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Meet Michelle - What’s in Your Bag? - CEO of Advancing Women in Business and Sport

January 19, 2022 4 min read

Michelle Redfern - CEO of Advancing Women in Business and Sport

If we could choose one word to describe the powerhouse that is Michelle Redfern, it would be electric! 

Michelle brings swathes of generosity and keen insight to every conversation, sprinkled with some colourful language, and ever-present humour. As the Founder of diversity and inclusion practice: Advancing Women in Business and Sport,  Michelle’s mission to fix the systems in workplaces that stop women and underrepresented people from reaching their full potential is inspiring and exceptionally necessary work that resonates with everything She Lion stands for.  

We were so thrilled to have the chance to catch up with Michelle and find out what’s in her business bag of tricks for success and survival. 


How has a regular day for routinely smashing the patriarchy changed during the pandemic? 

I have actually been working remotely for a long time, as I have clients all over the world across many time zones. Ramping up that side of my business and demonstrating the capability and capacity that virtual has, even locally, was an extension of what I already do. Apart from the initial shock of being sent home to work, I helped my corporate clients to realise that they can’t sit around waiting for the pandemic to be over to re-engage about workplace inclusion.

Sport, however, has been very, very badly affected and I‘m only starting to see sporting clients re-engage  (in Q4 of 2021), as they’ve been fighting tooth and nail for survival. 

We have seen women disproportionately affected during Covid. 

The statistics are already alarming. Due to the pandemic as women are downsizing roles and losing jobs at a greater rate than men, on top of having to look after all the things at home as women are traditionally, disproportionately responsible for unpaid labour. 

I’m very lucky that my clients trust me to strategise with them remotely. I don’t think anything replaces face to face but, we are doing the best we can.

You inspire and motivate many people, who motivates and inspires you?

My wonderful wife Rhonda is my live-in business advisor. I'm SO lucky to have access to her brain as she’s completely different to me. She's great at black and white and facts and I'm very creative and emotionally driven. 

“I’m like a kite darting around the sky and she's the gentle string that guides me. I’m so lucky to have a smart person by my side who lives with me.” 

Men certainly inspire me but I overtly overcorrect when it comes to women, I will intentionally buy from women and partner with women.I want it to be “her-story, not his-tory”. If I’m feeling pissed off with the patriarchy I just have to watch  Julia Gillard’s misogyny speech to get the fires burning. 

Other women I admire and follow for inspiration are: 

  • Christine Lagard, the French finance minister - She is extraordinarily smart, interesting and funny
  • Professor Megan Davis - I admire her greatly. She has a powerful way of pushing forward an agenda for  treaty and the Uluru statement that is clever and engaging
  • Marcia Langton -  I love her fire and knowledge and wisdom and unrelenting purpose surrounding  advocacy for aboriginal women.

On a day to day basis… I am amazingly lucky to be surrounded by an incredible collection of strong women. I was brought up with strong female role models and have cultivated this influence throughout my life. 

What’s in your arsenal for business success? 

  • Surround yourself with strong people
    • People who help you to be the best version of yourself, not just people who tell you what you want to hear. You need people to call you on your bullshit. 
  • Every woman needs her advisory board
    • People you trust to fill your cup and inspire you and help you pick yourself up when you need help. 
  • Being generous
    • This is the golden rule and I learned it from my mother. Generosity is my guiding word for 2021. I’ve learned so much about generosity from other businesswomen over the past 5 years, and always try to pay it forward. 
  • Get shit done
    • If it’s not working, get out. You have to listen to that voice in your head that’s telling you it’s not working. You have to stop and assess what it is you're doing and be conscious of your flow.
  • Have good boundaries
    • Learn to say no. You can say no beautifully and authentically and generously too, you don't have to be an asshole. Though that is also an option. 
  • Prioritise fun
    • Life is too short to stay doing things that make you feel shit. 

So quite literally? What’s in your bag Michelle?

I have  The Catalyst Clutch,  The Futurist Tote and two of the wonderful Melbourne made,  Support Local and  Actually, I Can sweaters. I also recently grabbed the gorgeously tailored  Walk Fearlessly blazer and LOVE IT and its hidden empowering message in the seams..

Before She Lion i would always have a bag in a bag, in a bag. Now, I can still do that, but be organised with all the pockets and room for everything I need,

I always carry:

    • Business cards - I meet a lot of people and I want people to remember me
    • “Get Shit Done” notebook and pen - you never know when you’re gonna have that great idea!
    • Phone - We are conjoined we are in a huge relationship. I said I want to be able to work anywhere in the world, for anyone, at any time from my phone and I mean it 
    • A Macbook pro 13 inch
    • Lippy and lip gloss - Usually at least 5 or 6 and a mini makeup bag. I tend to switch it up.
    • A bag holder - I don’t like putting my bag on the filthy floor
    • Hand sanitiser and mask - Of course
Michelle Redfern - What's in your bag?

What exciting news we can sing from the rooftops about for you?

My online digital network for businesswomen,  A Career That Soars is available for only $145 a year. It's a personal leadership and career development resource built around a global community of career-motivated women.

I also co-host a podcast for career-woman looking to advance inside an organization, with Mel Butcher called  Lead to Soar, it’s already in its 4th season! 

You can connect with Michelle on  Linkedin and  Instagram.

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