Next in our International Women’s Day blog series, we chat to CEO and director of District32; Lorraine Garvie. In a career exceeding 20 years, Lorraine has worked in an impressive array of roles, including; CEO, I.T. manager, business development manager and project manager.
In the five years prior to District32, Lorraine owned and operated a successful business advisory firm specialising in strategic marketing and positioning.
What is your biggest accomplishment, personally and professionally?
Definitely District 32, but it came with a lot of struggles. I built the business as a single parent to my young daughter, and have no family here, so no financial support, and no sleep! Those circumstances coupled with building a business is my greatest accomplishment to date.
What has been your biggest challenge?
My challenge is wanting to be there for my daughter. She's just started kindy, which reduces my hours again, so my biggest challenge is time management. Sometimes I spend a couple of hours at a time just managing my calendar and moving things around in my work load; what I have to do daily, weekly, or monthly.
Share some of your tips for having a successful work life balance
I changed my mantra to “I'll always get it done.” As an example, when somebody resigned recently, just when I was about to go on holiday, I didn't really stress about it, I just said, "You know what, I'll always get it done." So, changing my mantra and not putting as much pressure on myself has really helped me to achieve my work life balance. We put ourselves under enormous pressure, and that's what makes us sick. It’s important to have some time out.
What’s your best tip for women starting a business?
I think women really just take the bull by the horns and do it. For women, it's just knowing that there's always a way.
Don't have any boundaries; don't say, "I can't." Instead, ask yourself; "Where can I?" Change it around.
Hang onto your other women. Women are tremendous support for each other, so surround yourself with other women. Perhaps grab a handful of friends who really support you emotionally and ask them to spread the growth or the start-up of your new business. That would really, really help. And lastly, just believe that you can. And nobody can stop you.
Do you want to be known as an entrepreneur or a woman entrepreneur? Does the gender label matter to you?
I always thought it didn't matter to me. I didn't really have a dad growing up. So, I didn't know anything between male and female and equality, and I've never been at the end of discrimination as a female. Until there came a situation where we had to structure the business and I wouldn't be the CEO. And I thought, "Actually, no, I think it's really important that, as a female, we’re given equal opportunities" So therefore, it does matter.
What legacy do you want to leave?
That's when it comes down to being a female. The legacy is "this lady just did it." Doesn't matter what the personal struggles were, this lady just did it. Drive and ambition and resilience, and I'm not going to let go until I get to where I want to be. That's the legacy I want to leave behind for other female out there.
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