Kuda studied and worked as an RN in Sydney. However during college, she discovered her love of make-up. Being able to enhance natural beauty and increase someone’s confidence brought Kuda joy, and she started toying with the idea of pursuing this newfound passion. Helping friends at their events and weddings, she found she had a natural flare. Today Kuda continues to work in nursing, but balances her time with make-up artistry. She followed her passion and loves accentuating what makes people truly beautiful. She is a Strong Woman.
Meet Hayley. A mother of two, artist, author and editor, Hayley loves to create and blog about her passions. In June this year Hayley was diagnosed with breast cancer and it shook her world. Her life turned upside down as she went on this harrowing journey, learning lessons about herself, her capacity to endure, and her capacity to love life-- through every season. She has spent her time throughout treatment, blogging about her experiences-- including her mastectomy, chemotherapy, wigs, and everything in between. Hayley is in the final stages of treatment, with radiation every day, and continues to inspire with her art and her courageous life as a mum with cancer. She is a Strong Woman.
Meet Vereen. Single mother of four children, and now stepmother of five children, Vereen has had to overcome many challenges in her lifetime. She’s had over 40 years of struggle, with two physically, mentally and emotionally draining marriages that tested her resilience. Through her faith and sheer resilience, she continued to be a beacon to her children, and continues to inspire. In 2013 Vereenpublished her first book, ‘Big Girls Don’t Cry’, and is also the co-owner of Active Ministries, an anger-management workshop program. Paired with the busy life of being a grandmother, and volunteering in her local community, Vereen’s story of overcoming and her generous spirit is a blessing to so many. She is a Strong Woman.
Meet Davinia. Born in Jamaica to a single mother of three, Davinia grew up exposed to two vastly different lives. At age three, she became very ill. Her mother was scared because she didn't know what was wrong with her daughter, so a community activist took her in until age 11, when the woman she was living with passed away. Davinia was then brought back to live with her mother. Half of her childhood was spent in privilege, with everything at her disposal, and the other half was amongst violence and poverty. Moving forward, Davinia immigrated to the US and in 2004 and became the first person in her family to graduate from college. Since then, she has built on her passion for girls' education, and started her vision. While being a full-time pre-school teacher, Davinia collected over 700,000 pennies to assist in the education of 62 million girls not in school. Two years ago, she left her job and is now a full-time activist, continuing to collect pennies. She is a Strong Woman.
Meet Cynthia. A woman filled with joy, Cynthia’s journey has taken her to places of both light and darkness. Just weeks before her 17th birthday, Cynthia endured a traumatic labor and gave birth to a healthy baby boy. Unfortunately due to family circumstances and the shame brought upon her household, she was forced into having her son adopted. Transitioning back into a normal life, post-baby, Cynthia lived a life of mediocrity— riddled with low self-esteem and deep sadness. A few years later, Cynthia was married and had a daughter; during this time she was also able to reconnect with her son. Despite finding closure, the emotional scarring remained, and she still felt broken. Her emptiness and worthlessness grew and Cynthia was at breaking point. One night whilst getting ready for her husband’s industry event, Cynthia stood in front of her mirror, unhappy with what she saw. After years of the same feeling toward her reflection, something in her changed and she decided enough was enough. The following morning, she drafted a 12-week health and fitness plan, vowing to take control of every aspect of her life. After making the choice to live her life differently after so many years of heartache, Cynthia kept up the momentum. After the first 12 weeks, she proceeded to tackle another 12 weeks— this time developing a business plan and logo. Cynthia knew that her journey wasn’t just for herself— she was going to inspire other people to take charge of their lives too. Now a Transformation Coach and the director of ‘My Breakthrough Body’, she assists men and women in reclaiming their lives. Despite her rocky start, Cynthia managed to turn her life into something beautiful and continues to strive for goodness. She is a Strong Woman.
Meet Melanie. Always having a passion for helping people, Melanie has been a physiotherapist for over ten years. A couple of years in, she noticed a lot of women pre and post-natal, not knowing how they could help themselves during, and after the physical transformation of pregnancy. Starting to do research of her own, Melanie felt that there wasn’t enough information available to these women— specifically in the areas of pregnancy and exercise. She wanted to inspire women to look after themselves, so she created Perfect Pelvic Floor; an online program to assist women in the prevention of incontinence. Melanie knew that female incontinence isn’t something freely discussed amongst women, so wanted to develop a platform to allow discussions and education. Melanie's passion lies in self-care, and helping people to look after themselves— her bold step to open conversation continues to inspire women from all corners. She is a Strong Woman.
Meet Candace. 27 year old fashion enthusiast and Los Angeles native, Candace has always had a flare for business and creativity. After graduating with a marketing degree, she decided to dive into a blend of fashion and business-- being a fashion buyer. In October 2015, Candace felt the need to start a 'small' women's empowerment platform online: taking her surprise, it exploded Female Collective is feminist brand and online community designed to celebrate, empower, support and uplift women. After only a year running this page, it has grown in popularity and has allowed her to meet amazing women from all over the world. Her love of female empowerment is one close to PSW's heart, and she continues to inspire thousands. She is a Strong Woman.
Meet Madelein. A lover of travel, Madelein has been on the go since she was young.
Realising it made no sense to work a 9-5 job, biding time until her next vacation, Madelein decided to blend the two! Starting out in a tour company and then moving to an airport job, she has had many opportunities to travel and get to know people from all over the world. Today she works at Amtrak (has been there for 11 years) and spends her days sharing experiences and ideas with people who travel by rail across America. She lives for new sights, new conversations, and loves to see the world through new eyes. Madelein's kind smile is a beautiful addition to the tracks. She is a Strong Woman.
Meet Alex. At 23 years of age, Alex is a very talented florist based in Sydney. Recently, Alex started a blog with her sister (called Miranda Hhart), showcasing the alternative art medium of flowers and foliage. Born with Mycrotia, Alex is deaf in one ear, and recognises that people often take their hearing for granted. In the same way, we are surrounded by flowers and greenery, however, we often tend to overlook their beauty. Wanting to be a jeweller from a very young age, Alex only took a job at a florist because she was desperate for work. Now eight years later, Alex loves what she does and plans on opening her own shop one day. She is a Strong Woman
Meet Snezna. A powerhouse of a woman, Snezna started her career as a journalist, moved onto owning her own PR company, and then jumped straight into developing her own teen girl skincare range. After having worked in health and beauty, and with a daughter who was about to start her own skincare journey, Snezna found a gap in the market and quickly ran to fill it. Last year Snezna moved on to becoming Director of Health and Wellness at Edelman Australia-- a high intensity position, perfect for this dynamic and driven woman. Despite the success of her carreer, Snezna is very intentional about investing time into her family. With a daughter and husband, she admits that being successful in the corporate world can be demanding, however never lets the passion for her family be overtaken by her career. She is a Strong Woman.
Meet Georgette. Born and raised in Los Angeles, Georgette followed in the footsteps of people around her and graduated from college with a Degree in Business. Once graduated, Georgette gained employment in marketing at NBC, and although she thought the job sounded glamorous, she worked from a tiny cubical in a large office. Disappointed that her expectations were not met, Georgette left her job after only four months. Deciding she wanted to be around people, she worked for seven years doing developmental assessments for children with intellectual disabilities. However after years of working in this job, there was no way to progress so Georgette was looking for another change. One weekend Georgette did make-up for a friend's wedding, and after receiving so many compliments, she decided to try it full time. Returning to study to become a qualified make-up artist, Georgette's first week as a MUA was on an independent film. Since discovering her passion was indeed make-up and beauty, Georgette has been able to travel the world and pursue what she loves. Instead of believing she was locked into her career in marketing, Georgette decided to take a leap of faith and do what she loves-- today this has paid off, and she fills her days beautifying people both locally and internationally. She is a Strong Woman.
Meet Toni. A joyous spirit, Toni’s contagious laugh overflows with happiness; however this wasn’t always the case. For most of her adult life, Toni felt bound by expectations and low self-esteem. Hesitant to be herself, she feared she wasn’t good enough and focused on suppressing her laughter and feelings in an attempt to ‘fit in’. In an abusive relationship, Toni thought that she had to stay with her boyfriend, fearing if she left, no one else would love her. Depressed, isolated and overcome with a sense of worthlessness, she started to self-harm, hoping that it would relieve her aching. After intentional self-care and meditation, today Toni takes pride in her beautiful body and her loud laugh-- snort and all! Her new lease on life is invigorating; her positive energy spreading to everyone she meets. Toni continues to surround herself with people who pour into her life and lift her up. She is a Strong Woman.
Meet Victoria. A stay-at-home mum, Victoria spent 17 years raising her only daughter, taking the time to be present in her life as she grew. Following her daughter's college departure, Victoria decided it was time to re-enter the workforce. A carer and nurturer at her core, she worked as a nanny- because you don't need an education to love and care for children. Craving a change of pace, she recently started working for Lyft, driving passengers all over Los Angeles. With a love of people and creating new connections, Victoria spends her days talking and smiling to each person her path crosses. She is a Strong Woman.
Meet Mary-Lou. The eldest of five children, Mary-Lou has always been a nurturer. From a very young age, she knew she wanted to be a nurse, and saw herself having a large family. After marriage and a few years of nursing, Mary-Lou and her husband Ralph decided to start a family. For years they tried to fall pregnant but were not successful. Being a nurse, Mary-Lou was constantly surrounded by new life, which increased her desire to be a mother. Driving around the streets of her home town, Mary-Lou would even check boxes and bags dumped on the side of the road, hoping she would discover an abandoned child needing a home and a mother. Following eight years of various treatments and heartache, Mary-Lou and her husband welcomed their only child- a daughter- into the world. Now some 30 years on, Mary-Lou is the very proud grandmother of three little ones, and continues to love and nurture everyone she meets. She is a Strong Woman.
Meet Cindy. Born and raised in Sydney’s Northern Beaches, Cindy has always loved being by the water and leads a very active lifestyle both on and off the beach. After completing high school, she decided to pursue her lifelong passion of dance, completing her studies at the end of 2015. Unfortunately shortly after her graduation, Cindy injured her hip, which required surgery and a lengthy recovery time. While pausing to allow a full recovery, she continues to keep busy, picking up modelling and acting work as well as being an assistant in a community magic show. With a stunning combination of passion and sheer persistence, Cindy continues to wait until her body is well enough to perform and encourage teens and young people once more. She is a Strong Woman.
Meet Kate. Originally from Adelaide, South Australia, and now living in Melbourne, Kate is a self-confessed bibliophile - a person who collects or has a great love of books. After completing a Bachelor Degree in Marketing and Communication, Kate found she wanted more from her career. She sought a way to combine her love for writing, editing and social media with her life-long obsession with books and reading. Voila! Kate created Lillytales; a book review micro-blog on Instagram.
These days Lillytales is much more than an Instagram page; Lillytales is a website, YouTube channel and bookish merchandise brand. Kate and her fiancé Simone are the owners of an online shop, Nook & Burrow, which is a creative collective of handmade bookish homewares and accessories. Kate now splits her time between working as a publishing assistant, studying a Masters in Publishing and Communication and working to grow Nook & Burrow, and all of this stems from her love of literature. With Lillytales, Kate enjoys connecting with bookish folk from around the world and feels extremely lucky to have customers and friends who buy Lillytales handmade wooden bookmarks from all corners of the globe including Sweden, The Middle East, The US, The UK, Singapore, Germany and of course in her home country of Australia. Most of all, Kate hopes to create excitement and passion around books and reading and aims to inspire followers of her blog to pick up a book, hear a story from a voice they wouldn't usually come across and enjoy all the benefits of fantastic literature. She is a Strong Woman.
You can read Kate's book reviews at www.lillytales.com or at @lillytales on Instagram.
Watch Kate's videos at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQ00evi_BOhY41Og-mkxahw.
If you'd like to shop her handmade bookish merchandise head over to www.nookandburrow.com