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Vanessa Bell Mumbition the Podcast

Mumbition

The Podcast By Mums & Co

Episode 67: Why community is key for women in business

Frances Goh

One Roof

May 15, 2023
*Content Warning* This episode touches on domestic violence which may be a sensitive topic for some listeners. Frances Goh is the Community Manager at One Roof. She shares some shocking statistics about funding for women led businesses in Australia, is passionate about creating communities and safe spaces for business owning women and shares the ultimate wellbeing hack - how to gamify your life!

This episode is brought to you by DWEN the Dell Women's Entrepreneur Network

DWEN Dell Womens Entrepreneur Network
For more than a decade, DWEN has brought women entrepreneurs together from around the world to help them connect, scale their businesses, and ultimately succeed. Join DWEN today for free access to a global network of women entrepreneurs and valuable resources to grow your business.

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Links

One Roof

DWEN Dell Women's Entrepreneur Network

Credits

Produced & Edited by - Morgan Brown
Interviewers - Carrie Kwan and Lucy Kippist
Guest - Frances Goh

Are you ready to join a movement of business owning women?  Join Mums & Co today.

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Ep 67 Transcript

00:01:49:02 - 00:02:18:03

Carrie and Lucy

Today's guest describes herself as an innovation consultant, brand strategist and customer champion.

00:02:18:19 - 00:02:32:01

Carrie and Lucy

One Roof Community Manager. Fran, Goh the woman as passionate as us here at Mums & Co when it comes to supporting women in business.  Welcome to mummbition we're delighted to have you here with us today.

00:02:33:03 - 00:02:35:01

Fran Goh

It's great to be here. Thanks for having me.

00:02:36:09 - 00:02:50:17

Carrie and Lucy

Now, we love hearing women's business stories. We also educate women on pitching with confidence. We'd love to hear a little bit more about what you are doing here in your 30 second, elevator pitch.

00:02:51:15 - 00:03:26:12

Fran Goh

Sure. Happy to. So I'm Fran. I'm the Community Manager at One Roof, which is a business community dedicated to women in entrepreneurship, business and leadership. And one mission is to increase the number and success of women leaders and entrepreneurs. And we're on a mission to close the gender gap in entrepreneurship. So a bit about me is I oversaw one roof digital transformation in 2020 from bricks and mortar co-working space which started seven years ago to a fully digitized experience and have since onboarded over a thousand members across Australia and overseas.

00:03:26:19 - 00:03:48:20

Fran Goh

I am committed to elevating women in business and curating the one roof member experience. And what that looks like is hosting masterclasses, running weekly community connection catch ups both virtually and in person and facilitating monthly women's accountability groups and connecting one roof members with resources, the network knowledge and the tools to thrive in their business and career and outside of one roof.

00:03:48:20 - 00:03:57:24

Fran Goh

I have an education business that runs accelerated learning programs for children, and I'm also a solo parent to Sophie and Leon, who are four and two years old.

00:03:58:21 - 00:04:32:05

Carrie and Lucy

Wow. We, of course, love what you're doing on so many levels. But I don’t think there was anything that you said that we don't love and definitely we've seen that transformation over the years. We're very familiar with the One Roof community in Melbourne as well, and I'd been to your physical co-working spaces when they existed. And I think that the journey of creating more female entrepreneurs is such an important venue for Australia.

00:04:32:10 - 00:05:11:14

Carrie and Lucy

I've been the same since 2008 in Australia and there has been progress and it's so exciting. I mean recently, attending a documentary which was actually on the history of Australians system and the people in the room was, was a really diverse mix of people, which wasn't the case back in 2008 when, when you are hearing that you're probably just a handful of women and you know, your listeners probably can't see, but you're from an Asian background.

DWEN

00:05:11:14 - 00:05:41:10

Carrie and Lucy

I'm from an Asian background as well. And, you know, that's even more of a minority segment. So we're really excited to have you as part of this mission at One Roof as part of this mission. Now, I think there's a lot that we can focus on that we need to fix. But what's something about being in business right now, and especially as a woman in business supporting other women's businesses that you actually love?

00:05:42:20 - 00:06:07:03

Fran Goh

Great question. And I just want to acknowledge how awesome Mums & Co is and how much we love collaborating with Mums & Co. And we have a lot of crossover with members who rave about Mums & Co and the events. So I think, you know, our strength in numbers, as you say, carry over time. There's such importance to this work that we're all doing and Lucy as well as a Community Manager.

00:06:07:03 - 00:06:31:10

Fran Goh

So thank you for everything that you're doing. And what a great question because I think it is a wonderful thing to focus on the positives and there's never been a more exciting time to be a woman and to be a woman in business. And what I love about being a woman in business today and also being a woman of color, is that representation and almost responsibility?

00:06:31:10 - 00:06:35:22

Fran Goh

I think women have to families and society and other women showcase what it can look like because you can't be what you can't see. And so for me, I think that what I love about being a woman in business is also redefining the way that business is traditionally done and has been traditionally done for so long. And especially being a woman founder and working with a woman led business separately is having the flexibility now to complete my work alongside being the main parent for my children.

00:07:07:00 - 00:07:20:22

Fran Goh

It's very fulfilling and I'm just so grateful to be born, you know, at this point in time, in this place and where we are now and to be having this conversation even with the both of you, it just is a sign of the times.

00:07:23:09 - 00:08:02:24

Carrie and Lucy

I love that answer Frances, and I’m a solo parent too. And I was thinking only the other day what a privilege it is to be able to provide in a time where that is actually possible and where I'm working somewhere that's supported because I can't imagine what that would have been like even probably a decade ago. So we do have incredible advantage being in the time that we are, doing the work we're doing. But I want to switch that question and I would like to talk about the challenges of being women in business.

00:08:03:10 - 00:08:22:06

Carrie and Lucy

That's certainly something we talk to all of our members about, isn't it, coming through the front door of Mums & Co? But when you think about women in business as a collective which are very similar, I'm sure you do often as well. What do you think is the biggest challenge at the moment?

00:08:23:04 - 00:09:09:19

Fran Goh

There are still so many challenges and many unspoken challenges that women in business face. And the first thing that springs to mind that I think is really underrated for women in business is isolation and loneliness, because a lot of women who join One Roof and probably Mums & Co cite loneliness and isolation as ongoing challenges that they face in their entrepreneurial and business journeys and that's why I think communities like one reason Mums & Co also important to bring women together because we might have a group of friends but we might not be able to have a relatable conversation when we need to troubleshoot issues that are going on in our business and even celebrating

00:09:09:19 - 00:09:37:08

Fran Goh

wins, you know, a win is quite it looks different when you're running your own business. And so I think that that can be an issue, but something that I'm also really passionate about is funding for women, and especially in the startup ecosystem where the research shows that women led startups receive and I know you both know this, but a measly 2.3% of VC funding, you know, in 2020.

00:09:37:08 - 00:10:03:19

Fran Goh

And so for those who might be listening to this for the first time, hopefully it does come as a shock because that is a shocking statistic, even though that there are so many studies that indicate that women owned startups are better financial investments because they're more likely to achieve higher valuations, they generate 10% more revenue than male lead companies and they earn 35% higher returns, as well as operate businesses more efficiently with less capital.

00:10:03:20 - 00:10:28:20

Fran Goh

And when I say it out loud, it makes sense to me because I'm like, of course women are so good at stretching the dollar when they are, you know, feeding their families. And you know, trying to run a household. And so it should make financial sense for women to be leading really successful businesses. But I think there's so much unconscious bias and other factors as well, which we probably don't have the time to go into.

00:10:29:02 - 00:10:56:19

Fran Goh

But it just really feeds into, I think, the importance of the mission that we are all collectively on in closing the gender gap for women in entrepreneurship. Because in Australia alone, I know off the top of my head the gender pay gap is costing women $1 billion a week still. You know, and coming out of the pandemic the disproportionately you know, adverse impact it's had on women even coined the term the she-session.

00:10:56:21 - 00:11:01:22

Fran Goh

Did you guys hear that when we were in the pandemic?

00:11:01:22 - 00:11:04:22

Carrie and Lucy

I think pink recession. Yeah.

00:11:05:05 - 00:11:29:17

Fran Goh

Yes, yes. Or that, too. Exactly. And so for me, it's about you know, trying to, I guess, speak to that loneliness factor because there are women everywhere trying to do amazing things. And it's about bringing those women together and then after that, it's how can we support these women with the resources? And my dream is, you know, with the finances in there as well.

00:11:29:17 - 00:12:16:02

Carrie and Lucy

And definitely that isolation is not surprising even if a small business journey is hard. It's tough and it's a long journey like it's the days feel can sometimes feel very long even as these years feel short. It's a little bit like parenting. Actually, you know, and they are a little bit exhausted and that it doesn't necessarily mean that you're lonely, it's just that it's kind of a journey that, like I said, not everyone gets even if they are your closest friends because you this kind of this switch that never kind of really goes off when you’re a business owner.

00:12:16:02 - 00:13:05:15

Carrie and Lucy

Everything kind of falls on your shoulders. And you’re always trying to think through things and trying to think of the next thing that you need to do. So and when I think that 80% of especially our community, we don't actually have big teams and staff where actually, you know, sole traders, you know, with operating operating on sort of amazing talent, but there’s only so much capacity so that journeys where that isolation creates it with parenting the motherhood journey as well, that journey alone needs is quite, you know, stepping into the unknown, especially the first time or the first phase of teenager or the first phase of something else.

00:13:06:12 - 00:13:25:04

Carrie and Lucy

So yeah, we really, really do relate to that sense of isolation as well. And that is why these communities are so important, because we kind of see someone who is going through something similar to you or as you know, comes through with a different perspective, knows what to focus on. You can sort of learn from them and learn from them.

00:13:26:07 - 00:13:55:02

Carrie and Lucy

Definitely agree. So I know that when we step into this unknown, it's going to be a journey where you might be exposed to different parts and typically where you have an experience in before. So I was wondering how you might describe your approach to risk in business. How does it sort of define your daily work habits and processes?

00:13:55:02 - 00:13:58:07

Carrie and Lucy

What are the kind of things that you might prioritize?

00:13:59:03 - 00:14:29:22

Fran Goh

Such a good question and definitely something that we don't talk about enough. So in terms of the approach I have with risk in business, is my background is in lean startup and design thinking and I have a lot of experience in corporate innovation and I used to teach these things before they were mainstream. And so when I think of risk, I think of how do I de-risk a business or an idea?

00:14:30:05 - 00:14:51:20

Fran Goh

And for me, the best way to do that is to run small tests, you know, and to iterate and to see what works or to validate something or invalidate something. And of course, to be speaking with your audience at all points in time and in time to derive a particular situation, whether that's launching a product or service or going to market with something or even a rebrand.

00:14:51:20 - 00:15:11:14

Fran Goh

And I read a great quote the other day, and I wish I knew who to attribute to. And it was like an Instagram quote and it said, Are you ready? Are you not ready to try or are you not ready to fail? And so when I think of risk, I also think that's tightly coupled with failure. And I think there's so much fear of failure that we tend to immobilize ourselves.

00:15:11:23 - 00:15:38:07

Fran Goh

And on top of that, you know, being women in the room, speaking on this, I think society has created a narrative around women that requires women to be perfect and silent and not take up space, you know, in voice or a magnitude or physicality. And so I think the only way for women to progress is to take calculated risks and, you know, try and learn and test and share those learnings.

00:15:38:07 - 00:15:53:15

Fran Goh

So when I think of risk, I don't think about how to avoid it or how to not take it, but how to be calculated in the risks that we take or de-risk the the magnitude of what that risk might be. Does that make sense?

00:15:53:15 - 00:16:22:06

Carrie and Lucy

Yeah, absolutely. It you know, I think all of us are risk takers, even though we don't see ourselves as that. And by setting up these sort of little tests along the way, you're actually already getting you know, it's not like that an all in approach in some ways. You actually go, okay, I'll put $100 towards this test and see what the returns are.

00:16:22:06 - 00:16:43:17

Carrie and Lucy

And if it does give the returns, then I'll put a little bit more budget towards that particular activity or, you know, it doesn't have to be let's spend $10,000 on, you know, building, building out this feature to the enth degree. I love how you approach that. But yeah, it's like step by step. 

00:16:43:22 - 00:17:06:06

Fran Goh

And I want to answer the other part of your question, which is around, you know, how do I define my daily work and habits and processes? So I you might laugh at this, actually really enjoy play and fun and games. So I gamify a lot of what I do and I don't know if it's a result of my upbringing or just how many people are wired, but I'm quite reward driven.

00:17:06:16 - 00:17:07:02

Carrie and Lucy

So.

00:17:07:13 - 00:17:09:11

Fran Goh

So I have a point system.

00:17:10:18 - 00:17:29:01

Fran Goh

Getting my stuff done. And then I basically each day try and see how many points I can get. And then each month those points add up to a reward because I think that, you know, it gives me something to look forward to and it's my form of self-care as well to know that the things I'm doing accumulate to something greater.

00:17:29:01 - 00:17:48:12

Fran Goh

But also I can celebrate because when you're a business owner, I think that you don't always have a team to celebrate with. So, you know, it's having these moments of joy. So for example, and this is exactly how I do it, embarrassingly or not, but if if I read 15 minutes a day, that's one point I wake up at 5 a.m..

00:17:48:12 - 00:18:06:24

Fran Goh

That's two points. If I work out, that's three points. And if I make the time to learn a skill that's four points. And so I try and get ten points in a day and I know I usually won't, which is fine, but the reward might be 500 points, right? And so I build longevity into the game and it's also my way of forming new habits.

00:18:06:24 - 00:18:28:04

Fran Goh

And so once a habit is formed, then I might change the point system depending on what I'm trying to achieve in a certain amount of time. And and it also helps me to avoid burnout. So it's not like, oh, I have to get ten points every day. I don't set myself that goal necessarily because I know in times when I've tried to sprint, I'll squeeze out as much energy from myself as I can.

00:18:28:04 - 00:18:35:08

Fran Goh

I'll just burn out. So it's taken me a while to think of what motivates me and how to get things done in a fun way.

00:18:36:13 - 00:18:51:17

Carrie and Lucy

I love injecting. You need a bit more fun into our day, but I really want to ask what are your rewards? You have these all in one, one sort of what can you are you going to have like mini rewards, like to redeem points?

00:18:52:23 - 00:19:23:01

Fran Goh

Well, there is a lot of research that goes into the endorphins just that come just from ticking something off. So it's a similar thing with getting points for me. That's enough. It's like a brain activation reward. And, you know, it's ranged from things like taking my family to a really nice restaurant somewhere, you know, a regional. So it's a day out of that or a VR headset that I've been wanting for ages, you know.

00:19:23:01 - 00:19:27:21

Fran Goh

But don't need it. So once things like that.

00:19:27:21 - 00:20:11:01

Carrie and Lucy

We absolutely like we have had the privilege of listening to lots of women over the last year of this podcast because they know about their wellbeing hacks and what they do bu you are the first person Frances to say they gamify it. Super clever I absolutely love it. The element of business that Mums & Co and One Roof also share is networking.  I mean we both as community celebrated as a skill and have lots of opportunities but I'm wondering for you as a small  business owner and well what do you look for in terms of a digital connection now that we're all online?

00:20:11:01 - 00:20:33:19

Carrie and Lucy

And I know you talked earlier about the isolation factor for women in business, and I think that that can be really set by the digital space that we're all working in now. I think that it gives enough elements to the idea of networking, too, because you're not in a room with someone, you're on a screen with some friends and just wondering what your tips are or what you look for whenever you're connecting with someone online.

00:20:34:08 - 00:20:34:20

Carrie and Lucy

Um.

00:20:35:08 - 00:20:59:13

Fran Goh

I think there's two aspects to it. There is the technology aspect, and then there's the human aspect. And there are so many wonderful platforms out there now for engaging communities. Some that come to mind, you know, in lieu of Zoom, which is also great, are butter. That's like a it's a really interactive platform. And I've been on both sides of presenting something or or being a participant.

00:20:59:13 - 00:21:24:22

Fran Goh

And, you know, the amount of engagement that comes from different kinds of emoticons or having your own avatar and, you know, engaging the conversation is really interesting. Another platform that's an Australian based one with a couple of Australian founders is called Storytale. So and that's another great way to engage people. You can click onto the presentation and it opens up into quizzes or, you know, files.

00:21:24:22 - 00:21:48:15

Fran Goh

So it's more interactive than, than other platforms. So I think the digital connection is facilitated by good technology. I will say the other side of that is that despite the amount of technology we have, lots of people are still saying they're feeling lonely and isolated. And so there's not an immediate correlation between people feeling connected and having technology.

00:21:49:01 - 00:22:23:00

Fran Goh

And so I think something that makes good digital networking is ensuring that the spaces created by champions like Mums & Co and One Roof are really safe spaces for people to feel vulnerable enough to open up and facilitate that human connection. I think that it's so important to still show people that they are being actively listened to and to show empathy and just making sure that the human element is is still there among all the technology.

00:22:43:02 - 00:23:04:20

Fran Goh

I was just going to say that some qualities of a good digital networker to me are also people who facilitate meaningful connections. Because I think there's a lot of advice out there, often unsolicited, and it's making sure that, you know, whatever is being offered is really practical and meaningful.

00:23:06:09 - 00:23:29:02

Carrie and Lucy

I think that I love the word meaningful and certainly it's something that you look for, isn't it? You know, and a connection is such a hard thing to describe before, like a really good connection when you make one. It's hard to describe what that feels like. And I love the highlight of the importance of safety to creating safe spaces.

00:23:29:02 - 00:23:52:16

Carrie and Lucy

That's something that we definitely advocate for as well. We're at the last question, Frances, and as I'm sure you know, at Mums & Co we talk about Harmony being a triangle of our ambition, alive, livelihood for working together. Could you describe what this life would be? 

00:23:53:07 - 00:23:59:00

Fran Goh

This is such an interesting question and I have listened to quite a few of my ambition podcasts and I always wait for this question to see what people say. And my shape has changed over time. So my answer today is definitely a point in time answer. And today the shape for me is an oval and oval comes to mind for me. And that's because an oval at this point in time in my life represents a cocoon. Because for me, the last three years of being in the pandemic and going through all of this, you know, interesting times with everyone has for me felt like I've been in, you know, a place of metamorphosis, of growth and for me, I haven't quite come out of that tunnel yet.

00:24:41:21 - 00:24:59:23

Fran Goh

I've had some personal things going on in my life, and I should probably issue a trigger warning here about domestic violence. But three years ago, I fled my matrimonial home with nothing but my two children who were two year old, and Leon was almost two months old at the time and a backpack.

00:25:00:07 - 00:25:29:04

Fran Goh

And I basically had to restart my life. And it's been leaning on a village of incredible people to get me through that time. And I'm so grateful for all the strong women in my life as well who have reminded me of what courage looks like at a time when I really needed it. And so that oval is also that community circle circular aspect of, you know, strength and protection.

00:25:29:04 - 00:25:56:17

Fran Goh

And for me, I think that being in a cocoon takes patience as well. I've learned so much about radical acceptance and surrender. And the other thing about being in a cocoon is that you can't rush it. And, you know, if anyone were to try and pry open a cocoon to see that the butterfly, there would not be a butterfly in there, you know, who would be some mushy organism still undergoing a metamorphosis.

00:25:56:17 - 00:26:12:22

Fran Goh

And so I think that for me represents, you know, constant growth and evolution. And definitely there are moments where we bloom as butterflies, but I think we always also return to the cocoon for our next evolution. So an oval is my answer.

00:26:14:17 - 00:26:40:07

Carrie and Lucy

Thank you so much for sharing all that and a beautiful shape and a very unique shape and the journey that you've been on. Yeah, sounds very challenging and well done on getting to where you are. And may I also say that, you know, you mentioned before, we have so many of members and everybody always mentions you and how warm and lovely you are and how much attention you give them.

00:26:40:18 - 00:27:07:21

Carrie and Lucy

Not only are you going through something extraordinary on your own, also giving to other people what you do, it's just well done on all your efforts. Thank you for sharing that with us. And Fran, I'll just add let's just wait until there's butterfly wings touch me because you are an absolute force to be reckoned with and the Australian Entrepreneurship Community is very lucky to have you.

00:27:07:21 - 00:27:19:16

Carrie and Lucy

We're really proud of to work beside you as well, so thank you so much for an awesome chat. I think where we've come, was anything else you wanted to mention?

00:27:19:16 - 00:27:31:21

Fran Goh

No, I'm just so grateful for this conversation. I'm huge fans of both of you, Carrie and Lucy, and everything that you're doing, and thank you for all that you do.