Role Models for Entrepreneurs
“We all need role models — someone to lead the way, and show us what is possible”
My goal this year is to be the role model that other people were to me. It might sound odd – but I feel so incredibly fortunate to have had so many people contribute to my growth and development… what if I could be that person to others. To show people what is possible when you set your mind to something when you choose to be a great employer – when you are happy to share what you have learned with others? What if in being that role model I could build a community of 100,000s of people around the world all supporting the education and learning to create great businesses that contribute to the well-being of their employees and customers. So yes I am on a mission this year.
Back in 2011, I attended an Entrepreneur Workshop and the words of Avril Henry still resonate with me. She explained that one of the traits of entrepreneurs is that “we are there for the long term.” We do not give up easily – we are fiercely opportunistic and are forever looking at the next success story. Success is in our blood. We are undoubtedly attracted to others who share this trait…
I am not sure I fit the conventional mould when it comes to having “mentors” in my life. I like to think of my role models as inspirational people whom I have drawn wisdom, experience, knowledge, and life purpose from along the way. One could easily argue that it was my parents, who consistently and relentlessly nurtured and supported me.
My mother had a long career in computing; she worked for one of Australia’s great entrepreneurs.
As a young girl, she was a role model to me. My mother spent much of her career as a systems analyst with the business Lyndsey Cattermole founded, Aspect Computing (acquired by KAZ Group in 2003 for $215 million). Mum had said to me when I was at University, “If Lyndsey can do it, you can too.” I guess that’s where my mantra has come from — evolving into “If it is meant to be, it is up to me.”
I am not alone in thinking that Lyndsey is one of Australia’s most successful entrepreneurs. At the age of 25, she had founded her business, the largest Australian software and services company, which went on to become a major force in Australian ICT with 1.300 employees. She remained on as the Managing Director before selling the business — she was a Director until 2004. She has won numerous accolades and awards, including the EY Champion of Entrepreneurship.
My mother was one of Lyndsey’s longest-serving employees and during that time, Mum would ask me along to some of their events. I remember Lyndsey being larger than life and very effervescent — she was always talking loudly and full of enthusiasm. Most of all, she was engaging. She would give me little gems of wisdom such as “study hard, work hard and follow your passions.”
Role models are people that you view from a distance, you learn from, you read what they write, watch them speak, or observe their behavior. They are different than mentors.
I am inspired by more than I can list. People who run big businesses and small. But they all have something in common: they had an original thought, a vision, or a desire to simply do things differently. They share the entrepreneurial spirit I have — and my intention is to be a role model to others, as I have been fortunate to have been led by such wonderfully inspiring entrepreneurs along my journey.
Role Models are not necessarily perfect – but we observe them and learn from them. Often what they write or say answers a question that we have.
You may well be a #RoleModel for others – you are unlikely to realise.
“People around you watch what you do, more than hear what you say. So remember to align your words with your actions.”
I believe what goes around comes around, I have had many role models (and continue to) – and it is indeed my responsibility to be that for others. What about you?