Insights – Women In Finance Summit – Key Takeaway’s

19th November 2023

Posted in: Insights

On 10th November 2023, Tanya Holtham and Donna Bruce attended the inaugural Women in Finance Summit in Sydney.

With an amazing group of entrepreneurs sharing their stories, challenges and keys to thriving in a male dominated industry, below are some of the key takeaways.


Jess Hatzis of Willow & Blake / Frank Body gave the Keynote presentation on Growing a Multi Million Dollar business from nothing.

Despite women representing 33% of business owners in Australia, we still only receive 3% of available funding.

Her key points were:

  • Commit to a big idea- Need to take a leap for something you believe in – optimism is required.
  • People who are late are optimists – they expect a good outcome despite not being on time
  • Challenge of being 100% present – becomes more and more difficult the more we add to our lives
  • Be clear on what we stand for – 71% consumers say they buy from brands that share the same values as them.
  • Authenticity – 88% of consumers say that authenticity is important to them.
  • Power of collaboration- “A rising tide, lifts all boats”.
  • Honest conversations – difficult conversations lead to better outcomes.


The next session included a panel to discuss their take on balancing business and life.

Kim Payne, Louisa Sanghera, Tracey Sofra and Maja Garaca Djurdjevic whared their personal experiences and what helped them to succeed.

The key takeaways

Need to put “me” first

  • If you cant do it alone – ask for help. Collaboration and sharing of information is something that women do so successfully.
  • Learn to say No- prioritise to ensure you focus on the important things in life.
  • Work life balance- no such thing but what is important is “Giving work time and energy you need to but – but still having time for you” – the only way to achieve this is to understand your personal values and make sure you build this into your life choices.
  • Outsource everything you can – Don’t feel like you have to do everything yourself – low value tasks should be outsourced – both at work and in personal life. You might need to pay more – but will give back your time.
  • Don’t let others push you and pressure to a direction you don’t want to go
  • Value chain – everyone has a value they bring to the business
  • Having the right people around you is vital – Know how to ask for help – take off the cape
  • Ask people. What can I do to help you ?  Don’t forget to help others on your way.
  • Prepare your succession plan- what will happen if you get hit by a bus or end up in hospital? Have a document that includes a list that tells someone everything they need to know to run your business. Know what you want to do with your business, have a procedure that you can teach forward to new owner / buyer, have a plan in place!
  • Everyone’s journey and s very different, do your best with what you’ve got
  • Put away the noise, and making decisions under pressure
  • Be vulnerable


The second panel focused on how to support clients from diverse backgrounds.

  • Need to actively listen otherwise you may jump to conclusions – Listen to learn not listen to respond
  • Asking lots of questions – the answers are in lots of questions
  • Connectivity – build a relationship
  • Be aware of different cultures
  • All need to be advocates for each other. Be an ally- ask how can I support you?
  • Diversity Equity Inclusion- take a hard look at ourselves and holding our leaders to account


The final session focused on Self Leadership  and how it can impact on your success in business. Mary Lemonis from REA talked about lessons she had learned from 20 years in executive roles

  • Finding your sweet spot in the middle. Have you thought about what you are great at? At what you love? And what you can make a living from? This comes from the Japanese Ikigai – which also ties in your broader purpose.
  • Problem solving for impact, personal connection and light bulb moments
  • Everyone feels like an imposter sometimes, and that’s ok – Understanding imposter syndrome will help you get out of your own way and overcome your fears.
  • Need to be curious enough, do you know the people around you?
  • Know what floats your boat and others. Feedback is a gift – people need feedback – the good and the not so good but understand how they need to receive it.
  • Be decisive – give yourself a time box so you can make the best decision in that time.  Time how long to make the decision
  • Do I have the right people in the roles
  • Our most profitable lessons are learned from failure, not success.
  • The only thing we can control is our own behaviour
  • Investing in yourself – find what works for you



Authors: Tanya Holtham & Donna Bruce