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Vanessa Bell Mumbition the Podcast

Mumbition

The Podcast By Mums & Co

Episode 80: Building brand integrity and problem solving

Amreeta Abbott & Stacie Shaw

Founder of Annature & Partner at PKF

September 12, 2023
If you love problem solving then this episode of Mumbition with Mums & Co members, Amreeta Abbott and Stacie Shaw is for you! Amreeta is the founder of Annature, the Australian made and owned alternative to Docusign, and Stacie a partner at PKF, a global accounting firm and proud ambassador of the solution Amreeta has created. In this episode, we discuss the value of building a brand with integrity - something you'd recommend to your own mother, sister or grandmother, why it’s important to take risks and that no matter how great your ambition, your love for family (showers and a long haul flight) will always keep you grounded.

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Links

Annature

PKF

Credits

Produced by - Lucy Kippist

Edited by - Morgan Sebastian-Brown
‍Interviewers - Carrie Kwan and Lucy Kippist
‍Guests - Amreeta Abbott and Stacie Shaw

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Episode 80 Transcript

Carrie Kwan (01:45):

Amreeta, you might know that we love educating women on pitching with confidence. Can you please give us your best 30 second pitch?

Amreeta Abbott (01:54):

Certainly can. I do have many of them, but I'll go with this one. I'm the founder and CEO of successful tech startups. I'm extremely passionate about cutting edge solutions. So my whole thing is about a feature and feedback driven company and a culture of innovation.

Carrie Kwan (02:08):

Amazing. We love the players in the innovation space and in terms of, that innovation can show up in so many different ways in different areas.

Amreeta Abbott (02:18):

Mm-hmm.

Carrie Kwan (02:19):

Obviously we have a community of amazing small business owners. There's obviously the corporate side, the startup side, and just wondering, where are you seeing that innovation coming out of at the moment?

Amreeta Abbott (02:31):

Well, it depends on which vertical, which industry you're talking about, but I don't think it's widely that new. I think it's just redefining the old technology that we may have, and the pain points that people are actually talking about, and we're looking at different ways to solve them. So I think that's a true thing. We don't have problems to solutions, and I think that's through the technology, and the technology's advancing so much. So even with Annature that we have at the moment, you'd rebuild it every couple of years to redefine what we actually want to do. So that's where I can see a lot of it. So I wouldn't say there's anything great to the market except for AI. No one's ever seen this. We won't see anything else like it now in our lifetime, but outside of that, it's rehashing some of those technologies.

Carrie Kwan (03:11):

Now that's a good chance to introduce Annature, Stacie, you're raving fan and a ambassador. Can we hear a little bit about you and your pitch?

Stacie Shaw (03:20):

Yeah, well my pitch for Annature, so PKF are users of Annature, have been for quite a few years. And my pitch for e-signing generally, is that it's one of those things that if you haven't been doing it, once you start, you'll think, why was I not doing this all along? This has just made more of a difference than it seems like it should. It's a disproportionate saving of time and angst, which is critical for everybody. And then Annature specifically, I think Annature, I know Am that has built Annature specifically to be the antidote to the big Silicon Valley e-signing solutions that are out there in the market, off the back of her own experience. And really trying to hit or get rid of those undesirables that taking the leap into a new piece of tech can sometimes bring, a lock in contract or a certain amount of expense, some kind of upfront commitment to an initial sunk cost.

(04:09):

None of that exists with Annature, and so not only does it help you solve a problem and gain efficiencies for your business, there's no leap of faith required. It's very strictly paper per use, and it's just, on top of being new tech and the best in the market as far as UI goes.

Carrie Kwan (04:25):

Now, it is one of those things that once you start, you can't go back. And just having that seamless nature of it, because there's so much back and forth in doing business. So I can see that ease and the problem that Annature's trying to solve, just to actually cut through, reduce the amount of time it takes, make things more convenient, make it easy. And these days we're so digitally connected that that's how we do business. And if we flip it over to perhaps more of your personal journey on this business journey, Amreeta, how would you define your ambition?

Amreeta Abbott (05:06):

Relentless. Relentless drive. Look, I don't know the word failure, I just look at things... I really am a feature and feedback driven person. So if I hear the pain points, I just keep going until I can solve them. And whilst e-signing's not new, it's been around for 20-odd years, it's still the way that you would... Communicating with the other provider that we're talking about. So I think relentless, trying to find that solution and try to meet all the goals that people are putting out there. Even up to yesterday, I just said to everybody, "What would you love to see as a release out of Annature? And you get the 20 points there. If I can't answer those 20 points, then I'll go back and look at it and think, "What should we put on our roadmap?" So relentless is definitely one. I'm certainly very aggressive in my approach to technology and getting those deliverables out. So I think those are the two major ones.

Carrie Kwan (05:56):

That constant customer focus to solve their problems, I think is the one things that any tech company, and isn't almost every company a tech company these days, just trying to figure out how to solve their pain points and constantly getting their feedback. Which is probably why, that you are seeing so much success.

Amreeta Abbott (06:22):

Mm-hmm. Yeah, I think too, when I started my career in advisory, so more on the investment advice, I always thought about, could I put my mum in it? Could I put my grandma in it? Could I put my sister in it? Could I put... And I had to go through those five points, and if it wasn't fit for them, it's not fit for anybody. And so I am just really committed to that hearing what they want to say, how do we actually fix it? Why is it hurting? Why are we doing certain things? And I don't believe that, when someone says to me, "Because that's the way it is." No, it's not. Let me try and redefine it and rebuild another way, because I can guarantee you that's not the way it should be, particularly when you're doing your old school... Something that's not efficient. You've got to have profitability, you've got to have easy of use, all these sort of things. So you just go through that and ask yourself those questions every single time. And if I can answer them with confidence, then I know I'm on the right path.

Carrie Kwan (07:10):

Amazing. And Stacie, what about yourself, how do you define your ambition?

Stacie Shaw (07:14):

As far as the work I do with clients, something that drives me is the efficiency and the productivity. Making time and space for the things that I want to do with my life, and therefore helping business owners to do the same for their lives. And the way that I express it, I like to think that I'm not too bad with words, but the best way I've found to articulate this is through two guttural sounds, I suppose. And I think most of the negatives associated with a business come down to, it either makes you go... Or it makes you go... And so again, this is why Annature was such an easy yes for me, to come formally on board as their ambassador for them, because it made such a difference in our business to both of those things. The... I've got to send a document for signing, I'm going to have to jump through all the hoops to get it to the person and then chase them to get them to send it back to me and all that, versus I can just do it...

(08:02):

Or even when it comes the other way, if someone sent me a document to sign and they're not using an e-signing platform, so I've got to print it out and I've got to physically sign it. I've got to scan it back in or I've got to post it to... Ridiculous, it's 2023. So I think Annature fits that... part, solves the problem for that. And it's so universal in the way that that applies. And then the... part is, like I was saying before, there's no commitment to an upfront cost or ongoing expense or any training, investment of training time. So yeah, I think my ambition centres around helping businesses to solve for those two things that are a daily problem. And that applies to the oldest, wisest, most hardened CEO in any business, that's been in industry for 40 years, down to a brand new mum starting out on a business. There's all the things that give you those feelings. So how do we surmount those either through process or technology.

Lucy Kippist (08:53):

Amreeta, you've described an incredible business creation, with innovation and integrity and rigour, but I'm just wondering, can you tell us a little bit about the beginning of the journey to Annature, in terms of potentially sharing some of the doubts you might've experienced as you took off? Is there anything that may have prevented the business from actually being what it is today?

Amreeta Abbott (09:15):

Look, I did have another company which I sold successfully in 2020, and that gave restraints to myself. So I did have limitations on what I could and couldn't build. However, when I met and understood e-signing, back in 2011, 2012, and I brought it out to Australia and I was educating our clients at that time, I still think we're very laggard in that way of actually picking it up. But as we were progressing, I think that we're one of the biggest clients for that e-signing and so forth. And as I could see, the more and more clients that I was introducing, I could see the price point going up from this other provider. And this was my why, and I said to the CEO at the time, "Why?" He said, "Because we can." And I said, "Well, when I sell my company," which I did, "I'm coming for you."

(09:59):

So I had no hold back whatsoever. Took us a couple of months to get the team together and off we went. So if I was to answer the question, in terms of what other things would obviously give me concern, they've got a million clients, it's a big industry, and I just thought, "Would there be enough room for another competitor?" However, when you've got the personal touch, when you've got no lock in contracts, when you don't actually charge the client until renewal of the other one, it was an easy fit. So that could have easily scared someone off because a big giant, especially Silicon Valley one, could come over the top. But no, I don't think there was too many things, but I think that would've been the major one. Is there enough for it? Can we do anything? Can we make a difference?

Lucy Kippist (10:40):

Thank you for sharing that. Let's talk now a little bit more about the mechanics of building a business, in terms of the value of networking. So obviously here at Mums & Co, we are a community for business owning women, and we upskill, and we network. They're our two biggest levers in terms of helping women grow their visibility. But for someone like you, Amreeta, how do you network? What are the reasons you do it? And are there any ways that you prefer to do this digitally as opposed to in person?

Amreeta Abbott (11:10):

I think networking is such a powerful tool, whether it's for personal reasons or for business. Every company that I have built, I believed in collaboration. I believe that you need allies, you need to actually find a distribution channel that can actually support the growth of your business. So it is essential. You cannot do it alone. We are just too small. It's hard to go to market. So from that perspective, I look at the industry that I'm in, I look at whether it's accounting or whether it's legal, and then I try and align myself with like-minded people, and they're generally other females obviously, and they can relate to it. But then also other technology softwares that is very complimentary. How can I make it even a little bit more easier? Because, even if it's e-signing or identification, so we do identification as well, how does that tie back into their CRM? How does that tie back into their business? How else can I make it easier? Is it comfortable on a phone? Is it comfortable not off your laptop? How do we do that?

(11:59):

So if you don't network, you really don't have a business these days. That's my personal opinion. And so for me, I'm always introducing myself to other providers. I'm also introducing myself to clients. I'm also trying to understand the likes of Stacie's clients. How are they relating to it? How are they connecting with it? Is it comfortable, is it not? So without that knowledge, I don't have a business, and it's essential because I need that feedback every single day of what's actually happening and how are they thinking. So I would suggest for anybody out there, if you don't network, you're in the dark, extremely, and you won't get far. Thank

Lucy Kippist (12:36):

You for sharing that. What about you, Stacie? How would you answer that question?

Stacie Shaw (12:39):

I have always hated networking and business development. I was always rubbish at it because I think I overthought it. And so it's the likes of, I'm a raving fan girl of Amreeta, and she's been generous with her time in her mentoring capacity as well. And not even in a formal way, just watch and learn, everything that Am just described then. And even Sarah, I've had some chats with Sarah Nelson, your chief of staff, and I walk away from those conversations feeling more comfortable about making my ask, I think Sarah calls it. Which I think, I've always been uncomfortable with that.

(13:12):

I like forming relationships, I like having friends and all that stuff, and I think for a long time I thought that I needed to be someone in a business development, and a networking, in a professional sense that was different to who I am as a human. And I think, I don't know whether it's age and wisdom or whatever, but I've got to the point where I've realized, anyone who pretends that who you are as a professional is different to who you are as the human, is kidding themselves, and people don't like it, people see through it. You're never at your best if you're consciously watching yourself, trying to pretend to be something that you're not. And for me, I think it probably always stemmed from childhood, I suppose, in that my parents are incredible humans. I've got absolutely nothing bad to say about them. And in fact, people make jokes about being worried that they're going to turn into their parents as they age. I'm actually worried that I'm not, and I think that's probably the single greatest privilege of my life.

(14:00):

But one of the things that may makes my dad so great is that he's overly humble. And so he spent a lot of my childhood saying to me, "Don't be arrogant, don't be cocky, be humble." And it's a great message and one that I firmly believe in, but of course I've taken it too far. And so took it so far that it was undermining my confidence, particularly in things like business development and coming on something like this, because it was me putting myself out there, being cocky and being arrogant. And I think I've got to the point where I've realized there's a difference between confident and cocky, and there's a difference between being demanding and being a princess versus just making your ask. And people have choices about how they respond to that. You have a choice about how you deliver it. And so I think one of the amazing things about Mums & Co is just empowering that and helping people to see past whatever their barriers to that networking, business development, whatever the cliche is over it. And going, actually, it's just about you're a human, I'm a human, let's do business together.

(14:57):

In that old quote of businesses don't do business with businesses, people do business with people, and you always work better with the people that you like and enjoy their company and have respect for. So yeah, I've learned, I suppose, just to start there, just start by, look past the brand name and see the human sitting in front of you, and if you can work together, great. If you come into it with a genuine attitude of what can I give to this person, it always ends up, karma I suppose, always ends up coming back. And if not, worst case, you've made their life a bit easier. So that's great.

Carrie Kwan (15:27):

I really Love that word, humility doesn't undermine your competence, it's just a way of respecting each other and how you do business. So thank you for sharing that, Stacie, and I'm sure your parents are very proud. Just extending the networking side of things, because that is one way to gain visibility. And we know that in our community, some of the key challenges of running a business, these are the sole traders, they don't have big teams, so visibility is really, really important. What's your number one tip for boosting visibility of your business? Stacie, maybe we can start with you.

Stacie Shaw (16:04):

Well, again, I think in the past I've shied away from making it about me because again, I didn't want it to be about me. I didn't have a website profile until I took partner and our marketing team came to me and said, "We're putting a website profile up for you." I said, "No, I don't need it." They said, "You're a partner in a top 10 accounting firm. If people Google Stacie Shaw, PKF, they have to find something." And I think again, it's just that fact of, even a big company, it's not a big company on its own. It's made up of all the individual constituent little parts. So I suppose, again, getting past that barrier for me, of is it cocky for me to put myself out there? Well, no, because that's the only way that my business grows. It's the only way that the brand gets known is by a human representing it. So...

Carrie Kwan (16:46):

And Amreeta, what about yourselves? What have you found has worked to raise the profile or to gain visibility for your business, Annature?

Amreeta Abbott (16:58):

Yeah, look, it is a really great question. I was a bit like Stacie too, that I believe that the business should have been faceless. There should not be anyone behind it. And maybe because of my confidence, maybe because I'm not... I don't really like to get up there and talk about my success, but after time, this is what they relate to. This is that human touch. They really want to speak to someone. They want to understand how you're growing that business and what does it look like. So I would say that the visibility too, you do need a face behind it. You do need someone that they can talk to, but also to lots of other things. So it could be the likes of social media, it's made a huge change to the way that people conduct themselves with businesses.

(17:36):

I would never thought that Facebook would become a business forum. So lots of our clients are actually communicating and talking to each other about different types of features and all this sort of stuff. So you have to get yourself out there, you really do, and you just keep trying different things. So whether it's, like I said, the Facebook ads, whether it's Google, whether it's LinkedIn, and they've all got different purposes and they can all solve the attraction to the business. So whether you're not confident enough to get out there, when you're passionate about your business, you just can't fall down. You just can speak and speak and speak and talk about it the whole time. And it's so exciting when people see that energy. They just want to be a part of it. And I think that's extremely important to be able to show that. And I'm very passionate about every business that I have.

(18:18):

I'm very passionate about the features that we build because again, it's solving a problem and you can just see the gratitude for that. And that's how you communicate, and that's how you keep being relatable, and lots of people just sticking to you and being loyal.

Stacie Shaw (18:29):

I think I spent my whole career rebelling against the idea of it's not what, it's who you know, because surely it's merit-based. Surely if you build a good enough business, if you do good enough work, then you deserve the work to come your way, and you deserve the revenue to follow, and all that kind of stuff. And the reality is, it's just, everything Am was just saying, it's just not the case.

(18:49):

People have to know about it. You have to spruik your own wares, I suppose, and decide where the investment of funds makes sense. I know I've had conversations with Amreeta about things like, having a booth at a trade show or at a conference or an exhibition. Often that can be expensive, but what is that worth? And not getting too carried up in measuring necessarily the tangible ROI, but I'm not a marketing person by any stretch. Having said that, I've heard that it takes 20, someone needs to have heard a brand name 20 times to recognize it and trust it and be willing to buy from that brand. And so again, it's up for marketing strategists rather than myself to advise on what's best there, but any opportunity, I guess, to put yourself out there.

Carrie Kwan (19:31):

You find yourself actually going into wherever your customers are, right? So you have to be marketing in the channels where they're playing in, or staying in. Facebook seems to be one for so many different groups of customers. And I'm just wondering, where do most of Annature's customers come from? Are they business customers, or are they actually more for... I'm wondering if it's in the personal space use now.

Amreeta Abbott (19:54):

It could be both, because if I have a look at some of the groups that I belong to, it might be something like Xero. So they might have 60, 70,000 people in there talking about different products. And also I think Like Minded Bitches Drinking Wine, which is Jane's one. So they've got 170,000 women talking about solutions for their businesses. And my job is not to be too much of a push product, so I don't want to be in their advertising, I'm there listening. So when someone says, "I need a e-signing," everyone comes to the aid, it's either Annature, or it's Adobe, or it might be this, this, and this and this. And so I'm just watching through those forums.

(20:33):

Every now and then I will post a question just saying, what else would you like to see? What else can we build? What else is hurting your business? But more often than not, it's really just a open forum for them to talk about the pain points and also talk about what they want in a certain product. So I never thought it would be that community that I was building relationships with, inside Facebook, because when I started Facebook in 2012, it was just a post to let my family know where I was living. And all these sorts of other things. But now you have to be in it. You have to be listening because otherwise your competitors are getting one up on you. And everyone else is spruiking or talking about what they love, and the likes of Stacie, is such a great advocate, and if you get more and more of that, you can't beat it. It's just might be 20 people in one road going, Annature, Annature, Annature.

(21:18):

So my response is just to go back there and say, thank you so much for being a part of the NowInfinity team and being loyal to us, but never thought it would be that big. So it does change, and that's the way that you look at marketing. You don't go to print anymore, you have to be in there. You have to be on point every single day. And my phone just beeps every couple of hours with another quote or another person recommending Annature. So it's huge. And most of our... We've done the stats, Google AdWords, and the next one is Facebook.

Stacie Shaw (21:50):

The other thing I'd chuck in there is, I had a conversation with a client the other day who's a restaurant owner. And I said to him, "Are you on..." He's asking me these same questions, again, not as a marketing advisor, but just what else do you think we could be doing? I said, "Are you on LinkedIn?" And he said, "No, why would I be on LinkedIn? It's a business platform and I'm a restaurateur." And I said, "Well, couple of reasons," again, maybe I'm naive about it, but I said, "LinkedIn's fairly dry. So you get on there with..."

(22:14):

He was doing these really cool Instagram Reels of chefs in the kitchen doing cool stuff. And I'm like, "You get in LinkedIn and post something like that, it's going to get clicks, right, because it's interesting and it's different to what's on the platform, number one. Number two, again, yes, it's a business platform, but businesses are not on that platform. Humans are on that platform. So even if I'm the person who runs the PKF page or the Annature page, I'm still a person who eats at restaurants. So still makes sense, even if I'm seeing it when I'm signed in under my business profile, I'm still seeing it. And if I live in the area and I'm looking for a cool new place to take someone to, or host my next corporate lunch even..." Because that's the other thing he was saying, "Oh, we want to be attracting more of the corporate market. How do I get in touch with businesses?" And I said, "Mate, you don't. You get in touch with the humans who work at the businesses, and then they'll tell their events coordinator, or their HR person, or their social team about this new place. And that's how you get yourself out there."

Amreeta Abbott (23:04):

Yeah, I agree with you. It's really surprising how many people are invested in the personal life. So with LinkedIn, yes, I do post a few pages about Annature, but as soon as I post a picture of my photo at an airport, at a restaurant, people are highly invested. Like where is she going? What's she doing? This is where you get the most amount of views. And so you can easily recommend something else or encourage them to go down that path. But people, as you said, Stace, people are people, we're just nosy. We're intrigued. We want to know what's going on, and that's what captivates the audience. And then they want to know a bit more. So how did you do this? How did you do that? Why? So, yeah, I think LinkedIn does have that, but the communication, and I think just the questions is where I'm seeing it on the Facebook forum, just how they interact with each other. That's the clients.

Carrie Kwan (23:50):

Love It. Some great tips. We're doing business with people, absolutely. And now I think the only other pathway I was maybe asking a leading question down, was a personal reason, because I'm obviously a business owner, but I'm also a mom, and I have this school that keeps sending me these documents. And I'm wondering, where is the e-signature? And obviously a lot of them are on Facebook as well. So please, please, please, can you perhaps look into that.

Amreeta Abbott (24:20):

Send them my way. I swear, every time I receive an application or a contract or something like that, if it doesn't have e-signing, I'm straight on the phone. I can't help it going, why am I doing it this way? Why are you doing it that way? So yes, send it all through. I think particularly with COVID, we went through the Electronic Transactions Act change, that allows all these types of documents now can be e-sign. Why are we printing? I don't even have a printer, it just doesn't work for me in my family.

Carrie Kwan (24:46):

I have to go to the school reception and say, "Can you please print out the document for me, that you need me to sign?"

Stacie Shaw (24:51):

Do you know what I've started doing, in a personal sense, I use Annature in reverse. So I have an Annature account, so that if the school sends me a thing, I put it onto an Annature, and it's got this cool function... Here, I'll nerd out about this, so you'll have to stop me. But it's got a cool function where you can receive a copy. So Carrie, if you send me something to sign, I drop it into Annature, I make myself a signer and you a recipient. So I sign it, and then you get emailed from Annature, a copy of the signed document. It's awesome. They've thought of everything.

(25:17):

There's also a cool thing where you can do it so that, before I sign it, in the case of accounting, right, it's from a bookkeeper's point of view. So if I'm sending something to Lucy to sign as the director, but I know that she actually doesn't really know what's going on, and it's Carrie that's going to check it for the detail, but you are not the signatory, I can set it up so that Carrie is the first recipient and it won't route to Lucy to sign until you've opened it, looked at it and closed it. Then it drops through to Lucy to sign, and Lucy knows that you've... She can see in the trail that you've already looked at it and obviously you're happy with it, and then it routes back through to me as the recipient.

Amreeta Abbott (25:48):

Yeah, the workflows are amazing. I think just touching on that, so the likes of McDonald's utilize and Annature for all their new stuff that's coming in, and most of them are minors. So they need their parents' authority, they need to be able to have that. So the consent form that goes through, and as Stacie said, as the mom, then there's the child there, because obviously they need to be informed about that. So there's plenty of workflows, not just a straight e-signing, a little bit more sexier than that. And I think the workflows is one of them, for sure.

Carrie Kwan (26:14):

Amazing. Now let's talk about risk. We've got business advisory, we've got signatory obligations. How does everyone view risk? Are there any processes that you put in place to help you manage that at different stages of the growth of your business?

Amreeta Abbott (26:30):

Yeah, I think this is probably something that's misunderstood. I'm a very aggressive decision maker, and that doesn't mean I'm reckless, but I'm very, very aggressive. And so with that, I'm definitely embracing innovation. I have rapid growth and I don't have any tolerance for failure, things like this and short-term agility. So you have to have it. You have to be strong, you have to be vibrant, you have to really push hard. And that can be, like I said, misunderstood in terms of just being reckless, but it's certainly is not.

(27:00):

So anyone that's out there that's starting a business, one of the ways to succeed is go hard, go aggressively, give it all you got, and I'm sure that you'll actually come out on top. Because as Stacie said before, it's not about who you know, it's about what you're doing. And if you aren't putting your heart and soul into it, if you're not passionate about it, it won't work. So you have to have that aggressive nature towards risk. And again, you still make informed decisions, so you're not actually going to, as I said, recklessly. I still knew that there was competitors. I still knew that e-sign was very infant in Australia. To go to market, I was very aggressive and I still am.

Lucy Kippist (27:35):

Now, a great conversation is not a great conversation unless we touch on values a little bit, which are very important to us here at Mums & Co. We describe it as a pursuit of harmony, which is the coming together of our ambition, our livelihood and wellbeing. Amreeta, I'm going to start with you. If you could please describe what a good... Sorry, describe what the shape of a good life looks like for you.

Amreeta Abbott (27:58):

Yeah, I think this was a really interesting question to read, and I think we definitely have different phases as we go. I'm certainly unapologetic when it comes to my work ethic, and for those times when I didn't come up for air, it is what it is. I think that's what you have to do. Sometime it's simply just needed to keep going, to actually get the success of the business. But then my work persona versus my home persona. If my two boys, I've got two sons, if they were to call me at any given time or ask for help, well, sorry, I'm out of here. I'd be home with them. They're my everything. They're my life. And so I think that as much as that you want it to succeed, and as a single mom, that was paying for their way, let them through boarding school, I've sent them overseas, I've helped them with their homes, I've done all that.

(28:50):

I had to be really hard with my work ethic, but again, I had to be there to actually make sure that they didn't miss their mom. And so very different, very different phases. So I think if, just going back to what you're saying, I think that you guys have got it with the triangle of ambition, how you actually put it together. It may not be balanced at any given time, but it certainly is interchangeable and you just fall back. But the love of your children, the love of your family, nothing beats it really.

Lucy Kippist (29:16):

Irreplaceable. Thank you so much for sharing that. And how about you, Stacie, how would you answer that question?

Amreeta Abbott (29:21):

Yeah, I recently had a 360 review conducted, and some of the feedback that came back to me was, we don't think Stacie has work-life balance because she's sending emails at nine or 10 o'clock at night. And I took that to my other five male partners in our local division and said, "Here's the feedback." One of them said, "Ignore them. Forget about it. Do your thing because it works." And my response to that was, "I hear you, at the same time, I feel like this is a perception that we need to manage because I love my life, I love my job. I don't apologise, like Am said, for my work ethic, but I do want to be careful that people don't have a perception of my life, for something that it's not." And I want to make sure that they understand, in order to be a successful female and mother, you don't have to be seen to be burning the candle at both ends and you're not a superwoman, right? And so I think I'd probably gone too far in managing the perception that people thought I was, and clearly I wasn't.

(30:14):

Number one, I've got a massive support network around me. It takes a village, all of those cliches. They're cliches for a reason, because they're true, right? The second thing though, is that I started being more and more open about the fact that I don't start any earlier than 8:00 a.m. I used to start early, but now I'm stubborn about wanting to go to the gym first thing and then being home to help my kids do breakfast and get dressed and whatever. So no, I can't do any meetings before, ideally 8:30, 9:00, because that's just the way it is. The second thing is, I knock off, almost without fail, at four o'clock every afternoon, so that I can do pick up, bed, bath, homework, that whole routine. And so yes, that means that sometimes I log back on later that night to get stuff done. And no, I'm not chained to my desk, and no, I'm not hating it.

(30:53):

In fact, I love my job and it energises me. And I would prefer to be doing that than watching TV, which is not to say there's anything wrong with TV, but it's just the choice that I'm making for myself. And so in fact, what people think is a lack of work-life balance, is in fact the very definition of a work-life balance for me. And it's a choice that I'm making and it's a choice that I'm enjoying, and it's okay for people to make other choices, but that's the point and the privilege of being able to make a choice. So I think, understanding, having the clarity for myself of what I would like my life to look like, and then being open with other people about how and why that's happening for me, without any kind of, not making it right or wrong or casting any judgement. That's what I aim for, in terms of being able to articulate what that triangle of harmony looks like for me.

Lucy Kippist (31:41):

Wonderful. Thank you for sharing too. So final question from us today, is for you to think about the business owning women in your network, who are unapologetically blending their motherhood with their ambition, and shout out to them now in the podcast.

Amreeta Abbott (31:59):

Well, definitely for me, I'd have to say Stacie Shaw. She's a boss babe-

Stacie Shaw (32:04):

Stop it.

Amreeta Abbott (32:04):

... like there's no tomorrow. Her confidence, the way that she can articulate and deliver her stories, but also how she can take those clients on the journey, I'm in awe. And this is the type of person that you want to be with. You want to actually learn about how she is working every single day, how she looks after the family and so forth. So I'm going to give a big shout out to Stace. That's me.

Lucy Kippist (32:27):

You hear that Stacie? Shout out to you. Beautiful. Thank you. And how about you, Stacie? Who would you like to say hello to?

Stacie Shaw (32:35):

I've had just an absolute array of mentors. Simmone Markey, from Markey Insurance, has been amazing. Lee Priestley has been a mentor my whole career. And I'm going to forget, I should have written them down, but I'm going to sound lazy now or like I'm stealing Am's idea, but my plan was to say, "Amreeta," because I am a bit of a gushing fan girl. And just the grit and determination to stand up, and I think the ability to see a problem, not be intimidated by a Silicon Valley giant, in fact, to say, "I'm coming for you and watch out because you've picked the wrong person to come up against." Watching that in other humans, right, just gives you permission to do the same, I suppose. So yeah, I've got a lot of respect for that.