This article first appeared on Business Chicks 2017.
Business Chicks Premium member Madeleine Grummet, 44, seems to be one of those people who always has something on the go.
“I have a full dance card,” she says. “But, for me, it’s the only way to play.”
Madeleine has her own creative consultancy, Do Re Me, and recently completed a Master of Entrepreneurship at the University of Melbourne. She also interviews incredible women alongside journalist Mignon Stewart for the Wise Women Project.
Her most recent project is girledworld, Co-founded with Edwina Kolomanski, which aims to inspire young girls to become brilliant leaders. Their motto? “If you want to change a generation, start with the girls.”
Madeleine is constantly blown away by the power of storytelling and its capacity to ignite change. She is known for her ability to challenge status quo, transform business models and cultivate diverse, collaborative communities. Oh, and she holds a number of board and ambassadorial positions, has four daughters and a husband, Jeremy, and lives in an amazing house in Melbourne.
Where did you grow up, and what did you want to be when you grew up?
I grew up in Melbourne and spent my childhood playing street cricket, sleeping under outback stars on wild family road trips, and being part of the tumult, abundant love and thrills and spills of a family of eight! For as long as I can remember I wanted to be a writer. I wrote copious notebooks full of poetry and short stories! I still have boxes stuffed with them. They capture moments of time that would otherwise be lost.
Well, it’s sort of come true, right – you’re a bona-fide creative now.
Yes, I did my cadetship at the Herald Sun/Pacific magazines, and worked as a freelance journalist and business consultant for years.
Tell us a bit about the inspiration behind girledworld.
It was founded to close the gender gap and build the next generation of female founders and leaders in this country. We believe if you want to change a generation, you start with the girls. So our events, digital resources and mentorship for girls aged 15-18 years cultivates entrepreneurial mindsets and leadership skillsets, so by the time they begin tertiary and workplace pathways, they are ready to engage, lead and succeed. Our first conference, supported by Airbnb, will be held at Melbourne University in June 2017. Stay tuned for details of seriously amazing speakers and workshops.
What do you love about it?
I love people, and I’m passionate about building communities, so I’ve been lucky enough to work with and learn from amazing entrepreneurs, founders, academics and leaders across the government, corporate, NFP and startup sectors over the past few years. Melbourne has a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem and it’s awesome to be part of that energy and big talent every day.
What do you find challenging?
I still don’t love burgeoning to-do lists and looming deadlines, and of course, there’s never enough hours in the day. Family, work, friends and time for self is always a juggle, but I’m getting better at triaging priorities!
What made you join Business Chicks?
I joined Business Chicks because I’m a big believer in the power of women sharing our stories, inspiring each other, and trading wisdom. The business journey of an entrepreneur can be lonely. Business Chicks creates thriving places on and offline to find your tribe, chat through challenges and triumphs, and learn from one another.
I loved the recent Facebook event in Melbourne – we leaned in to listen as Mia Garlick from Facebook spoke candidly about the state of affairs at Facebook saying that they, too, had a long way to go before they had truly representative diversity internally, and that she believed women generally lacked the confidence to get the skills they needed to step into tech and leadership. Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg’s Be The Nerd and Hackergirl initiatives are directly attempting to address this lack of diversity and drive more women and girls into STEM and leadership pathways, which we at girledworld endorse wholeheartedly! Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commissioner Kristen Hilton’s speech was also powerful and inspiring for all present.
What’s the toughest career challenge you’ve had?
Probably studying the Masters. Juggling four kids, running a business, launching a startup and studying at university full-time meant I had to make every moment count.
It was intense, with lots of late nights and dawn starts, but actually one of the most rewarding and transformative years of my life! Worth the hurdle! To get through this year I gave myself permission to let some stuff go so I could step out and step up to find the spaces I needed to give study my all. I reduced external commitments, let the laundry fester, got help when I needed it, and dropped the bar on perfection.
You can’t do everything – something’s gotta give. So I gave my gotta to my family and study and let some other things go.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
“Don’t ask for permission. Ask for forgiveness later.”
I heard this from Sally Ann Williams, engineering community and outreach manager at Google HQ in Silicon Valley, on a recent innovation trip there.
What’s a day in your life like?
No day is ever the same! Meetings, kids, endless emails, trawling blogs, news, radio, academic articles, social media, writing copy, interviewing, cups of tea, school pickup, dog belly rubs, phone meets, and whatever else comes my way! A cathartic walk along the bay with my beautiful husband, cooking to cranked up music, or a long bath with a pile of books are the salves for my soul.
Is there anything you tell yourself on Monday mornings?
One life. Use it.