As we approach the end of 2015, I’ve realised that it hasn’t been a year of business growth for me. Instead, I feel I have grown emotionally, intuitively and mentally so much more than I ever have before. So, I keep getting drawn back to the question my parents asked me when I was 8 years old, “What do you want to do when you grow up?”, in which I instinctively answered “I want to change the world”.
As changes started occurring at the League, it became evident that I was again being drawn to that mission of mine.
So, it is with overwhelming appreciation and excitement that I take on the role of Chief Executive Officer at the League of Extraordinary Women. As one of the co-founders of the League, it only feels a short time ago in 2011 when Sarah Riegelhuth, Liz Atkinson, Marie de Vera and I met serendipitously, and then over cupcake and coffees discussed the challenges of running a business. We were all at similar stages of our business life and felt isolated, desperately longing to connect with like-minded women that understood. It was then, the seed of building a community to inspire young female entrepreneurs was planted.
Fast forward 4 years, we can say proudly that we’ve run events in 9 cities in Australia, organised four sold-out Run The World Conferences showcasing extraordinarily successful female entrepreneurs, built a huge community of League members and played a helping hand in connecting hundreds of female entrepreneurs. We also supported the first successful Female Entrepreneur Awards last week to celebrate the achievements of these amazing women.
The success of the League has always been about you and the League community that you’ve helped create. We merely started it from an idea that took on a life of it’s own. We had found a gap and we were lucky to uncover the secret to building success, all we wanted to do was spread it.
Sarah, Marie, and Liz have been my pillars of strength, my inspiration and my best friends. Without them, I am certain I would not be the person I am today and living the life I’ve dreamt of. We should never have to feel alone, confused and uninspired to continue with our entrepreneurial journey when it gets hard.
The secret is we believe there is something magical in empowering, connecting and supporting women. Not just to achieve their goals, to bridge the gap in gender equality but to also cultivate a unique energy and power that is strong enough to change the world.
So who am I?
For those that are yet to meet me, my name is Sheryl and I’m known for my schoolgirl love for Tony Robbins, adorable French bulldogs, washboard abs (creep much?) and dropping f-bombs when I’m ridiculously f**king passionate about something… and how could I forget my all time love for business. About 6 years ago I was working as an IT Consultant and had an obsession with baking cupcakes. I lost my job in 2009 and decided to quit my IT career altogether to bake cupcakes for a living – many thought I was going through a phase and I even pretended to be ‘working’ for 6 months so my mum wouldn’t freak out. Together with my business partner whom is also my ex (another story, another time), we started building cupcake stores in Melbourne and we now have an amazing team of over 38 staff, churning out about 25,000 cupcakes a week. Many who know me say I am often too honest (read blunt), passionate and overshare. Mainly, I thrive on learning and being curious.
So why am I here?
Well first of all, I would not be here in this role without the League community – members, Crusaders, sponsors, interns, staff and last but not least, Chiquita Searle. Chi, you helped shaped the League and the love you have put into the company shines through in every facet, we truly were so lucky to have had you lead this organisation.
I am here because I have never been so sure of anything more in my life – that the League ismeant to be a movement that needs to spread across the globe. I am here because I know that the world needs this more than ever, to be able to empower and inspire women to take their lives in their own hands and do what they may think is impossible.
So what’s next?
Over the course of the next three months I will be leading our team to work in a different space. I have personally read all the comments, feedback and suggested improvements which has helped us create the following simple yet powerful values:
Honesty – we look at cultivating honest energy. In the language we use, the content we produce, the questions we ask, the relationships we create, the promises we make.
Quality – we curate and share quality content. If it’s not mind blowing shit, we won’t dish it out.
Equality – we are feminists at heart working towards gender equality. We believe we should all be on a level playing field. This means we are going to start to break down barriers for women to be part of the League. Barriers of location, time, cost will be minimised as much as possible so that anyone can join in this movement.
What we are not…
We are not educators. We’re not here to provide advice. We do not have answers to every problem.
What we are…
We share remarkable and honest stories and experiences. From them, you are able to take what you need – whether it be lessons in life and business, action plans or inspiration and sometimes just a much needed kick up the bum 😉 Every encounter with these amazing women and their stories is an opportunity to connect and to grow, that part we leave with you.
Many organisations aspire to change the world but it’s only with a community such as the League behind us that we can make this happen. Imagine a world where any female in any country is allowed to dream freely and pursue it. This is what the League of Extraordinary Women is about – showing the world what extraordinary really means.
The next few weeks I’ll be sharing more about what we’re doing and how you can be part of it. By all means if you’re already excited about what we have planned, you can reach out to me any time and if you’re not excited, you can tell me too!