Suzi Dafnis has grown the Australian Businesswomen's Network (ABN) is a dynamic national organisation supporting women across the country - from city to country and all the towns in between.
So find out what inspires this woman who enables positive change for women who are going out for the fruit at the end of the limbs - even when it's windy!
What do you enjoy about running Australian Businesswomen's Network?
lian Businesswomen’s Network combines my passion for business education and technology.
A self-taught businesswoman, I value the opportunity to make good business education available to other women who are learning what it takes to be successful in business.
The ABN has big focus on training businesswomen’s how to use technology in their small businesses. We also deliver our education using new media (podcasts, videos, webinars) and social media.
Who makes up the Australian Businesswomen's Network team?
Most of our core team of six is based at our Waterloo offices in Sydney.
One team member is based in the USA and we have a number of freelancers that we use on occasion.
The ABN has a focus on internships and training young women in business as part of their studies. The interns, in turn, add to our capacity to deliver what we need to as a business. They make a big contribution.
The ABN could not do what it does without the support of an Advisory Board and the many contributors (bloggers, authors, speakers) that help make up the fabric of our community.
How did Australian Businesswomen's Network come about, what inspired you to
The ABN was started in Victoria in 1990 by a woman caterer looking for ways to network with women. It was much like an association with monthly presentations and keynote speakers.
I became involved in 1995 when I started managing the ABN’s Sydney chapter and purchased the business in 1998. I have run it alongside other businesses since then and love the ability to work closely with inspiring women entrepreneurs.
When in 2007 I sold my then main business (an events business that I’d co-founded 13 years earlier and which had offices in Sydney and the USA) I decided to spend my time working on the Australian Businesswomen's Network.
It was then that I changed the business model and took the ABN online so that we could truly serve women in all parts of Australia.
That move worked well to allow us to build a 20,000 strong national community of women located in cities, rural and country areas and to make education available to them 24/7 without them having to leave their desk.
What do you love about having your own business?
Business is the biggest personal development journey. I enjoy the challenge of creating and co-creating something new, trying it out, changing things when I want. I also like that I can do what I want to do when I want to do it and with whom I want to do it.
It doesn’t always feel like that freedom is mine (as I’m sure other business owners will understand) but the choices I have are there if I want to take them.
What has been the most challenging experience of having your own business?
Balancing working IN and ON the business continues to be a challenge. I get into the detail of the day to day running (as you often need to when you are in a small business) and have to pull myself out of that mode often to look at the big picture and put my energy where it’s really going to make a difference.
Do you find business and financial education a constant requirement for ABN
Ongoing business education is imperative to continued growth. Times change, technology changes, what customers expect changes. So, it’s important to keep up with trends and grow your knowledge.
Each year the focus of what people want to learn about evolves. Four years ago people didn’t know what a blog was or why they should use Facebook. Today most of the demand is for understanding social media. So, we do a lot of social media training.
What would you hope Australian Businesswomen's Network contributes to the
The ABN contributes a community for women to learn and grow and be acknowledged. We strive to empower women to reach their business potential. And, we believe that education, inspiration and access to role models are key to this.
The other element is mentoring so we put a big emphasis on mentors as a key to business success.
Running a national business as successful and dynamic as ABN would take a great deal of energy. How do you
recharge your batteries?
I work long hours. My gym work and training are definitely part of recharging. I train in Crossfit and I run.
I also seek the support of peers and advisors and coaches. Getting objective points of view helps me stay clear in my thinking.
Business is a team sport. And that goes beyond the idea of staff but to who else is on your team. I’m very blessed to have people that see my vision for my work and support that vision.
What are your 5 tips for a businesswoman to achieve her professional goals?
- Education – Work on your weaknesses and stay on top of new knowledge relevant to your business and/or career.
- Inspiration – Seek out role models and learn from their success
- Networking -Stay connected.
- Mentors – Surround yourself with the support of mentors
- Passion – Find meaning in your work. No matter what it is that you’re doing find what it is about it that you can do with joy and self-expression