What kind of work do you do/business do you run?
I am in the international conventions and events industry and have been for 30 years. In my spare time I am also a stress management practitioner and mindfulness meditation teacher and am looking to develop (and monetise) my practice in this field.
What do you love about it?
What I love about the events business is that I have created experiential events, conferences and incentive travel programs for clients in all walks of life, across the globe in the most amazing settings. I have traveled the world with my work and have met many inspiring people from a multitude of different cultures.
What I love about mindfulness meditation is how much good it can do for us in today’s stressful world.
What’s your ‘why’ in life? What drives you?
Still looking for my why…
My passion is animals and supporting animal advocacy and rescue.
Why are you a member of the Vegan Women’s Leadership Network?
I am looking to move into working for or starting a vegan business, therefore guidance, advice and mentorship from vegan women business leaders will be invaluable. Also sharing my skills and experience to assist other vegan business leaders.
What’s been the biggest highlight or ‘wow’ moment of your career/business/professional life?
That’s hard to narrow down to one moment. I think a great professional achievement and absolute “wow” event, was a month-long launch program for a corporate client which showcased their product to international press and key stakeholders in wild and untamed locations in Montana, USA.
This involved extremely complex logistics with back to back groups of participants experiencing the dramatic program elements in the spectacular scenery and venues of Montana and the Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming.
How do you handle failures, fear and disappointment?
For failures and disappointments, I pick myself up, brush myself off and start again. For fear – that’s another story. I fully admit that most of what I haven’t reached for (as opposed to what I have achieved) is due to fear of failure.
What would you tell your 16-year-old self?
Go vegan now! Go for your dreams! Don’t hesitate to go with your gut instinct. Do what you love, travel, meditate, stand up for what’s right and don’t be afraid to speak out
Which women inspire you and why?
My mother – for her intelligence, character and forthrightness, for all that she has endured, all that she has achieved, for encouraging us in everything we do and for loving us all deeply and unconditionally.
Lyn White, Animals Australia – because she has grace and dignity and yet still manages to achieve so much to protect and defend animals. I love her, she is my inspiration to face my fears in order to stand up for animals and give them a voice.
Pam Ahern of Edgar’s Mission for her warmth and compassion towards animals.
Of course, Greta Thunberg – how could you not love this beautiful young person – and why? Because she is fearless fearless fearless at standing up for what is right!
What’s been the biggest obstacle you’ve faced and how has it helped mould who you are now?
Suffering form extreme stress and anxiety which culminated in a near breakdown and medical intervention. This led me to Buddhism and mindfulness meditation, which has given me the tools and strategies that I use today to give me the resilience to get me through life’s ups and downs.
What’s your super-power? What are you amazing at?
Encouraging and empowering others.
What brings you joy?
Animals and my family.
How do you define success, and how will you know when you’ve achieved it?
Success is happiness in what you do for a living. I know I will have achieved it when I look forward to my work each day and I am finally in a job that aligns completely with my values.
What’s your vision for yourself and your business/career for the future?
Working in a vegan business or starting one for myself.
Anything else you want to tell us?
Looking forward to getting to know all the inspiring women leaders who I am about to meet through VWLN.
Louise Harrison is an event management professional. She started her career in the UK, before moving to Los Angeles, where she continued to deliver high-profile events in the USA and internationally. She moved to Australia in 2004, where her job is to attract major international conventions to Brisbane.