My life in a minute: Istanbul, amazing women, and la dolce vita in Rome

MLIAM 14 JUne 2013 HERO

I’ll admit, it’s been an extraordinary couple of weeks. My life is not usually like this. If it was, I think I’d have cardiac arrest from sensory overload.

I was fortunate enough to attend the Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network Conference in Istanbul, Turkey. Amazing. More on that in a future post!

It was wonderful to connect with female entrepreneurs from around the globe – including our wonderful homegrown ones as well. Here I am with Cathie Reid (APHS Packaging), Tina Tower (Begin Bright) and Catriona Pollard (CP Communications and also presenter of the seminar “PR and Media Releases that Get Results” at the Australian Writers’ Centre.)

L-R: Valerie Khoo, Cathie Reid, Tina Tower, Catriona Pollard at cocktails at the Esma Sultan Mansion

I had never been to Istanbul before so it was wonderful to discover a new city.

An oasis in the middle of the Bosphorus, Istanbul

A visit to Turkey is not complete with some whirling dervishes

I discovered these gorgeous kittens in a fishing village and had to resist the temptation to bring then home!

Baby kittens in a fishing village near Istanbul

Then a few days in Rome with my fabulous friend Nicole, where we visited what seemed to be every ancient monument in existence, ate ridiculous amount of pasta and then shopped, shopped and shopped.… Read more ...

Australia named second best country in the world to be a female entrepreneur

Female Entrepreneurs in Australia HERO

It seems that female entrepreneurs living in Australia are in a pretty good position. Last week, Australia was named the second best country in the world to be a female entrepreneur, according to the new Gender-GEDI Index launched by the Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network at its annual conference in Istanbul, Turkey.

This result even surprised the researchers.

Australia has been named the second best country in the world to be a female entrepreneur, according to a new global index.

The Gender-GEDI Index compares key metrics from 17 countries, measuring everything from business environment and ecosystems to the attitudes and social norms likely to impact entrepreneurship. It has a particular focus on “high potential women” who are “innovative, market expanding and export-oriented”.

The study by the US-based Global Entrepreneurship and Development Institute, was launched Tuesday by the Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network (DWEN) at its annual conference in Istanbul, Turkey.

Ruta Aidis, the institute’s project director, said she was “surprised that Australia did so well, coming ahead of countries like France and Germany.”

You can read more of this article in… Read more ...

The Changing Face of PR: The Rise and Rise of Blogger Relations

The Changing Face of PR The Rise and Rise of Blogger Relations HERO

L–R: Networx Brisbane MC Cat Matson; and my fellow panellists Natalie Birt, yours truly and my co-founder in Michelle Palmer (© James Sybille, Photography

Last week, I was on a panel at a Networx Brisbane on “The Changing Face of PR: The Rise and Rise of Blogger Relations”. I’ve been heavily immersed in the blogosphere for years now and it’s been fascinating seeing this industry evolve, particularly over the past couple of years.

The reality is that it’s evolving very quickly and some bloggers are becoming powerful media channels in their own right. Some are only at the start of this journey, while others have created businesses for themselves out of their blog. So it wasn’t surprising that the organiser of the event, Iceberg Events, had to turn people away as the function booked out!

I could talk about blogging all day!

We also filmed this video on the tips you should consider when working with bloggers:


The video was prepared by Ride Free Media

 … Read more ...

Should I feel offended, amused or guilty?

Should I feel offended amused or guilty POST
This week I got invited to an event for women over 50. Specifically, the website for this event states:

2013 is going to be your year for change!! Discover how women over 50 escape the rat race and turn dreams into new careers and business!

At first, I wasn't sure whether to feel: (a) offended that the person sending me the invitation (a woman) thought I looked over 50. I'm about a decade off. (b) bemused that the event organiser thought it would be a good idea to use this language (c) totally guilty that I felt (a). After all, what's wrong with being over 50 right?

It's kind of like going up to a woman who is not pregnant, glancing at her stomach and then asking her: "How exciting! When are you due?"

What I did in a fit of new year delusion

VK Boxing - Fri 18 January 2013
Some of you know that around 1 January last year, I decided to write a book. That became Power Stories: The 8 stories you MUST tell to build an epic business. This year, for something completely different (and in a fit of new year delusion), I decided to wanted to train in kickboxing with a national champion. Yes, you read that correctly. It's safe to say that when you meet me for the first time, chances are that you won't immediately think "cage fighting machine" or even "kickboxing demon". Even I can't quite explain the attraction to this activity. But possibly the names of my pets provide some hints to my penchant … Kitty Rocky secured his name because he came into my life the year Rocky Balboa (the sixth in the series) was released, and little doggie Rambo was named the year Rambo (fourth in the series) hit the big screens. But kickboxing? Perhaps the heatwave that was passing through the Yarra Valley around the new year touched my brain (in all the wrong ways) as I'm still not entirely sure what possessed me … But somehow I found myself placing a call with the aforementioned champ and, before I knew it, I was booked into a session with her (yes, her). I've had several one-on-one sessions with the trainer now – set against a visually appropriate backdrop of a well-used fighting ring in a tin shed that sometimes feels like its 30 degrees – and the conversations have gone something like this:

The perils of business travel … and why I have skin like J-Lo

Perils of business travel POST
Disaster! Flew back to Sydney without ANY of my make up and had to buy all of it again ... the upside? I am now glowing like J-Lo.

Why I’m not a domestic goddess

Why I'm not a domestic goddess FEATURE
I am never going to be freaking Martha Stewart or any other kind of domestic goddess. But have you seen what I can do with a steak? Sets the world on fire.

See you in Melbourne! I’m speaking at the Women as Entrepreneurs event

Women as Entrepreneurs event FEATURE
I'm speaking at the Women as Entrepreneurs event in Melbourne on 4 September. Looking forward to seeing you there.

Startup life – the highs, lows and an entrepreneur’s $2.7 million education

Startup life Enterprise 2 August 2012 FEATURE
Starting your own business is rarely easy and comes with highs and lows and many lessons learned. I spoke with Rebekah Campbell of to find out what her entrepreneurial journey has taught her.

I wanted to become a mummy blogger – then I remembered I don’t have kids

mummybloggers FEATURE 2
It's true - mummy bloggers are on the rise and deservedly so. But you can still be an influencer in your own online community, whether you have kids or not.