Dr Elise Bialylew // World Happiness Day with the happiness doctor
Today is International Happiness Day so the perfect opportunity to release a new episode looking a little deeper at seizing the yay. I’m so excited to have Dr Elise Bialylew as our guest for the occasion, a doctor and psychiatrist turned coach, meditation teacher and social entrepreneur AND founder of Mindful in May as well as author of The Happiness Plan. Just a few things on her plate and yet she juggles them so well! Having also considered everything from life as a jazz pianist to running a chocolate making business and from graphic design to documentary filmmaking along the way, she is another reassuring example that the path to yay is NOT linear and that happiness is definitely a journey not a destination.
Just one year out from finishing psychiatry, she made the big jump on her way to yay to go full time on Mindful in May – a global campaign that teaches participants how to meditate through daily video interviews with world leading mindfulness teachers and audio guided meditations. So far the initiative has not only taught over 30,000 people to meditate, it has also raised over $600,000 for Charity Water and in doing so helped over 12,000 people get access to clean water. Her book is also an amazing resource for achieving a lifetime of happiness and I’m so excited to share some of the highlights with you today.
Daniel Flynn // Thankyou, next!
Jane Lu // The Lazy CEO and her LMBDWs
I hope you all enjoyed last week’s double drop of episodes – wish I could release two episodes every week! This week has been a beautiful celebration of women for International Women’s Day 2019 – I’m not sure if just it’s me, but I feel like it’s been the biggest one yet with so many campaigns and outpourings of love going around. So, today I’m celebrating just one of the many incredible women who I am so lucky to have in my life who is doing a particularly amazing job at connecting women in business and supporting their journeys as well as being a hugely successful female CEO and founder herself.
Some of you may now her as The Lazy CEO but her name is Jane Lu and she’s the founder of booming international fashion business, Showpo. You’ll hear all about her going from a corporate accounting career to a failed business to starting Showpo in her parent’s garage and turning it into a multimillion dollar empire (that has hit over $30 million per year) with a string of awards far too many to list that acknowledge their game-changing success.
She’s also founded Like Minded Bitches Drinking Wine (LMBDW) where she was speaking the night before our podcast and has a bit of a cold/hangover as a result, so she asked us to excuse the croaky-ness although I though it was husky. She’s helping women everywhere connect and support each other on their business journey. She’s such an absolute crack up, so I hope you enjoy!
Khanh Ong // Seize the Gay
Back again already, beautiful people! Thought I’d squeeze in a bonus episode this week to celebrate MARDI GRAS, so this is the very first SEIZE THE GAY with my dear friend Khanh Ong. You may have already seen his stellar performance in last year’s season of Masterchef making it to the top 3 with his incredible innovation and culinary flair. But whether or not you watched the show, there are so many more dimensions to this wonderful human and I wanted to share some more of his inspiring and multifaceted story.
Born in an Indonesian refugee camp and emigrating with his Vietnamese family in the 1990s, Khanh has come out of the closet twice, had careers in fashion design, styling and music (DJ-ing for the likes of Justin Bieber) before cooking was even on the cards and even did a stint in London before the age of 20. He is another wonderful example that finding your yay isn’t a straightforward, smooth ride and takes tenacity, resilience and self-exploration. But he’s finally getting there seizing his newfound career in food with both hands recently launching his new venue, The George on Collins with many more exciting projects to come. Like episode 23 with Georgia and Lee, this is a beautiful mix of audio-blowing laughter and the more serious tear-jerking reflections so I hope you enjoy the rollercoaster as much as I did.
Georgia Love and Lee Elliott // The punniest threeYAY chat with the dreamiest duo in town
I am SO excited to share our first couples episode with two of THE best human beings going around. You can probably tell from the snippet that we had an absolute blast, which is always the case where Georgia Love and Lee Elliott are concerned. There are so many wonderful things about these two both separately and together, but one of my favourites for Seize the Yay purposes is that neither of them found their joy in the ever so trendy entrepreneur pathway and in fact both have long-term successful and very happy careers in their respective fields, showing that you can find joy within an industry you love. Another thing I love is that while many of you will know them from the Bachelorette, I didn’t spend much time on that experience (despite it being a beautiful and obviously enduring love story), because they both were already incredibly accomplished BEFORE that and so much of their stories predates the show.
Georgia was not only in TV before the show, but a primetime news anchor before she even turned thirty and well before Batchie and Lee has been a very happy mechanical plumber for 17 years AND his modelling career starting well before then including taking out the Victorian and Tasmanian title in Australia’s Hottest Tradie competition in 2011!!! Plus, they have remained incredibly humble, down to earth and adorably dorky and I am so grateful to have them on the show. I hope you have as many laughs as I did and that this brings you a smile if nothing else! Side note for context – they had been to see Eminem the night before this show – watch out for the RIPPER puns along the way.
Justin Dry // When you mull over a grape idea and you decant be stopped
This episode took a little longer to get to you than usual but, like a fine wine, all good things take time! Today’s guest is an amazing entrepreneur, investor, public speaker, co-founder and CEO of Vinomofo – the legend Justin Dry.
Like many good ideas, Justin started Vinomofo with his brother in law at the time over a shared belief that wine should not be about “bowties and bullshit”. On Christmas Eve 2006, they decided to start a business together which led to several further wine related businesses that ultimately ended up in the creation of Vinomofo in 2011. Vinomofo now operates in Australia, NZ and Singapore where it has grown quickly to over $50m in annual revenue, 500,000 members (or “mofos”), and a team of 100. Their incredible success has been recognised by a host of accolades include Online Retailer of the Year 2015 at the ORIA’s, Telstra Victorian Business of the Year in 2016, and Hottest Aussie Online Retailer in 2018. Justin himself has been Awarded Spotify Young Entrepreneur of the Year at The Australian Startup Awards is a BRW Young Rich Lister and has been named one of the Top 50 People in E-Commerce 2016, 2017 and 2018 by Internet Retailing.
I loved hearing how his love for wine and business have persisted throughout his life and his vision has gone through multiple iterations before he landed at “the one”. Plus, as you’ll hear we had a good cackle, so it was a seriously enjoyable chat and I hope you love it too!
Justine Bloome // The high-flying all rounder on being a business founder, corporate executive and side hustler
For this episode, we’re joined by another intrapreneur but one who also has her own side hustle and can speak to both sides of the yay-type fence. Justine Bloome is an absolute powerhouse and fellow Aussie but now lives in the big apple (as you may hear every now and then in her slightly New York accent) doing incredible things in the world of digital marketing and tech.
She has an incredible CV to her name and is currently right hand woman to Gary Vaynerchuk aka Gary Vee and the first Chief Strategy Officer of VaynerMedia since 2017 (aka dream job). I’m assuming you’ve heard of Gary Vee but if not, he’s an investor in Facebook, Snapchat, Venmo and Uber and CEO of Vayner Media and VaynerX – just come out from the rock you’ve been living under and google him. Prior to that, Justine served as executive vice president, head of strategy innovation at #1 Global Media Network, Carat, from December of 2014. Before her move to the Big Apple, she was a senior brand strategist consultant for The Brand Institute of Australia, head of client strategy for the Victoria region for Nine Entertainment and business strategist at Jack Morton Worldwide, as well as founding and serving as CEO of The Village Agency, “a network of independently successful marketing and communications experts.”
If that weren’t enough, Justine is also the founder, author and publisher of the Mindful Series, and a transformation coach, empowering mindful professionals and wellbeing brands to thrive. Across two decades as a strategist inside frenetic media, advertising and agency environments in Australia, London and New York, she developed her approach to mindfulness and reflection as a means to unlocking her best potential and self. She’s a sought after speaker delivering TED Talks, speaking at Walt Disney’s Media Summit and many more.
Michelle Battersby // From boatsheds to banking to Bumble Australia… meet the Queen of the Aussie Beehive
The first intrapreneur of the year literally landed her dream job two years ago and hasn’t looked back. Michelle Battersby is an amazing example of how you can leave corporate but not necessarily to start your own business (although, technically as you’ll hear, she did kind of start from scratch). Michelle started out as a competitive rower with her heart set on the Olympics but ended up studying Arts and then a Masters in HR once she realised how much she was sacrificing for her training. She entered the workforce with Citibank and spent several years climbing the corporate ladder in banking getting a job at UBS, returning to Citi and then even ending up at PWC.
But, it’s her latest role as Country Lead and Marketing Director of Bumble Australia that changed her life completely when the opportunity landed in her lop just over two years ago. With no former experience but an intuitive belief that this was her opportunity of a lifetime, she quit her job that day and has been building Bumble Australia into the wonderful community it is today. It’s not just a dating app, there’s also Bumble BFF and Bumble Bizz, all based on the premise that the woman makes the first move which is ground breaking in the industry. She’s an absolute HOOT and I’m so happy to have her here on the show to show that dream jobs really do exist!
Eleanor Pendleton // The nitty gritty of founding Gritty Pretty
I flew to Sydney last week to chat with one of the most tenacious, well-rounded and motivating young women, Eleanor Pendleton, and we got along like a house on fire. Eleanor is the founder of Australia’s first dedicated online beauty magazine, Gritty Pretty, known for its pioneering beauty without the bullshit coverage of the industry.
I LOVE her story so much not least because unlike many of us who still don’t really know where we’re heading, Eleanor has always known she wanted to end up in magazines and beauty and wasted no time getting there. She entered the workforce at 19 having landed a job at Cosmopolitan halfway through her qualification, under Sarah Wilson and under the mentorship of Zoe Foster Blake. She then became the youngest beauty editor Australia has seen for FAMOUS magazine when she was just 20 and the moved on to the more global In Style magazine where she found her dream job.
But her insatiable thirst for growth and challenge soon had her itching for more, so she resigned and revived her old blog Gritty Pretty, which is now four years into an incredibly successful journey. So excited to share our chat from the beautiful Freshwater on the Northern beaches.
Nic Davidson // My seriously smart, silly, sport-loving, serial entrepreneur of a fiancé
As for his bio which I’ve had to write many a time, it still astounds me all the things he’s managed to squeeze into his 34 years. I don’t think he gives himself enough credit for most parts of the story, so I’ve tried to weasel some of it out of him. Starting off as a country boy in outer Devonport, Tasmania, Nic’s a serial entrepreneur and often laughs at how he’s never actually had a real job. His first career was as an international athlete which took him all over the world and, as mentioned in Jana’s episode, he was Jana Pittman’s training partner on his own Olympic journey until ongoing injury stopped his career short. On returning to Melbourne, he was poached from his retail job into the night club scene where he really cut his business teeth building Baroq House into its glory days and let me queue jump which is the romantic story of how we met. While there was definitely a lot of partying, he and his team started to develop their own marketing and design skills to take things in-house, which eventually morphed into his current full service digital agency, the Bushy Creative.
His self-teaching and inner dork has gone to such lengths that Nic’s tech skills ventured even as far software development and he’s had two full scale tech spin offs that he talks about in the episode. He’s also got an aerial asset capture business taking photos out of helicopters and that’s all before Matcha Maiden or Matcha Mylkbar were even a dot on the horizon. So sometimes, he’s a very serious tech head businessman but most of the time he’s a serial joker – life is NEVER boring when Nic’s around. He’s the sole reason I was able to leave law for my funtrepreneur life and turned this regimented, conservative lawyer into a crazy adventurer. His abs aren’t bad either, as you’ve probably noticed. This was the hardest episode I’ve done so far as I’m way too close to be objective so hopefully I’ve done him justice! Introducing, Nic Davidson…
Janine Allis // From sailing with the stars to smoothies and startups
She is now the founder of Retail Zoo which is the mother company not only of Boost Juice, but also, as of 2007, Salsas and another business she founded, Cibo Espresso, which has since been acquired in 2012. Retail Zoo turned over just on $2 billion dollars (as of May 2018) with over 630 stores in 15 countries, sales of over $250m per annum and 7000 staff.
Unsurprisingly, she has been recognised as Telstra Business Women of the Year, Amex Retailer of the year, Awarded Exporter of the year and this year BRW named her one of fifteen people that changed the way Australia does business in the last 35 years. She works alongside husband Jeff Allis and is a mother of four. I was lucky enough to speak alongside Janine recently in Fiji at Nurture Her and was captivated by her energy, sense of humour and wisdom. So excited to have her hear today for an express episode that we squeezed in to her crazy schedule to kick start your year and give 2019 a boost!
Jana Pittman // From hurdles to Huggies to her Hippocratic Oath
If Jana didn’t already have you in awe, she is also a Mum of three, author of Just Another Hurdle, motivational speaker and… wait for it… FUTURE DOCTOR currently undergoing her studies in Medicine. She will graduate with several different degrees (likely top of her class the way things are going) and is doing her Masters and Honours in different things at the same time while also undergoing charity work with various organisations including the Australian Cervical Cancer Foundation. Her incredible achievements are too many to list and I can only imagine that her motivation and drive will continue to shine through in her medical career.
Fun fact – Nic was her training partner way back and a groomsman at her wedding and I’m so lucky to have known the absolute powerhouse that is Jana Pittman for quite a few years now!!
Steph Claire Smith & Laura Henshaw // KIC'ing goals (and getting engaged!)
This one's been a little delayed after a technical glitch destroyed our first recording, but the second time around was even bigger and better PLUS conveniently timed after both Steph and Laura's partners proposed!!!!!! If you haven't heard of this dynamic duo, Steph and Laura are passionate advocates for instilling confidence in young women and are helping thousands of girls around the world with their business, Keep It Cleaner, that has a fitness and nutrition app, a delicious grocery range, an inspiring blog and community events throughout the year.
Both starting out as successful international models, Steph and Laura have openly shared their experiences and challenges in the modelling industry, finding body confidence, navigating their relationship with food and building resilience to inspire other young women on their journey. If that weren't enough, Steph also co-owns Soda Shades and Midnight Co as well as continuing her career as a sought after model and brand ambassador for the likes of Bondi Sands, Bras N Things, and more leveraging her 1 million+ followers. Laura is also completing her Law/Business degree (just casually) and has ambassadorships of her own, particularly as face of Jaggad.
Still only in their early 20s, they have both been incredibly smart about their success and also own houses and, as mentioned, are now planning for their weddings! They've also just released their first book, A Girl's Guide to Kicking Goals, which shows how down to earth and real they both are and shares such important messages about confidence, positivity and balance. LOVED chatting with these two so much that we went over an hour and a half, so consider it a little festive bonus!
Elyse Knowles // Campaigns, catwalks, construction and camping… The true blue Aussie model who loves to get her hands dirty
Among a string of impressive achievements in just 26 short years, Elyse is an ambassador for Myer, Seafolly, Aveda, Davidoff and Vital Everyday as well as a charity ambassador for WaterAid. She is also a savvy business woman launching her own fashion label, Evrryday, and she and Josh are continuing as a killer renovation duo having recently moved into their second home after selling their completely transformed Coburg home in November last year.
If you follow Elyse along with nearly a million other people, you’ll know she can do full glamour better than most but prefers to go make up free by the Murray and loves camping, cleaning up the local beaches, motorbikes and her fur babies, Isla and Harlow. To top it all off she has just released her first beautiful book, From Me to You, sharing her story, challenges and top tips on beauty, fashion, health and fitness. So excited to have her here to chat more about the book and how she seizes her yay!
Dany Milham // The ultimate tech-based disruptor saving our time, sleep and koalas
Starting with just a mattress, the vision for Koala was always a furniture brand with tool-less 5 min assembly furniture delivered in 4 hours and they have an exciting, innovative pipeline of furniture products ahead. They are also a social good business in that they adopt koalas for every mattress sold and turtles for every sofa they sell with conservation project around Australia.
While some grow into their entrepreneurial selves, Dany has always had a business brain. Born in laid-back Byron, he swapped the boardies and surf life for computers and tech, finding his love for tech and business as young as 13 years old when he founded his first startup. He has also launched a successful app, his own digital agency, has a computer science degree and was poached by prestigious agency, Ogilvy, before his Koala journey. And this was all by the age of 25!!! What an absolute legend, so excited to have him here to pick his brains!
Danny Kennedy // Fitness, food and flexibility
He’s a certified strength and conditioning coach with a cert ¾ in fitness and diploma in sport and management and is all about flexibility and sustainability when it comes to workouts and nutrition. With a background in many different sports, injury led him to try his hand on stage as a men’s physique athlete which helped him develop his expansive knowledge on healthy weight control, leaning up and building strength. He’s also the trainer for Keep it Cleaner alongside the amazing Steph Claire Smith and Laura Henshaw along with many other big names in the community which is a testament to his talents. So excited to have him on the show to share some of his top tips and how he seizes his yay.
Emma Isaacs // Winging it as a wonderwoman
Emma bought Business Chicks at only 250 members after seven years of running her own successful recruitment company (which followed her dropping out of her business degree as it wasn’t moving fast enough) and has now grown it to its present glory running 100 events annually, publishing a magazine called Latte, and bringing the likes of Kate Hudson, Richard Branson, Seth Goden and Nigella Lawson to her audience. She has also just published her first book, Winging It, documenting the process with a refreshingly honest and practical approach and I’m delighted to have her on the show.
There were a couple of technical glitches but we got there in the end and you can enjoy a bit of typical LA background beats along the way…
Kayla Itsines // Fitness, fame and family first and foremost
Kayla doesn’t really need an introduction having fast become a worldwide household name through her life changing Bikini Body Guides, but just to recap quickly, she is an Adelaide born personal trainer, author and entrepreneur who has educated and encouraged millions of women around the world to improve their health and fitness. Her 28 minute workouts have revolutionised the fitness world, focusing on strength and confidence through both training and recipes. She has also released an incredible meal planning and workout app, Sweat, founded by her fiancé Tobi (also featuring leading trainers Kelsey Wells and Sjana Elise) and at just 26 she has created the world’s biggest female fitness community with over 10 million followers on Instagram and 23 million on Facebook!
Her success has been recognised with many accolades including Time Magazine’s 30 most influential people alongside Kanye West, Cosmo Woman of the Year, and the BRW Young Rich List. More importantly, Kayla is incredibly down to earth and endearingly family focused embracing her Greek heritage and always making time for her relationship, her relatives and her huskies, Ace and Junior. While most of us are well acquainted with Kayla’s work and her online persona, I am SO excited to share a snippet of the beautiful human behind the scenes.
Barney & Kada Miller // Resilience, recovery and redefining happiness
I won’t reveal too much here because the episode covers a lot of the story, but for some quick context Kada’s happy country NSW childhood was shaken with several tragedies of suicide and accidental deaths among her friends leading to a downwards spiral of bad decisions and habits. Barny was a promising young surfer also in country NSW looking to go pro when he was a passenger in a terrible car accident and was told he would never breathe independently or use his legs again. Ever stubborn, Barney refused to be defined by his quadriplegic diagnosis and has since made leaps and bounds in regaining mobility and even become a world champion adaptive surfer.
I’ll let them inspire you with their grit, determination and beautiful love story that followed ending in Barney even standing to dance at their wedding. They also have a documentary, You & Me, and a book, The Essence of You & Me, that I cannot recommend more highly (with a box of tissues nearby) and I’m so excited to have them join us from California where Barney is working with world leaders on his rehab.
Agapi Stassinopoulos // Waking up to the joy of you
She is a powerhouse of wisdom and love and I can’t say this short chat really captures her true essence, sense of humour and energy so consider it a taster that you can find out more about in her latest book, Wake Up to the Joy of You: 52 Meditations and Practices for a Calmer, Happier Life. As even Agapi mentions, to tell the full story would involve a Greek odyssey along the lines of Homer and the Iliad!! Taking a different pathway to her older sister, Arianna left Greece for London to study acting with her heart set on Hollywood. One of my favourite quotes from her is that everything good in her life now is the result of not getting what she thought she wanted.
When her acting career didn’t take off, she began a soul-searching journey leading her to receive her master’s degree in psychology from the University of Santa Monica and go on to become a world-renowned speaker, best-selling author and spiritual leader whose meditations are among my very favourite. She’s even very kindly included a bonus meditation at the end of this episode about finding the joy of you. She is currently conducting workshops for Thrive Global, another company founded by Arianna, to help change the way we work and live. She divides her time between New York and Los Angeles and is one of the most inspiring people I’ve ever met. I’ll include links to all her books, meditations and other resources in the show notes and hopefully this short half an hour gives you some insight into her vibrancy and wisdom.
Tim Robards // Sports, science, screenplays and starting TRM
As a sports chiropractor by trade, Tim has degrees in physics and medical science as well as a masters of Chiropractic. He is also a wellness educator through his program, the Robards Method, which we’ll chat about in the episode and now an ACTOR making his debut on Neighbours as Pierce Greyson earlier this year. If that weren’t enough he’s also moved into producing through Robards Productions, is a pianist, and has a more woo woo side than you might expect. Introducing the multifaceted legend, Mr Tim Robards…
Julie Stevanja // Fashion, fitness and founding an activewear empire
She is the epitome of style, somehow integrating Activewear into street style in a way that very few others could pull off. At that very first speaking gig when I was super nervous, she told me she was a closet introvert and gave me a quick schooling on the psychology of power posing and I’ve never forgotten it. So glad to have her on the podcast to share some of her many other pearls of wisdom. And since the sun was shining on this beautiful day we recorded outside so the birds provide some beautiful ambiance but you’ll have to excuse an airplane or two!
Osher Günsberg // Back, after the break
Starting with the more conventional story, there aren’t many Aussies who have had a more successful TV and radio career starting with Channel V, through to Australian Idol and now Australia’s favourite The Bachelor, The Bachelorette and Bachelor in Paradise. Osher also has an incredible podcast of his own, the Osher Günsberg Podcast, lots of other highly sought after gigs, a family and now of course a book deal.
But what the book has revealed is the tumultuous battle with mental illness and addiction that lies under the effervescent and charismatic demeanour of Osher’s TV persona. From his name change, to rehab, to going plant-based, to becoming a father, it’s a moving and honest memoir that sheds light on the unfortunately still stigmatised issue of mental health and goes a long way to breaking that down. It’s an inspiring example though of how you can find your yay again and I’m so grateful to have had him share so openly and generously in this episode.
It’s a little longer than usual and I could have gone for hours longer, but it’s a ripper with lots of laughs, almost tears, dog woofs and cameo appearances from Nic too. I was so worried about doing his story justice and I hope it’s gone some way to doing that and showing a VERY different perspective of seizing the yay….
Rachael Finch // Body, brains and babies
We met when she was MC at my first major speaking gig a few years ago, so she’s talked me through the newbie jitters more than once. She’s not only more beautiful in real life than in photos or social media, but also the warmest, kindest and humble person despite a hugely successful career under her belt. From Miss Universe to business to motherhood, Rach shares her highs, lows and in betweens candidly and with lots of laughs in between.
With legs starting at my shoulders, she is not only a stunning model but also a TV presenter, qualified PT, health coach, published author, savvy business woman with Bod by Finch Activewear and Body by Finch online health and fitness program to her name, she’s also a mother to two beautiful children – a modern Wonderwoman, right?
Kristina Karlsson // Your dream life starts here
I was lucky enough to meet Kristina in her Melbourne home (although it would have been lovely to visit the one in Sweden) on International Women’s Day for fika (a Swedish coffee and cake break) and she truly lives and breathes her brand in everything she does. She is insatiably curious and the ultimate dreamer, which she has captured in beautiful Swedish style in her new (and first) book, Your Dream Life Starts Here.
Her philosophy on dreaming is fascinating and the book is filled with practical tips, anecdotes from her impressive network and insights from her own inspiring journey behind the scenes of one of our most beloved Aussie brands. She is celebrating the book release with a series of Dream Life Masterclasses too along with Dr Tererai Trent (Oprah’s favourite guest) and an amazing line up. Details shared below in the show notes. Hope you enjoy our chat!
Lisa Messenger // Losing it all and loving it
When I met her a few years ago, I was completely taken aback by her uncensored, down to earth and crazily passionate nature belying the seriously successful CEO that she is on paper. She hasn’t changed one bit and is all the more inspiring for her openness and authenticity. Her latest book, Risk and Resilience, shares in surprising detail the nitty gritty of her rollercoaster closure of the much-loved Collective Magazine and we caught up to chat a bit more about why the biggest loss in her career has turned out to be a blessing in disguise.
If there’s anything I wanted for Seize the Yay, it’s to show some of the less glamorous behind the scenes of finding your “yay” and explore the ups and downs of creating a life you love. Lisa has gotten us off to an amazing start, showing the importance of pivoting, cultivating resilience and finding the silver lining.