You don’t grow if you don’t know

As a serial entrepreneur, Andrea has successfully created and launched 7 businesses over 17 years. With a passion for encouraging women to become founders, Andrea helped to create the “Inspiring Rare Birds” brand, the SBE brand strategy and continues to advise the SheStarts program at BlueChilli.

Due to her business successes and involvement within the community, she was awarded the NSW Telstra Young Businesswoman of the Year in 2009, the NSW Telstra Small Business of the Year (2009) and has been listed on the BRW Fast 100 list along with numerous other industry and business awards.

However, Andrea’s thirst for adventure doesn’t finish in the boardroom, Andrea has travelled the globe via train, plane, boat, rickshaw and even most recently – motorbike.

Welcome to the Ribit International Women’s Day series of inspiring stories designed to encourage students to ‘Shine & Rise’. In the lead up to March 8 and supporting this year’s theme ‘Balance for Better’ we invited leaders and influencers we admire to share their experiences entering the workforce, building their careers, and the lessons they learnt along the way.

My career has been a squiggly line.  It didn’t start with the end in mind, or a clear vision, but instead an openness to what could be possible.  This gave me numerous opportunities I couldn’t have imagined that fell in and outside of my professional career. From starting businesses in both Australia and Canada to being a fire breather in the opening ceremonies in the Olympics, this openness to what could be possible has given me a lifetime of experience I could have never imagined.  

Over 20 years of building, exiting and growing businesses I recognised there were two things that held me back or pushed me forward.  Fear of failure and lack of worthiness. Fearful of what could or could not be, and whether I was worthy enough to achieve it.

Once those two things were explored and removed I realised the courage, strength and power I had to create something wonderful for the people I work with and serve.

This leadership journey was not smooth – and I’ve learnt many lessons along the way. My number one lesson is that your team are your greatest customers. Treat them better than you would your #1 client and the results will pay dividends.

After hiring hundreds of students over the years, the key traits I always looked for were never based on metrics but ALWAYS lateral skills.

Team sports always ranked highly – it showed discipline, teamwork, focus, drive and “showing up” when cards were down.

Creative thinking was a close second – how can you solve a problem on your own and provide solutions to situations every day.

Strong communication is tenfold.  No matter what role I’ve hired for, whether it be front or back of house in the business, strong communicators always succeed as they can influence, manage and present their needs for success for the team and for themselves.

Confidence, not the fake stuff – but the true stuff.  The way that someone holds themselves when they’re confident shows they are open to learning, curious, and aware – when they know that they can always learn from someone in the room – I’m hooked on getting them into my team.

Open to critique – my personal motto is “you don’t grow if you don’t know”.  This has taken years to be comfortable with but once I became comfortable with feedback – good and bad, I grew quicker, evolved and became a much better leader and business owner. 

Click here to read other inspiring stories in our series celebrating International Women’s Day 2019. is a free to use online marketplace that connects student talent to jobs with growth startups and innovative organisations. With a focus on STEM and entrepreneurship, Ribit is committed to helping students present their ‘best selves’ and gain a successful and rewarding experience to further their careers, while also assisting Australian businesses seeking to transform or innovate find the talent they need to grow.

#balanceforbetter #talentattraction #innovation #STEM #entrepreneurship #growth #futureofwork