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  • Writer's pictureSally A Illingworth

You Are Greater Than You Think

Having grown up in a family with 4 sisters and my beautiful mother, I’ve always been relatively accustomed to the experience of being surrounded by strong women. We were raised to believe in ourselves and strive for our best. Gender was never considered a limitation for us. I left home at the age of 15 and that was when things really started to change and I was exposed to an entirely new reality.

Throughout my career I’ve learned that, as Sheryl Sandberg once said, “We as women tend to systematically underestimate ourselves”.  I personally believe that this is common for us, as women, for many reasons. Some of these reasons are in our direct control and others are not, but ultimately what we have the power to do is control how we respond to any given scenario both personally and professionally.

Despite growing up alongside strong, independent women I’ve witnessed first hand just how much confidence we can lack as women – particularly in the business landscape. I’ve consistently worked in environments that are male dominated and there’s usually a lack of female representation. Just the other week, I was at a mastermind event with inspiring and accomplished founders; women only represented about 12% of the group.

When I first joined SBE, it felt almost ‘unusual’ to be in environments where women were so commonplace! At the beginning, it took some adjusting to do. But what has been most powerful since joining the SBE community is truly learning that when women come together, we have the capacity to elevate our thinking and our confidence in powerful ways. Usually, it isn’t capability that is a challenge – and I think this is really important for us to acknowledge!

Shortly after joining SBE, I took on the role of facilitating the Sydney E3 female evolve program – slightly nervous but completely excited, I committed to learning the content and delivering to the best of my capability. From the minute the program started, I became absolutely in awe with the woman founders I had the opportunity to work alongside for the duration of the program.

In line with the program structure, each week the women founders would pitch on a particular element of their overall business and, without fail, every week I was empowered and impressed by their continual growth. Without realizing it, they incidentally taught me so much and, for that, I am incredibly grateful.

Having started my first business at the age of 18, I know first hand how alone and uncertain you can feel. Surrounding myself with the best support networks has been vital to my continual growth and I am so proud to now be a part of the SBE community where I have the opportunity to support Australia’s up and coming women-led businesses.

I wanted to especially thank the women who completed our E3 female evolve program in Sydney recently for inspiring me and allowing me to become a part of their journey. You are greater than you think.

And I wanted to spark this conversation with ambitious women who are maybe feeling a little uncertain or a little nervous upon their entrepreneurial journey. Know that you have the capability to build something great with the right approach and an impeccable mindset.


Sally Illingworth


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