The First Time I ……

Hanging with my tribe

The first time I travelled to the US without my family was in 1980 as a naïve 17-year-old. I found out months later that in my initial days there no-one understood my fast-talking Aussie Strine! Apparently, it was my incessant chatter and smiles that kept people engaged and smiling along with me.

That 70’s Show

Think of That 70’s Show

I actually lived that life. Each of those quirky characters (young and old) are only slightly exaggerated versions of my tribe then. I spent many hours in converted teenage basements, on road trips and sitting at different family dining tables between getting a formal education of sorts.

Being the token exchange student offered me a level of inclusivity and meant I could cross a mix of cultural bridges.

Prom #2

I went to 2 Proms, played Varsity basketball, was besties with the Cheerleader Captain, performed in the Musical, was in the Honor Society and had good friends who were deemed “different”; black, gay, nerds and others excluded from the mainstream because of typically unfair reasons.

I graduated my Senior Year in Michigan and returned to Oz with experience beyond my years, struggling to fit back into a life that hadn’t grown with me, and with a comprehension of how small the Australian population was when compared to the rest of the big wide world

First international speaking gig

The second time I travelled to the US without my family was today!
I’ve just arrived in Austin, Texas to try out my Aussie Strine on a different audience, this time at the 2017 Digital Kids Media Summit

I still carry my fast-pace incessant chatter and my smile, I’m just wearing a few more wrinkles and a better appreciation of the wonderful life experiences I’ve had.

On my first leg to LA I watched the documentary Becoming Warren Buffet.

If you haven’t seen this doco be warned, Mr Buffet isn’t the best singer around but he doesn’t care and that makes him, and his story even more endearing.

“Look for the job you would take if you didn’t need a job”

Warren Buffet

I’ve seen this doco before but revisited it to remind myself that with hard work and dedication you can achieve important things and make a constructive difference in the world.

Random Hacks of Kindness Hackathon

And I am! My startup is about just that, positive impact. It’s not cutting-edge technology or even a science-based behavioural tool (yet). It is about bringing a bit more fun into the lives of families across the world which is so much bigger and busier than when I last travelled alone all those years ago.

Talking Social Impact for Entrepreneurs

I’m doing something I love and just like the younger Anne-Marie of the Class of ’81, I’ve again found myself a community inviting discovery and acceptance. The innovation ecosystem in Queensland is opening the doors for people from all walks of life to “give it a go!” and discover the opportunities technology offers for education, business and societal impact. I’m grateful to be part of this exciting growth sector and want to encourage everyone to join in because we are all important and have something to offer where we live and well beyond.

I embrace change and as I said to a friend on an opportunistic Sunday drive many months ago, I choose and own the risks I’m willing to take. I’m told those are traits identified in an Entrepreneur, and that is a label I’m proud to wear.

Today brings another stage in my startup adventure and …

I like adventures!

THIS is what happened next

Originally published at Wantu.

The First Time I …… was originally published in Austin Startups on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

#URLinkedUp AustinStartup—-9504c035b990—4

#Austin Check out URLinkedUp >


Putting yourself out there! (part 1)

Speaking in the US

A few months back I was in procrastination mode and trawling Google to keep an eye out for any new Wantu competitors. I lucked on a conference about Children and Digital Media, the next day an industry body email mentioned the same conference — the internet was telling me something and the 2-day program sounded great!

There was a catch, it was in Texas USA! It’s a big financial and time commitment to travel to the other side of the world so I emailed the organisers for some more information. That email initiated a very-early-morning Skype call, which I later found out was a speaker interview. The level of enthusiasm and professionalism shown by their Strategic Partnerships Manager Amy meant it was an easy decision to plan a big trip.

So, I went from researching about attending a conference to being invited to participate on an International Panel discussing global trends in Digital Kid’s media. Self-doubt immediately set in, just as it had earlier this year when I was invited to be on a Panel on International Women’s Day at alongside inspiring achievers like Anne-Marie Birkill, Managing Partner at OneVentures and Holly Cardew, Founder and CEO at Pixc.

My strange skyping hours continued with a mix of late night or early morning calls to best align with 5 countries represented. I also learned to not rely on what my calendar says when a well-intentioned admin intern in the UK sent a meeting invite referencing British Summer Time (BST) which differed from an earlier invite which noted Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). They are not the same, as I discovered dialling into a meeting when everyone else was leaving, not a great intro when I was wondering if I was up to the task?

Rudy’s BBQ

I was welcomed within hours of arriving in Austin as two other panel members and I were taken out for traditional Austin BBQ by the Summit’s CEO Stacey Sherman and Mr “Edwin the Duck” Entrepreneur Matt MacBeth. Matt was fresh from being featured in the new Apple show Planet of the Apps and his stories of spending months in the reality show and being on set working with the highly accomplished businesswoman Jessica Alba set the scene for a fun two days ahead.

“Meeting” online before the event meant we felt we already knew each other by the time we met in person, and this was extended even further at a fancy VIP reception on the eve of the conference.

Note to self: saying yes to a Texan Tequila is not the most sensible choice the night before speaking, but I wasn’t alone in that choice!

Setting the stage

Our moderator, Dr Amanda Gummer, Managing Director of Fundamentally Children is an expert in Kids Digital Media. I’ve followed her for some time and Amanda’s preparation in the leadup to the event was exemplary, as was her facilitation of the session itself. The other panel members Kat from Tate Kids, Deborah from Teddy’s Inc and Pankaj from Samsung spin-off TagHive were well selected for their domain knowledge so the panel discussion provided a worthwhile agenda for the audience.

I’ve since realised that being a guest speaker added additional benefits to participating in the Summit. As we were just the second session of the 2-day program, I was known to the conference attendees from the get-go. Having my bio and company introduced at the beginning of the panel discussion and being able to provide my personal opinions on the state of our sector, meant I had other attendees approaching me at the first break making that imposter syndrome cloud float away.

Texan thank-you

I reaped multiple rewards through this trip; great networking opportunities and connections made, thoughtful speakers gift, new friendships formed and I am now much more well-informed on the state of my industry sector.

My advice to anyone looking to grow their business and expand their domain knowledge and connections is to put yourself out there. Whether that’s attending an event across the other side of the globe where you don’t know anyone else as I did, or reaching out to someone you respect and want to meet in your industry, all you need to do is just ……

“Give it a go!”

Having fun on the way

Originally published at Wantu.

Putting yourself out there! (part 1) was originally published in Austin Startups on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

#URLinkedUp AustinStartup—-9504c035b990—4

#Austin Check out URLinkedUp >

Austin coffee shop to close flagship location — but what’s next?

Austin Java is a local favorite, especially for breakfast and brunch. It’s in a class with Kerbey Lane Cafe and Magnolia Cafe, but the owners are closing the original location while planning other new stores elsewhere.

#URLinkedUp Austin Business News – Local Austin News | Austin Business Journal

#Austin Check out URLinkedUp >

Austin electronics manufacturer acquired by North Texas private equity firm

For nearly two decades, VirTex Enterprises has helped other companies produce their electronics now components. Now it has new owners who want to expand the company’s manufacturing capabilities.

#URLinkedUp Austin Business News – Local Austin News | Austin Business Journal

#Austin Check out URLinkedUp >

Bright colors, open design in a central location: Why Ink traded offices of the same size

Ink, a fast-growing Austin public relations and creative services firm, recently moved into new, more centralized digs and has also undertaken a rebranding to highlight the breadth of its offerings.
The company, which is now doing business as INK Communications Co., has settled in 4,000 square feet at 2717 South Lamar Blvd. — on the ground floor of the new Bell South Lamar apartments. The architect for the space was Josh Mackley and Roost Custom Homes was the general contractor.
The new name…

#URLinkedUp Austin Business News – Local Austin News | Austin Business Journal

#Austin Check out URLinkedUp >

After working on blockbuster titles, video game developer Certain Affinity sells stake to investor for $10M

As part of the deal, Certain Affinity will create an original game in collaboration with Leyou Technologies Holdings Ltd. in exchange for $10 million, an interest-free loan worth up to $15 million to develop the game and a portion of the game’s net revenue. Certain Affinity has worked on games including Call of Duty: Black Ops, Doom, Halo: The Master Chief Collection, Halo 4, Left 4 Dead, Crimson Alliance and Age of Booty.

#URLinkedUp Austin Business News – Local Austin News | Austin Business Journal

#Austin Check out URLinkedUp >

Viewpoint: TxDOT’s proposed billboard rules make economic sense

"Now is the time to advance this policy forward through truthful and thoughtful discussion. What our legislators have crafted ensures that billboards in Texas won’t be any higher in our state than they are today."

#URLinkedUp Austin Business News – Local Austin News | Austin Business Journal

#Austin Check out URLinkedUp >

Transforming health care to incentivize value and quality over volume

Our health care system is at a critical moment of transformation, straddling the line between the fee-for-service payment model that has existed since the 1920s, and its antithesis – value-based care (VBC).
In a fee-for-service world, everything a health care provider does is paid for at a set fee. So the more providers do, the more they get paid. When I was in practice, I used to see these incentives at work. The MRI the patient had yesterday at another facility isn’t readily available? Well,…

#URLinkedUp Austin Business News – Local Austin News | Austin Business Journal

#Austin Check out URLinkedUp >

San Antonio’s Amazon HQ2 pitch not dead just yet

"We are not closing the door on Amazon. That needs to be made clear," says Jenna Saucedo-Herrera, president and CEO of the San Antonio Economic Development Foundation.

#URLinkedUp Austin Business News – Local Austin News | Austin Business Journal

#Austin Check out URLinkedUp >

Central Texas coal plant to shut down as part of power generator’s pullback from fuel

Luminant Generation Co. LCC, Texas’ largest power generator, will next year shut down three coal plants in the state — including one in Milam County, about 60 miles northeast of downtown Austin.
The Irving-based company said Oct. 13 it would shut down in 2018 the two-unit Sandow Power Plant in Rockdale in Milam County, as well as the two-unit Big Brown Power Plant in Freestone County, east of Waco. Along with the closure of another plant in North Texas that was previously announced by Luminant,…

#URLinkedUp Austin Business News – Local Austin News | Austin Business Journal

#Austin Check out URLinkedUp >