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Featured Member: Rebecca Ettridge, founder, Wombat Cafe & Store

What kind of work do you do/business do you run?

I have Wombat Café & Store, the Mornington Peninsula’s first 100% vegan café, in Victoria, Australia, founded in 2016. I also run a private farm animal sanctuary Plumfield Farm.

What do you love about it?

Overseeing my business remotely allows me the opportunity to spend my days with animals and live in a remote location.

What’s your ‘why’ in life? What drives you?

Everything I do is driven by a strong desire to create positive change, advocating for animals and the environment.

Why are you a member of the Vegan Women’s Leadership Network?

I’m a fan of the founder Katrina Fox and I wanted to step up and expand my advocacy and network of likeminded individuals.

What’s been the biggest highlight or ‘wow’ moment of your career/business/professional life?

When Wombat’s takings hit the $2-million-dollar mark and my staff grew to 16. I was like, ‘Wow! This business is having far more of an impact than I ever expected.”

How do you handle failures, fear and disappointment?

Pretty well. Usually I have a rant then calm down and look at the silver lining. There is almost always a silver lining!

What would you tell your 16-year-old self?

Stop wagging school! Make the most of the opportunity to study.

Which women inspire you and why?

Pam Ahern of Edgar’s Mission, Patty Marks of Animal Liberation Victoria, my great grandmother Nan Preston and my Mum. Their compassion, bravery and intelligence. Their willingness to take a risk. I love risk takers.

What’s been the biggest obstacle you’ve faced and how has it helped mould who you are now?

Going against the advice of so many, in making Wombat Cafe 100% vegan from day one. Staying true to my values was the best decision I ever made and it made me trust myself.

What’s your super-power? What are you amazing at?

Gathering incredible people around me. I have staff that have been with me since day one almost four years ago. More than a team, we are family. Wombat’s workplace culture is the thing I am most proud of. It’s a really special environment to work in.

What brings you joy?

Food! Books! My five dogs (although they also bring me the most stress!) and 100 other animals. My family, my farm and my café.

How do you define success, and how will you know when you’ve achieved it?

Success is having a good work/life balance and having time to do the things important to you. I think I’m pretty lucky in achieving that.

What’s your vision for yourself and your business/career for the future?

Continuing involvement with our local CFA and Landcare groups.

Starting to write after completing my degree last year.

More public speaking and assisting other ethical businesses.

I have my eye on a country shop that would make a great second Wombat Café and I’d like to establish a retreat business on our farm.

Some days I’d like to do nothing except hang out in the paddock with the horses and run around with the dogs!

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