Mumbition

The Podcast By Mums & Co

Episode Five: How to achieve exponential growth

Interview with Mea Campbell Founder of Connected AU

Today's guest Mea Campbell is the Founder of Connected Au. Inspired by her own late grandfather, one Mea decided to tackle this challenge head on. Growing rapidly from bootstrapped startup to a purpose-led business that is making a real difference.

Connected AU is an online community created to help ease the loneliness experienced by many Australians by delivering programmes that provide digital connection, community and friendship.

So how did Mea successfully support lonely, isolated and vulnerable people across Australia from her regional home? What is the secret sauce to her exponential momentum and growth in just 18 months? And what is the key to a successful partnership?

Listen to the episode now to find out!

Links

Connected AU
Georgie Robertson - The Regional PR Co
Emma Barrett Creative
The Exchange Dubbo
Clancy Paine Photography

Credits

Produced & Edited by - Morgan Brown
Interviewers - Carrie Kwan and Lucy Kippist
Guest - Mea Campbell

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Episode 5 Transcript

Carrie Kwan
0:00:00 - 0:00:26
Hi. Welcome to Mumbition, the podcast for business owning women by Mums & Co. Where we share inspiring stories of Australian mums in business. I'm Carrie Kwan, the co-founder of Mums & Co. And I will be joined each week by our community manager, Lucy Kippist. Together, we'll discuss how our guests harmonise their ambition, livelihood and wellbeing. Let's get into the inspiring stories now.

Carrie Kwan
0:00:26 - 0:00:45
In the spirit of reconciliation, Mums & Co acknowledges the traditional custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respects to elders past and present, and extend that respect to all aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.

Carrie Kwan
0:01:06 - 0:02:11
Kindness is crucial at Mums & Co. It's one of the behaviours that demonstrates our values of empowering ambition deeply, collectively caring and delighting people. The world can be a difficult place to inhabit sometimes, and it's often mums who bear the brunt of the impact for our children, extended families and, of course, for ourselves. Add to the fact that motherhood can also be isolating much like a small business journey. So women with families considering and starting a business really bear the brunt of that difficulty. In this environment, kindness is also a truly valuable and stand out quality. And when combined with digital connection and digital serendipity, this can be seriously powerful. Mea Campbell is a perfect example of this in action. Mea is the founder of Connected AU, an online community. She started to help ease the loneliness sweeping Australian communities by delivering programmes that provide CBC, digital connection, community and friendship.

Carrie Kwan
0:02:14 - 0:02:22
She joins us here today to share the story of her thriving business and some of the insights she gleamed along the way. Mea, welcome to the Mumbition Podcast.

Mea Campbell
0:02:23 - 0:02:28
Thank you so much for having me. It's been a big thrill to come and chat with you today.

Carrie Kwan
0:02:28 - 0:02:44
Our very first question is, you know, we love to hear about what you're doing with your business, and we think that women should embrace every opportunity. They have to make introductions as well as connect with customers. So, please, I would love to hear you share your elevator pitch.

Mea Campbell
0:02:44 - 0:03:05
Alright, so my elevator pitch is: My name's Mea Campbell. I'm the founder of Connected AU, which is a purpose led business fighting loneliness across Australia. We deliver programmes, national programmes to provide connection and community to people, and create real connection and real impact across the country by delivering programmes.

Carrie Kwan
0:03:06 - 0:03:11
I love how you describe it fighting loneliness because it is a fight, isn't it?

Mea Campbell
0:03:11 - 0:03:55
Yeah, it is. I mean, it's certainly the issue of loneliness and isolation that has really come to the forefront of everyone's mind in conversation now. Loneliness and isolation of pre-existing health and community issues. Loneliness is a risk factor. Equal risk factor for mortality as smoking and obesity. It's linked to all sorts of comorbidities, so increased risk of stroke, CV disease, lots of lots of negative, significant negative health outcomes. And obviously it's great because it's been brought into the current discussion. But it's really pre-existing and you really do have to fight. It has serious negative impacts. So I think that's why we've been able to have so much momentum because it's selling everyone relates to. It's so widespread.

Carrie Kwan
0:03:56 - 0:04:11
I think it's such important work that you're doing. Thank you for doing that. And I'm really glad that we have you in our corner for this fight. So before we get into more of that detail, what do you love about your business right now?

Mea Campbell
0:04:11 - 0:05:14
Right now, it's wonderful to just feel. It's probably just the feeling that we're a little more established now. So, all the positives that come with that feeling. 18 months ago, when we first started it, when I first started, nearly two years ago now there was a huge growth, and that really happened for the first 12 months, there was just this fast growth and it just felt like even though it was wonderful, it just felt like we were constantly on this just momentum that we couldn't really stop. And you know that feeling when you're wonderful opportunities and it's really positive, but you just don't ever feel like you're actually getting on top of things or getting a handle on things and I feel like we've just sort of reached that peak where the programmes are running really smoothly. We've got programme managers running them, things like our tech is all in order now, and all our platforms and it just feels at the moment like we've got a sense of control over everything, and we're all comfortable with the pace. It's still growing, and there's still these exciting opportunities, but it's a feeling of just being comfortable I guess now.

Carrie Kwan
0:05:14 - 0:05:37
I was thinking about leaps. I'm not sure but I believe you've got a young one at the moment. Toddlers, you know, they kind of just adapt to being a little bit chaotic at first, and they go through a bit of more established routines and then you're thrown into the deep end with another new thing. So it's a phase, right, you're kind of going through.

Mea Campbell
0:05:37 - 0:05:53
Yeah, that's right. And that's good. Considering that connection, I guess it has been a little bit like having a child. And you get on top of one thing, and then it changes and you constantly sort of chasing your tail. But thankfully, right now it's fairly comfortable and calm.

Carrie Kwan
0:05:53 - 0:06:00
And just on that, what have you found in terms of being the transferable skills between business and motherhood?

Mea Campbell
0:06:01 - 0:07:29
I think mothers have a bit of a head start in business. You probably don't feel that way to begin with because you also have so many extra things to juggle. There are so many challenges you've spoken about and you know that's something that you really focus on. All of the challenges are wonderful benefits. But I certainly think women or mothers have some extra skills that you just subconsciously developed. One of them is being able to multitask. I feel like it's certainly in our business journey anyway. The ability to multitask has been, has just been lifesaving, especially when we had growth in so many areas last year. So we have corporate sponsors. We have government involvement. We've had individuals in the community, schools, businesses, multiple programmes, so lots of media. So the ability to just multi task and be able to focus well on lots and lots of different things and really give importance to each of them. So that's certainly been something and also the ability to negotiate and I don't know if that's all mothers, but I feel like my previous career was a lawyer and I feel like negotiation skills is just really good in conflict resolution when your mom everyone develops it. You know you have to negotiate and you have to pick your battles and figure out is that you know, ice cream worth us really having a battle about? Or should I not? You know, how can I negotiate it? So I feel like that has worked well. Especially, with this journey that I've been on, we have. I've been really lucky to be able to have staff and move down that channel of having people working for me with the programmes.

Mea Campbell
0:07:29 - 0:08:00
And I felt like that's come into play really nicely, being able to negotiate, but even further than that, being able to identify individuals' characteristics and personalities and that's similar, I think that's something for motherhood. Your children are all very different and how you manage or interact with one child is different to another child. They have different needs and strengths and weaknesses. And that has helped me in terms of staffing, certainly because I've had different staff and they're all very different.

Carrie Kwan
0:08:01 - 0:08:26
That's a fascinating one. You know, I think we do have to be on our A-game when we're talking to them, and we do have to really kind of be in tuned and listen to what they're actually saying and what they're really concerned about, you know, and that takes patience. And then, of course, you've gone up into hostage negotiation type tactics and the art of influencing there. So amazing.

Lucy Kippist
0:08:27 - 0:08:36
Yeah, I think the only thing that's missing from that conversation is the art of bribery, which probably doesn't fall under that legal training of yours or, you know, not that we're disclosing, but it’s certainly something that is a feature in my household I share that much with you.

Lucy Kippist
0:08:38 - 0:09:21
Mea, Carrie and I had the wonderful opportunity of meeting you not so long ago. Well, a few months ago now actually feels like a lifetime, but probably back in May, as we're preparing for our Be MPowered conference and met you at the exchange in Dubbo, in that fantastic coworking space. At the time we were talking  about the momentum that you referred to as being sort of unexpected in lots of ways. And you've also just shared with us about how you know how you do use your motherhood skills in business. But I'm just wondering, what is it that you've had to stop doing in order to make life work for you? To make the business work and home life work.

Mea Campbell
0:09:22 - 0:11:00
Yes, it is a clear winner in that answer, and I feel like probably the majority of your community who have gone through something similar to me would agree. Unfortunately, it's a bit of self care, and I know one of your other questions is along that theme. For me, the priorities have just had to be family first and business second and then, I have really stopped just being able to enjoy, I guess exercise and just relaxation and doing things for myself and taking time out to really take care of yourself. To nurture yourself. I certainly still try to get in a quick walk or go for a run or, you know, whip up a quick omelette, but it's certainly on another level. It's not enjoyable, it's more rushed, and that's something that absolutely had to be sacrificed, which is really disappointing. I absolutely can see the negative effects or impacts on me of not being able to do that when you're just entirely focused on looking after your family and everything household and then focused on the business entirely. I am hoping the way I was able to talk to myself about it last year was not going to be for a long time. That was my rationale last year. It'll just be for a little while until we can get on top of things and then I'll be able to really carve some time out for myself to get back into being healthy and really looking after myself. I'm not there yet, though, so I don't know. It's certainly not as easy as I had hoped.

Lucy Kippist
0:11:01 - 0:11:24
No and I think thank you so much for sharing that because I think that that is a very common experience and not everyone. Particularly, I think, with all of the rhetoric, if that's the right word to use around social media, particularly in relation to this, with the"shoulds" and the"musts" around that and I love that. You've just acknowledged that actually it is actually very, very hard, impossible at times to achieve that and I think what I'm hearing there too, is to be able to justify that time when there's huge demands on either end of the scale, so thank you.

Carrie Kwan
0:11:38 - 0:12:07
This is a daily striving. It's not like we're going to just get there. It's not like we have everything that's neatly in these areas and we can allocate. I think we just have to be okay with scaling things up or scaling things back. Or, you have to keep harmonising those elements that are important to you because you cannot drop them completely. But sometimes one of them is going to be a little bit more front of mind than the other one.

Mea Campbell
0:12:07 - 0:13:04Absolutely. You refer to your triangle, the pillars that you have all the shape, and I know you ask people the shape that comes to their mind for a good life. For me, what pops into my mind, I guess it's a wave, technically a shape. But someone once told me that life is just like a wave. Sometimes you're up, sometimes down, and sometimes different things are up and down. So if at the moment unfortunately, self care is down and I'm just really focused on family and work. That's how it is, and it ebbs and flows, and I guess the struggle is trying to just balance it, so they're not so extreme. So at the moment, it's fairly extreme for me. It's pretty fairly focused on business and family and absolutely not much focus on self care. So I guess the jungle is just balancing it a bit, so they're not as huge crashes.

Carrie Kwan
0:13:04 - 0:13:38
They'll come back, I promise you. You know, I've had nine years in the first business, and we just turned five here at Mums & Co. So that is the cycle. At some point you'll be like, ‘Oh, you know, I'm all about me and I've spent ticked all my fitness goals this week’, and the business is in a good place, like the business family is there in a nice momentum so you can ease back and you got some workflows that are in place that help you automate or help you get back. Claw back some of that time. 

Mea Campbell
0:13:38 - 0:15:15
I think it's also probably just getting experience. So my working life before this has just been as a professional working for firms. I haven't worked for myself before, so I've gone on, done a great job, gone home and not had to really...I've managed matters but I haven't had to manage a business before, so I think a little of it is just going to be me learning how to make decisions, not just about business, but about everything. So for instance, I really thought that my goal was to be able to be in a position to hire. I had staff working for me but one of our programmes online hobby groups. So I'll just give you a bit of a background. Our main programme is the letterbox project. It's a pen pal programme across Australia. It's just grown because because of my legal background, I built in this really solid safety. It's really complex management logistics behind it and so that's taken care of itself. We have a phenomenal amount of work on that for automation and systems. Our second programme is online hobby groups, so you can go online. You can join a book club or a cooking club and it's all just about giving people connections, so someone who might have any connection. It's mums at home with toddlers, it's retirees. It's women on properties who just feel a bit lonely. And that was getting to a point and I needed to hire someone, and I was like, I just need to get to that point and I'll hire this person and everything will be fine and I'll then have so much time with that transition. But that's a learning for me is that's never going to be the case where you can just hire someone in your workload or reduce. It hasn't happened that way at all. In fact, I've probably been busier because you have to obviously spend so much time on boarding them.

Mea Campbell
0:15:15 - 0:16:51
But then with two people comes double the amount of ideas and motivation. And so it's actually just made me even busier, having the more people that have come on board and maybe even busier. So that's one lesson that I've learned, and the second thing I think I will need to learn and you have both probably come across, is just to say no or not now, I guess so, because so many wonderful things kept coming, media would come. So last year, when it was just kicking off the beginning of it, the media would come. And so I'd say yes to all of that because you needed that exposure. I needed to build that over the 12 months to get my corporate sponsors. So it was Yes, yes, yes, to everything. And then I had corporate businesses wanting to get involved in the letters so I'd have Deloitte called and they had 450 staff wanting, and then Expedia and Discovery and all these different companies, I was like, Yes, yes, okay, we're getting them on board. That meant, a whole new logistics and workflows. And I just seemed to keep doing that, even even right now. So we've upgraded our platform in the last month, and even right now we have two new partners coming on board in addition to Tetley. And I could manage all that, but Hallmark have reached out and I have the opportunity to work with them on a letter writing kit. And so I have said yes to that, which is amazing. And but that requires it's just a whole other thing. I've just taken onboard because it's an amazing opportunity, and that's just a great opportunity that I didn't want to let go. There's also Inta-Flora the florist company nationwide. They have reached out wanting to do competition in a giveaway.

Mea Campbell
0:16:52 - 0:17:50
This is a perfect time in this interview because I might ask you what your advice is because I just as soon as I saw it come through, I was just exhausted, thinking, I do not have time or like that. You know, that's such a great opportunity as well. But I'm just tired. So I, you know, I might just put that one off. But there's so many of them. That's just a few. I probably get maybe once a week, someone from somewhere, like some business wanting to collaborate or a corporate partner. Coles want me. The general manager of their I think it's their growth and development department. Want me to speak at some sort of a presentation in the next month. So I said Yes, like I just have this. I have a yes thing. So I think that's my issue, and probably for all women starting out in business. Anyone who is listening in your community, that might be actually a really important thing that you have to learn is when do you not say yes to everything, no matter how good it is.

Carrie Kwan
0:17:51 - 0:19:17
First of all, I'm super super happy that you've got all these opportunities and obviously you're onto a good thing, which is amazing, but I have three pieces of advice, please. It has to be what you want. Yes, so when you're onto a good thing, everyone, I think, wants a bit of that piece of the action or the piece of the pie, and that's amazing. But what happens is that sometimes it is always on someone else's agenda. So is it actually where you want to focus? Come back to what you really want to do, and if they align, fantastic. But if they don't in any way, it's actually going…”Sounds amazing, but right now I need to focus on this.” We have this partnership prospectus because we really believe in partnerships as a strategic objective. As Sarah who is our Chief Of Staff, she actually spends a lot of time creating amazing partnerships, and she wants to hear from people. But it has to be the right people. So it's actually figured out. You know, what is the objective of your partnerships? What are you looking for? Are they aligned to your values? You know, just going through the basics of saying, Here's a framework. If you want to partner with us, you have to meet this criteria and what I'm really looking for is someone at this, you know, it could be grassroots, or it could be"We just want Corporates" or whatever it is. It's actually kind of crafting at who your ideal partner is.Carrie Kwan0:19:18 - 0:19:26And the third is probably You're perfectly within your own rights, and I encourage you to say yes. But not now.

Mea Campbell
0:19:29 - 0:19:29
Absolutely.

Carrie Kwan
0:19:29 - 0:19:45
And to say, you know, we absolutely think the best time for this will be in three months time or in six months time or a year time just to give you that breathing space because sometimes you don't know that you actually kind of want to have a bit of engagement beforehand as well.

Mea Campbell
0:19:46 - 0:20:15
Yeah, absolutely. To be honest, and I've known for a little while I probably need a business coach, someone who can really help me make these decisions. And, just go over some strategy with me and that person, the sounding board to say, ‘You know what? This is what you should do. What's really important to you, Mea of these 10 things on your plate, what's really important?’ And I know that. But business coaching is obviously an added expense, and you need time to engage really well in that. So that's in my plans as well. In the future.Lucy Kippist0:20:16 - 0:20:19We can help you with that Mea, and when you're ready, we can help you with that.

Mea Campbell
0:20:20 - 0:21:03
Just help with so many things. That's why I think I love your community, just the connections and the trusted connections. I think, Lucy, I think that's what we spoke about change when I spoke to you. One of the challenges I found is knowing whose advice to take and who to engage with. Because it's so easy now to say you're a professional. Facebook ads, personal professional, whatever it is. Marketing agent, marketing agency, and I've had a few really bad experiences with people that seem really good on paper, you know, I think I'm fairly good at doing my due diligence and looking into them, and, and they really haven't worked out at all. So where do you know who to trust? And I have found recommendations have probably been the safest and the best for me, just people recommending other people to use.

Carrie Kwan
0:21:03 - 0:21:19
So Mea, and you know, we know that you're a passionate community builder and supporter, and here at Mums & Co, we do love to celebrate our Co. So this is the partners, the friends, the clients that support us and our businesses. Can you tell us about your Co and how they support you?

Mea Campbell
0:21:20 - 0:22:50
Yes, so really well, and you would both know that it's not just you who makes sacrifices, is it when you're doing something like this. So on a family level, certainly my husband, he's picked up the slack in a lot of areas when I've had really busy weeks, and that's more of a juggle now or more of a balance now between both of us. So he's been helpful in that regard. The girls, even my children, even my two girls have they've been really supportive and understanding and people probably don't ever consider the children. But my 10 year old daughter, she understood that I'm coming in here, my toddler, not so much, but understood that I was coming in here. And she understands that. So she even if she needs something, she will just wait for this to be over. So certainly family. Then on a wider scale, I think where I'm based and Lucy you both have seen this when you came to the exchange. So where I'm based regionally, you make these wonderful connections with I've found predominantly women in this network that I've found. There's been people like Georgie Robertson who has helped me with a lot of the PR, learn how to navigate the PR. My graphic designer, Emma Barrett, is in a town one town over, web developer came on board. So I've been able to come into this network of other rural and regional women that I found really supportive. Even The Exchange we’re not there anymore. We've moved to our own larger space, but even being able to just go in there for 12 months and utilise that space. So I think it's that rural connection.

Lucy Kippist
0:22:51 - 0:23:11
That's a great segue to another question that we wanted to ask you, which is, you know, for other women that might be listening. Right now, based in a rural area or a regional area. What do you think is a tip? What's your number one tip for anyone who is contemplating that in an area like yours, start a business network?

Mea Campbell
0:23:11 - 0:24:06
Absolutely network, which is, you know, that's the foundation of your business, isn't it? So it's not a new concept, but being open to networking. And I don't mean the traditional local networking where you go to a local business networking event. It can be anything so it can be social media instagram someone else that has an office of the exchange. So, for instance, my graphic designer Emma Barrett, who I mentioned earlier, did some work for another photographer out here, Clancy Job. I don't know if you know of her, but she does phenomenal photography. So she's done all my photography off that connection, and then Georgie Robertson, the media, my PR agent. She was another connection. So I think it's just being open to those connections. So when someone says, I've worked with her before. You're like, ‘Okay, what's the number? I'll get in touch and give her a call?’ So it's just being open to networking connections and putting yourself out there a bit as well, having to put yourself out there and be social.

Lucy Kippist
0:24:07 - 0:24:13
And that kind of links to that point you were making before about trust. It's trusted connections within your own network within your own community. And then, obviously the online community expands.

Mea Campbell
0:24:15 - 0:24:17
Yeah, yes.

Lucy Kippist
0:24:19 - 0:24:29
Connected AU is a business model based on kindness, which is something that we celebrate here too at Mums & Co. So how does the value of caring and kindness permeate the day to day running of business, do you think?

Mea Campbell
0:24:30 - 0:25:29
It's been an interesting juggle as well. So it's one thing to have a clear mission and passion and to start something, but it did snowball and you just have such passion. And there is so much kindness and focus on the good that you're doing in the impact. But at some point it has to become a business as well. So that has been a bit of a juggle because sometimes it's the day to day running. For instance, the programme of the letterbox project is a programme manager and people who read the letters. Sometimes I go in there and read some of the letters and what I would have 12 months ago, 18 months ago, been like Oh my gosh like that is just so wonderful and spent time and really enjoyed seeing all this kindness being shared. Now it's, you know, you probably have to just focus on the business. So I found it a bit of a juggle to be able to always remember what we're doing and why we're doing it and stay focused on what it is that we're doing. So that has been a small juggle.

Carrie Kwan
0:25:29 - 0:25:46
Thousands of vulnerable Australians Connected AU are really the frontline of mental health. How does this role in wellbeing shape your approach to business risk and what types of processes and measures do you put in place to protect your business in that sense?

Mea Campbell
0:25:47 - 0:27:26
That's a great question. It's really complex. So just a few of the little things. I am lucky with my background in law because when I first started the letterbox projects, I was very risk focused and so I identified all the risks and how I could mitigate them. Also, even the fact that it's just a pen pal programme, what it has become because the processes and safety that I've set up so we don't share any personal information or identifiable personal information. All of the letters are vetted through our team, which is why it's grown, and that's why everyone is really enjoying it and trusting it. But that's huge in itself. So 500 letters a week are coming in and being sent, and as you can imagine, we have thousands and thousands of people on our systems, and that all requires automation and a lot of complicated computer technology. Workflows that I obviously had to outsource all of that. But I've built in some really strong security and safety so that it's protecting us, but also so we're protecting everyone. So if you write Lucy, if you wrote to someone and there's a woman in a nursing home somewhere and she's writing to you, you both are absolutely protected. You don't know where each other lives. It's even down to the point where if someone sends a letter and does include some personally identifiable information, like their email or their Facebook handle or whatever it might be, we black that out. So we just make sure that there are these great relationships developed, but absolutely no risk to either of them and to our business, which is huge. And that's why I had to quickly figure out funding and my revenue. And how am I going to generate income because I needed people to read.

Mea Campbell
0:27:26 - 0:28:38
Every single letter is vetted. So I needed people to do that, and I needed people to manage this entire workflow system with thousands of automations. If you sign up to write a letter, you don't just receive an email with your person. You receive a welcome email and then an email with your recipient, and then we'll tell you when we've got your letter. We tell you when they have received your letter, we tell you when the letters are on its way back to you. So like so many systems. So that safety and then our second programme, which are the online hobby groups that I mentioned again, it's all focused on risk. How do you mitigate that? What's the best legal? What's the best way for us to be really protected and everyone else? And so that is why I needed the staff member, the manager of each of those clubs, because everything is monitored so that there's a group chat where everyone talks about their recipes and she has photos of their dinner that they've cooked wherever it might be. And she's there. She's a full time manager. She manages the monthly event on Zoom. Where we all cook, so there's that constant management and safety, and I think it's so important. It's so important in any business, but certainly because my focus is on supporting vulnerable people. It needed to be focused on protecting everyone.

Carrie Kwan
0:28:38 - 0:29:02
It's fascinating just to get an insight into that personal element, which is picking up things but also your automation cycles, which are a really exciting area and in some ways, this is my inner digital geek, you know, in terms of you know how AI might play a part in that and really exciting.

Mea Campbell

0:29:03 - 0:30:24
It really is. I have been pleasantly surprised at how interesting I have actually found the tech behind all of this, and also data. So if you're that way inclined, you would love to see behind the scenes. So we have so much data at our hands now over 20,000 people, and we're capturing things. That's also why we need a really, really strong protection on our cybersecurity side of it. But so where people are telling us why they need a letter it might be that we categorise them. So it might say ‘I had breast cancer three years ago, and, now, I've just developed really, really severe anxiety from that. And so I'm not social, and I'm really lonely, and I like a pen pal.’ So we categorise everything and we obviously de-identify. But we have ages and all those demographics. So we might be able to say to you that in Melbourne in this particular postcode, 70 to 72% of the people that wrote letters fall into the category of physical health issues. So they've had a physical health issue, and then they've transitioned out of that. Maybe there wasn't any support in that area for mental health. Once you leave you have a significant physical health issue. So there's a lot of data behind it, and that will be interesting. I don't have the time now and we're capturing it all, and we're certainly using it in a small way. But I think over time that data will be really, really useful to help more.

Carrie Kwan
0:30:24 - 0:30:36
So amazing. Now, in the spirit of women supporting women, I know that you've mentioned a number of amazing women so far. Who are the Mumbitious that you would like to say hello to?

Mea Campbell
0:30:36 - 0:31:45
There are so many women and this is not to disregard anyone's help. I've had so much help from so many wonderful people, but one person who has been the most helpful, so integral in everything and so lovely is my partnership. My partnership manager, Laura Hall. I think she is part of your community, so she's in Sydney and she is a partnership guru is what I say about her, and I've recommended her again. I recommended her to about eight or nine women in this rural network, and they've all followed up with her, and she has been able to help them. So she's been really helpful to me. She came on board when I didn't have a partner, and she was the reason we have Tetley. So she signed on Tetley tea within two weeks of reaching out. She only took two weeks to sign on this. It's really significant that the partnership enabled us to have staff in an office that's really significant. So she was phenomenal. But it's not just how good she is at her job. She's just a wonderful person and she's really helpful. So if anyone reaches out to her, she does everything she can to help them.

Carrie Kwan
0:31:45 - 0:32:21
Queue an inundation of queries. We hope you've enjoyed today's podcast. If you'd like to follow Mea, you can find her on her instagram account at Connected_AU. And if you haven't already come and joined our ambitious, supportive movement of thousands of Australian business owning women just like you come and visit us at Mumsandco.com.au. Mea, thank you so much for joining us today. Thank you for your company as well. It's been fascinating. And you know, all the best for the amazing work that you are doing at Connected AU.

Carrie Kwan0:32:42 - 0:33:06
It really is. I have been pleasantly surprised at how interesting I have actually found the tech behind all of this, and also data. So if you're that way inclined, you would love to see behind the scenes. So we have so much data at our hands now over 20,000 people, and we're capturing things. That's also why we need a really, really strong protection on our cybersecurity side of it. But so where people are telling us why they need a letter it might be that we categorise them. So it might say ‘I had breast cancer three years ago, and, now, I've just developed really, really severe anxiety from that. And so I'm not social, and I'm really lonely, and I like a pen pal.’ So we categorise everything and we obviously de-identify. But we have ages and all those demographics. So we might be able to say to you that in Melbourne in this particular postcode, 70 to 72% of the people that wrote letters fall into the category of physical health issues. So they've had a physical health issue, and then they've transitioned out of that. Maybe there wasn't any support in that area for mental health. Once you leave you have a significant physical health issue. So there's a lot of data behind it, and that will be interesting. I don't have the time now and we're capturing it all, and we're certainly using it in a small way. But I think over time that data will be really, really useful to help more.

Carrie Kwan
0:30:24 - 0:30:36
So amazing. Now, in the spirit of women supporting women, I know that you've mentioned a number of amazing women so far. Who are the Mumbitious that you would like to say hello to?

Mea Campbell
0:30:36 - 0:31:45
There are so many women and this is not to disregard anyone's help. I've had so much help from so many wonderful people, but one person who has been the most helpful, so integral in everything and so lovely is my partnership. My partnership manager, Laura Hall. I think she is part of your community, so she's in Sydney and she is a partnership guru is what I say about her, and I've recommended her again. I recommended her to about eight or nine women in this rural network, and they've all followed up with her, and she has been able to help them. So she's been really helpful to me. She came on board when I didn't have a partner, and she was the reason we have Tetley. So she signed on Tetley tea within two weeks of reaching out. She only took two weeks to sign on this. It's really significant that the partnership enabled us to have staff in an office that's really significant. So she was phenomenal. But it's not just how good she is at her job. She's just a wonderful person and she's really helpful. So if anyone reaches out to her, she does everything she can to help them.

Carrie Kwan
0:31:45 - 0:32:21
Queue an inundation of queries. We hope you've enjoyed today's podcast. If you'd like to follow Mea, you can find her on her instagram account at Connected_AU. And if you haven't already come and joined our ambitious, supportive movement of thousands of Australian business owning women just like you come and visit us at Mumsandco.com.au. Mea, thank you so much for joining us today. Thank you for your company as well. It's been fascinating. And you know, all the best for the amazing work that you are doing at Connected AU.

Carrie Kwan
0:32:24 - 0:32:39
Hi. This is Mea. Mea is actually I told you a bit about Mea before we jumped onto the podcast. She is helping a lot of lonely people connect with each other. Gonna say hello?

Mea Campbell
0:32:41 - 0:32:42Hello. What's up?

Carrie Kwan0:32:42 - 0:33:06
Remy
Hello, Remy. Hello. Nice to meet you. So Remy has actually just written his first letter. He's actually written to some of his school friends who hasn't been able to see whilst he's been in lockdown. That's wonderful. So is there any question that you'd like to ask Mea about? 
How often should you write to your friend?

Mea Campbell
0:33:07 - 0:33:31
I think it depends on how much time you have, but we have seen some really beautiful connections made between people when they are writing about once a month, so it's not too much for them. But it's enough to stay in touch, and so every month you're checking in and seeing what's happening in their life. So I think once a month is pretty, a pretty achievable amount.

Carrie Kwan
0:33:31 - 0:33:32
Thank you.

Mea Campbell
0:33:33 - 0:33:34
That's okay.

Carrie Kwan
0:33:36 - 0:34:15
We hope you enjoy this episode of my Mumbition by Mums & Co. Head over to the show notes for a full transcript of the interview and any links we have referred to. Mums & Co. Is Australia's most caring business network for women. Join us today for just $30 at Mumsandco.com.au. This podcast was produced and edited by Morgan Sebastian Brown of Brown Tree Productions and hosted by Carrie Kwan, co-founder of Mums & Co and community manager Lucy Kippist. We love hearing your feedback, so if you haven't already, please share rate and review this podcast and we can reach more business owning mothers just like you.