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Canberra Today 13°/17° | Wednesday, November 29, 2023 | Digital Edition | Crossword & Sudoku

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Meet the women leading the way in business

In this sponsored post, some of Canberra’s successful business women share stories and insights from their areas of expertise.

FROM health to beauty, law to art, Canberra is home to many diverse and experienced businesswomen passionate about sharing their expertise with the community.

This week, “CityNews” speaks with some of these women, who offer stories and insights from their respective fields.


Canberra Podiatry principal podiatrist Michelle Prophet.

Michelle helps others to put their best foot forward

PRINCIPAL podiatrist at Canberra Podiatry Michelle Prophet says she has the expertise and passion for helping others to put their best foot forward.

“My journey began long before I opened my own business in 1997,” she says.

“Prior to that milestone, I worked alongside my father, Stephen Prophet, a renowned orthopedic appliance consultant, and together we crafted orthotics and shoes, laying the foundation for what would become a thriving podiatry practice and eventually inclusive of a physiotherapist, David Kennard.”

Michelle says her business is a hub for all aspects of podiatry and physiotherapy, where she and her team offer a wide range of services.

“My own special interests within the field are biomechanics, with a particular focus on gait and posture analysis, as well as podopediatrics (the assessment of children), sports podiatry, and a dedicated emphasis on dance and ballet,” she says.

“We’re proud to highlight the unique strengths and passions of our dedicated team members.

“Jake, our senior podiatrist, is a true enthusiast in all aspects of podiatry. Mai comes highly recommended for her proficiency in wound care, laser therapy, and providing comprehensive treatments, our remarkable practitioner Mia is our youngest podiatrist, based at our Queanbeyan clinic, and our friendly reception staff Eva at Canberra Podiatry and Chrissie at Qcity Podiatry, are always ready to help.”

Canberra Podiatry, 4 Chifley Place. Call 6281 1200, or visit

M Legal principal lawyers Leia Mathai and Sofia Maniam.

Sofia & Leia, long-term friends in law

M LEGAL is a law firm that specialises in property and immigration law, say principal lawyers Sofia Maniam and Leia Mathai.

“We began in 2018, and have jointly 40 years of legal experience from corporate, government and private law firms,” they say.

“Being women in business is empowering because you have the ability to create a business from the beginning upwards.

“Also you have to wear multiple hats, which makes for quick thinking.

“It also means being brave, because to take the leap of faith and go out on your own requires a tolerance, to risk, and optimism, that you will succeed.”

Sofia and Leia say they run a client-friendly firm, and know that clients can’t always commit to a 9-5 office hours schedule.

“This business gives us autonomy, and we get to grow a firm that we are proud of based on our strong values,” they say.

“This business gives us flexibility and enables us to spend quality time with our families, which keeps us grounded, and in our view, makes us better advisers.

“We set up a business with each other as long time friends, and have had a good experience, we complement each other.”

M Legal, Suite 29, Level 3/490 Northbourne Avenue, Dickson. Call 1300 709920, or visit


Rebecca offers a caring approach to pain

Arthritis ACT CEO Rebecca Davey.

ARTHRITIS, Pain Support & ME/CFS ACT has been supporting the community since the mid 70s, says CEO Rebecca Davey.

“Women bring a unique lens to business,” she says.

“Ours is a caring organisation – we are about supporting our clients both physically and emotionally.

“This means we adopt this ethos in all areas of the business.

“For women looking at starting a business, I’d tell them to be themselves.

“Women offer a different way of viewing the world and relating to their clients, so be true to yourself in all things that you do.”

Rebecca says Arthritis ACT is more than an allied health service, and it’s more than an information service.

“We work with individuals to help them personally deal with their pain and fatigue on a holistic basis,” she says.

“We offer a wide range of practical and emotional supports to people living with persistent pain and debilitating fatigue of any source.

“This includes occupational therapy, physiotherapy, exercise physiology, art therapy and counselling.

“Pain and fatigue affect every part of us, social, emotional, spiritual and physical, and our service considers all these aspects of an individual’s life in helping them plan a way to find a way forward

“People deserve the help they need, no one should have to battle persistent pain or debilitating fatigue alone.”

Arthritis ACT, Pain Support & ME/CFS ACT, 170 Haydon Drive, Bruce. Call 1800 011041 or visit


Raffy drives hard make a positive impact

Winner… Raffy Sgori with her Trade Services Champion trophy.

CAR Mechanical Services (CMS) has been operating since 2008, with a goal to provide top-notch automotive services while promoting sustainability, inclusivity and community involvement, says CEO Raffy Sgroi.

“To be a woman in business means breaking barriers, shattering stereotypes and proving that gender is no limit to success,” she says.

“To be a woman in a leadership role in the automotive industry is to challenge conventions, drive innovation and be a trailblazer in a traditionally male-dominated field.”

Raffy’s advice to any other women looking to start their own business is to believe in their own vision.

“Persevere through challenges and never underestimate your abilities,” she says.

“Surround yourself with a supportive network, seek mentorship and be unafraid to take risks.”

What sets CMS apart, Raffy says, is the unwavering commitment to creating a profit-for-purpose enterprise.

“We’re not just here to generate profits, we’re here to make a positive impact on our community and the world,” she says.

“We work tirelessly to leave a legacy of positive change.

“We want to see more young females exploring this career option and breaking stereotypes.

“It’s our vision for a business that’s not just successful but meaningful, where every action is driven by a desire to do good and contribute to a better future for all.”

Car Mechanical Services, Unit 2, 82 Kalgoorlie Crescent, Fisher. Call 6162 4111, or visit

Re-seal Bathrooms director Tania McIntosh.

Tania’s one-stop-shop for bathroom solutions

LAUNCHING her business 16 years ago, director of Re-seal Bathrooms Tania McIntosh says it marked the beginning of her journey in professional growth.

“Seeking continuous improvement, I achieved a diploma in business management, significantly enhancing my skills and knowledge,” she says.

“Re-seal Bathrooms specialises in comprehensive bathroom solutions.

“From essential maintenance tasks like re-grouting and tile replacement, to complete bathroom renovations.

“Recognising a notable gap in the market, I identified a unique opportunity to offer a one-stop-shop that could do it all.

“We recognise that not all bathroom issues necessitate complete renovations, and simple resealing won’t suffice for every shower. Thus, we provide honest guidance and free assessment to tailor our approach, ensuring cost effective and enduring results.”

Tania says she promotes diversity and wellbeing in her workplace and community by embracing inclusivity and fairness.

“My workforce reflects a variety of backgrounds, and I provide ongoing diversity training,” she says.

“I prioritise employee wellbeing and offer flexible work options.

“I also believe in being there for my employees beyond work issues, offering sound advice and a listening ear when they need it.”

Re-seal Bathrooms, 3/80 Newcastle Street, Fyshwick. Call 6176 0026, or visit

KJB Law’s estate planning special counsel Kerstin Glomb.

Kerstin enlightens people on legal options

TAKING the first step in estate planning is often an enlightening experience, with many people being surprised to find out what they’re actually worth, says KJB Law’s estate planning special counsel Kerstin Glomb.

“I have clients who believe they do not own much, but when we walk through their financial circumstances during our initial meeting – which includes discussing superannuation and life insurance – they are surprised to find out the value of their wealth and what they have to organise, so it’s distributed to the person/s of their choice,” she says.

“To address wills and estate planning is for most people an uncomfortable topic, and they put it in the ‘too hard basket’. However, I find people feel a lot of relief to have started the process.”

Although it can be uncomfortable, Kerstin says estate planning is something everyone should think about, and KJB Law takes pride in helping ease the burden, make clients comfortable, and run smoothly.

“I guide my clients through different options on how they may structure their documents, and what they should address, so they can take charge and protect themselves and their loved ones,” says Kerstin.

“It’s about working out who the right people are to look after their affairs, and structuring their documents to reflect their wishes and concerns.

“There’s nothing better than hearing clients say they’re happy to have their documents in place, they’re comfortable and, most importantly, they understand what they’ve signed.”

KJB Law, Ground Floor, 10 Corinna Street, Woden. Call 6281 0999 or visit

Virginia Ransom… “Good service and happy clients are of primary importance to me and my business, and many have also become friends.”

Virginia offers inspiration to create beautiful spaces

VIRGINIA Ransom, owner of That Beautiful Shop in Moss Vale, started her business in 2016 offering pre-loved furniture, décor and upholstery.

“I love classic and timeless interiors, and I gradually included custom Australian-made sofas, armchairs and bedheads together with window treatments,” she says.

With a background as a fashion designer, Virginia says her love of beauty, colour and fabrics is an important element in her styling.

“The famous painter, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, said ‘there are quite enough unpleasant things in life without the need to manufacture more’,” she says.

“My primary focus is to work with my clients to further develop their own style of decorating in their home environment.

“I like to incorporate the use of colour and favourite items, then restore and re-upholster existing furniture if needed, as well as include new items to freshen and update their home.

And, Virginia says, of course, comfort is always a key element.

“Your home should be an environment that gives you a sense of belonging and reflects and inspires your life,” she says.

“Our role is to help you to create beautiful spaces with quality furnishings.

“Our suppliers and makers share our priorities of quality workmanship and timely delivery.”

Virginia says she has now added original art in her shop, her own as well as from other artists.

“It’s some years since I painted regularly, and it was time to get back into the studio,” she says.

“There is a shortage of art in the Moss Vale retail area, and I see it as an obvious progression to showcase beautiful, affordable Australian art and sculptures with my furniture settings in the shop.

“Galleries internationally are finally realising the importance of showing art with furniture instead of hanging pieces in otherwise empty rooms. After all, art needs to sit comfortably with the furnishings in the room, whether home or office.

“Fine art can complete a room and turn it into that special place called ‘my home’, a place of physical and emotional comfort, imbued with a sense of peace and belonging, something which has never been as important as now.”

Virginia says she has helped clients in Canberra, Parkes, Wagga Wagga, the Gold Coast and as far away as Melbourne.

“Good service and happy clients are of primary importance to me and my business, and many have also become friends.”

That Beautiful Shop, 406 Argyle Street, Moss Vale. Call 4868 1234, or email

Wombat Cards and Gifts owner Monica Rolls.

Monica celebrates all things Australian

STARTED as a small market stall selling homemade greeting cards, Wombat Cards and Gifts has grown into a shop that celebrates all things Australian, says owner Monica Rolls.

“I’ve had a passion for Australia, its people, landscape and animals since I was a young girl living on a farm,” she says.

“I’ve now been able to turn that passion into a business.

“But if you have a dream, follow it before you turn 70, you’ll have more energy.”

Monica says as a small, family business it’s sometimes hard to stand-out, but she’s proud of her family and her own hard work.

“I just wanted to be a successful small business owner, and I had to learn not to be afraid to make big changes,” she says.

“Now, after Floriade and the Murrumbateman Field Day, we are getting a lot of compliments on our range of stock, and people who are passionate about everything Australian.

“We have quite a varied range too, lots of things that would make perfect gifts for anyone in the family.

“There’s always something unique to be found.”

Wombat Cards and Gifts, shop 2, 31/35 Nettlefold Street, Belconnen. Call 0423 786222, or visit

Declutr director Alison Abernethy. Photo: Tracy Lee

Alison helps to make a lasting difference

DECLUTR began in 2016 when director Alison Abernethy realised people need a whole lot more than just a home organiser.

“I give people the mental and emotional space to live their lives,” she says.

“I think women have a lot to offer, we bring a different perspective. I have both men and women on my team, and I find women interact with clients differently.”

Alison says her advice to women who might be looking at starting their own business, is to just go for it.

“Don’t spend hours agonising over it, just try it and you’ll be surprised,” she says.

“I declutter people’s lives with a different perspective, I work with my clients to realise clutter is always a symptom of something else.

“Lots of my clients have had some sort of tragedy in their life, and things get out of control, so I come in to help and offer both mentoring and coaching once the clutter is gone, to address the underlying issues.

“I love the fact that I can go and see a client, and at the end of the two hour session I know I’ve made a difference in their life.”

Alison says she works with lots of people who are socially isolated too.

“So, knowing someone comes in regularly to make a difference in their life is very uplifting, I get a lot of joy out of knowing I make a difference.”

Declutr. Call 0412 299359, or visit

Renovation Matters operations manager Amy Gannon, left, with owner Kim Persson.

Kim loves transforming and renovating property

KIM Persson has been working in the renovation industry since July 2015.

“My business, Renovation Matters, opened in December 2021 to help customers maximise their sales results when selling, or help upgrade their homes to their choice and lifestyle if they are wanting to stay,” she says.

“I love property, I always have and I get the biggest kick out of the amazing transformations we do, seeing our before and afters.

“I also enjoy the gratification of happy and satisfied clients. If anything is not completed to a customer’s satisfaction I will help adjust and change it until they are happy.”

Kim says she finds being a woman in business invigorating, challenging, educational and very rewarding.

“It’s wonderful to meet so many people in all the areas of business, including customers, suppliers, co-workers, business partners, networking groups and support staff,” she says.

“I have been fortunate enough to find great tradesmen and women who take pride in their work and do a fabulous job for me and my clients.

“I encourage other women who are looking at starting a business to follow their passion. Don’t expect it to be a walk in the park, running a small business is challenging in many ways, however also very rewarding.

“Seek help when required, and try to get a good balance of work and free time.”

Renovation Matters. Call 0427 696662, or visit

Wxomen with Cents, Natasha Janssens

Natasha helps women fix their money relationship

WOMEN With Cents was started in 2016 by Natasha Janssens, as a financial education platform for women.

“The focus now is less on financial literacy, and more on the psychology behind money and spending,” she says.

“I grew up in eastern Europe, in what was Yugoslavia, and came to Australia by myself at 18.

“I had to figure out everything to do with money on my own.

“I became an accountant, but I decided I wanted to do something to help people manage their money better, so I then became a financial adviser and mortgage broker.”

When Natasha was pregnant and joined in mothers groups, she says she realised how male-dominated finances were.

“My mothers’ group started a Facebook to discuss our money and questions, and we’d meet up in person, too,” she says.

“I even wrote a book, ‘Wonder Woman’s Guide To Money’, but I realised something was still missing, so I became a behavioural money coach.

“People don’t talk about the money they earn because they fear judgement.

“Childhood trauma can often impact the money-related decisions we make as adults, because women are taught to put others first, always.

“We all know how to budget, it’s not a lack of knowledge.

“So, now I help women realise what shapes their relationship with money, so they can learn and become more confident.”

Women With Cents, visit

Total Body Contouring’s Christy Christensen, right, and Chloe.

Christy builds body confidence without surgery

TOTAL Body Contouring has been established in Canberra for a few years now, but new-owner Christy Christensen only recently took over.

“The community and customer base around the brand appealed to me, as we have so much to offer for the next phase of growth and service offerings,” she says, with 15 years of experience backing her up.

“Total Body Contouring is a place to redefine your silhouette. We help people achieve their goals from reducing cellulite and fatty tissue, assisting with muscle growth, through to lymphatic drainage, and facials that reduce acne scars.”

Christy says Total Body Contouring is about building body confidence without surgery.

“We give a personalised experience and journey, everyone is different,” she says.

“First, we set up a consultation to make sure you get the right specialisation for your needs and wants.

“With industry certification for all our services, your safety comes first.

“We give full transparency to everyone so there are no hidden extras or inflated prices.”

Christy says as a team, satisfaction comes from the results achieved through the Total Body Contouring services.

“But, most of all, it’s the smile on our clients’ faces when they see the results for themselves,” she says.

Total Body Contouring, Shop 3/22 Franklin Street, Griffith. Call 6239 7347, or visit

Anna Neilan, left, and Lucy Stramandinoli of Neilan Stramandinoli Family Law.

Anna & Lucy, directors who love the law

LUCY Stramandinoli and Anna Neilan are the all-female directors of boutique family law firm Neilan Stramandinoli Family Law.

“We each bring with us over 20 years’ experience working in family law,” they say.

“We know from being mothers and directors of a busy law firm that it is hard juggling a work/life balance, raising family while also working in the stressful and complicated area of family law.”

Lucy says she studied law while raising her young children.

“That was so much hard work,” says Lucy.

“Having two daughters myself, it is important for me to set an example for them.”

Anna’s children were little when she and Lucy set up the firm.

“We have known each other for over 20 years having worked in opposing firms and together,” says Anna.

“We support each other and share the same values and work ethic.”

In relation to setting up the firm in 2017, Lucy says it was a lot of hard work starting from scratch.

“But choosing the right business partner who shares the same goals and morals as you do makes the load a lot easier,” says Lucy,

“It has also meant that we could create a work environment and choose staff who share our goals and morals, which makes for a very happy, productive and meaningful place to work.”

Anna and Lucy say that it is important to support women lawyers coming up in the profession.

“We had strong role models and mentors and it is important to support our staff as they develop from being young lawyers to more senior lawyers,” says Anna, “it’s about finding your tribe.”

Neilan Stramandinoli Family Law, Suite 2, Ground Floor, 11 London Circuit, Civic. Call 6152 0493, or visit

Stephanie’s Boutique Lingerie owner, Fil Barilaro, in her store at the Manuka Arcade.

Stephanie’s Boutique – elevating comfort & confidence

IN the heart of Manuka, ACT, there exists a hidden gem that has been transforming the lives of locals one undergarment at a time. Stephanie’s Underwear Boutique stands as a beacon of comfort, quality, and confidence in the realm of intimate apparel.

With a keen focus on perfect fitting underwear and personalised bra fitting services, Stephanie’s store has earned its reputation as a haven for those seeking comfort without compromising style.

The importance of perfectly fitting underwear cannot be overstated. Ill-fitting undergarments can lead to discomfort, posture issues, and even skin irritation. Stephanie’s meticulous attention to detail, with Fil’s 30 years experience in bra fitting, ensures that every customer leaves with undergarments that not only fit flawlessly but also enhance their natural contours. The result? A level of comfort and ease that allows individuals to carry themselves with confidence, knowing that they are supported in all the right places.

One of Stephanie’s Boutique greatest achievements is their unparalleled expertise in bra fitting. Unlike the one-size-fits-all approach often seen in mass-market stores, the team at Stephanie’s takes the time to understand each customer’s unique body shape and size. The personalised fitting services ensure that every woman leaves with a bra that provides the perfect blend of support, comfort, and style. This attention to detail sets Stephanie’s Boutique apart, as it caters to the individual needs of each customer, promoting not only physical comfort but also a boost in self-assurance.

Beyond the physical benefits, Stephanie’s

Boutique also offers an extensive range of high-quality, carefully curated brands. From luxurious lace to everyday essentials, the store boasts an array of options that cater to various tastes and lifestyles.

Stephanie’s Boutique is more than just a store; it’s a testament to the power of personalised care in the realm of intimate apparel. In a world where comfort and confidence go hand in hand, Stephanie’s expertly curated selection and fitting services have become a cornerstone destination for beautiful women across ACT. For those seeking the perfect fit and a boost in self-assurance, Stephanie’s Boutiques the destination of choice.

Stephanie’s Boutique Lingerie, Manuka Arcade, Manuka. Call 6295 0469 or visit

Switched On Cycles owner Simone Annis.

Simone aims to get people on to e-bikes

SWITCHED On Cycles was started in 2008 by Simone Annis, with the aim of bringing good quality, but affordable, e-bikes to Canberra and getting more people out of their cars and riding more often.

“We design, sell, repair and service e-bikes, and we can also turn your existing bike into an e-bike using our retrofit kits,” she says.

“I want to make a difference to people’s lives, my experience is that cycling makes me happier and healthier, and when I can empower others to do the same it makes me happy.

“I want to make a difference, however small, to global warming and facilitate others to do so. I do this by helping people overcome barriers such as health, age, finances and distance, all of which stop people riding a normal bike.”

Simone says being a woman in business is an advantage in the cycling industry where traditionally – and still – very few women work.

“Owners of bike shops and their staff are often from a sports cycling background and are usually young men,” she says.

“I have an understanding of the barriers faced by women when it comes to cycling, from making a purchasing decision which meets their needs, to maintaining a bike or using a bike to commute.

“My advice for other women is to do things in a way that works for them, and don’t be scared of asking others for help.”

Switched On Cycles. Call 6262 6234, or visit

Wanda Wojciechowska, left, and daughter Aimee of WW Accounting.

Wanda & Aimee, accountants to be counted on

WANDA Wojciechowska and her daughter Aimee manage a small accounting business in Red Hill, WW Accounting.

Wanda started WW Accounting in 2013, but says she has been in the industry for more than 20 years.

“Aimee has stuck with me in the job for almost eight years now,” she says.

“She’s amazing, a great support, and family is always number one.

“When I started accounting, I had a family and young kids and sometimes it was hard, but then when the kids and I grew older, I found the courage to start my own business, I felt like it was hard because I was a woman.”

Wanda says at the time, accounting was a male-dominant industry, but here she was, a woman determined not to let anything talk her out of her ultimate goal of owning and running her own business.

“It turned out to be the best decision I have ever made,” she says.

“After some time, I was able to find a work-life balance that suited me well.

“I highly recommend any woman out there, of any age, who may share the same dreams and goals to go ahead and pursue them, you never know just how rewarding it can be.”

Wanda says she branched out on her own because she found, in previous jobs, the clients weren’t receiving the personal service they deserved.

“My meetings with clients are a friendly get together. It’s like doing a puzzle to get them out of a sticky situation, and my clients leave smiling and satisfied,” she says.

WW Accounting. Call 0400 083938 or visit

Cercis Property owner Jane Yang.

Jane embraces the opportunity to help others

STARTED in 2019, Cercis Property is a real estate agency offering property sales and property management services, says property consultant Jane Yang.

“I have the opportunity to help others achieve their dreams of home ownership, the adventure of closing deals, the challenge of navigating a dynamic market, and the fulfillment that comes from using skills to create a positive impact in my community and the lives of my clients,” she says.

“Being a woman in business means harnessing unique perspectives and strengths to lead, innovate, and drive positive economic growth.

“Our commitment is to empower women through a family-like environment that champions difference and innovation, fostering unique perspectives that drive business success.”

Jane’s advice to other women looking to start a business, is to find a niche market and act to drive change.

“Women in real estate or practically any other industry bring a unique blend of empathy, market tuition, and a nurturing approach to client relations,” she says.

Cercis Property, Shop 121/27 Eastlake Parade, Kingston, or Shop 19/77 Northbourne Avenue, Turner. Call 0401 539788, or visit

Bethany Freeman-Chandler, left, and Gail Freeman.

Gail & Bethany, offer wide-ranging services

GAIL Freeman and Co is a family business, a firm of chartered accountants that specialise in taxation, superannuation and financial planning, says director Gail Freeman.

“I first started the business in 1987,” she says.

“My daughter, Bethany Freeman-Chandler is a senior accountant at the firm, and helps to make up a team of amazing people.

“Being able to work together as a mother-and-daughter team is really special.”

Gail specialises in tax and superannuation, she says, and Bethany focuses on accounting and computer programs.

“We have different strengths, so we can help a wider variety of people,” says Gail.

“I love what I do, every day, and I find working with a team who are really special makes life so much easier.

“The work is ever changing and I’m always learning, and both of those things work for me.”

Gail Freeman and Co, 9/71 Leichhardt Street, Kingston. Call 6295 2844, or visit

Julie Tongs… “I’m not your generic CEO. I’ve had a chequered life, and I’m a little bit left of field.”  Photo: Holly Treadaway

Julie’s leading the way in indigenous health care

WINNUNGA Nimmityjah is an Aboriginal community controlled health service, says CEO Julie Tongs, and there are 144 Aboriginal community controlled health services nationally.

Julie has been the CEO of Winnunga for 25 years, and says her vision has always been for Winnunga to be a leader in the provision of primary health care.

“Winnunga is a leader in providing comprehensive primary health care and is pivotal to the overall health system in the ACT and surrounding NSW region,” she says. “Winnunga clients come from 324 suburbs.

“In the 21/22 financial year Winnunga provided 92,000 occasions of care to 8295 clients.”

Julie says this included COVID-19 vaccinations, testing clinics, telephone consults, walk-in services to GPs, as well as psychologists, psychiatrists, podiatrist, optometry, physiotherapy, dieticians, drug and alcohol help and mental health nurses.

“In 2019, just before COVID-19 lockdown, Winnunga commenced a large-scale building project, which was quite challenging,” says Julie.

“However, we were able to deliver a brand new $20 million fit-for-purpose building, which was funded by the ACT government, Commonwealth government and Winnunga.

“The building is outstanding.”

Clients come from all walks of life, Tongs says.

“They come to us because they feel safe here and not judged.”

Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health and Community Services, 63 Boolimba Crescent, Narrabundah. Call 6284 6222 or visit


Helen supports parents with neurodiverse children

MayDay ADHD Coaching owner Helen Day.

MAYDAY ADHD Coaching supports Canberrans who emotionally struggle to parent their children with ADHD to find joy in raising their family, says life coach and owner Helen Day.

“We officially opened on May Day 2022 and currently offer three services to build the mindset, knowledge and skills for parents with neurodiverse children,” she says.

“I have two sons with ADHD, and when my eldest was diagnosed at six-years-old, I was struggling – not only with how to support him but also with how to support myself.

“Being a woman in business means being flexible, having passion and making a difference.”

Helen says not everything will work out, so try something different.

“Do something you love, you are going to be spending a lot of time doing it, and believe that you are changing the world, it will keep you going on the hard days,” she says.

“As far as I’m aware, I am the only person providing this sort of support in Canberra, and the results talk for themselves.

“One mum who went through the Mindset course, whom I met in my office in tears because she was overwhelmed with her daughter’s needs, has now found the mental space that she needed, and regained her confidence, well-being and peace.

“Her teen, with Skills coaching, is not in a tailspin over studying for her exams, is doing her homework, and gets assignments done mostly on time.”

MayDay ADHD Coaching. Call 0405 637930, or visit

H2O Skin + Body owner Lauren Scifleet.

Lauren keeps up-to-date with innovative treatments

H2O SKIN + BODY owner Lauren Scifleet says the business has recently downsized to become more of a wellness studio.

“I decided to make the change during the pandemic, to become more results driven,” she says.

“Now we are specialising in HIFU, which is a non-surgical face lift that uses your body’s natural collagen, and skin treatments.

Having first established the business in 2012, Lauren says H2O has come a long way.

“We are looking forward to celebrating our 11th birthday very soon,” she says.

“What’s helped us stay running for such a long time is that fact that we’re honest, I think, and that we are always seeking new, up-to-date information for treatments.

“I have been in the beauty industry for 20 years, being trained all around the world, so I’m always looking for innovative approaches to treatment.”

Lauren says lately she’s been feeling pretty honoured, too.

“Amidst the current financial hardship, a number of salons have reached out to me,” she says.

“It has been really nice to mentor them through some rough patches, and we all stay in our lanes to help further empower one another.”

H2O SKIN + BODY. Call 6295 7072, or visit

NatureArt Lab owner Julia Landford.

Julia takes a ‘creative difference’ to people’s lives

JULIA Landford established her business, NatureArt Lab, in 2017.

“NatureArt Lab is a unique, purpose-led arts and environmental education business that, over the past seven years, has made a significant difference to many people’s lives,” she says.

“We are contributing to environmental sustainability, building communities and championing health through our connections with nature and creativity.”

Julia says, as a “nature lover, artist and environmentalist”, she’s honoured to have NatureArt Lab win the 2024 Telstra Best of Business Award (ACT) for Building Communities.

“We now have a talented team of around 30 artists teaching a range of high-quality art and photography courses, all inspired by nature,” she says.

“We have created communities that are local, national and international to nurture creative connections with nature.

“I am particularly proud to be a woman in business, because I can work with like-minded businesses in our region to help make a difference.

“I’m also passionate about environmental sustainability and ensuring that all businesses in the Canberra region are thinking about how their business can minimise its impact on the environment and biodiversity loss.”

NatureArt Lab, 21 Blaxland Crescent, Griffith. Call 0414 342839, or visit

Marrawuy Journeys founder Sarah Richards.

Sarah’s healing journey through art

MARRAWUY Journeys is a rich tapestry of contemporary Aboriginal storytelling through art, says founder Sarah Richards, who was named Indigenous Businesswoman of the Year 2023.

“Marrawuy means red kangaroo in the language of my country, the Ngiyampaa language,” she says.

“The red kangaroo was the totem of my ancestor, Richard King, and because the kangaroo is uniquely unable to leap backwards, it is a potent metaphor for resilient and forward momentum.

Sarah has always painted, but says she paused her art while she studied for an accounting degree.

“A bad break-up made me re-evaluate where I seek my happiness, and that was through art,” she says.

“I moved to Canberra from the Gold Coast in 2012, and I made peace with the absence of traditional stories in my knowledge pool, because my great grandmother was part of the stolen generation.

“It’s been challenging to navigate full-time work, parenting, study and health, so to be named Indigenous Businesswoman of the Year 2023 was overwhelming, but it’s recognition of my hard work, and lets me share my story.”

Last year, Sarah chose to invest in her own business full-time.

“It is scary being in charge of your own payslip, but freeing as well,” she says.

“Aboriginal people can be, and are, successful business people. My advice is my favourite quote, ‘I’m not sure how, but I will’, so trust in your own abilities.”

Sarah says there is a workforce mental health crisis for Australians.

“My aim is to help to heal the country,” she says.

“Through Marrawuy Journeys, I create opportunities for others to embark on their own healing journeys, through the power of art.”

Marrawuy Journeys. Call 0421 418638, or visit

Charlie & Chums owner Sandy Borgo.

Sandy’s ‘happy’ store has more to discover

CHARLIE & Chums’ owner Sandy Borgo says there’s plenty to discover in her store.

“We’ve got garden accessories, ponchos, a new range of umbrellas, mugs and new handbag hooks that are decorated with blue wrens, dragonflies or cockatoos.”

She says the store has added even more to its range of practical accessories and decorative pet-themed gifts.

“We’ve got a lot of dog bowls that are square and rectangle-shaped for water and food, which makes it easier for the bowls to sit up against a wall and they come in three colours,” she says.

“We’ve got some cheese boards and knives, picnic items, wine coasters and there’s plenty more stock coming soon.

“There’s toys for cats and dogs, pet hair brushes and brooms, bookmarks, bags, painted mugs, figurines, sculptures, leashes, collars and much more.”

Sandy says the store is also now better set out, with dedicated sections for garden, wall art, pet supplies, giftware and more.

“People tell me that the store makes them feel happy. I have people who can come in and spend an hour just looking around.”

Charlie & Chums, Tuggeranong South.Point. Call 0402 097580 or visit

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