Want to learn what it really takes to grow a brand and harness the power of influence to create lasting impact?
Influence Unlocked opens the door into the exciting world of public relations, personal branding, and leadership success. We go deep, exploring the highs and lows, the inner workings of, and the big ideas behind some of Australia’s leading entrepreneurs, industry leaders, and change makers.
So come beyond the news headlines and highlight reels and get ready to UNlock your influence.
Hosted by Samantha Dybac, founder and CEO of The PR Hub.
Connect with Samantha via LinkedIn here
Adam Bub: Be your own brand hero & do things that terrify you!
Season 4, Episode 10
If there is anyone who understands the dance between brand strategy, the power of authentic storytelling and content production, and what audiences want, it’s my guest for this episode, Adam Bub.
Head of Commercial Media at leading digital media and TV production company Pinstripe Media by day, social media influencer by night, and doer of cryptic crosswords in all the moments in between, Adam Bub has built an impressive 15-year career with major news sites including Nine Digital and Mamamia (interviewing the likes of Kim Kardashian, Hugh Jackman, Will Smith, and Demi Lovato) and crafted content campaigns in partnership with hundreds of Australia’s leading brands.
I’ve had the pleasure of working with Adam before. He directed me as the ‘talent’ on Kochie’s Business Builders TV and he really makes being on camera a relaxed and fun experience.
In this episode of Influence Unlocked we cover a lot of ground, from what makes a good story (the ‘human factor’) and why it’s so important to ‘become your own brand PR hero’, to Adam’s evolution from shy teenager, coming to terms with his sexuality and whose choicest piece of career advice is simply: do things that terrify you.
So, if you are a business owner or public relations professional wanting to better understand what makes a good pitch, or an aspiring content creator wanting a peek into the world of someone who has grown their own personal brand alongside an exciting career both in front of and behind the camera like a boss, listen in. There’s something for everyone in this episode!
What Adam’s reading: Afterparties by Anthony Veasna So
Author Ali Lowe on how a personal tragedy altered the course of her life
Season 4, Episode 9
If you’ve ever wondered what it feels like to be doing what you really love – that thing you felt called to do, even as a young child – for a living, you won’t want to miss this episode.
I first crossed paths with my guest, Ali Lowe, when she wrote an amazing cover story on one of The PR Hub clients, James Spenceley, for the Mosman Daily/North Shore Times a few years back (listen to my interview with James this season in episode 6, the link is below).
Like most good stories, Ali’s is one of risk, instinct, and perseverance. Despite a successful 20-year career as a journalist and editor in the UK and Australia, following the death of her brother, she left full-time work to be closer to and more present for her young family. While freelancing, she realised a passion for writing fiction and was accepted into a novel-writing course in 2019, and the rest is history.
Described by The Weekend Australian as both “moving swiftly into the footsteps of Liane Moriarty ” and “one to watch”, it may make it sound at times like it all just fell into place one day, however her success has been anything but accidental.
She’s already two books in (her second novel, The Running Club, is out this month) and excited by and grateful for her new, very public image as an author. “Am I a brand now?!” she jokes.
Importantly, for Ali, personal branding was never an ego trip or a commercial pursuit. Instead it meant tapping into the energy and wisdom of successful people she admired, building authentic connections with other writers, and of course, the discipline required to get the job done…and there are lessons in there for us all.
The Running Club is available from 14 March ‘23 at all your usual bookshops, Big W, Target, Kmart, Dymocks, Booktopia, Amazon, and Audible.
“My life is just starting”: Nicho Plowman cofounder of Insight Timer gets personal
Season 4, Episode 8
I am thrilled to introduce one of our The PR Hub clients in this episode of the Influence Unlocked.
Nicho Plowman is the co-founder of the world’s #1 meditation app, Insight Timer, with 22 to 23 million active users worldwide and Vedic meditation teacher.
Attracted from a young age to the excitement and adrenaline of doing business, Nicho worked with some amazing international organisations like ESPN and was the co-founder of a multimillion-dollar tech software company in his 30s.
As he approached 40 he was living a life that on the surface that many people would dream of; a successful tech entrepreneur, with a luxurious global lifestyle alongside his highly successful fashion designer wife and two young daughters.
However, beneath the exterior Nicho was a high-flying, hard-living entrepreneur heading down a path of mental, emotional, and physical destruction.
Nicho’s journey is an inspiring story for anyone who has felt overworked or highly stressed, and business professionals who seem to have it all on the surface but underneath feel their work/life balance is out of whack and are looking for ways to reclaim their sense of purpose, health & wellbeing.
This was an amazing chat and I know you’re going to love it, too.
How Australian Wallaroo Sera Naiqama found success, on the other side of fear
Season 4, Episode 7
At just 27 years old, representative Australian rugby union player Sera Naiqama’s star is well and truly on the rise. But don’t let her age fool you. We can learn so much from Sera’s effervescent outlook on life, her incredible work ethic, and her insatiable thirst for self-improvement.
Like most success stories, it hasn’t all been plain sailing. Growing up in comparative hardship in Sydney’s southern suburbs, and with parents whose marriage ended when she was very young, Sera is the first to admit that “society would say my life was meant to look a certain way.”
Likewise her winding path to international rugby stardom, and more recently as a Stan Sport commentator and sought-after MC, has not been without its hurdles and, inevitably, huge emotional setbacks.
But at every turn, and with the support of a close network of friends and mentors, Sera has chosen bravery. “You never know what’s siting on the other side of your fear,” she says, adding that “with a bit of faith, hope, and hard work, or whatever word works for you, nothing is ever wasted.”
As promised during our interview with Sera:
The 7 P’s: Proper Preparation and Practice Prevents Piss Poor Performance!
Entrepreneur and VC James Spenceley on how to stay calm in a war zone
Season 4, Episode 6
James Spenceley is arguably one of Australia’s most successful entrepreneurs turned venture capitalist, local politician and philanthropist. He is also someone Samantha and The PR Hub has had the pleasure of working with over the past six years.
The three time Young Rich lister and two time EY Entrepreneur of the Year winner is one of the youngest Australians to found and lead an ASX 100 company, Vocus Communications. He’s Chair of publicly listed companies Airtasker and Swoop, along with being a Non-Executive Director of Kogan.
In 2021 he decided to turn his hand to local politics and was elected as a counselor for North Sydney Council in NSW.
Yet while James is known for a hearty risk appetite in business, perhaps his most courageous project to date has been a deeply personal one, delivering custom built ambulances and medical equipment to the front lines of the war in Ukraine (James’ wife, Victoriia, is Ukrainian and they first met while James was living in Ukraine many years ago).
Why ambulances? Because ambulances were desperately needed, which speaks to one of James’ most important tips for anyone in business: ask What does your customer really need?
“We approached our drive to contribute to the war effort in Ukraine like we would a business – what’s needed, how do we fulfil the need better – and evolved the product accordingly.”
“As soon as people heard about it, they wanted to give, we got press, and the momentum started building. It’s been incredible.”
Join James in conversation with Samantha as they delve into how to effectively manage stress, deal with negative publicity, and what drives the indefatigable James Spenceley forward every day (yes, there is Red Bull involved).
If you’re an aspiring entrepreneur or someone leading a high growth, disruptive business looking for ideas and inspiration then you won’t want to miss this episode!
The Art of Seeing: Alina Gozin'a on 'Giving yourself Permission'
Season 4, Episode 5
After leaving her corporate career as a tax adviser in banking & finance at PwC, Alina Gozin’a built a career as a globally in-demand portrait photographer and interdisciplinary artist with commissions spanning Sydney, Berlin, New York, and LA. She is known for some of the most iconic Australian Financial Review Magazine covers of notable figures such as Frank Lowy, Andrew Forrest, Judith Neilson, Scott Farquhar, Kevin Rudd and Canva cofounders Mel Perkins and Cliff Obrecht, to name a few.
Over the years, her iconic photographic work evolved and expanded to include creative campaigns and art activations for some of the world’s most exclusive brands, until…
Like millions of others, Alina was grounded by COVID and extended global lockdowns, and challenged to diversify her business. It became a game-changing hiatus. For the first time in years, she had the time and headspace to dream of something different. And so The Art of Seeing – was born.
As an artist, she concedes “it took me a long time to believe in myself and honestly, to give myself permission to understand that ‘personal branding’ is not a dirty word, that it’s OK to be comfortable financially, and that I really have to now embrace it, hopefully with integrity.”
Alina’s role in bridging the gap between art and commerce, and connecting people across these two worlds, is one she is hugely passionate about.
She is an absolute powerhouse, leading a creative life with purpose and intent, and we’re thrilled to share Alina in conversation with Samantha Dybac in the latest episode of the Influence Unlocked podcast.
"Aqua Rugby’s Jimmy Galvin | You've never met a CEO quite like him
Season 4, Episode 4
My guest for Season 4, Episode 4 is the remarkable Jimmy Galvin; seasoned sports administrator, globally acclaimed house DJ, music label founder and event/festival producer, and now, cofounder and CEO of Raydel Aqua Rugby, Australia’s first floating rugby tournament.
Described as the ‘Hong Kong Sevens meets the Monaco Grand Prix’, Aqua Rugby is making an almighty splash in Australia’s live entertainment scene at Manly Cove in November ‘22, the festival’s second season after its launch event earlier this year. The team have secured the backing of naming rights sponsor, Raydel, along with Destination NSW, Buildcorp, Budgy Smuggler, Lion White Claw, and 4 Pines Brewing Company, to name a few.
From Brooklyn, NY to the beaches of Bali, from Burning Man to the boardroom, it’s safe to say Jimmy Galvin is a busy guy. But he takes it all in his stride; his energy and passion for life, for the business, his team, and of course rugby, is pure delight. It’s inspiring, and it’s infectious!
Characteristically, Jimmy has forged his own unique path in life and business, and encourages others to do the same. “You will carve your own leadership journey and your own leadership style.”
Being in business is tough. There will always be challenges, so staying focused – and positive – is key. “Just remember why you started what you started,” Jimmy counsels. “Aqua Rugby is my passion. Music is my passion. They still put me under stress and there are days when I ask myself, ‘Why? Why?!’ But then I take a deep breath and remind myself, ‘Jimmy, this is exactly what you wanted in your life. You can bloody do this and I’m proud of you.”
So how does one of the busiest guys in Sydney, find balance and create calm amidst the chaos? For Jimmy, it’s simple: “Rest. Emotionally, spiritually, physically, you need to rest to be at your best.”
Jimmy’s book recommendation: The Power of Full Engagement by Jim Loehr.
Krystal Barter | Taking a leap of faith
Season 4, Episode 3
My guest for Season 4, Episode 3 is an exceptional woman. Krystal Barter has lived most of her adult life in the spotlight. Her moving personal story, from her BRCA1 gene diagnosis and preventative double mastectomy as a young mum to purpose-driven entrepreneur and startup founder, has made headlines around the world.
In 2009 at the age of 25, she launched the not-for-profit Pink Hope from her hospital bed as she recuperated from her life-altering surgery, even attracting the attention of Angelina Jolie, who reached out to Krystal following her own BRCA gene detection.
By 2019, despite being widely recognised and awarded across multiple platforms for her important advocacy work, today, Krystal had her sights set on something greater.
Realising her mission to create change in the global healthcare landscape, she made “the hardest decision of [her] life” to step away from Pink Hope and launch Humanise Health, a dynamic change agency placing patients at the center of health communications and awareness campaigns globally.
In this inspiring episode, we go deep, tapping into Krystal’s enviable reserves of positivity, discovering the power of listening, and asking ourselves ‘What does it really take to lead with purpose?’
For Krystal, the power of influence ultimately comes from finding that purpose, but also by giving back to those around you. “I really strongly believe,” she says, “that lived experiences and stories can change the world.”
From side hustle to AFR Fast 100 with 'Man of Many's' Scott Purcell
Season 4, Episode 2
It’s Episode 2 of Season 4 and my guest is Scott Purcell, cofounder of Australia’s largest men’s lifestyle platform, Man of Many. Scott co-founded Man of Many with his housemate Frank Arthur in 2012 and the pair have since grown their weekend side hustle into a multi-award winning business and one of the country’s fastest growing media companies, with a global monthly audience of 5 million.
Their growing stockpile of accolades includes the prestigious AFR Fast 100 list and Deloitte’s Technology Fast 500 APAC, the Financial Times Fast Growing Companies APAC list in 2022, and Brand of the Year at the 2021 Mumbrella Publish Awards, to name a few.
For Scott, his evolution from ‘nerdy’ teen and self-taught coder to CFA Charterholder and senior financial analyst to now award-winning startup founder, has been one hell of a ride.
With the company gearing up for its 10th birthday celebrations later this year, Scott excitedly reflects on his journey and shares some valuable insights into what it takes to build a successful startup. Hot tip: it did not happen overnight!
While neither Scott nor Frank set out to be the ‘faces’ of their business, they’ve learned to face their fears and embrace personal branding to help grow the business. “No one’s going to sell [your brand] for you.” Scott says.
If you’re an existing or budding entrepreneur and want an insight into the growth and success of Man of Many then don’t miss this one!
Rebekah Giles | Life, leadership, and the law with Boxing Day tsunami survivor
Season 4, Episode 1
We’re back for Season 4 and our first episode is a beauty as we talk life, leadership, and the law with one of Australia’s most prominent female legal minds, Rebekah Giles.
An accomplished litigator with specialist expertise in reputational risk and over 20 years’ top tier experience in Australia and the United Kingdom, Rebekah has a diverse portfolio of non-executive directorships in government, sport, and private enterprise. She’s an ambassador for the Fertility Research Clinic at the Royal Hospital for Women Foundation, a mother, and – miraculously – a survivor of the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami.
She’s now also a successful startup founder, launching her private practice, Company (Giles), in 2019.
Rebekah is on a roll.
Honoured with an Award for Excellence from the Faculty of Law at UTS in 2017, in 2018, she was listed in the AFR’s 100 Women of Influence (Boards and Management). Awards for Reputational Risk Lawyer of the Year by Global Law Experts followed in 2019, 2020 and 2021.
A deep believer in the power of influence to affect positive change and the importance of giving back, her advice for success is simple. “Put your skills to use, volunteer in the community, find a passion outside your career to help broaden your experience…and in a world filled with KPIs, just diligently and passionately do your work.”
Cassandra Kelly | Owning your power
Season 3, Episode 14
As an advisor to some of the world’s most powerful people, Cassandra Kelly AM has experienced a life of influence that’s been unlocked by traits that may surprise you – softness and compassion: “I think there’s an assumption that when you’ve achieved so much and you’re pushing and you overcome and you’re resilient…that there [must be] a harshness that comes with that”. Cassandra pushes back against this idea and instead highlights the importance of kindness and authenticity, and how these are central to brand and business both.
Cassandra credits a centring of her six year old self with keeping her authentic, resilient and influential – “People ask about your divinity or whatever is spiritual connection you have, and it’s my six year old that is my courage and my bravery”. After some challenging teen years, Cassandra’s return to the courage of her child self is central to her influence journey, one that has seen her travel the world working with global leaders.
From Sydney’s Northern Beaches to the skyline of Manhattan, her open hearted excitement for possibility is contagious. She caught up with Samantha Dybac all the way from New York to share her keys to a career that leads to your most authentic and powerful self, no matter your field.
Steve Hui | Flying Flat
Season 3, Episode 13
After two years grounded, Australia’s frequent flyers are itching to get back out there. None more so than The Points Whisperer Steve Hui, the founder of iFLYflat. If ever there was a go-to expert in getting bang for your travel buck, it’s Steve, and his hopeful, passionate and ambitious outlook is just what business founders need to make it through the challenges of COVID – especially when you’re in the travel business.
For Steve, ongoing Lockdowns were just another day in the office, after launching iFLYflat off the back off a redundancy during the GFC of 2012. This pivot to a new career was identity defining for Steve, with his ethos as a business founder based on commitment to authenticity and trust. He’s had to evolve from an introverted accountant to the media darling he is today – something he never expected as a man who describes himself as “…just a guy doing something that I think is really valuable.”
In this episode of Influence Unlocked, Samantha Dybac sits down with Steve to hear about his journey and even squeezes out some travel tips from the expert himself.
Sali Sasi | Finding Balance
Season 3, Episode 12
From a back-row rebel to front-row style entrepreneur, looking back on her younger days, businesswoman Sali Sasi sees ambition and resilience as the common threads woven through her story. Leaving school early to channel her wild ambition and hands-on attitude into an apprenticeship in business set the tone for an award-winning career across e-commerce, retail and hospitality. Working with sister Julie to found popular e-store StyleRunner, the duo have just launched luxe style app Her Black Book, a platform for style lovers to not just shop, but be inspired by fashion and lifestyle content from a range of perspectives.
With these businesses under her belt, plus award-winning restaurant Leigh St Wine Room, Sali’s ambition and entrepreneurial expertise is plain to see. But her resilience has been a quiet hero, steering her through some of life’s toughest challenges. From a breast cancer diagnosis at just 27, to recently undergoing a hysterectomy, a strong sense of self and commitment to choosing resilience has let Sali not only forge a path through, but channel her positivity and perspective into helping others.
Sali caught up with Samantha Dybac to talk business, navigating life’s challenges, and trusting your gut.
Robyn Foyster | "I remember thinking resilient, that's what I'm going to be."
Season 3, Episode 11
Robyn Foyster’s lived a life that could be pulled from the big screen. She even admits it herself (“It [was] very English Patient actually!”) chatting with Influenced Unlocked host Samantha Dybac about her times traipsing through the desert, or gate-crashing in Hollywood in search of stories to tell. Because that’s what she is – a storyteller. Getting her start in the notorious journalism world of London’s Fleet Street, Robyn’s boldness and fearlessness are partly to credit for where she is today.
After working across the globe for a number of years, the call of home sounded a lot like a dream gig for a girl from Mudgee – the editor role at The Australian Women’s Weekly. She didn’t know it then, but Robyn would go on to be the first and only person to edit and publish Australia’s three biggest flagship magazines, The Australian Women’s Weekly, Women’s Day, and New Idea. Flash forward to today, and Robyn is now one of B&T’s 30 Most Powerful Women in Media, running her own content platforms and advising on tech boards.
In this episode, Sam caught up with Robyn to discuss what it takes to see – and do – it all, and what she’s learned along the way.
Lisa Sthalekar | "I never see it as work. I see it as a real passion"
Season 3, Episode 10
Trailblazing her way to becoming an Australian Women’s Cricket Captain seems a fitting role for Lisa Sthalekar, after getting her start playing boys cricket at a local club as a kid – back then, she didn’t even know women’s cricket existed. After travelling the world with the Aussie women’s cricket teams and being recognised as one of the best all-rounders in the game, Lisa has established a career in commentating across some of the biggest games in cricket including the BBL, WBBL and Indian Premier League (IPL). She has also been acknowledged for her outstanding contribution to the game inducted into the ICC Hall of Fame and Australian Cricket Hall of Fame.
The path was not always easy – adopted weeks after birth, emigrating to Australia at 4, and losing her mum to breast cancer at 21, Lisa’s ability to appreciate and be grateful for each day has shaped her into the resilient woman she is today. She is one of the most down to earth, passionate and inspiring women I have met. It is a great pleasure to have Lisa join me in this episode to discuss her story, including her experience with adoption, reflections on the work that has gone into making Aussie Women’s Cricket the global leader it’s become, her love for broadcasting sport and the importance of being thankful. Plus some bonus tips on surviving quarantine from someone who’s done it more times than just about anyone.
Scott Maggs aka Jimmy Niggles Esq. | "I’m kind of in the ideas game now"
Season 3, Episode 9
Losing a loved one to cancer is everyone’s worst nightmare. When that nightmare came true for Scott Maggs and the friends and family of his mate Wes, he knew he had to turn his grief into meaningful action that would honour Wes’s life, and save others. Enter: Jimmy Niggles Esq.
Jimmy Niggles was a persona created by Scott and his friends as part of the Beard Season, a social movement started in 2010 that sought to grow awareness of the risks of the skin cancer that took his mate Wes, and encourage Australians to get themselves checked – and early. With Australia being home to one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world, it was a lofty goal.
Ten years, a trip to stay on Necker Island with and learn from Richard Branson, a partnership with Merivale and many beards later, Scott’s message recently culminated in the Million Dollar Beard Ball, hosted by Hamish Blake and Michael ‘Wippa’ Wipfli, reaching the charity’s Million Dollar fundraising target.
I caught up with Scott to talk about the Beard Season journey, chatting about how he saw his big idea be recognised by key industry players, the challenges of being the face of your own brand, and how he worked to turn conversations into results.
To learn more and be part of this worthy cause, please visit skincheckchampions.com
Katarina Kroslakova | "I thrive on looking to achieve the impossible"
Season 3, Episode 8
As a self-confessed consumer of all things luxury and the editor-in-chief and publisher of T Australia, The New York Times style magazine, Katarina Kroslakova has a surprising confession to make. “I consider myself neither important nor particularly stylish.”
For Katarina, being an influencer is so much more than the glamour, the freebies, the clothes or the overseas trips. It’s about actioning something “that will actually make the world a better place, or that will make people’s lives better. That’s the only way you’re going to inspire people”.
Trained as a journalist, Katarina has built an enviable media career with roles at News Limited, Pacific Magazines, Bauer Media, the ABC, Macquarie Radio and a 10-year stint at the AFR as editor of its Life and Leisure weekly lift-out and Luxury magazine. Upon leaving the paper, she was offered the opportunity of a lifetime by The New York Times to launch T Australia, making the courageous decision to fund the venture herself. And it looks like her hard work is finally paying off, with the magazine’s print frequency increasing from four to six issues a year – a remarkable feat considering the decline of the print industry in recent years.
Please join me as I chat with Katarina about her transition from editor to publisher and business owner, her experiences as a woman in the mainstream media and what kind of legacy she hopes to leave. We also talk about her hidden talent for making gourmet sandwiches, her plans to release a cookbook and why she considers herself “the biggest dag on the planet”.
Amanda Rose | "If you don't ask, you don't get"
Season 3, Episode 7
Having crossed paths several times over the past decade, I finally got to sit down with multi-talented #BossLady herself, Amanda Rose. In addition to penning her weekly careers column in the Daily Telegraph, Amanda is also a business consultant, media commentator, women in business advocate, keynote speaker, workplace trainer, and entrepreneur, founding no less than six businesses.
As one of LinkedIn’s most influential people, Amanda has built a personal brand based on influencing people in a positive way. Whether it is through her consulting work, providing commentary on issues of the day, mentoring young women, or establishing support networks for women in business, Amanda has created a personal brand that both underpins and propels her professional success.
In this episode, Amanda chats with me about her journey as a woman in business and shares the best way to turn your passion into a successful commercial venture. She also provides insights on how to build an effective personal brand, revealing this is a continuous improvement exercise requiring daily finetuning. But most importantly of all, Amanda emphasises the importance of authenticity. “What you see is what you get is the best thing someone can say to you about who you are in your brand”.
Susie Burreel | "Plan and Prioritise"
Season 3, Episode 6
Bringing you the next episode of Influence Unlocked during lockdown in Sydney, I am joined by renowned dietician, business owner and media personality Susie Burrell.
A leader in her field with over 20 years’ experience as a paediatric and sports dietician and a Master of Coaching Psychology, Susie currently runs her own private clinic in Sydney along with regular media commitments including being the resident dietician on the Seven television network’s morning breakfast program, Sunrise, and with a regular column in The Daily Telegraph.
And while she expertly juggles the competing demands of multiple roles, her path to success hasn’t always been smooth, often finding her business demands in direct conflict with her healthcare background. “As a health professional by trade that’s very different to what we’re trained to do, which is to help people and be giving… that is so different to being in the business world.” Gradually building the resilience to deal with these challenges, Susie shares her approach to dealing with career setbacks, which closely parallels with the advice she gives to clients struggling to stay on track with healthy eating plans.
In this episode, Susie gives us a masterclass in time management and the importance of planning, and shares who has influenced her in her career success. “When I think about the people who have influenced that I really respect, it’s because it’s not actually about them, it’s about the work of the content of the message. And they’re truly trying to help people be better.”
You can follow Susie Burrell on Instagram @susieburrelldietitian, visit her website at susieburrell.com.au or listen to her podcast, The Nutrition Couch on your favourite podcast app.
Deanna Depetro | "You just can’t sweat the small stuff"
Season 3, Episode 5
Deanna Depetro is the Creative Director and co-owner of Mossman Clothing, an Australian label known for an aesthetic that is at once fashion-forward and timeless, with a European twist. Since taking over the label with business partner Ben De Rango, Deanna has transformed the business from a small, Melbourne-based clothing company into an emerging label with a national profile, with her designs worn by celebrities such as Jennifer Hawkins, and securing key distribution deals with Myer and The Iconic.
Growing up in Melbourne with a seamstress mother, Deanna has always had a passion for fashion design, sourcing patterns and fabrics from local stores to make her own clothes. After working in Australia and New York in a variety of roles across the fashion industry, she got her first big break as a design assistant back in Melbourne, working her way up before landing at Mossman as a designer. After learning all the different aspects of the business, she took the next big step to realise her dream of owning a business.
In this episode, please join me as I chat with Deanna about what influences her as a designer, how she manages the hectic schedule of running a successful fashion label, and how she has perfected the art of the blazer. We also talk about the importance of taking ‘baby steps’ to achieve your career goals, staying positive and not sweating the small stuff.
Todd Liubinskas | "Get Up, lace up and turn up"
Season 3, Episode 4
For Todd Liubinskas, being fit goes way beyond wanting to look good. As a fitness entrepreneur, personal trainer, and the fitness director of Men’s Health magazine, Todd believes the real benefits of fitness lie in providing people with an outlet for self-care and connection, both with themselves and the community.
His qualifications as both a personal trainer and strength & conditioning coach have seen him train elite athletes including the Wallabies, New Zealand Rugby and the Aussie Sevens, and several years ago he transitioned successfully from a corporate career to the fitness sector to start multiple businesses, including the popular 440 Run Club. However, COVID brought unexpected challenges to the fitness sector in 2020, with Todd forced to shut his gym business and pivot to online training. Now, Todd is an advocate for health, fitness and wellbeing with a TEDx talk under his belt, championing the importance of community connection through fitness initiatives like 440.
Tune into hear more about how Todd motivates himself to get up at 4am every Saturday to run up a steep hill with up to 150 people, and his advice for those of us wanting to take the first step into a more active life.
Tory Archbold | "Turning life’s challenges into your superpower"
Season 3, Episode 3
For Tory Archbold, being clear about her values has laid the foundation for an incredible career as a high-profile publicist, entrepreneur, CEO and business coach. Her values have been instrumental in building Torstar into a successful global PR business but were also pivotal in helping her make the decision to walk away from it all. Today, Tory applies her passion, integrity and commitment to deliver to her new role mentoring female entrepreneurs and executives through her latest venture, Powerful Steps.
Dedicated to using her influence to empower others, Tory knows how life-changing it can be for women to share their experiences with each other. In addition to giving women a platform to tell their stories on her podcast, Powerful Stories, Tory is refreshingly candid in sharing her own personal journey with inspire others. From running a successful business as a single mother to dealing with being stalked for 12 years and surviving a near death experience, her challenges are a reminder that everyone’s lives, no matter how accomplished they appear, feature both success and survival.
I hope you find Tory’s journey and outlook on life as inspirational as I do. Tune in to hear more about how Drew Barrymore ended her career in PR (in a good way), how to attract the right people into your orbit and why a coffee date, not lunch, is the best way to build a powerful network.
Anthony Seibold | “Don’t hide behind the curtains”
Season 3, Episode 2
As the 2018 Dally M Coach of the Year and former head coach of the South Sydney Rabbitohs, Anthony Seibold is accustomed to performing under pressure. However, even Anthony was unprepared for the ugly turn of events shortly after landing the high-profile role as Head Coach for the Brisbane Broncos, when, already under fierce criticism for a series of losses, he became the subject of a vitriolic smear campaign online. With the rumours and trolling spiralling out of control, Anthony was forced to recruit legal and cybercrime experts to find the culprits, taking the unprecedented move to pursue criminal, rather than civil action against those responsible.
Having played and worked as a professional rugby league player in Australia and overseas, Anthony also pursued a parallel career as a teacher and academic, completing a Master of Education and lecturing at the University of Southern Queensland. Today, he is an advocate for mental health and wellbeing as ambassador for the Readiness app and campaigns for legislation to hold online trolls accountable for cyberbullying.
In this episode, Anthony and I have an in-depth chat about standing up for yourself in the face of intense public scrutiny. We also talk about his journey as a kid from Rockhampton who became a world-class rugby league player and coach, and what it takes to be a leader in sport.
Shaun White | "Mastering breakfast TV and interviewing Oprah"
Season 3, Episode 1
Kicking off Season 3 of the Influence Unlocked is a guest with a truly uncanny knack for connecting with audiences. Currently the consumer correspondent for Australia’s no 1 breakfast television program, Sunrise, Shaun White is equally comfortable in front of a TV camera or hosting large events. His ability to build an authentic connection with people has also seen him score coveted interviews with talk show legend Oprah and tennis superstar Serena Williams.
Starting his journalistic career as a cadet with SBS, Shaun has worked across the media spectrum in print, radio, online and TV. Blending an eye for opportunity, a dogged perseverance and a talent for storytelling, Shaun has worked his way onto our screens on Australia’s most watched breakfast show, bringing audiences the latest in tech releases, property, consumer affairs and travel news from around the globe.
Having known Shaun for a few years now, I’m always impressed by how effortlessly he navigates the challenges of live TV. However, his journey has been anything but smooth sailing. In this episode, we discuss how overcoming anxiety and coming out to his family in his youth has played a key role in his career success. We also talk about some of the great advice he’s received over the years, from Sarah Stinson’s recommendation to ‘live in the moment, but don’t become complacent’, to his mother’s tip to ‘never stay at the party too long’. We also talk about the importance of asking ‘What’s the next thing in terms of innovation and how could we tell this story differently?’
Tom Waterhouse | "When your personal brand is a family affair"
Season 2, Episode 15
My guest for the final episode of season two has lived his whole life in the spotlight, and has recently been causing controversy with an ad campaign featuring bikini models in various scenarios including on a trampoline surrounded by goats. Tom Waterhouse was born into racing royalty. On his mother’s side, horse trainers; on his father’s side, four generations of bookmakers. Despite an allergy to horses and very little interest in racing, by the age of 20 Tom was following in his father’s footsteps as a licensed bookmaker – much to his grandmother’s dismay.
His first business, TomWaterhouse.com, launched in 2010 and became one of Australia’s largest online betting companies. Three years later he sold the company to international bookmaking business William Hill, and Tom became the CEO of the Australian operation, responsible for major brands including Centrebet and Sportingbet and generating $2 billion in overall turnover.
In 2018 William Hill sold its Australian business and Tom bought back the brand, relaunching it as a membership-based tipping service. I really enjoyed listening to Tom speak about his childhood and what he took from growing up in such a disciplined, high performance “Waterhouse” household. Tune in to hear us talk about the impact that has had on him now as a businessman, husband and father of three and why despite not being comfortable with seeing himself on camera, he has chosen the path of leveraging his personal brand to promote his businesses.
Emily Duggan | “I feel like I've been in fight or flight mode since I was 16.”
Season 2, Episode 14
Talking to my guest for this episode was as thrilling as watching her race. Emily Dugan was just 22 years of age when she started racing in the Series X3 NSW, after buying a race car on Gumtree, a suit on eBay and a helmet from Aldi. Self-taught and self-funded, she became the first female driver to race in the Super3 V8 Touring Cars Series in 2016. Since then, she has competed in events including the Toyota 86 Series and Supercars S3 Series. She’s also highly accomplished off the track, working with major brands like Penrite and Special K and being a finalist for Cosmopolitan’s Sportswoman of the Year in 2017.
Emily is passionate about breaking down the barriers that prevent girls and women from achieving their dreams, and she is an ambassador for Girls on Track, originally launched by British F1 driver Susie Wolff. She has been described as the hardest-working racing car driver in Australia, and she’s done it all without family support. These days she clocks speeds of up to 270km an hour, but Emily’s first experiences behind the wheel were driving herself to school every day after her parents separated and left her living on her own. It’s an incredible story and I feel privileged that she shared it with me on the podcast.
She has a maturity beyond her age and a unique approach to problem solving. Our conversation was a wild ride, with lots of hairpin bends and unexpected turns. I hope you’ll tune in to hear Emily talk about hitting the gym just after midnight, practicing times tables while running, and how her appendix might have cost her a championship.
Bec Brown | “Turn down any work that you're not 100% happy with”
Season 2, Episode 13
Bec Brown is the founder and director of highly successful PR agency, The Comms Department, known for representing some of Australia’s and the world’s biggest and best-known media, entertainment travel and lifestyle brands. But before she built her name as the PR behind big names like the Australian Radio Network, Bras n Things and Amazon Prime Video, Bec started out by following her dreams to be a singer and musician. Bec spent the early years of her career travelling the world, building her career and landing gigs in England, Fiji, Sweden and France.
But hustling for gigs and singing in restaurants eventually lost its lustre, and Bec realised that it’s not always the best idea to turn your passion into a profession. She returned to Australia and retrained in PR, working her way through some top agencies before launching The Comms Department in 2012 with her most recent employer, Universal Music, as her first client.
Last year Bec released her first book, You’ve Got This, compiling everything she’s learned on her fabulous career journey. Tune in to find out how the book came about, what Bec does when she needs to refuel, her advice for business owners starting out and why she’ll never be a professional brownie baker.
The good, the bad & the messy with Sam Squiers
Season 2, Episode 12
Journalist Sam Squiers has always been passionate about women’s sport – however, the media outlets she has worked for have not always shared her enthusiasm. So in 2014, Sam decided to build her own. Sportette launched as a news platform to highlight the incredible stories of women in sport, but as it grew and those same media outlets started mining it for ideas, Sportette morphed into a think tank and consultancy for sporting organisations wanting to improve their approach to gender equality.
After over a decade working with some of Australia’s leading media including Channel Nine, Fairfax, Channel 7, Sky News and Southern Cross Austereo, Sam’s expertise in women’s sport is now highly sought after by organisations such as the NRL, Golf Australia and the Queensland Rugby League. She also hosts the podcast On Her Game, is the author of a picture book, Princesses Wear Sneakers, and the proud mum of two little girls who love pink as much as they love being active.
Please enjoy the latest episode as I chat with Sam about equality in sport (and the media), sharing difficult stories about motherhood and her weirdest fear.
Ed Cowan | "Perseverance will always trump talent"
Season 2, Episode 11
Welcome back to 2021! In the spirit of it being summer in Australia and cricket dominating the sporting headlines, I am delighted to be bringing you my chat with former Australian test cricketer, Ed Cowan.
I’ve always been fascinated by how elite athletes manage the transition out of sport and into new careers, and my guest for this episode has a lot to say on that topic.
Ed Cowan is a former Australian test cricketer who made his debut for New South Wales in 2005 before going onto be selected for the Australian national team that played in India in the 2011 Boxing Day test. During his almost sixteen-year, first class cricket career, Ed played 18 Tests for Australia, scored 10,097 runs and wrote a book called, In the Firing Line, Diary of a Season. But Ed knew all along that sport is not a lifelong career. Along the way, he started a business with a teammate as a kind of “real life MBA” – Tripod Coffee, offering Nespresso-compatible coffee pods that are environmentally friendly.
When Ed made the decision to retire from the game in 2018, having a business certainly helped, but he says it was still a challenging time. He didn’t want cricket to be the defining moment of his life, which led him to ask the question of himself, ‘what’s my next act?’ The experience also gave him an insight into the vast number of athletes who struggle mentally and emotionally with that transition and has fuelled a desire to do more in this space to help others
While Ed called time on his professional playing career in March 2018 he is still involved in the game as a commentator for ABC Grandstand and as a Board Director at Cricket NSW. He is also a member of the team at private investment firm, TDM Growth Partners and host of the podcast, Scaling Up!
Jaimie Fuller | "Flicking off the fear switch"
Season 2, Episode 10
Honesty in sport and purity of competition are what drive my guest for this episode, and he practices what he preaches. Jaimie Fuller is the former executive chairman of global sportswear brand, SKINS, making waves last year when he released a heartfelt mea culpa announcing the Switzerland-based company’s bankruptcy. Through Jaimie’s leadership, SKINS became a prominent defender of ethics in sport, speaking out – and loudly – about doping in cycling and making headlines for withdrawing sponsorship from the Melbourne Storm rugby team following the team’s salary cap scandal.
Jaimie has continued to be a frank and vocal advocate for fundamental change in sports governance since leaving SKINS, spearheading several change initiatives including #NewFIFANow, which aims to call FIFA to account for its record of corruption and rebuild the organisation anew. He is a regular media commentator and has spoken at public forums across the world on how brands can influence positive change in sport. I hope you’ll join us for this frank – and fairly sweary! – discussion.
Read Jaimie’s farewell to SKINS here.
Karen Gee | "If I'm not happy, how can my loved ones be happy?"
Season 2, Episode 9
She’s dressed Australian TV celebrities and even Meghan Markle, but my guest for this episode just wants every woman to feel confident and beautiful. Mother of five and Mrs Australia Globe titleholder Karen Gee launched her luxury fashion brand in 2013. Unlike many entrepreneurs who have a big vision from day one, Karen’s down to earth approach saw her taking things step by step until that moment in 2018 when the Duchess of Sussex made Karen Gee a household name (and crashed the brand’s website!).
A country girl from Rockhampton who learned the value of hard work in her parents’ businesses, Karen was what she calls a ‘home executive’ for many years, supporting her husband and children on their paths to success. But she also wanted to build something for herself, and with no fashion training launched the label with just herself and a pattern maker initially working on the designs. The name Karen Gee is now synonymous with elegant bodycon dresses, and her designs have been fashionably worn by the likes of Shelley Craft, Samantha Armitage, Sonia Kruger, Peta Credlin and Erin Molan. Join us as we chat about the importance of a strong family life, not setting goals and how launching her business helped Karen build her own confidence.
To see the gorgeous dress Karen wore to our chat, check out Influence Unlocked on Insta: https://www.instagram.com/influenceunlockedpodcast/
Karen Gee is HIRING! She needs a superstar to run the Chifley Plaza store. https://www.instagram.com/p/CIAarP-Ds5J/
Ben Lucas | "The world needs more kind people"
Season 2, Episode 8
When I asked my guest for this episode what his word of the day was, he said ‘sensational’ – and you could feel the positive energy flowing through the room! Ben Lucas started his career in the NRL playing for the Cronulla Sharks before moving into the fitness industry. He ran three of Australia’s most successful personal training studios, but sold them in 2012 to start a new venture with yoga trainer Kate Kendall – Flow Athletic. More of a community than just a gym, Flow Athletic offers a unique combination of strength, cardio and yoga, and won the Telstra Start-Up of the Year in 2015.
Ben is dedicated to his business and works long hours, but he is also very mindful of being present as a father to his two young children. Tune in to hear us talk about Flow’s 24-hour online pivot at the beginning of the pandemic lockdown, why he has no patience for people who want to pick his brain, and how he achieved his goal of running forty marathons before his fortieth birthday.
Adam Jacobs | "Innovation belongs to everyone"
Season 2, Episode 7
Adam Jacobs is not your typical entrepreneur – in fact, the word makes him uncomfortable. A philosophical astrophysics boffin who once thought business was ‘gross’, Adam discovered the creative possibilities of commerce as a direct knife salesperson during university and switched degrees. At the age of 29, Adam gave up an international career and a prestigious MBA to launch The Iconic, then a new concept for online retail in Australia which has since risen to extraordinary success.
Adam was just about to launch his new venture, Hatch, when the pandemic hit. Designed to match young people with project-based work to help them find meaningful careers, Hatch temporarily pivoted to helping big companies redeploy stood-workers into roles where they could capitalise on transferable skills. Adam received the CEO Magazine’s Young Executive of the Year Award in 2014 and was runner up for Managing Director of the Year, but philosophically for him it’s all about giving more than you get. He has a refreshingly different take on business and success and how to bring out the best in your team – including offering them six-month sabbaticals after two years of service. Adam was fascinating to talk to – I hope you enjoy the episode!
Phoebes Garland | "Integrity is always in fashion"
Season 2, Episode 6
The early days of Phoebes Garland’s career were like something out of The Devil Wears Prada. A fashion industry stalwart with over 25 years’ experience, Phoebes started out working in fashion advertising and publishing before launching two highly successful and respected businesses with her husband, Rob – wholesale fashion agency and consultancy Garland & Garland, and lifestyle jewellery business G&G Collective.
Rob was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2014, leading Phoebes to become an ambassador for the Shake It Up Foundation. She is also an ambassador for Adopt Change, another cause that’s close to her heart – she was adopted from an orphanage in war-torn Vietnam at 10 days old. Tune in to hear us talk about her adoption story, how she built resilience as an only child, and why her family resembles a Jerry Springer episode.
Phoebes’ Five in Five shout-out: Jane Cay, founder of Birdsnest. “There is something in that company that has the most beautiful ethos and integrity and kindness in the way that they deal with everybody that I just find inspirational.”
Sam Wood | "You've got to embrace the chaos"
Season 2, Episode 5
Sam Wood shot to fame in 2015 as the Australian Bachelor, where he famously met his now-wife Snezana. Now, though, he is best known for his phenomenally successful online health and fitness program, 28 by Sam Wood. Sam got his start in the fitness industry as a skinny kid working at his uni gym before landing a spot at the biggest fitness studio in Melbourne, where he picked the brains of his successful clientele to learn the secrets of small business.
He then launched the first gym franchise for children, Gecko Sports, as well as his own fitness studio the Woodshed, now Australia’s largest personal training studio. But he’s also a devoted family man, having learned the work-life balance lesson from his business-owner dad, and while the Woodshed has been closed due to COVID-19 he’s been relishing spending more time at home with his three kids. Tune in as we chat about losing his mum at a young age, lessons learned from a good-but-not-great business, and what it’s like to be a working dad that does it all.
Raelene Castle | "Don’t get so close that you can’t kick their arse"
Season 2, Episode 4
My guest for this episode is someone I’ve looked up to for many years. Raelene Castle is one of Australia’s leading sports executives, having spent the past decade and a bit as CEO of three major organisations – Netball New Zealand, NRL team the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs, and most recently Rugby Australia. Prior to that she climbed the corporate ladder at major NZ companies, and in 2015 she was appointed an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to business and sport.
Relentlessly committed to living according to her values regardless of the personal cost, Raelene has weathered her fair share of controversy, a recent example being the sacking of Israel Folau in 2019. Being a successful woman in a male-dominated field has made Raelene an inspiration to many young women, but she has also refused to make gender an issue throughout her career.
She brings a clarity and vision to everything she does and is not easily distracted by naysayers and trolls. Tune in to hear us talk about everything from business leadership and hair loss to her little-known achievements in lawn bowls!
Annabelle Chauncy | “If you don’t ask, you don’t get”
Season 2, Episode 3
Parents and teachers around the world have had to grapple with remote learning this year. But imagine if your students didn’t have access to the internet or a computer at home. That’s the challenge Annabelle Chauncy had to meet – and fast – earlier this year for over 1,000 students at schools in Uganda built by her charity, the School for Life Foundation.
A six-month study break teaching English in Kenya and Uganda inspired Annabelle to use the knowledge gained from her law degree to make a social impact. She launched School for Life at the age of 21, before she had even finished her degree. Ten years later, the Foundation has a team of 120 staff across two continents, raised more than $10 million in five years, and built three schools in rural Uganda. On top of that, Annabelle has racked up a long list of business awards, and in 2015 became one of the youngest Australians to add OAM to her name.
She is the very definition of inspiration and testament to how one person can make a huge difference. Listen in to hear us talk about the power of listening, learning from mistakes and how youthful naivety can generate big results.
Annabelle’s Five in Five shout-out: medical researcher Professor Nadia Badawi.
Luke Mangan | “Life’s too short for shortcuts"
Season 2, Episode 2
My guest for this episode is a household name for Australian foodies. A school dropout at 15, Luke Mangan discovered a love of cooking through an apprenticeship with Herman Schneider at Melbourne restaurant Two Faces. In the three decades since then, Luke has made his culinary influence felt through dozens of restaurants as well as on P&O cruise ships, Virgin Australia Business Class and on the Eastern Oriental Express. He has also released several bestselling cookbooks and his own line of products, and in 2019 was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia.
While he has experienced the heights of success including cooking for the likes of Richard Branson, Tom Cruise and the Queen, Luke has also weathered storms in his career. The pandemic has been a moment of reckoning for everyone in hospitality, and Luke has some words of wisdom to offer on how to get through to the other side.
Luke’s Five in Five shout-out: Restaurant Leo, and everyone else in hospitality who is just trying to hang on and make it through this time.
Heart of a Giant with Amy Parmenter
Season 2, Episode 1
Welcome to season two of the Influence Unlocked podcast! To kick things off I’m chatting with a rising star of Australian sport. Amy Parmenter rose to prominence in the professional netball world in 2019 after joining the Giants and rounding out a stellar debut season by winning the Rising Star Award along with the Giants’ Player of the Year.
Amy is also dedicated to using her profile to support a good cause and started the Tie Dye Project a few years ago in honour of her Mum, who lost her battle with cancer in 2013. Last year during a visit to Westmead’s children’s hospital she befriended fellow ‘netty nerd’ and cancer survivor, 14 year old Molly Croft and was inspired to tie dye more than 1,000 t-shirts in her backyard and sold every one, raising nearly $25,000 for the Sydney Children’s Hospital..
Listen in to find out how Amy has been occupying her time while the coronavirus pandemic has been wreaking havoc with professional sports, how she manages performance anxiety, and how setting goals like actually untying her shoelaces when she comes home have helped her reach her ultimate dreams.
Amy’s Five in Five shout-out: the Smiling Mind app
The Tie Dye Project on insta: https://www.instagram.com/thetiedyeproject_/
Kerry Chikarovski | Don't let them see you cry
My guest for the final episode of season one of the podcast has been a huge influence on my life and career, and I’m thrilled to have her on the show. Kerry Chikarovski, or Chika as she’s widely known, rose to prominence as one of the first women to hold a leadership role in Australian politics and the first woman to lead a major political party in New South Wales. Despite a lack of female role models, Kerry was determined to become a politician from a young age. She began her career as a solicitor and won pre-selection against the odds for a safe Liberal seat in Sydney in 1991. In 1998 she became the leader of the New South Wales Liberal party, a position she held until her resignation in 2002. Since then Chika has built a highly successful career as a government relations consultant through her company, Chikarovski & Associates, as well a sought-after board director with current board position with the NSW Waratahs, Our Watch, Adopt Change and the Humpty Dumpty Foundation.
You might have seen Chika on the small screen as a commentator for programs like Ch 7 Sunrise, ABC Weekend Breakfast, Sky News The Bolt Report and ABC The Drum, and she certainly knows how to tell a good story. Tune in to hear how a chance encounter with US Senator Robert Kennedy sparked Chika’s career ambitions at the age of 13, how breaking down over the ironing board finally pushed her to pursue her dreams, why she is a rugby tragic and her secret passion for trash TV.
Kerry’s Five in Five shout-out: I’m very humbled that she dedicated her shout-out to The PR Hub!
Marina Go | The more resilient you become, the better your judgement
As a teenage girl in the ‘90s, reading Dolly magazine every month was a special thrill – one that my guest for this episode knows well. As a teenager Marina Go set her sights on becoming the editor of Dolly magazine, a goal she achieved at the age of 23. Of course, achieving your ultimate goal so early in your career prompts the question, what’s next? Marina went on launch Australian Good Taste magazine for Woolworths before moving into the business strategy side of the media industry, with roles including CEO of Private Media, Publisher of Magazines at Fairfax, and Group Publisher at Pacific Publications.
For the past decade Marina has focused her career at the board level, including five years under the spotlight as chairwoman of the NRL’s Wests Tigers. She is currently a non-executive director for Energy Australia, 7-Eleven, Pro-PAC, Autosports Group and the Walkley Foundation, as well as chair for Ovarian Cancer Australia and the Super Netball Commission. In 2016 Marina published her book Break Through: 20 Success Strategies for Female Leaders, and she is a role model and mentor to countless women in business and the media.
Having looked up to Marina since those early Dolly days, in 2012 armed with a ‘I have nothing to lose, and everything to gain’ attitude, I contacted Marina and asked to meet her for coffee. That led to a work opportunity that helped form the early days of The PR Hub. I continue to be inspired by her career trajectory and her focus on supporting and empowering women. I’m sure you’ll enjoy this episode as much as I did!
Marina’s Five in Five shout-out: Marina loves purpose-driven businesses like Who Gives a Crap and Thank You. With a bonus shout-out to her son’s band, The Tints!
Nathan Charles | Doing what others think is impossible..
My guest for this episode is the dictionary definition of determination, defying the odds and believing you can achieve anything if you just put your mind to it. Nathan Charles was three months old when he was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis (CF) and his parents were told that he might not even make it to his 10th birthday. A rugby fan from the time could speak, Nathan’s dream was to become a Wallaby and represent Australia. He achieved that goal at the age of 25, when he played for Australia in a test match against France.
Early in his career Nathan was reluctant to reveal his battle with cystic fibrosis, but after opening up to his teammates he realised the power of sharing and importantly that his profile could help raise awareness of the illness. He has been a national ambassador for Cystic Fibrosis Australia for the past decade, and as the only person in the world with CF to have played an elite contact sport he is a huge inspiration to others with the condition.
After a series of injuries ended his rugby career, Nathan started a business as well as taking on a sports management role with Pathways, Western Australia. But he has a soft side too, confessing to a love of rom coms and hanging out with the girls and listening in to the gossip.
I was delighted to have Nathan join me during May, which is national cystic fibrosis awareness month, and just a few days out from Friday 22 May, which is 65 Roses Day. Tune in for more!
Nathan’s rom com recommendations: Fool’s Gold and The Notebook.
Justin Dry | Wine in his veins and business in his DNA
At the age of 12, Justin Dry saw his entrepreneur father lose everything. Now, Justin is the co-founder and CEO of one of Australia’s fastest growing companies, Vinomofo. He joins us for our second COVID-19 ‘lockdown’ episode, chatting to us from his home office at the dining room table, with handy access to the wine fridge and his 4-month-old daughter Matisse in the next room.
Justin and his brother-in-law Andre Eikmeier launched Vinomofo from their Adelaide garage in 2011, and since then it has grown to over $50 million in annual revenue, 500,000 members and operations across Australia, New Zealand and Singapore. Earlier generations of Justin’s family planted the first vines in the Barossa, so wine practically flows through his veins, but it took a couple of turns on the small business merry-go-round before he and Andre hit on a winning idea. Justin opens up about those earlier business experiences and how they helped build Vinomofo – as well as the business decision that saw him repeating his father’s mistakes. We also chat about Justin’s love for self-motivation and forward planning, how he thinks COVID-19 will reshape the wine industry, and his passion for island holidays.
Justin’s Five in Five shout-out: Ash Davies of Tablo Publishing.
‘The Man Who Saved Us From Helping Our Friends Move’ with Tim Fung
Welcome to episode 10 of the Influence Unlocked podcast – the first episode to be produced under social distancing restrictions! Our guest is a former child model who enjoys go karting and bouldering, but most of you would know Tim Fung as the CEO and cofounder of Airtasker, an online gig economy platform that helps users outsource their chores, errands and odd jobs. And Airtasker itself has raised plenty of cash in its eight years of operation, raising $90 million in capital and attracting investors like Seven West Media, Black Sheep Capital, and Vocus Communications founder and Airtasker chairman James Spenceley. (It’s also a blessing for those of us who can’t stand the sight of the dreaded Ikea allen key!)
A former corporate advisor and investment banker, Tim also spent some time in the talent management space before turning to entrepreneurship and joining the Young Rich List. He has been the founder or co-founder of several companies over the years including Sydney coworking space Tank Stream Labs. Listen in to find out why Tim thinks some of the best opportunities are unpaid, and what he’s learned about leadership during the coronavirus crisis.
Tim’s top reads: Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman; Radical Candor: Be a Kickass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity by Kim Malone Scott; Thinking in Bets: Making Smarter Decisions When You Don’t Have All the Factsby Annie Duke; and Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction by Philip E. Tetlock & Dan Gardner. You can follow Tim on Goodreads for more reading inspo!
Tim’s Five in Five shout-out: Mike Rosenbaum of Spacer.
Kyla Kirkpatrick | A sparkling success story
Ever wanted to jump on a plane and completely reinvent your life somewhere else? That’s exactly what our guest for episode 9 of Influence Unlocked did. Kyla Kirkpatrick was on a fast track to a big career in finance when she quit her job and bought a one-way ticket to Paris to study her passion, champagne. Since then she has built a huge following as ‘The Champagne Dame’ and is recognised as one of the world’s leading champagne educators, and to add even more sparkle to an already glittering career, she will make her debut on the next series of The Real Housewives of Melbourne.
After over a decade of hosting tastings, masterclasses and tours of the Champagne region of France, in 2017 Kyla launched Emperor Champagne, Australia’s online home of champagne. Emperor raised $1million in its first round of funding, and took nearly $200,000 in its first eight weeks of trade. Kyla is a shining example of what can happen when you follow your curiosity and desire and see where it leads. Tune in to hear about small business ‘near-death experiences’, why Kyla hates The 4-Hour Work Week , being most profitable while pregnant, and the unlikely industry she plans to shake up next.
Aaron Smith | I was just a terrible employee
Our guest for this episode says he’d probably be a full time ‘ski bum’ if he wasn’t doing what he’s doing today. Aaron Smith was the typical 20 something traveller – holidaying and working – in London when he came across the idea he would eventually turn into a multi-million dollar franchise. Dynamic Pilates was a growing trend in London, and when Aaron returned to Australia he knew that was what he wanted to do. However, he also returned home $20k in debt. He convinced his father to act as guarantor on a business loan, and the first KX Pilates studio opened in 2010.
That first year of business was the very definition of hustle and grind, but KX is now Australia’s biggest Pilates franchise, boasting 67 studios across the country and one in Jakarta, Indonesia. Since those humble beginnings, Aaron has become one of Australia’s most popular fitness entrepreneurs and won a host of awards including the 2019 Young Fitness Entrepreneur of the Year and coming in at number three on the top 30 Australian Franchise Executives in 2020. With KX Pilates recently celebrating its 10th birthday, Aaron and I sat down for a chat about his transition from personal trainer to business success story, what’s it like to let someone else take the reins, and why he would make a terrible employee.
Daniella Boutros | Playing with sugar professionally
My guest for this episode of Influence Unlocked learned to bake from YouTube videos and is now a media personality in her own right and the owner of a custom design cake shop with a long list of clients including cruise companies, sporting organisations, celebrity chefs and major corporate companies.
Daniella Boutros left school at 16 after struggling with severe dyslexia. She presented her parents with a savvy proposition to open a business, but despite its success she closed it at 20 to become a housewife. Being the perfect Stepford Wife didn’t suit her, though, and after her marriage ended a few years later Daniella worked four jobs, seven days and seven nights, saving enough money to buy a house, but instead chose to invest in herself ‘one more time’ and start a business.
Her first impromptu baking job went viral and Buttercréme Lane was born. She’s since become a celebrity baker, appearing regularly on breakfast television and radio and becoming a media ambassador for not-for-profit organisation Adopt Change.
After knowing Daniella for a few years, I can tell you she has a heart of gold – just ask the neighbourhood kids who used to swarm her apartment every afternoon for baked treats – but on this episode she talks about building her personal brand and a bit of her cheeky side. Listen in to find out how she built up her resilience despite her learning difficulties, and the three things she keeps on her bedside table to remind her of three important lessons every morning.
Fred Schebesta | Eating Burgers and Self-Reinvention
This episode’s guest chose ‘sharing’ as his word of the day and he really delivers on that front. Fred Schebesta is perhaps best known as the co-founder of one of the world’s leading comparison websites, Finder.com. He’s a serial entrepreneur, author and media commentator who sold his first business for $1.36 million and made his debut on the AFR Young Rich List in 2019 at number 22. Fred is also the co-founder of Finder Ventures, Finder’s venture capital arm, and cryptocurrency exchange HiveEx. But interwoven with Fred’s entrepreneurial journey is one of self-discovery and reinvention. Fred stands out in the crowd for his total commitment to being himself. A samurai sword hangs above the entrance at Finder HQ as a reminder of the company’s deepest low when Google penalised them for some ‘grey hat’ SEO tactics and the site lost most of its traffic overnight. At the EY Young Entrepreneur Awards, he wore an outrageous Versace jacket in a sea of tuxedos. He calls himself an ‘internet rockstar’ on LinkedIn and that’s how he shows up, whether to a speaking engagement or a meeting with a potential business partner. Listen in to find out how hiring an emotional coach to get through his divorce highlighted issues for his role in the business, why he chooses to be a slow driver, and the business insights he has gleaned from his favourite burger joint, Five Guys Burgers and Fries.
Lisa Teh | Get out of the grind and into your dreams
My guest for episode 5 of the Influence Unlocked is one of the most creative, outgoing people I know, so it’s hard to believe she spent seven years in the world of tax law before going after her passion. Lisa Teh is the cofounder of CODI Agency, a content and digital marketing agency focused on lifestyle brands with offices in both Melbourne and New York. Lisa and her business partner, Thom Whilton, took their first steps into creative entrepreneurship in 2011 with Couturing, an online fashion, beauty and lifestyle platform. In addition to launching CODI, Lisa and Tom co-authored two best-selling books, Australian Style and Australian Beauty, published by Thames & Hudson.
Lisa’s love of skincare also led her to cofound 101 Lifestyle, a natural brand stocked by Mecca in Australia and New Zealand and soon to launch in China. She lives by the motto ‘do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life’ – a quote from Mark Twain, not Confucious as you’ll hear on the show!
She’s also a big fan of collaborating with and supporting fellow female entrepreneurs, and gives a shoutout to two of her faves – Ann Mitsios from Edible Beauty and Mia Klitsas from Moxie.
I sat down with Lisa in person for this interview and her energy is simply contagious. I hope you enjoy our conversation about escaping the grind and doing what makes you want to leap out of bed every morning.
Shelly Horton | Teaching Unstoppable Confidence
Teaching unstoppable confidence with Shelly Horton
This episode’s guest has taught me a lot about putting in the work and showing up with confidence. For over twenty five years Shelly Horton has had an exciting and diverse career as a journalist and presenter across television, print, digital and radio. As someone who grew up in a small country town called Kingaroy in Queensland, Shelly’s story is not only a great example of how to get your dream job but also how to keep fighting for what you want when others might be trying to bring you down.
From fibbing her way onto the camera to read the sports news during a major bulletin in London to reporting and presenting for several major networks in Australia, Shelly has never been afraid to forge her own path. She is currently a regular commentator on Channel’s 9’s Today and Today Extra, hosts 9Honey’s Talking Honey, He Said/She Said, and Talking Married, and is also a sought after speaker and MC.
In 2016, Shelly and her husband Darren took the leap and launched their own business, ShellShocked Media – a full service video production agency drawing on Shelly’s media prowess and Darren’s experience behind the camera. Shelly is also an expert at helping people find their ‘inner Beyoncé’ through her media and presentation training and she is my go-to clients who need to hone their presentation skills.
We caught up at her home slash office slash training studio to talk about how the media’s attitude to looks has evolved since she was told she was ‘too fat for TV’, to what to do when you just can’t help but read the comments.
Taryn Williams | The Influencer's Influencer
This is Episode 3 and our first episode for 2020.
My guest is Taryn Williams one of Australia’s most popular entrepreneurs and digital influencers.
Taryn is the epitome of ‘influence and personal branding done right’.
She is a long standing client and supporter of The PR Hub, and someone I consider myself very fortunate to call a friend.
At the age of fifteen, Taryn was scouted by a modelling agency, and began working on international assignments for the likes of Qantas, Virgin and other global brands.
While modelling, she developed an interest in entrepreneurship, which inspired her to start her first business, Wink Models, in 2007, at the age of 21, with $30,000 of her own savings.
In 2016 Taryn launched her second business, theright.fit, a two-sided marketplace connecting brands with creative talent and influencers. Not long after she successfully negotiated a significant investment round led by Airtree Ventures.
Taryn is an in demand keynote speaker and as an ambassador and influencer she has worked with global brands including Max Factor, La Prairie, Lamborghini, Nancy Ganz, Franck Provost and the Art Series Hotel Group.
She has received numerous awards including the 2018 Mumbrella Award for Innovation and B&T Women in Media – leader in tech.
It has been a pleasure and an inspiration to watch Taryn build these two businesses from the ground up, and in this episode she reveals how they each required a completely different approach, from the DIY ethos of WINK to raising upfront capital for a high-growth tech startup. We also talk about how Taryn manages her own personal brand in relation to her businesses own identities, and why you should behave like you’re in ‘permanent beta’.
Nick Bell | Selling fast and creating opportunity through wealth
My guest for episode two of the Influence Unlocked podcast lists ‘university drop out’ on his LinkedIn profile. He’s also made the AFR Young Rich List for four years running. Nick Bell is a serial entrepreneur who launched his digital marketing agency WME Australia from his bedroom in 2008 and went on to sell it for a cool $39 million in 2017. In the past decade he has built ten digital agencies including his latest venture, Removify, and a personal fortune of $217 million, with close to 1,000 staff working under him at multiple offices across the globe.
In spite of his astonishing rise to the rich list, he remains a deeply humble, open and down-to-earth guy who was more than happy to share his insights on life and business for this episode.
Listen in to find out what Nick does when colleagues turn into copycats, his advice for hiring and building a great team culture, and what he has to say to startups wanting to raise capital from investors like him. Also, listen in to find out how a cow called Bonox inspired Nick to use some of his wealth to make the world a kinder place with his latest venture!
Gretta van Riel | Failing fast and building resilience
I am thrilled to present the first episode of Influence Unlocked featuring one of Australia’s top young serial entrepreneurs, Gretta van Riel – influencer marketing queen, self-made millionaire and member of the Forbes 30 Under 30 list. At the age of 22 and with only $24 in her bank account (tune in to hear why she was down to just twenty bucks!), Gretta launched her first startup, SkinnyMe Tea. After selling over 11 million cups of tea worldwide in 5 years and winning the Shopify Build-A-Business competition in 2013, Gretta went on to create four more multi-million dollar businesses including watch company The Fifth and her latest venture, Hey Influencers. But it hasn’t all been smooth sailing, and Gretta is very upfront about some of the struggles that threatened to upend things.
Hot on the heels of our Fireside Chat at StartCon 2019, Gretta and I stepped off the stage and just kept the conversation rolling about mental resilience, dealing with financial ebbs and flows, and harnessing the power of nervous energy. Gretta also shared some fantastic actionable tips you can apply now to your social media strategy. And, if that isn’t enough, she shared something about herself that she has never shared before plus she also gives us a preview of her next, exciting project!
Hold onto your seat because episode one is a bit of a wild ride!
Samantha Dybac | Host and Founder of The PR Hub
I am really excited to launch the first episode of my new podcast, Influence Unlocked.
I’m your host Samantha Dybac, the founder and managing director of The PR Hub.
My job is to find the innovators, the entrepreneurs and the game changers of our country and to help them grow their brands so they can get on with the business of changing the world.
Every founder, disruptor and successful CEO has a story, but this podcast is about going beyond the press release. If you’ve ever dreamed of sitting down with an industry leader or a self made millionaire and getting to the bottom of who they are and what makes them tick– you’re in the right place. Get ready to be inspired.