High achievers and pure vulnerability rarely go hand in hand. But with the super-charged Emma Isaacs, the CEO of Australia’s largest networking forum Business Chicks the mould was clearly broken. And hooray for that. Over the years I have worked closely with Em, it has been like watching a snowball. Momentum and mass combined with speed. I have been to stacks of her Business Chicks breakfasts with globally-recognised speakers like Candace Bushnell and Arianna Huffington and, despite her hectic schedule. she even obliged my humble request to pen the foreword to my first self-published book Well Spun: Big PR and Social Media Ideas for Small Business.
Not even pushing the magical 40-mark yet, Emma is a serial entrepreneur who tasted success earlier than most. She was running Staff It for eight years as a Managing Director, which under her watch was Australia’s Favourite Recruiter for three consecutive years, as well as taking out the competition for the 2005 Small Business of the Year in the Westpac Business Awards. She is a finalist in the 2014 Telstra Business Women’s Awards too.
She has a husband, three little girls under 5 (and baby # 4 due next year) and a full life outside her business, which she openly shares in her personal blog and with those she meets on a daily basis. There may be no crystal ball when it comes to finding good fortune and a knowing when career or business success will rain down or be whisked away. But I trust if there was a road map, the gorgeous Emma Isaacs would be pioneering the journey with her easy warmth and grounded sense of purpose.
The Little Things Interview
Describe yourself in one word: Restless
When do you work best – morning, afternoon or night?
Mornings, but only after coffee. I used to be great at night but since having kids I find that I rarely last past 9pm!
What is your personal passion outside work?
I’ve always been someone who is naturally curious about the study of success and also helping others. I’m a keen property investor, and philanthropist – having personally donated over $300,000 to various causes over the past five years.
Exercise-wise, do you prefer to sweat, stretch or strengthen your body?
Exercise is something that I don’t make a lot of time for at the moment, which bugs me as I love it. Growing up I was very competitive. I played every sport you can think of and some at quite a high-level – so I instinctively would say I like to sweat it out. But these days any time to relax and stretch my body is an absolute indulgence. My wellbeing treat at the moment is a fortnightly massage at home to help me unwind.
How do you define success? Having time. And having the resources to do anything you want.
What does it for you most? Seeing my family happy and seeing our clients and members happy. Creating experiences for people that push them outside of their comfort zones and challenge their way of thinking.
What’s your secret weapon to getting things done? My secret is outsourcing everything. I don’t do housework and I get great people around me in my business and in my home that enjoy working with us, and can handle the pace! I’ve tried every conceivable make-up of help at home from live-in au pairs through to daycare and full-time nannies and when it works, life is great. It frees me up from nine to five to focus on my work and motivate my team by driving the Business Chicks culture.
Best communicator you know – living or deceased – and why? Brené Brown spoke for Business Chicks last year. Her message is all about being vulnerable and I think that’s a message that all business leaders can learn from.
Your favourite quote: “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You’re playing small does not serve the world.” by Marianne Williamson
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