Over the past few years Michelle has been a role model to me. She has had an incredibly successful career while raising her children and while doing so has been able to maintain membership of professional associations and sit on committees and has always been learning and developing herself along the way.
She has recently quit her corporate job and now works for herself.
You will love this week’s motivating mum.
Where do you live: Klemzig, South Australia
Who do you live with: My partner Pete and our five kids (don’t panic, they’re not here all the time! Share care with Exs)
Favourite Colour: Purple some days, blue on others
Favourite Food: Thai Green Curry
Favourite item of clothing: Anything that doesn’t need ironing
Favourite quote/saying: if you don’t shoot for the stars, you’ll never get there.
Finish this sentence – I can’t start the day without… having breakfast…also have to admit to being a coffee girl too.
I live north east of Adelaide. I’ve lived in SA most of my life. I grew up in out north before moving to a 85 acre property outside of Mt Torrens with my Ex. Eventually after waking up and realising that I was a terrible “farmers wife” I headed back to the City. Originally from Canada I moved here with my parents and brother (younger) when I was 8 years old.
I have two awesome kids, Connor who is 11 (an old soul who’s definitely lived here before) and Riley who is 9 going on 16… “totes adorbs mum”…wait what?
I’m passionate about a number of things, one is my ability to be a great and engaging mum, two is working with my partner to increase participation in the arts (particularly music), I’m an avid photographer and traveller and of course I’m super passionate about my business.
What do you do in your professional life? What have you done in the past and where are you now?
My professional history has been varied which I’ve loved. I started in Finance (most people are surprised at this when they see my lack of budgeting…) and then moved to Payroll for a few years, and then into HR. I started my HR career at UniSA and still have a really soft spot for this employer. My specialisation started in Training, Coaching and Development, then I spent four years working in Employee and Industrial Relations and then joined a Local Government and moved back to my passion area of leadership culture, coaching and development.
Now I’m a business owner and work 24/7 and love it. I started my Leadership Coaching and Development business in November 2013 and also support my partner in running our Music Education Business which he’s been running since 2011. Our business name is ETI_Education Through Inspiration. I’ve recently come to accept the term ‘Entrepreneur’ when describing what I do.
Tell us about ETI_Education Through Inspiration?
Education Through Inspiration, or ETI as we call it, is a private business focused on learning and development. We work with children through to adults inspiring a love of learning and providing unique skills development. The business commenced its life as a Music Tutoring business and has grown to include regular Music Education, Events and Workshops with international musicians, school holiday program’s, rock star birthday parties, a preschool program called “Music Minis”, and corporate training and professional coaching (all with a creative and inspirational flair of course). I’m currently developing a program called “KickAss Performance” that provides innovative development and coaching support for young ambitious leaders and “intrepreneurs” to guide them through their leadership and career journeys. I’m so excited about this program as it has so much benefit and allows me to work with my favourite kind of client!
What are Music Minis?
Music Minis is a preschool development program that I have created. The program is a values based learning program for kids. Our five key values of curiosity, caring, can do, creativity and courage are taught through specifically developed music and stories. We even have a group of SuperHeroes that help us teach the values. The kids love the Can Do Kid, Curiosity Girl, The Guardian, Miss Creative, and Captain Courageous. We constantly look at how to grow and improve this program. Our goal is to one day have the Music Minis program in every capital city in Australia.
What are you most passionate about?
I’m really passionate about diversity, equality and fair treatment for all people. Whether it be inside an organisation or in our community. This year our business is working hard raise money for the Hutt Street Centre in Adelaide to raise money to provide music education for people living with homelessness. The outcome will be to skill them enough to enable the creation of original music and to record an original CD that can be sold to raise additional funds for Hutt Street. It’s such a great thing to be able to provide an opportunity for someone that wouldn’t have access to it previously.
How do you juggle family, work and professional associations and committee memberships?
Boy, I’m not sure I do it all that well sometimes lol. I have a very full agenda and I use my iPhone calendar to its full capacity. I’m famous for taking on way too much, but somehow I seem to be able to get it done. I also don’t sleep… well, I do sleep but tend to work well into the night and get up pretty early. I also use my down time to respond to emails, or write reports or develop new ideas for program’s. I drink a lot of coffee!!
I’m super keen to make sure my kids get the best of me, which happens 90% of the time. I have a rule not to work on a Monday and Tuesday night until the kids are in bed. On the weekend we spend time together. My son plays soccer so Sunday morning I’m a soccer mum every Tuesday tend every second Sunday…which secretly I love.
There’s no average day anymore since working for myself. My average week includes…walking the dog, dropping kids off at school, attending meetings with clients and colleagues, working for a client on their site, working for a client at my home, developing or delivering a learning program or investigating an industrial claim, I help my daughter with her reading, take my son to soccer and brainstorm our next music event or how to develop Music Minis. I balance the books, create marketing brochures and update the website. I’m also writing two books, trying to blog, and I’m on the State Council for Australian Human Resources Institute which requires all sorts of meetings, coordination and networking commitments. Ok, when I write it down like that I think I understand why I’m feeling exhausted haha
Who is your cheer squad?
I think this is why I’m able to get lots done and keep going. I have such a great support team. Firstly my partner in business and life. He’s such a positive person and always has the pom-poms out cheering for me. My kids are awesome and continually tell me that I’m great and how proud they are of me. My parents and brother are with me every step. And I’ve got the most amazing group of friends. I’m lucky to be surrounded by some ridiculously smart, driven, creative and ambitious people…so blessed!
What advice would you give to other working mums/mums about to return to work?
Do it on your own terms (forget what society says) and ask for help. I think that was the biggest lesson for me, I rarely asked for help and tried to be super women. Superwoman is a pain in the butt in unflattering spandex! Also don’t be afraid to change if needed. Nothing’s written in concrete, just be careful about burning professional bridges. Unfortunately the world still looks a little unfavourably at women returning to work so manage your professional reputation carefully!
What do you do for ‘me time’?
I’m a sucker for Marvel Movies and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. If I’m really chilling out its movies either on the couch or at the cinema. Dinner with friends is a special treat. My other every weekend includes yoga. This area’s definitely been suffering lately…
What is your biggest struggle in being a working mum?
Trying to fit everything in that I have to do and balance that with the things I want to do. As a business owner it’s so easy to get distracted with work when I’d like to be hanging with my kids. Balance is kind of overrated. I think balance needs to be looked at as a life long pursuit rather than a daily or weekly thing. Some weeks I spend heaps of time doing stuff I love and other weeks I do more work things. Right now work is tipping the balance. Luckily I love my work and I’m passionate about building my business. I try really hard to give myself a break and not wallow in the mummy guilt as I know last year my focus was on family and next year it will be again.
Do you have any multi-tasking secrets you would like to share with us?
My biggest multi-tasking secret that is actually beneficial and works is listening to audio books and TED.com…everywhere! While walking the dog, on the treadmill, and in the car. Learning on the go is the only way to go for a busy professional!