It was back in 2005 when I first heard the Maureen Frank story. She had just released her first best selling book, You Go Girlfriend, aimed at inspiring women to believe that they can achieve in the business world even when there are some major obstacles. She was guest-speaking at the hugely popular Qld Business Women’s luncheon alongside my friend Rebecca Sparrow. Two Style Counsel Women of Great Style on the podium together!
Recognised as one of Australia’s top business women, Maureen is a single mother with beautiful twin 10 year old daughters – one with a disability. She has received public acknowledgment for her business skills in winning a Telstra Business Woman of Year Award in 2004, being named a BRW ‘Rising Star’ in 2005 and being noted as a finalist in 2005 in the Australian Institute of Management Excellence Awards. Creator of Australia’s biggest mentoring success story, My Mentor, undertaken by over 7000 women nationally, Maureen is now turning her passion for helping women into the ultimate knock-out web portal. To be launched in stages over the coming months www.womensvillage.com aims to make the personal and professional lives of Australian women easier, more enjoyable and way more successful. Add all this to her vibrant personality, (not to mention great hair and gorgeous features!) drive and determination to make the world a better place, and it’s clear to see why Maureen should be Style Counsel’s first Woman of Great Style interview for 2011!
Maureen’s exciting new project – Women’s Village
Women’s Village aims to make the personal and professional lives of Australian women easier, more enjoyable and way more successful. The web portal will feature over twenty expert columnists (one of which will be yours truly as The Style Expert!) covering women’s issues, personal development, career and learning, health, finance, relationships, home and lifestyle, parenting, and making a difference. You will have the ability to access expert articles, find ideas and suggestions and participate in forum discussions. As Women’s Village will harness the power of the internet to reach and help so many women, I asked Maureen if she herself embraces Social Networking. “Well it’s interesting, I have to say that secretly I am quite the technophobe — but I am trying! In fact I am quite determined to get better at technology because I think it is the way of the future. So yes I have learnt to Tweet and I have a Facebook account and I’m really quite into LinkedIn – go figure! I’m sure I was voted the one least likely to understand a computer at some stage in my life!”
Maureen really loves people who have a positive outlook on life… “You know, people who just, no matter what is going down in their world – somehow can always see the good in what is going on”. Therefore, it stands to reason that when asked what she dislikes, her answer would be “those with a negative outlook on life. I just can’t stand people who moan and whine – it drives me up the wall! I like people who are solutions orientated and although they see the problems, they are constantly looking for ways around them”. She also says her other pet-hate is “people who are late. I came from a family where being on time was part of our religion almost! So when I am running late my palms start to sweat and I get extremely anxious. But on the flip-side when someone else is late I also find it rather rude.”
Maureen is truly passionate about her belief that with some quick skills and tactics, women who feel that they lack confidence can build their confidence muscles quickly and start to see the results (something which is in perfect alignment with how Style Counsel helps clients. See? Told you this woman has true style). She says “I think what makes a person truly stylish is the way they hold their head up high, smile and show the world that they have an inner glow and inner confidence”.
When I grow up I want to be...”Australia’s version of Oprah!” But in five years time, interestingly she would see herself doing exactly what she is doing now, except making an even bigger difference in the world for women in Australia. “How blessed am I? I guess I am living my dream!” When asked what she is most afraid of, Maureen says she considers herself to be a fairly brave person, admitting that she can’t really think of anything specific that she would be so afraid of that she could start to see a solution. That said, she does also admit to “not being big on creepy crawlies like rats, snakes and crawling insects!”
Maureen wants to be remembered “first of all as a fantastic mum to my beautiful two girls [twins who are now nearly 10 years old] but also I would love to be remembered for making even just a small difference in the world for women. What I want my children to know is that as their mother, I did the best I could with the resources I had. And that as long as you really try your best — that is success. My mum and dad always taught me to never ever give up, and I think I have got to be one of the most persistent people in the world!”
A few more interesting facts about Maureen
- “I won our high school beauty pageant! I’m even embarrassed now that I went in it!”
- “My favourite drink is water, which I know that sounds absolutely boring , but I have to say that there is nothing quite like a cool, refreshing glass of water on a really hot day! And I know that water is so good for you – so I try really hard to have as much as I possibly can.”
- “My biggest weakness is ice cream! I just love ice cream!”
- “I think Alison’s next ‘Person of Great Style’ interview should be with Julia Gillard — because I have a sneaking suspicion that she’s had a little bit of assistance from a stylist as well!”
Editor’s Note: I can’t guarantee that Julia will speak to me as openly/honestly as the lovely Maureen and the many other celebs I’ve interviewed over the last year – if she’ll even agree to be interviewed at all! I have quite strong personal and professional views on her style which may also be a factor, but I will try! …Watch this space! One thing’s for sure though – I will be getting up close and personal in Maureen’s Wardrobe in 2011! Just wait until you see what stylish combos the two of us come up with together! More on that little wardrobe adventure coming soon to Womensvillage.com!