Connecting, Learning & Growing with Georgia Lane, Founder of Women of Influence
Connecting, Learning & Growing with Georgia Lane, Founder of Women of Influence
Felicity Cohen: Hello, I’m Felicity Cohen.
I’m so excited to introduce you to my Wellness Warriors Podcast. For over 20 years, I’ve been a passionate advocate for helping thousands of Australians find solutions to treating obesity and health related complications through surgical intervention and holistic managed care.
My podcast is dedicated to all the people past, present, and future who have helped shape my journey and continue to inspire me to work consistently to achieve a healthier Australia in both adults and future generations. I hope you enjoy it.
Today, I’m very excited to introduce you to Georgia Lane. Georgia is the founder and president of Women of Influence. And I first became connected with Georgia because WeightLoss Solutions Australia sponsored one of her events just recently. And I was so impressed with the whole Women of Influence message teaching women how to connect, and to grow through their connection as women on a platform that’s fascinating to see this style of interaction with women locally. So that was one of the reasons why I decided to bring Georgia on today. And I’d like to start by just saying, “Hello. Welcome. Thank you so much for joining me here today.”
Georgia Lane: Thank you.
Felicity Cohen: So, first of all, in your professional career, what are the, some of the things that have led you towards growing the Women of Influence concept?
Georgia Lane: Oh, interesting. Many years ago, so Women of Influence has been running for 15 years now. There were a group of ladies and myself in the financial services industry on the Gold Coast. And the Gold Coast is a very spread out, there’s no CBD as such, it’s a very spread out area. And unlike, I guess, the big cities like Sydney, Melbourne, or Brisbane, there’s not a lot of, there weren’t back then, a lot of events that were connecting business women. So we decided to get together and put on some professional events. And now these days, where are our event coming up in a couple of weeks time, we’ll sell out at probably 300 guests.
Felicity Cohen: I had no idea that had been running for 15 years. That’s actually incredible. And the growth has been amazing.
Georgia Lane: Thank you.
Felicity Cohen: So let’s just cast you back to your career, working in the financial services industry and as a, in a marketing professional role, what are some of the things that you learnt, or you have learnt over the years that you’ve kind of taken from that and implemented into how you’ve grown, the concept of Women of Influence.
Georgia Lane: Sure. My background is marketing, initially in telecommunications and I.T. but then financial services for the last few decades. One of the things I’ve learned and love about marketing is, is communication and connecting. So that’s pretty much what I guess, Women of Influence is all about. Our mantra is “connect, learn and grow”.
And I love finding, a great speaker or somebody who’s quite topical and can share something valuable with our audience and then putting that out there and letting people know what we’ll be sharing with them, what they’ll learn and bringing in people along to the events. But also at the events, I love that people connect and meet other people who are likeminded.
So I guess that all goes in the whole, you know, marketing communication and connection program and my background.
Felicity Cohen: Do you think that women entrepreneurs and those in business here on the Gold Coast or in general, were they previously disconnected or didn’t have an opportunity to engage? Was it specific to women that you picked up on that?
What were some of the things that you found were struggles for them and women in business?
Georgia Lane: It was, it was that we didn’t have any business events as such where women could get together. It was non-threatening, it wasn’t a salesy environment. It was purely just meeting other likeminded women. It wasn’t, you know, while many of our guests and committee members are mums, it wasn’t about that.
It’s about our careers. It’s about growing as people, it’s individuals, about challenging ourselves and learning and motivating each other. And there just wasn’t anything like that. You know, men had golf and a lot of sportsman’s lunches and things like that.
And 15 years ago, women didn’t have anything. There’s a lot more these days, but there’s plenty of room for all of us.
Felicity Cohen: Definitely. What are some of the struggles that you see that women have if they’re solo entrepreneurs or running businesses, or just trying to find that whole work life balance?
There’s a lot of challenges that I think women face. What are some of the challenges that you felt you faced over the years that you’ve also kind of brought in to your whole concept around Women of Influence?
Georgia Lane: I think it’s, we tend to, you know, have such a huge mental load. We tend to be multitasking so much and you know, there’s that old saying and that movie, “I don’t know how she does it”.
It is true. You know, sometimes we do tend to overload us ourselves a little bit. And when we get to that point, when we’re giving so much to other people, it’s good to stop and just take stock or perhaps even just go and talk to another woman and say, “You know, how are you coping?”, “How are you going?”.
And it’s, it’s nice. It’s kind of nice to see that other women are going through the same struggles. But also, you know, to support each other and say, you know, “take a breath, look after yourself as well”, here’s how I did it. They’re all the things that we tend to do at Women of Influence is sharing stories and, and support for each other.
Felicity Cohen: I think that support is really critical in business finding, not just mentorship, but also other likeminded people to connect with. So tell me a little bit about the mantra of the “connect, learn, grow”, and how did those three pillars come together for you?
Georgia Lane: And so they’ve changed over the years. Not a great deal, but we used to, for example, we used to use “networking” as, as one of our words. And we don’t do that anymore. We’ve changed it now to “connect” instead of “network”. And that was one of the things that we’ve found that people coming to our events really, really love is that sure, we always make sure that we have a fantastic speaker and somebody that they can learn from, which is part of the mantra as well.
And that by learning, we’re then growing, which is another part of our mantra, but it was the “connects” that people keep talking about. The fact that they can come to our events and meet someone like, you know, we’ve connected through the events and yeah. And now we, we can talk to each other. We can pick up the phone and have a conversation about whatever you’re doing in your life at the moment.
And I think that’s just the most important thing. That’s, that’s what, you know, we’re really about, and what we’re trying to continue is that connection.
Felicity Cohen: I really see the value in that and I think it is so, so important for women to connect, but also to feel as though, they’re involved in it situation where they can take time out of their working lives to, really explore that a lot further.
And to feel as though they’re supported and connecting in a space, that’s comfortable for them to meet with like minded people. So really, really valuable to find that opportunity and congratulations on growing this over 15 years, I think it’s incredible.
And I think really important for women to have that opportunity, to feel more empowered in their lives. And I do see it as being part of a self care philosophy because so much, I feel we all get so caught up that we don’t take the time out. And even for me to say, okay, I’m going to reserve the time to attend one of your events.
It’s not that easy, but so valuable. And so I think time management as well comes into making the most of allowing yourself that opportunity as well. And part of that self care philosophy. How do you see and how do you kind of take on board self care, firstly for yourself? What does that look like?
Georgia Lane: I think one of the things I was saying before about the mental load and us doing too much and taking on too much, that’s our nature as women, and mums.
One of the first things that comes very much through Women of Influence and the connections that we’ve created there, are just meeting other women and leaning on other people. I think that’s a really important thing about taking care of yourself. So for example, that the committee on Women of Influence, they’re amazing, and I’ve made so many friends that will be lifelong friends and the support that they, they give us through, you know, putting together these events.
If I didn’t have those friends, you know, if I didn’t have them to call or text or go and have a drink with, or, you know, just take some time together. And they’re also the ones that that pull me up and say, “Hey, you know, take some time” or “look after yourself better” or you know, “let’s go for a walk or do some exercise”.
So I think that would have to be the big thing is looking out for each other, but also, I guess, leaning on your friends and colleagues a little bit more.
Felicity Cohen: It’s about building community as well, and not just connecting, but building that whole sense of community. And I think that’s what you’re doing, not just with your committee and I do the same thing, my staff together, we do a bootcamp session every Wednesday morning, and I think that’s really valuable for us to connect as a team, to do things together, take ourselves outside of the office environment. So growing community for me is about not just with my team, but also with our patient population.
I’m really big on how we drive a community. And for you, obviously, that’s been important I think, for, for you and your team, but also in what you’re sharing with the community that you’re growing.
Georgia Lane: Very much. I know it’s not, it’s not a traditional answer, I suppose. You know, I answer asking that question, you know, maybe it’s about my own fitness regime or health and true, I’ve got a lot of things that I do there, but I do think that growing and learning that leaning on the community and also having girlfriends that you do things with, like you said, doing bootcamp, it’s something that you’re held to.
And so I’ve got friends that I go walking with or I go to yoga with, or you know, we hold each other accountable for diets or eating well and not, you know, going out and having too many drinks and things like that.
That’s all part of the community.
Felicity Cohen: I love that. And I love that sense of accountability and how that can be a purpose or something that drives you through different pillars of your organisation. So really valuable as well, to learn to have accountability. It makes you a better person definitely and function better.
Georgia Lane: So true.
Felicity Cohen: So some of the things that you’ve learnt about women as professionals, as entrepreneurs, and some of the challenges that might’ve been around 15 years ago that are not there today. What are some of the things that you see that have changed over time for women?
Georgia Lane: I think women are a lot more supportive of each other these days.
You don’t see many situations where women are taking down other women, you know, the tall poppy syndrome doesn’t seem as prevalent these days. There seems to be a lot more celebration when a woman succeeds and there’s a lot more women supporting women. And there are a lot more, as I said there’s many more groups.
Of women’s organisations like ours these days, whereas 15 years ago it was pretty much just us. So I think that would be the biggest thing. And I think men are becoming more aware too that it is important to support women because we’re not saying, you know, that we’re better. We’re just saying we’re different.
So, you know, in large or small organisations, it’s good to have a mix. So I think that would be the biggest thing is that there is more support around.
Felicity Cohen: When you talk about Women of Influence, what is it that you see? Talk to me about the ultimate woman of influence, what does she look like and who is she?
Describe her for me.
Georgia Lane: Someone who wants to challenge herself. So all of the ladies on our committee, we all, have careers and families to look after. So we’re already really busy and a lot of the women are successful in their own careers but we decide that we want to do something extra. And so we challenge ourselves and the events are challenging but we enjoy them.
And we were, you know, we’re motivated and we love the post event euphoria. We love putting on great events that connect people and seeing, you know, what that brings for people. And we love giving back. So we raised money for RADFLY, which is a local charity. So I guess that’s the woman of influence that I picture is that is my committee members, you know, women who are successful in their own way but are also wanting to do more, challenge themselves, learn and give back.
Felicity Cohen: Having a sense of service as well. I love the giving back and also being involved in something that’s philanthropic that has a purpose in terms of how we can give back and also set the scene for future generations. So I think that’s really powerful as well. As a mum, what you’re doing is having an influence on your own family and on your children, but also on multiple of others, as well.
Georgia Lane: Definitely, you know, my, my daughter and my son comes to a lot of events, but my daughter is a committee member and she has an official job, but, all of the events. So that’s great.
Felicity Cohen: Beautiful. Do you think sometimes as women that you know, that load of being too busy, are we too busy?
Georgia Lane: Yeah, I think it is in our nature that we do just take on so much and, and naturally, you know, outside of having careers we do tend to take on the, the load of the family you know, cooking, cleaning, organizing the household.
And because it’s, you know, in our nature, we bear the children, they tend to naturally come to us. So, you know, we do tend to do that, I guess, in the first instance.
And you know, they, years ago we had a speaker who called it the burnt chops syndrome, where, you know, at a barbecue, we tend to keep the burnt chop ourselves and give all the good ones to everyone else.
So we do tend to look after everybody else first, before we look after our own needs. So, yeah, we are busy.
Felicity Cohen: That is typically the nurturing side of any women. I think, you know, that we do focus on everybody else before ourselves, whether it’s in business and you’re managing a team and whether, or at home with your children that we often put ourselves last.
How do we need to find the right balance? And what is it that you do for yourself to actually execute that?
Georgia Lane: I think just finding that space and being a little bit deliberate. Even diarising time to, to exercise, for making habits for yourself. So I, every day I wake up at the same time and I immediately go for a walk, my dog’s waiting outside my door, ready to go.
So I’m accountable for that. But I also am wary of making sure that I fit in something for myself each day. And even if I’ve got a million things going on, I’m just taking that time to step away. Because I do find if you step away and just give yourself a little bit of space, that’s actually, when ideas come and it just frees yourself up.
Whereas if you’re going, going, going, you’re not always doing your best work. And another thing would be focusing. So not trying to do too many things at once. Not multitasking. It is in our nature to multitask, but if we need to do something that’s quite important, to really focus on that. Because if we don’t then you don’t really, nothing gets your A-game, you know, nothing is done really, really well.
So that’s something and I, and I haven’t always been that way. I’ve, I’ve learned to do that over time.
Felicity Cohen: I completely agree. And I learned that recently myself, because I had a forced day off. I actually had a minor, surgical procedure, but what that taught me was the day off was actually time to think and create.
And I think your creativity really comes out a lot more when you allow yourself the space and the time to, to just be outside of your office environment or your workspace to, and then come up with new ideas that you can then implement.
What about fitting in family, relationships, the husband? How does that all look for you?
Georgia Lane: Yeah, it is, it can be challenging. I guess you have to prioritise. And, you know, not only do the things that everybody wants you to do. Say no to the ones that are not important and understand what your priorities are, and of course it starts with your, your little family unit, is your number one priority, but it’s also important to make sure that the people who really, you know, that you really love spending time with your friends, that you make time for them to. And I’m a big list to-doer.
And I’m, I am a little bit organised, so I do put things in my diary and write a lot of things down. I’ve always got a notebook in my handbag, so I know I can check back in and work out what my priorities are. So yeah, that’s how I, I guess I make sure that that enough time is given where it’s got to go.
And being, you know, mindful of when the kids come to you and want to talk to you, you know, just put the phone down and focus on them. And even just having days without the phone at all, without any devices.
Felicity Cohen: I think that’s really important too, for everybody to get off your devices and make that time, a committed moment in your day, whether it’s at dinner time, when you’re sitting around the table with your family, whatever that looks like that, that’s the focus and bringing back that family center of connection, I think is so valuable as well.
What about with your husband, do you take time out for date nights, time for yourselves? How do, how do you manage that?
Georgia Lane: We do. We don’t do a lot of date nights, I must admit. But we’ll quite often take ourselves off just for a whole night. So get away, stay at a hotel somewhere and we’ve also got a property down in northern New South Wales. So we might just go down there and just connect so we can actually have a whole, you know, afternoon, night, morning just to chat about things and spend some time together. Which I, you know, I would really recommend that to any couple.
It’s just so important to do that and no specific agenda or anything, just having time to remember why you got together in the first place, you know, just talking and having fun. So yes, we do that probably not as much as we should at the moment, but generally every couple of months we’ll do that.
Felicity Cohen: And your children are what ages now?
Georgia Lane: 10 and 14.
Felicity Cohen: And what do you think are some of the most significant challenges that our kids are faced with today?
Georgia Lane: Definitely social media. You know, my daughter’s 14 and just the amount of curated content that’s out there, and the amount of bullying that can go on on social media, can have a huge impact if you’re not, if you don’t know that you’re loved, and that you’re not really confident in yourself it can be really tough.
My daughter’s, you know, learned a couple of hard lessons, but thankfully they’ve been pretty benign and I think she’s well set to, you know, to go out there, with confidence and be her own person and know, you know, what not to do now, hopefully.
But I think that that’s probably the biggest thing. It can be such a hard thing for young people to see all these perfect people on social media. But also, you know, anything you do can be so brought down so quickly, by these trolls, just by people who are just mean.
So I think just being kind, you know, so important.
Felicity Cohen: It’s a frightening thought to think that the social media is having that kind of impact on our children. So managing that as a parent and how you influence. you know, the dissemination of information, what they have access to and how they respond to it is a really significant role to play as a parent.
Georgia Lane: It is, yes. How they respond and yeah, as I said, knowing that they’re loved and having that confidence to be themselves but to know, if anything, that their good friends and their family love them. So that’s the most important thing.
Felicity Cohen: Absolutely agree. Love that.
So let’s talk a little bit about your own health journey.
So you’ve lived on the Gold Coast all of your life?
Georgia Lane: I was actually born in Sydney.
Felicity Cohen: Oh, you’re born in Sydney. Okay, and at what stage did you move up here?
Georgia Lane: parents moved us here. I lived in America for a little while with mum and dad and then we came here after, when I was about 10. I went to school here and then I went back to Sydney for my career.
Met my husband and we decided to come back here. I think it was nearly 20 years ago, and we’ve stayed here ever since. Love it on the Gold Coast. So yeah.
Felicity Cohen: That’s around about the same time as I moved here. So I’ve lived here for, this is my 21st year in business, here on the Gold Coast. I moved here just right on the cusp of the year, 2000.
Georgia Lane: Okay, yes. We were a little bit after that.
Felicity Cohen: And yeah, having my 21st year celebration at the end of the year. So you’re going to have to come to that. I’ve decided it’s going to be a big 21st birthday party
Georgia Lane: Oh, fun.
Felicity Cohen: 21 years on the Gold Coast. So tell me a little bit about your health journey and what are some of the challenges that you faced in life?
Georgia Lane: I guess, starting my career in Sydney, it was full on. And, but I loved it. I mean, I love the city and I do still love Sydney. I was in big, big corporate. So some of the organisations I worked for Microsoft, Telstra, Toshiba. I’m doing marketing and sales for them. And then we decided to move to the Gold Coast and I was amazed how different it was here.
For the first six months I was twiddling my thumbs working out what to do. And that’s when I got into running and fitness a little bit more. Whereas when I was in Sydney, it was all about work, work, work.
In saying that I am quite driven career wise and I was back in corporate. So I ended up in financial services, and I was working for some big, big banks in Brisbane and also traveling a lot. By this time two children and you know, I was traveling, I was driving to Brisbane from the Gold Coast every day. We had au pairs living in looking after the kids, and it was all a bit crazy.
And I think I had a bit of a wake up, which I’m very, very grateful for. In 2014, you know, I was in big corporate, I was just about to travel to Shanghai, to present at a big conference. And I was going to see the doctor for whatever you needed to go to China, and I’d felt the night before a lump in my breast.
And, I was going to see the doctor and she’s, you know, “what are you here for? Blah, blah, blah”.
“Oh, by the way., I’ve just found this little lump. Can you just check it out? I’m sure it’s nothing.” .
Anyway, long story short, it was actually breast cancer. So, I found out when I was driving down the M-1, I got the call after I’d had a, what’s it called, a biopsy.
And they told me, “you’ve got breast cancer.”.
I’m like, “Oh, Okay, can I still go to the conference?”.
“Like no that’s life threatening. You’ve got to just stop everything.”.
So yeah, it was, I just didn’t expect it. It wasn’t in the plan. All of a sudden I’m, you know, I had a surgery lumpectomy, I had chemotherapy, radiography, so pretty much 12 months of my life, it just, everything changed. I’m very pleased to say that, you know, I’m, I’m very healthy now.
Felicity Cohen: You look the picture of health and absolutely stunning.
Georgia Lane: Thank you. Thank you, Felicity. But I, I do say, very much hand on heart that it was probably the best thing that ever happened to me, to be honest, Felicity, I was, you know, living this huge corporate life.
I wasn’t even there for my family. You know, nannies looking after the kids, I was traveling, I was driving to Brisbane every day and leaving at five o’clock in the morning, getting home late. And what for? And this just stopped me in my tracks. And all of a sudden, I really, you know, you face death and you realise what’s important.
So yeah, I changed my life after that.
Felicity Cohen: Totally take me on board, all of the things that are the most important values for you in life. And I can so get how life changing that is so for me, and how I relate to your story, similarly. When I was pregnant with my first child, I was living in Paris and discovered a breast lump and had to have surgery in Paris, pregnant, which was not much fun.
I had my parents with me at the time and told them it was just no big deal. It was this day surgery and they could go home. That was the worst decision I’ve made. But anyway, so it is a huge wake up call for anybody. I think going through that health scare, it’s a shock to your system and even with nannies and au pairs, I know for me personally, you know, when you’re working so hard and long hours and you’re growing a business, I actually resented having to pay to have care for my children, but you can’t split yourself in two, and I think you do learn a lot about the busyness of life. And you know, re-evaluating those personal value systems and how to prioritise your health, your family, and how work life balance kind of changes overnight as well.
Georgia Lane: So true. I think stress too. You know, when I look back, it was not just not looking after myself. It was the stress. Yeah, so I was doing a lot of things. There were other things going on in my life that I was, yeah, just not looking after myself mentally, and taking that time.
And so I’m very conscious of that these days as well, and doing things like moving every day and eating well and, and doing things you love, and spending time with your loved ones, that gives you joy and reduces stress is hugely important. I really think that, you know that the, the type of breast cancer I had was triple negative, which they say is caused by stress and they say it can grow very rapidly. It could have come up literally in a month. So yeah, you’ve just got to look after yourself, don’t you?
Felicity Cohen: Reducing your stress level of being mindful. What are some of your mindfulness practices that you’ve put into place that help you with stress management now?
Georgia Lane: I love yoga. So I, I commit myself to doing yoga a couple of times a week.
I do have a, a podcast, not a podcast, an app I listened to, to do meditation. I listen to podcasts as well, a lot of them
Felicity Cohen: They’re so great. You can listen to when you’re going for walks and walking the dog. And I love that you’ve got a dog to walk as well. That helps you be accountable to when you wake up in the morning and the dogs on your doorstep, of course, you’ve got to go out and walk, which is awesome.
I love that, but yeah. Do you listen to podcasts when you’re out walking?
Georgia Lane: I do. Yeah. Yeah. Sometimes I don’t. I do find, because I love listening to business podcasts. These days I’m trying to listen to a little bit more I guess, wellness podcasts or books. Whereas, if I listen to too much business stuff, I’m wanting to do everything and I’m sort of more winding myself up.
So I’m more enjoying listening to something that is a little bit different. Yeah.
So something that I can laugh at or learn from in a different way, yeah.
Felicity Cohen: I love that. And I think we’re a lot more focused now on management of our health as being so important and what wellness looks like for a lot of people is different, but I, I love yoga.
I think the yoga, the meditation, the walking, they’re life changing things that you can bring into your life. And I think they do help you become centered and grounded and focused and to function better and improve your productivity. So I’m a bit like you too. I’m an alarm person, I get up very early in the morning and I love running.
Do you still run?
Georgia Lane: Not so much. So I was actually training for a triathlon when I was diagnosed and I haven’t gone back, I do tend to stick to walking and yoga, and pilates, and things these days. But I’m not, not saying never. I might pick it up again. I always loved running.
Felicity Cohen: Yeah. So you’re a little bit more gentle on yourself.
Georgia Lane: Correct, yes.
Felicity Cohen: Fabulous. I have absolutely loved chatting to you today, and I’m really excited to be involved with your Women of Influence program. I’m sorry, I didn’t hear about it 15 years ago, but there’s a time and a place for everything. And I guess that everybody listening to our podcasts, it’d be great if we can share.
For local Gold Coast people as well, the details for Women of Influence so that they can also have the opportunity to connect with you and a wonderful organisation.
Georgia Lane: Thank you. Thank you.
Felicity Cohen: It’s been an absolute pleasure having you on the show today and hopefully we’ll have another chat again soon.
Georgia Lane: Great. I’d love to.
Felicity Cohen: Thank you for joining the Wellness Warriors Podcast. It’s been a pleasure to have you online with us. If you enjoyed the series, please leave your review, subscribe and follow, and we look forward to sharing many more stories with you in the future.