Are you doing what you thought you would be doing 10 years ago? If not, what did you think you would be doing?
Not at all!
I imagined myself working as an interior designer in a firm, living in Sydney full time. My interest in building businesses came later, after university, when I began finding myself around incredibly entrepreneurial people for the first time in my life and I just loved it beyond words. It felt like home - it expanded my mind about what was possible.
I remember being about six and making custom-made wallpaper for my friends’ doll houses and trading them for musk sticks, so I guess that drive for creative business has always been there.
I’ve always been creative, but how I expressed it was narrow – as in traditionally creative. I remember being seventeen and my career adviser saying things like “Do you want to be a fashion designer or an artist?” Once I got into the business world, I started looking at business as the ultimate in creating. Business is the ultimate alchemy for me. To create something out of nothing, to have these dreams of a world only you can imagine and see it gradually come into fruition and change the course of peoples’ lives. The possibilities humble me everyday.
I guess the lesson in it, for the next 10 years, is to take the opportunities as they come, say hello to strangers and expand, edit, expand, edit my world constantly. To follow the things that spike my interest and just enjoy the ride as they evolve!
I like the quote ‘Don’t just have a job, have a purpose’ - What do you want your legacy to be?
I was raised believing I am equal to the boys around me and I hope the legacy of the work we do means the same can be true for young girls everywhere.
It might seem like a simple thing, but we can take for granted the enormity of growing up with that mindset.
The SAMANTHA WILLS FOUNDATION is about bringing women in business together – why do you think this is important?
This takes on a new level of importance in the communities we work in. Women making opportunities for themselves through business directly becomes a means to be able to feed their children, to educate their young girls especially and to ultimately have a say in the family unit and broader community. Earning their own money gives them ‘a seat at the table’ in strongly patriarchal communities.
You can sponsor all the children to go to school you like, but until there is an improved level of respect for women in developing communities, the cycle of poverty won’t change. When we support women in business and entrepreneurship, our voices become louder in the home, in the community, in the country, in the world. The ability to earn money means women have a say on how the money is spent, and all the data continues to say that for every $1 a woman earns, 80 cents is invested into the family unit (for a man, it’s just 30 cents invested into the family unit).
Personally for me, bringing women together with role models, like Samantha, makes anything seem possible. When we have access to role models who speak openly about the highs and the lows; suddenly we don’t feel like we’re in it alone. We become fearless. I truly believe we have opportunities in our generation to be progressive and impactful and compassionate like never before; the future is female.