Last week saw the launch of the inaugural The Hunter Collective event, featuring four diverse Australian entrepreneurs sharing the stories of their journey.
Lisa Messenger, Owner and Creative Director of The Messenger Group, was the headline drawcard, speaking about her relatively new magazine, The Renegade Collective, as well as her passion for the publishing industry.
Launched in 2013, the 176-page magazine is now sold in over 35 countries, is consistently in the top 10 magazines and brings together entrepreneurial and creative minds from across the globe.
“When I first set-out to launch The Renegade Collective, with no experience in magazines ‚Äì people asked if I was mad,” Lisa said. “I just knew that I was sick of the pop culture magazine that were on offer and I wanted to build and foster a community of likeminded people.”
“I am a realist and understand that the magazine is only one part of it, but it forms the cornerstone of the whole thing.”
Lisa entertained the audience with anecdotes from her life, including her recent experience visiting Necker Island and having the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to ‘hang-out’ with Sir Richard Branson ‚Äì managing to break her toes in the process and forever cementing her name in Richard Branson’s mind.
Also in town was Jane Huxley, managing director of Pandora Australia and New Zealand. She is responsible for the introduction and growth of personalised radio service Pandora to the ANZ market, drawing on her 25 years of strategic business, marketing, sales and change management in the Asia Pacific region.
Jane’s experience in identifying and transitioning companies to digital based business was heavily cultivated in her prior role at Fairfax Media, where she held the position of CEO and Publisher for the Digital Division (Metropolitan). In this role, Jane led the product, mobile, video and online business approaches and oversaw the online technology, creative, marketing and online editorial divisions.
Jane discussed the turning point in her career, when a colleague was completely honest about the areas she needed to work on in order to succeed.
“He told me the truth about what could hold me back down the track, so I went out and found a mentor who can help me with what I needed to do,” Jane said.
“And now my advice to other businesswomen is to set the course, keep your head down but your eye on the prize ‚Äì do not get distracted.”
Providing a different perspective was best-selling author, speaker and lactation consultant, Pinky McKay, who was brutally candid about the ups and downs in her business journey.
“The main thing is to try not to worry about what people say behind your back, as there is obviously a reason they’re behind you,” Pinky said.
“I’ve had naysayers state that I am making money out of people’s misery and that is just not true. I am passionate about helping women trust their natural instincts and providing help with gentle parenting tips, but it is a business, so of course I am also aiming to make money!”
Rounding out the speaker line-up was Pip Stocks, the founder of BrandHook and an award winning keynote speaker and thought leader.
Pip was not afraid to talk about failures in her career, and used them to deliver entraining and educational analogies about the importance of brand.
“You need to continually remind yourself of your brand’s story,” Pip said. “If you aren’t clear on why you started your business and where you want to go, you are destined for failure.”
Christina says it’s all about collaboration, small business and connecting entrepreneurs with each other.
“I am a big advocate for the talent we have in Newcastle. I believe we have a really strong speaker base but I also think it’s good for us to hear from people outside our geographical and business areas – so we can learn, adopt and adapt,” Christina said.
“But that’s not all – I really believe that when we bring people here they see the talent we have. Roger Langsdon from Plane Innovation (top Most Innovative Company according to BRW 2013) couldn’t wait to come back after being here in May for the BRW Breakfast and Lisa Messenger couldn’t wait to come back after speaking at the Innovation Forum in May, recording an episode for UQ TV and doing an interview for Sista Code.”
“So we bring people here so they can see the talent we have and the great things that are happening in the Hunter region.”
Image | Heidi Alexandra Pollard, Jane Huxley, Lisa Messenger, Pip Stocks, Christina Gerakiteys and Pinky McKay