This week I had the pleasure to interview our speaker Caitlin Iles, what a true mover and shaker!
Cait as always was open, articulate and passionate! happy light reading.
What inspired you to focus on supporting women entrepreneurs?
I have to admit that initially, it was less inspiration & a lot more professional responsibility in my role as a Venture Capitalist. As a Venture Capitalist, the primary objective of your role should be to minimise risk & maximise return to investors. My research continued to highlight that female founder’s (on average) delivered higher:
- Returns on investment (35%)
- Revenue (12%)
- Company valuations (64%)
They are statistics that any serious investor can’t & shouldn’t ignore. As a result, investing in women became a strategic focus & interest for me.
Of course, passion soon overcame that statistics & the business case, when I recognised that there was all this exceptional talent out there, that was going to waste. Currently the global population & the planet we inhabit, are facing some significant challenges, we need to be focussing on unlocking human potential & investing in the problem solvers that can make a positive impact & deliver measurable results. The statistics all show that if we want to change the world, we need to invest in women. So, I suppose I’ve become obsessed because I’m deeply passionate about & committed to creating a better world. One woman, one community at a time, I believe we can create a better world for everyone.
Ohhh & as a serial female entrepreneur, who has spent her life working in male dominated environments, I know how damn hard it can be to break through & succeed. I didn’t want others to face some of the challenges I had to.
Why did Richard Branson ask you to join him on his island?
My trip to Necker Island (Sir Richard Branson’s home) really highlights how important it is to have crazy, wild & completely out there goals. I have wanted to meet Richard ever since I told my Dad at the start of Year 12 that “I couldn’t read or write, that despite a private school education, I was virtually illiterate & my teacher thought that I was dyslexic”. Instead of scolding me, Dad turned to me & said “If Richard Branson (who like me is dyslexic) can do it, so can you”.
Those words change my life & have served as my mantra to get through tough times & achieve what has seemed impossible at times. I never knew how I would meet Richard, I just knew I would find a way. Instead, a way found me.
Each year, Richard invites a range of maverick business leaders to the island to discuss ways in which we can tackle some of the world’s greatest challenges. Somehow an invitation was extended to me. While the initial invitation didn’t come from Richard, he has again made a HUGE & life changing impact on my life. He is the one who encouraged me to side step from VC & return to my roots as an entrepreneur to create a disruptive education business that will focus on unlocking & investing in underutilised talent.
How did you get involved working with our past PM Hon Julia Gillard?
My exposure to our first Female Prime Minister, the Honourable Julia Gillard, highlights just how important it is to volunteer & get involved with community organisations. I had the privilege of supporting the committee of what is now the YoungAustralia-Israel Chamber of Commerce. The organisation hosts exceptional events with a range of the world’s best leaders & it is here that I was given the honour to meet & spend time with our former Prime Minister. I loved every minute of it.
We look forward to hearing more from Cait July 19th @ Digital Women’s Network event! Please let me know if you have any juicy questions you would like to ask at our next event or questions in general about female entrepreneurs and what Cait is currently working on!
Come and meet Caitlin Iles for yourself and hear all about smashing the glass ceiling, enjoy a nibble, glass of wine and good mingle! limited tickets available.
M: +61(0)466 619 631
“Your smile is your logo, your personality your business card and how you leave people feeling after they dealt with you becomes your trademark”.. Angela Mellak