Empowering Canberra’s businesswomen; one event at a time E62 (Rae Knopik)

On this episode of the podcast, we had a chance to chat with the founder of the CBR Gals, Rae Knopik. For those who don’t know, the CBR Gals is a not-for-profit organisation that focuses on helping females in Canberra connect and support one another through networking events. As Rae says in the episode, she started this initiative simply because she wanted it to exist. Being an American transplant, our guest knew all too well about how hard it is to find ways to connect with like-minded individuals in a way that isn’t forced or time-consuming. Despite realising this dream, however, our guest now faces a new set of challenges due to COVID-19. Thus Rae spends a great deal of the show discussing how she has adapted to running CBR Gals in this ‘new normal’, as well as the process behind running large scale events more generally. In this discussion, Rae highlights that authenticity, collaboration, and careful planning are the cornerstones of any successful event. Following this, the show then concludes (ironically we might add) with a discussion about how men being more closed off emotionally would make it difficult to create a group similar to the CBR Gals for males. 


What we talk about

  • The CBR Gals and what networks like it can offer
  • The logistics of organising large scale events
  • What does being a not-for-profit mean?


Links from this episode

https://cbrgals.com/ (CBR Gals Website)

https://www.facebook.com/cbrgals (CBR Gals of Facebook)

https://www.instagram.com/cbrgals/(CBR Gals on Instagram)

https://twitter.com/cbrgals (CBR Gals on Twitter)

Find us elsewhere

https://futuretri.be/ (Future Tribe Website)

https://www.instagram.com/futuretri.be/ (Future Tribe on Instagram)

https://www.linkedin.com/in/germainemuller/ (Germaine on LinkedIn)

https://www.instagram.com/germa_ne/ (Germaine on Instagram)

https://futuretheory.com.au/ (Futuretheory Website)



Disclaimer: This transcript was generated automatically and as such, may contain various spelling and syntax errors

[00:00:00] Rae: [00:00:00] But we did not get the grant and we’re about two weeks out. And $20,000 down,

[00:00:10] Intro: [00:00:10] welcome to the Future Tribe podcast, where we’re all about taking your future to the next level, whether it is interviewing guests or unpacking strategies, you know, we will be talking about getting things done and backing you a fellow optimistic, go get up. And now as always, here’s your host, the formidable fortunate and highly favoured 

[00:00:31] Germaine Muller.

[00:00:34] Germaine: [00:00:34] Hello, future tribe. Welcome to another episode of the podcast on this week’s episode, I’ve got Rae Knopik from CBR, gals or Canberra gals. Um, how are you today? Right. 

[00:00:44] Rae: [00:00:44] Great. Thanks for having me. 

[00:00:45] Germaine: [00:00:45] No worries. It’s really good to have you. One of our first guests was Georgie from the women’s collective. Um, and when I saw your name pop up and, and what you guys do, I sort of thought, ah, there’s, there’s some synergies [00:01:00] there.

[00:01:00] I’m sure between. What the women’s collective do or, or used to do. And then, um, what you guys do, um, tell me a bit, bit more about what you aim to do. 

[00:01:09] Rae: [00:01:09] Great. Thank you. Um, the Cambra gals network is a feminist not-for-profit organization that focuses on enabling every Canberran woman to be more in her personal and professional capacities and to connect to the greater act area through inclusive events.

[00:01:27] So long story, short events based, not for profit for women. 

[00:01:30] Right. Okay. So, so very like completely events based or just majority events based or, um, 

[00:01:37] we like to create events through social media and through, um, like in person face to face meetings. 

[00:01:43] Germaine: [00:01:43] Right, right. How are you tackling COVID-19 and, um, everything that we’re sort of facing at the moment there, 

[00:01:51] Rae: [00:01:51] it’s a great question.

[00:01:52] And when lockdown started happening in Cambra, um, anyone who’s in events, we kind of say, Oh gosh, you know, what are we going to do? [00:02:00] How are we going to survive? But this was a really meaningful time for us to be there for our network. And what that meant was. Creating creative, online events where people could still meet and connect in a meaningful way.

[00:02:14] Um, but it got a bit tricky, right? Because zoom exhaustion and going to a happy hour is really different than having a glass of wine or a bevy with 40 other little tiles. So we decided to get creative with it. And every half hour that we’ve had virtually, we actually deliver a goodie bag full of local kind of nibbles and drinks from local women run great brands to their doors.

[00:02:41] So we’re all kind of eating the same things and drinking the same bubbles, um, to kind of create that atmosphere. 

[00:02:48] Germaine: [00:02:48] Nice. Nice. So it’s really been a time to experiment and innovate. One could say in how you deliver events now, are you sort of thinking when things go back to normal, I’m sure you can’t replace like [00:03:00] in-person connections, especially when it comes to networking, but do you think there’ll be an element of.

[00:03:04] Virtual connections for, let’s say Canberrans, who’ve gone overseas on a posting for three years. Or have you thought about that or is it still early days in terms of working out how you deliver in a postcode sort of scenario? 

[00:03:17] Rae: [00:03:17] Well, I think here we’re gals network, we really try to turn all feedback into quantitative metrics.

[00:03:24] So, um, what our metrics have been finding from these events is that. People love the virtual events. And there are women in Canberra, you know, we’re neighbors who wouldn’t necessarily go to person happy hour, but are perfectly happy meeting online. So because of that reason that these virtual events actually add a level of inclusivity that we didn’t.

[00:03:48] Have previously, so they’re here today, for sure. 

[00:03:51] Germaine: [00:03:51] Yeah. Yeah. I mean, you, you raise a good point because if you’re a mother or, you know, had a pet or had some reason why you didn’t, [00:04:00] you couldn’t get out of the house, this, or just didn’t have a car, let’s say, um, this sort of breaks down those barriers because you can sort of hop on and I guess it also removes.

[00:04:11] An aspect or an element of in our, how am I going to present myself? Do I have really nice clothes and jewelry, but you, you sort of remove that to an extent don’t you, when you sort of have to meet virtually, because it’s almost in the control of, I mean, right now you could just turn off your screen and.

[00:04:27] That’s it like there’s, there’s nothing that I can do here. So it almost gives the power back to the people attending rather than, rather than having those social pressures that might, might be felt. 

[00:04:37] Rae: [00:04:37] And that’s absolutely right. Jermaine. And in addition to that, we learned very recently that a lot of our, the people involved with this network don’t drink.

[00:04:45] And so a happy hour wouldn’t necessarily early be something that’s super interesting to them of interest. So in those kinds of goodie bags actually offer non alcoholic beverages and they feel like this is the best event for some people, they [00:05:00] feel this is great because it removes that kind of extra barrier as well.

[00:05:04] So virtual events definitely here to stay. We’re excited to get back into ’em face to face as well. 

[00:05:10] Germaine: [00:05:10] Yeah. Yeah. I mean, again, that’s not a very good point. Like I found myself especially coming right out of school where a lot of people enjoyed the drinking. Um, I didn’t enjoy it so March and that left me a little bit isolated.

[00:05:25] And then, you know, not in like a that they obviously don’t mean it in that way, but if you don’t partake in those activities, You know, to the, to the full extent that, how does my it, um, then, then it does isolate you in some way, shape or form whether it’s intentional or not. So, um, yeah, it sounds like it’s been an interesting time for you guys and you’ve sort of almost found a different offering, um, that can sit.

[00:05:48] Sit alongside what you are used to do and what you’ll do hopefully, um, moving forward. So when did you start this whole endeavor? 

[00:05:57] Rae: [00:05:57] We’ll be two in November of this [00:06:00] year. 

[00:06:00] Germaine: [00:06:00] Okay. So about a year and a half, or get getting close to two years now, you don’t have. And Australian accent. Um, don’t mean to, I don’t mean to single you out, but, but give me an idea of, um, how old you are now.

[00:06:13] How old are you, how old you were when you, I mean, did you come to Canberra or did you just grow up in Cambra with an sort of an American sounding accent? I might be wrong. Tell me a little bit about yourself. 

[00:06:25] Rae: [00:06:25] Thanks Jermaine. I am a Floridian, born and bred. After uni, I moved to Italy for two years, Florence to be specific.

[00:06:34] I met my partner there and he’s from Canberra. When he returned back to Canberra, he invited me to come and see where he lives and I did, and I never left. So that was two years ago in 2018. I had just turned 23, 25 now. And I’ve been here ever since. 

[00:06:52] Germaine: [00:06:52] Yeah. Wow. Okay. So what made you start this whole thing?

[00:06:57] Like being. Was it, was it sort of a [00:07:00] being new to Canberra? I need something like this. Why don’t I start it myself sort of thing. Or 

[00:07:06] Rae: [00:07:06] as you know, um, I always tell people that I never wanted to found this organization. I just wanted it to exist. And when I came here and if you’ve been in Canberra for a while, um, you’ll see the changes that have happened to the city.

[00:07:20] And it’s amazing, remarkable. Even in the past two years, the social and infrastructure changes that are happening. It’s amazing. Two years ago, though, there was no group for women that was a casual meeting place for people just to make connections. There was always some sort of activity that you had to partake in, whether it be bowling or.

[00:07:43] Running around the Lake or things like that. And as a busy person, I found that I couldn’t make those meetings. And also, I don’t know if you’ve noticed this, but if you’ve ever moved to a new place and you find that it’s hard to make connections, it becomes actually harder because you’re not in your most confident [00:08:00] self.

[00:08:00] And so it’s not like a situation where you can say, Oh, I’m just going to go to a bar and meet people. If you’re not in that mindset, it’s very difficult. So after awhile, um, I. Was looking around trying to find this organization. And I just couldn’t. So I decided, okay, I’m going to just make an Instagram page and see what happens and that’s how it all started.

[00:08:22] Germaine: [00:08:22] Wow. Okay. So about two years ago, you start an Instagram page. You call it CB or gals, I assume at the time as well. Yeah. Yep. Yep. And then give us an idea of sort of, what, what are the steps now the, my intention around asking this question is just trying to understand how you you’ve brought it to where it is now.

[00:08:41] Like what were the early days? Like, because if there’s someone who’s listening who wants to start a community and, you know, especially nowadays I think with COVID, it’s becoming even, even more. Essential, but like Facebook groups, forums, community groups, whether it’s online, virtual staff or whether it’s in person.

[00:08:58] Um, I think [00:09:00] there’s this huge, huge, I mean, even, even places like Reddit and discord, what they are to an extent is a community, right. Of people with ms with a common sort of goal or understanding. So for anyone who’s listening, who wants to. Stop that, that journey down that path, give us an idea of what it was like at the start, what you did and how you were able to sort of grow so that we can learn from what you’ve been able to do.

[00:09:26] Rae: [00:09:26] So I think that if you’re listening to this and you’re thinking about starting some sort of community of some kind, it’s important to think about what it is you want to do and what the right thing is to do. And the more lineup you have, the more successful you will be because, um, goodness is recognized by everyone mostly.

[00:09:49] And then what you want to do, if it’s also what you want to do, you will pour yourself into that. And it won’t matter if you’re making money. It won’t matter if there’s millions of people following it, because it’ll [00:10:00] be your baby. And it’ll be exactly what it is that you want to do. And that was the camera gals for me.

[00:10:06] And still is, and it holds it off. Sorry with this idea that it didn’t matter who you were. Where you were from what you did, every gal of every age profession and in every season of life partake in this community, in whatever capacity you wanted. Um, and we would connect to just based on the idea that we are women and women together are so powerful, especially when they support each other women, when they support each other.

[00:10:36] Magic happens. 

[00:10:38] Germaine: [00:10:38] Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I couldn’t agree more. I think they’re like, I don’t know if you watch the bachelor and this is people are going to judge me about this, but I was watching it yesterday and I just felt sad. Last night’s episode was all like, everyone was just fighting, arguing, crying, and, and I just felt like it was a step back for [00:11:00] modern, like for society, just to, because it just.

[00:11:03] It just set this wrong tone. Like I think I get it, they competing for a guy. Um, which just sounds weird to say. Um, but, but yeah, you know, you, you, you speak about the, the collective power that you have. Right. Which is, which is so true, because I think if you take up any, any sort of demographic and you.

[00:11:21] Bring them as a collective group, they can really thrive in those situations. Right? Like I used to travel a lot when I was younger. I’m like move a lot. And we’d, we’d always been born in Sri Lanka. We’d always find the Sri Lankan community in the, in the new contract we go to, um, not intentionally, you just bump into like genuinely, we found the Sri Lankan community in Canberra because we went to church and there was a guy that was like, he looks really good going to go say hi, and that was it.

[00:11:47] Like that was it. It wasn’t like, yeah, it wasn’t, you know, I’m going to go on Google, I’m going to on Facebook, try and find the Sri Lankan group. But, but all that’s to say is that, you know, when you, when you come into a group, whether it’s women or whether it’s [00:12:00] Sri Lankans, or whether it’s people with black hair, whatever the group it is, you can really create this.

[00:12:06] This environment where everyone’s comfortable and everyone can really thrive. But yeah, I don’t know why I mentioned the bachelor, but I think it was because I’m just still disappointed about sort of how everything was portrayed yesterday and last night, sorry. That was just a lot of crying anyway. Um, but yeah, not losing track of what we’re talking about.

[00:12:26] So you started the Instagram page, you see, you started connecting with people I would assume. And then did you find that. People were messaging you or what was that next stage? And when did you have your first event or, or why did you like, was events going to be the ultimate goal when you started Instagram page in the first place?

[00:12:43] Or how did that happen? 

[00:12:44] Rae: [00:12:44] You know, I had a feeling that it would be, um, I, there, I always start projects with the goal in mind or. The end in mind, that’s really the goal. And I always imagined women getting together in this kind of way, like just to let’s meet, you know, let’s [00:13:00] just have a good time. And so I imagined it would be that way, but actually Jermaine, it took me so long.

[00:13:08] And by so long, I mean about three or four months to gain the courage to actually put that first event out there because, um, I didn’t tell anyone that I was doing this, not my friends that I had made here, um, about my partner knew of course, cause he was the one cheering me on. But, um, I didn’t tell anyone because I was so afraid that somebody would turn to me and say, How could you start a page called the Canberra gals?

[00:13:33] You’re not even kidding from camera. You’re not even Australian. Right. And when you’re starting something new, you just want to keep going. You just want the momentum, right? You don’t want anyone to tell you, you can’t do this because. Everything’s so scary and everything’s so big that you feel like you might crumble under that.

[00:13:52] And that’s how I felt. So it took until February of 2019, a few months after I started the page for me to [00:14:00] actually get the gods. Put it on meetup, put it on a Facebook event, make it a free, happy hour, just come buy a drink, like not going to argue anything. And we’re just going to get together. And I had no idea how many people were going to show up people RSVP, but with free event, you can just decide you’re not 

[00:14:17] Germaine: [00:14:17] going to exactly which I used to be involved with.

[00:14:22] Um, Um, events and sort of marketing for a, for a big business, I guess you would call it. And, you know, it’s very true, like having a free event. I think there were times that we, we were getting like a 10% turn up rate. So, because it’s so easy to click, you know, and, and you know, so we’re still talking like 300 people said that come and we prepped for like 80 and we’d get 40.

[00:14:45] So it wasn’t, it wasn’t sort of too crazy. Cause I think 300 people, I don’t think the venues would have even. 300 people, but it is a good point that you raised, like, you can just hit, okay, I’m going to go and events take a [00:15:00] lot of organizing, but as it sounds like, what you did was you lowered your well, everyone else’s barrier to entry, which makes it much easier.

[00:15:09] And then you low lowered sort of what you were attempting to do with the first one. So that it’s almost like a proof of concept rather than, you know, This amazing conference over three days and you had to organize every single moving part. Um, so is, is that sort of a tip there that you just want to, you know, just test the waters initially?

[00:15:29] Rae: [00:15:29] I think that that’s a really good tip, um, for sure to just test the water, see interests, see who might want to do this. Um, but also. Be very clear with your marketing, what you’re doing. And we had 12 people come to the first event. And for me, I created the page because I wanted to change one person’s life.

[00:15:49] Other than my own, I would already change mine. I knew that, but if I had just changed, made a difference for one person, it would have been worth it. But for all 12 people to RSVP and then come, [00:16:00] I was thinking to myself, okay, like this is needed and I can do free events. Like this is not a big deal. It’s bringing.

[00:16:07] People into a venue that may have not had people on a Tuesday night. Um, you know, people are out spending money, which is great for the economy and we’re connecting on something that’s bigger than ourselves. Something that will have a legacy later on. So I would say if you’re thinking about doing events of some kind, be very clear about what the event is and what people can expect, and then just.

[00:16:29] Let the rest happen. 

[00:16:30] Germaine: [00:16:30] Yeah. And if it’s a proof of concept, you know, all you’ve got to deliver as an event organizer. Um, well, all that is within your control. So, you know, if you say, um, all it is going to be is you turn up, I’ve booked a table and you buy yourself a drink and you sit down and we talk.

[00:16:46] That’s pretty easy to deliver,

[00:16:52] Rae: [00:16:52] deliver. 

[00:16:53] Germaine: [00:16:53] Exactly. And then set the bar as, as, as low as possible that it’s still something, but [00:17:00] it’s so, you know, it’s higher than what, what someone would be able to just do by themselves. And what you then do is really facilitate the coming together of. People. Um, now that can, as, as you’ve found now with the virtual stuff, it might also then evolve to, to facilitate the delivery of goodies and nibbles.

[00:17:18] It might, it might be booking, booking an event. I know that, uh, a lot of them people nowadays, one they’re busy, but two. Probably because they’re busy and maybe because they’re lazy, they’re just the last thing they want to do is organize things for themselves. Like, I don’t want to, I want to catch up with friends, but I’m not going to organize past sort of messaging one person being like, Hey, do you want to catch up for lunch?

[00:17:40] And that, that would be it. And, and so what you’ve been able to do at the core is to bring and facilitate those, those groups of people. Now, as you sort of. Started to get momentum. What, what sort of business structures or did you, did you, I think you mentioned that are not for profit. Is, are you like a registered?

[00:17:58] Not for profit, not for [00:18:00] profit or. 

[00:18:01] Rae: [00:18:01] Yeah, so in, um, Oh gosh, it was a, about a year ago now. Um, we had just hosted our first panel and the reason why this is important is because before we were hosting happy hours, we were hosting events called clothing swaps, which I’ll get into later. Um, and we were hosting mostly fun, very what I would classify as feminine things, um, just to do for fun and 

[00:18:26] Germaine: [00:18:26] like social events.

[00:18:27] Really? Yeah. 

[00:18:28] Rae: [00:18:28] Absolutely. But we would do like very photo graphic picnics up at Mount Strom, low with gorgeous grazing boards and photo shoots and things like that, 

[00:18:39] Germaine: [00:18:39] of that nature.  just, just sort of re you know, really, I mean, it’s not, I don’t mean that in a bad way. It’s just, it’s what people, that’s what your target group wants to do.

[00:18:49] And that’s, that’s awesome. And it probably helps being in the dark target group as well, because you sort of finger Oh, I want to do that. Well, I’m sure everyone else wants to do it. [00:19:00] Let’s do it. So sorry. I got you off. Keep going. 

[00:19:04] Rae: [00:19:04] We decided to host this panel and it was called the moment of yes. And it was, the idea was when five powerful Canberran women had found their calling that moment of yes, I did it and I was at the time working alone and I basically cold called anyone.

[00:19:24] I knew. Uh, I didn’t know anyone. I had no contacts that I came here except for my partner. Um, and I called everyone that I knew of and was just like, we’re doing this panel. It’s going to happen in a month. Would you be interested? Um, this is kind of the idea and. I reached for people like Julia Gillard, like people that I knew, I probably wouldn’t be able to get a hold of.

[00:19:48] And I reached for local people like Trish Bergin, who at the time was the first assistant secretary for the office of women who I also knew because she lived nearby me. So I thought that we might have that connection. [00:20:00] So there was a range of people, right? I had an okay chance of maybe getting, and then probably not.

[00:20:06] I will tell you Jermaine over the coming months, although not everyone responded right away, every single person responded and said, this is something that I would love to do. 

[00:20:18] Germaine: [00:20:18] Wow. 

[00:20:19] Rae: [00:20:19] And so that for me was a big wake up call. Cause I was thinking to myself, you know, it’s not just me, I’m not in this echo chamber of this is awesome.

[00:20:26] You know, this was a moment for me of yes. When I realized that this is something that’s very important, this is something that much is much bigger than me. It’s something that’s much bigger than just the people that were on that panel. What do we do with it? What do we do? Um, and this was also the first event that people paid for.

[00:20:45] Every other event up until that point was completely free to attend. Um, so we had to decide what we were going to do with finances, um, and how we were going to be responsible to keep the integrity of what we had. And that [00:21:00] was when, um, I collaboration with my partner decided that we would move into the not-for-profit field and.

[00:21:07] We had no idea what we were doing. You got a lot of advice. Um, we tossed up whether to be a social equity startup or a not-for-profit and we ultimately ended up deciding that. The integrity of what we had built was a not-for-profit. So we took about two months to fill all of the paperwork became incorporated and then started building our board of people.

[00:21:33] Now, what was interesting is that the board pretty much assembled based on interests. So who was there? Um, at the time and Shannon Beckwith who had been at every event, she had helped me, um, really from. Early early days. I think I had just hosted the first event. And then she came on and wanted to help with everything.

[00:21:52] We had no experience between the two of us, but we were ready to learn and we were ready to build this thing that was going to be bigger than us. So she [00:22:00] became my vice president and still is of the board. And then the team assembled from that. And since that day we’ve been in, not-for-profit made of a completely volunteer board.

[00:22:08] Um, with the president, secretary treasurer and vice president. 

[00:22:13] Germaine: [00:22:13] Yeah. Wow. Okay. So, um, is, has that been about 12 months? Did you say. 

[00:22:18] Rae: [00:22:18] Yes. 

[00:22:19] Germaine: [00:22:19] Has that, has that allowed you to, has that changed sort of how you can, um, how you do what you do to an extent by having, having that, um, that structure around you, do you think that’s added anything or do you think it was more just nice to get that sort of legal standing, um, and legal establishment?

[00:22:38] What, what what’s sort of changed since then? Do you think. 

[00:22:42] Rae: [00:22:42] Well, what’s been so amazing is that we’re really particular about who would come onto the board. And the reason for that was because I had read. So many horror stories of, gosh, what is it called? It’s it’s, there’s a word for this in, not for profit [00:23:00] world where you build your board yeah.

[00:23:01] Around friends and family, and that your board gets lazy because they don’t feel like they have to contribute anything. Um, so I decided to build the board based on the best people available. And what that is created is an amazing, an amazing network. Sorry, my phone keeps going off. Sorry about that. An amazing network of, of individuals who bring so much to the table.

[00:23:26] So for example, you have me, you have Shannon. Shannon is to lay in Australian and brings a wealth of experience from living all over the planet. Declan Nori, who is my partner, is the treasurer of the board. He’s also the most qualified person for numbers that I could imagine. And he brings a male perspective, which is very interesting and so valid because.

[00:23:47] Um, as a male feminist for change, um, he brings up perspective of how can we still be inclusive for everyone? While still effecting change in Canberra. And then finally we have Ruth [00:24:00] Asher. Who’s the secretary of the board who grew up in the UK. So she brings another rich international experience to this and also a, an element of.

[00:24:11] I understand what it’s like to be on the outside of things. Um, what it’s like to be an announcer or, and how do we create a more inclusive environment for everyone? So it’s been wonderful to have this team working on this with me because they bring such a wealth of different experiences. Yes, we’re all young, but we’re also ready to see real changes in Canberra and the world.

[00:24:31] Germaine: [00:24:31] Yeah, that’s amazing. And like you said, bringing that, what I loved hearing when you were mentioning that there are, um, I mean, part of your board is a person who’s not even a female. And then there there’s, um, people who are from overseas or everyone’s from overseas that will grow, grew up in Australia for a little bit, perhaps.

[00:24:50] But what they already know is what it is like to be, you know, be a bit of an outsider. Feel not quiet, like you fit in because it’s easy to fit in when everyone has the same acts, [00:25:00] everyone has the same hair color or whatever it may be, or the same upbringing. So what you, what you can then do, obviously with this team is create scenarios and situations where everyone feels accepted because you go in without any sort of prejudice around things.

[00:25:14] Now you mentioned your partner who is involved with, with what you guys do. I’ve got a bit of a interesting question for you and, um, you probably get this, but I find that there aren’t many groups like this for men. Um, has he ever felt that, have you ever had this conversation with him? Why do you think there isn’t aren’t groups like this for men?

[00:25:38] Um, or, or perhaps there are, and I’ve never heard of them. 

[00:25:42] Rae: [00:25:42] That’s a good question. And it’s actually something that we’ve discussed since the beginning of the Cambra gals at the very first camper gal is happy hour. I love to tell this story. He. Came to the bar with a couple of his guy, friends to make sure that people showed up and if they didn’t be there.

[00:25:58] Um, and [00:26:00] he would always joke to say, we’re going to start the Canberra guys network that has not happened yet, but I would love to see that happen one day, because I think that there’s so many, there are groups that form our own sport, but you run into the same exact problems that. Women toxic women groups can have, um, you can have them in male groups as well.

[00:26:20] And one group that I would love to see happen for Canberra for men would be around like an actual. Friendship based group that, how do I say this? Um, doesn’t contribute to the lack of emotional connections. Cause I feel like it is met. Male relationships are so different because there’s so many stigmas around sharing how you’re feeling.

[00:26:45] And what is actually going on in your life that I would love to see like real connections form and real change happen within male culture, which would be a really difficult group to host. But I hope to see it happen one day. 

[00:26:57] Germaine: [00:26:57] Yeah. I mean, I’ve, I’ve gone down [00:27:00] this road myself. Um, when I was at the university of Canberra, um, I was sort of part of the initial group that founded the entrepreneurship society at UC and.

[00:27:11] That experience alone, let alone everything else that I’ve, that I’ve sort of experienced, um, has shown me how difficult it can be to create groups like this, but then you take for better or worse sort of the, the mindset around a lot of men. Um, and you know, you get in, you get scenarios where when you group bringing them to groups, it can sometimes bring out, bring out the toxic.

[00:27:35] Um, it happens in, in all sorts of groups, you know, I can even think of even talking about, say, A group of Sri Lankans. I can see how, you know, they all get together. They all get together all the time suddenly. Cause they says, share something in common that might be toxic from the outside, but for them it isn’t because it’s this, it’s what they’ve grown up with.

[00:27:54] Um, and like inevitably you end up with. Something that’s toxic, but, [00:28:00] but only it’s not really toxic. It’s just because it’s exaggerated supported and then encouraged within that group because it is accepted within that group. Um, yeah. And so bringing, bringing sort of men into this sort of equation and conversation, there are a number of things that I can see that can, um, For worse, really get exaggerated.

[00:28:21] And then, and then, you know, you talked about real connection, I, for some reason, um, and, and, you know, I would love to be part of some group that changes this, but I don’t see, you know, the, the group. Getting really around exaggerated, like fear. It’s probably going to be around. Yeah. Like, it’d be awesome, but it’s probably going to be around cars and street racing or drinking or, or gambling and, you know, And this is not to say that that’s what all guys do, but there is always that risk.

[00:28:53] And like you mentioned, it’s, it’s gotta, it’s gotta be very carefully managed because, um, guys for better or worse thing can [00:29:00] sometimes get a little bit carried away with something and, you know, go take that one step too far, like do 140 Ks an hour in a, in an 80 straight, you know, when you’re going for a cruise with your mates, cause you think it will be the coolest thing to do.

[00:29:13] So. It does bring that sort of dimension of difficulty, but like, like you I’d love to see something like that happen, I think is it could 

[00:29:20] Rae: [00:29:20] be those activities as well that contribute to it. But what I’m thinking more of is I’d love to see men can be so guarded, um, and women aren’t. Really like this in, they can be, of course, but if you get women together and you talk about a specific part, they’re more willing.

[00:29:37] I find in my experience to share their, their personal experiences and for men, that’s much harder to do because we have these societal culture of. I’m not really, I’m going to tell you something, but I’m not going to actually share. I’m going to hold back a bit. This is good for men. Um, because the emotions then that they bring [00:30:00] into later in life, when they have more confidence, they bring to their partners, they bring to their kids, um, and it kind of just all comes out at once.

[00:30:07] Well, you know, this comes later in life, but how can we kind of prevent that from happening? Can we create stronger connections with men without a stigma of, I can’t talk about things that are going on. Do you find that that’s something that has happened? Yeah, 

[00:30:20] Germaine: [00:30:20] completely. I mean, what it brings this brings out in me is so I, I think I’m an introvert.

[00:30:26] Most people would disagree with that, but I also like to have genuine conversations and now it’s nothing forced. It’s just something that, you know, I like to get into the actual nitty gritty stuff. Um, and it’s never going to be me saying, you know, tell me, you know, I like all the, all the bad things happening in your life and on rebel to me, it’s just more, let’s have an actual conversation.

[00:30:47] And funny enough, having that approach, I hear it from, I’ve heard it from partners. I’ve heard it from friends. Um, the response to that tends to be, wow. You know, you, first of all, you like to [00:31:00] talk a lot, but second, you also like. Talk about like, you really get, get in there sort of. And I, and, and, and it’s almost like there’s a way, like, it’s almost traded as like, this is peculiar.

[00:31:12] Like, um, we, we moved recently about, I was in February and I know both neighbors really well, and you know, my partner is, so it is a little bit like. Like I don’t, I think she’s spoken to one of them maybe, but like, I know what they do for work. How many kids they have, you know, what their partners do. Like I know everything, but it is seen as, sorry.

[00:31:36] Rae: [00:31:36] That’s lovely. 

[00:31:37] Germaine: [00:31:37] Oh, it’s awesome. And I, and I enjoy it, but I think it is definitely seen as a little bit of like, I don’t want to say weird, but you know, not, not what people expect 

[00:31:47] Rae: [00:31:47] out of a guy. 

[00:31:49] Germaine: [00:31:49] And that’s what I don’t understand. Yeah. Like why can’t we, why can’t guys have this conversation that like, I think you would probably, is it fair to say that you’d be surprised if a guy came up to [00:32:00] you and had a conversation to you in a similar style that you would have with one of your, um, sort of female friends?

[00:32:07] Um, is that, is that fair to say 

[00:32:08] Rae: [00:32:08] most women would assume they’re being hit on, which is terrible, right. Puts men in this box of what they can and cannot share. And that’s not good for men. It’s not good for women either. 

[00:32:19] Germaine: [00:32:19] It’s not good for anyone. It’s really not good for anyone. Exactly. Cause what we’re talking about is compartmentalizing and then just not sort of really reflecting your, your true self, um, which.

[00:32:31] Which you just end up, you know, um, either putting away and then forgetting that like you’re, uh, yeah, you’re a guy you’re also a human being or, you know, it just gets worse and worse and worse. And then one day you just have a, have a meltdown or, um, have a midlife crisis and, and there’s a normalized aren’t they?

[00:32:52] And it’s just a sad thing, but, you know, perhaps, um, Perhaps something that I can, I can get involved in and try and try and [00:33:00] change now, um, let’s get into, we’ve talked about the awesome stuff that you’ve been able to do. Do any mistakes come to mind or things that things that you’ve done that, you know, next time around you’ll, you’ll, it’ll just be easier to avoid than to do again, 

[00:33:14] Rae: [00:33:14] you know, I.

[00:33:16] I have a hard time talking about mistakes because I learn from them and the camera gals would not be what it is without those mistakes. So I wouldn’t change them, but I will talk about a huge error that I, um, that I personally was responsible for. Uh, last month when we were creating the connect up gala, and this was a, an in person gala that was.

[00:33:40] For 100 people at hotel realm. Now we initially there was a grant created by a governor body here in Canberra for event makers like us to create events, um, for Canberrans. So we applied to this grant and. Jermaine, we assumed we would get it. Like [00:34:00] it was, it was one of those situations where we made it made a gala that would cost $20,000 to create, um, for a hundred people.

[00:34:09] And it would have all of these beautiful things. It would bring in all of these vendors, local vendors at hotel realm, people get fucked up. There’s a photo wall, there’s live music, there’s giveaways and action items. And all of 

[00:34:21] Germaine: [00:34:21] that. 

[00:34:23] Rae: [00:34:23] For real event, you know? Right. Yeah. And so we submitted that grant application mid June, I think.

[00:34:32] And they would let us know mid July, but the event was going to be on for, um, the 25th of July. And so that meant we had to get started before we knew. Right. And I think that you’re going to be able to tell how the story goes, but we did not get the grant and we’re about two weeks out and $20,000 down.

[00:34:59] We’d already [00:35:00] sold 50% of our tickets way below the price of what it would cost to actually attend the event. The like cost per head is about $150 and people were paying a hundred dollars or less. Um, so we found ourselves in this position of if you’re a not for profit board. Um, nobody owns the company.

[00:35:22] It’s not like a standard for profit company where you can go into debt and foreclose. If the not-for-profit own owes money, the board is responsible. Right? 

[00:35:35] Germaine: [00:35:35] Wow. Personally, 

[00:35:37] Rae: [00:35:37] personally liable. And if we were to. The bite off more than we can choose. Say for 20 something year olds with no money, I have to pay $20,000.

[00:35:48] The company would go under. Um, and we would never be able to legally, I don’t remember the legal term, I guess it’s not really that relevant, but we would never be able to. Open a company in our names in Australia, [00:36:00] again, if that happened. Wow. 

[00:36:01] Germaine: [00:36:01] Yeah. So you basically like get blacklisted. 

[00:36:06] Rae: [00:36:06] So, um, we didn’t get the grant and, you know, we thought that we would at least get something.

[00:36:10] Even if we didn’t get the full 20, we thought we’d at least get something. We didn’t get anything. Um, and so we had already started moving forward. We already had 10 panelists. Who were pretty high color Canberrans, um, that we really respected and we wanted them to respect us who had never heard of us before.

[00:36:29] Um, and it, it was, again, one of these situations of, I really believe in what you’re doing, let’s do it. And my mistake there was selling tickets. With the sure. Surefire thought that we had that grant and not having a backup plan. So then basically the story does end well. Um, we scrambled, we had to adjust ticket prices.

[00:36:52] We went to every sponsor that we could possibly think of and offered them amazing deals on advertising [00:37:00] and we made it work. Um, wow. 

[00:37:03] Germaine: [00:37:03] That’s amazing. 

[00:37:04] Rae: [00:37:04] Um, and we actually didn’t go into debt. None of those terrible things happen, we were able to move forward. But yeah, that mistake of not creating a backup budget was that I lost a lot of sleep over that.

[00:37:18] Let’s just say, 

[00:37:19] Germaine: [00:37:19] yeah, that would have been insane. And I think the big takeaway to me is that in life, nothing’s a sure fire thing. So don’t, don’t do things, make decisions and act, act, and plan as is. Everything’s just going to happen and it’s going to be like, it’s good to have. I think that possibly positivity, like, don’t get me wrong because you know, in, in my business every day we do stuff that we’re not like no one goes into something saying I’m going to work hard at this and it’s going to fail.

[00:37:49] No one, no one goes into it with that, that sort of approach. But you’ve got to always temper it with a, with a. Bit of, you know, just being realistic about it and sort of going, you know, there’s [00:38:00] actual money involved yet. There’s people who actually have to cough up money. We actually have to pay all these different entities and just never losing sight of the fact that it is real life.

[00:38:11] There are real implications and they’re real, real things that need to happen and real things that don’t happen. So, um, yeah, that’s a, that’s a massive takeaway, but it’s impressive that you were able to get out of that. Um, That hole that you dug yourself? 

[00:38:26] Rae: [00:38:26] I think that part of it too, is my team. The three Rohit, Shannon and Declan are all very logical, realistic people.

[00:38:34] So when I went to them and told them this, they basically said, if you don’t come because I was in charge of the budget, um, for sponsors, if you don’t come up with. This much money in sponsors by this week, this time, um, we’re cutting the cord. You’re no longer allowed to do this. So they were the kind of there.

[00:38:54] But I think the reason in a way with that in mind, so you have that, [00:39:00] but I think another reason why we were so successful is because I saw it happening, like. It was one of those moments where I was like, I see this it’s going to happen. I don’t know how, I don’t know why. Um, but I even like one very sleepless tonight woke up and like scribbled on a piece of paper.

[00:39:18] I think the exact words were, I’m excited to see the connect up gala succeed have more sponsors than we need and be a total hit. And so it was. So I think that if you, you know, if you’re scared, you know, a lot’s at stake, but if you have that real vision and it’s really there and you see it, um, the red sea will part so to speak and it will happen well and, 

[00:39:40] Germaine: [00:39:40] and envision what the final product looks like.

[00:39:43] So you know where you want to go. And then it’s much easier to reverse engineer. You know, if someone told you, build me a car, That’s that’s very difficult, but if you, someone said he a car, you can actually take it apart and look at it. You want, and then put it back together. Okay. It’s going to be harder, but it’s [00:40:00] not impossible.

[00:40:00] It was, you know? Um, so by doing that by envisioning, okay, this is what it’s going to be. I’m sure you have to reverse engineer. Like sounds like they did the numbers, for example, very simple, but they did the numbers and they went. Okay. We are $10,000 short. You need to find, you know, whether it’s 10 different sponsors at a thousand dollars each, or, you know, whatever it may be, we need to get to this Mark.

[00:40:22] And by doing that, you just really map out a blueprint of how you get, get, where you want to go. Um, and you just got a temporary or with realism, you know, Yeah. Yeah, that’s it. That’s it. And just, just work for it. So that’s awesome. What do you, what do you guys hope to do moving forward in the next six to 12 months?

[00:40:40] Rae: [00:40:40] This is always such a beautiful question. Um, when people ask, but the goal of Canberra gals is what it’s doing. It’s currently functioning exactly the way that it’s supposed to. So I think that the most important thing that we do is manage the growth because over the past, Six months alone, we’ve doubled in size.

[00:41:00] [00:41:00] And so knowing how to manage that growth and still connect to people on that, like very small 10 people happy hour one-on-one level, even if 

[00:41:09] Germaine: [00:41:09] there’s intimate. Yeah. Yeah, yeah. 

[00:41:13] Rae: [00:41:13] You really important. So what I think that means is more advisors to the board. You know, we always need to be learning about this growing entity that we’ve created and also having more spokespeople for the Canberra gals so that you can go around the room.

[00:41:29] You can have. More board members basically go around the room and say, how are you going? How’s the event for you? Make sure everyone feels welcomed because at the end of the day, like Kimbra gals was created for Canberra, not the board, not me, no one else. So we need to make sure that we’re managing the individuals that are involved with this network, um, and making them feel welcome and included.

[00:41:52] Germaine: [00:41:52] Yeah. I mean, that’s, it’s really exciting to be being the position that you are. Um, and, and it’s really smart that you’re thinking [00:42:00] about how, how to manage growth and, and do those things that I think sometimes you can forget in the excitement of it all, because managing growth, isn’t very fun because it’s much, much more fun to be like, Hey guys, we’re doubling every month, whatever it is.

[00:42:12] And, and just, you know, sit in, sit in that success as people, you know, Comments comment, congratulations, and give you all the likes and all that stuff. It’s very easy to get lost in that, that it’s, um, it’s much harder to sort of think about the real things that you’ve got to go to, got to work on and navigate, and really, really finesse as you, as you grow and change while still maintaining what it is that, especially in what you do, like you mentioned, maintaining the same level of intimacy and connectedness and conversation in a 50 people group is much.

[00:42:46] Much more difficult and different to doing that in a 10 person group. So, um, you’ve got to, yeah, you’ve got some exciting things ed for you now, where can people find out more about what you guys do? 

[00:42:56] Rae: [00:42:56] We’re on every social media as CBR gals, [00:43:00] or you can check out our website, CBR, gals.com. 

[00:43:03] Germaine: [00:43:03] Awesome. Okay. Um, Are you ready for the top 12?

[00:43:07] Rae: [00:43:07] I’m ready. 

[00:43:09] Germaine: [00:43:09] Okay. Let’s roll into it. So top three books or podcasts that you recommend. 

[00:43:13] Rae: [00:43:13] So I’m on a mission to read 52 books a year. I started this last year and met my goal and this year and there again, so I’m a big fan of books. Um, my favorite two books that I’ve read in the past decade have been the four hour work week by Tim Ferris because Tim Ferris.

[00:43:32] Taught me so much about creating your own dreams. And I read his book for the first time when I was probably 17. So it was really fun, foundational, and like, just following your notes. And then I love Don Norman’s classic design, the design of everyday thing. Um, and his whole notion is that people don’t see bad design or people don’t see.

[00:43:54] Good design, good design is invisible because. You live in this world where everything works. People [00:44:00] only see bad design. So I love to create events and to create programs around that idea that. If nobody says anything, it means it’s been a total hit. People will tell you if it’s bad. 

[00:44:11] Germaine: [00:44:11] Yeah, definitely. 

[00:44:13] Rae: [00:44:13] And then my favorite podcast is probably a drink with James by four.

[00:44:17] Um, and this is a podcast all about social media, specifically Instagram and James Ford founded this, not for profit company in New York city called for co that helps people become influencers on social media, but it really talks about. All of the changes in social media, and it gets really down into the dirty, meaty gritty of how these social platforms work.

[00:44:39] So listening to him and meeting him in person when I visited New York city was so, um, it helped me learn so much because you know, when I started this page, I didn’t know what I was doing. 

[00:44:51] Germaine: [00:44:51] Love it, love it. Those are really solid recommendations. Um, top three software tools that you can’t live without. 

[00:44:58] Rae: [00:44:58] Oh, gosh, Google [00:45:00] analytics, tick Canva tick.

[00:45:03] And then, Oh, third one. I think the Elementor I couldn’t live without. It’s a, um, it’s a, yeah, exactly. Yeah. 

[00:45:13] Germaine: [00:45:13] Yeah. Um, how do you, how do you take it, your events? Do you use, uh, event ticketing platform, like event bright? 

[00:45:19] Rae: [00:45:19] No, I, we did for a long time. I, um, I ended up getting a little bit frustrated with all of the ticketing platforms out there, because even if you’re a, not for profit, they still take.

[00:45:31] Money from, um, the gross sale. And so I was thinking to myself, I’m just going to build one. So we use one through Cambra, gals.com. 

[00:45:38] Germaine: [00:45:38] Okay. Nice, nice. That’s um, that’s awesome. Um, top three mantras. You try to live. 

[00:45:45] Rae: [00:45:45] Gosh. Um, my first one is just follow your nose. Like you don’t need to have this plan of what your life of what you want your life to look like, because things are very fluid, especially in 2020.

[00:45:56] So follow what you love is number one. [00:46:00] The second one is, I think I mentioned this earlier. If what if you’re trying to figure out what you want to do with your life, if you figure out what it is you want, and then what is the best thing for everyone else, you will be successful. And then finally, I don’t know, third mantra.

[00:46:17] It’s hard. It’s very hard. Follow your gut. Gut feelings are real fearful feelings. 

[00:46:22] Germaine: [00:46:22] Yep. Love it. Love it. Awesome. And then top three people you follow or study and why. 

[00:46:30] Rae: [00:46:30] You know, I knew that this was going to be us. There’s so many people that I know Meyer this life. Um, recently I met Kim Rubinstein here in Canberra and she’s the co-director for the 50 50 foundation at the university of Canberra.

[00:46:49] And she was one of the first people that I met, who embodied leadership in like. Her own feminine sense. And [00:47:00] I was so impressed by that because leadership has been a masculine thing since time started, but Kim is her own kind of warm leader that makes you actually like she’s a transformational leader.

[00:47:14] So she makes you want to do that, that thing that she does because she’s so in it herself. Um, so I definitely follow Kim Rubinstein. Um, People, one of my, my mom, probably Andrea shady got out in Florida. And then finally, who shall I pick last, at least for today, I have to pick Tim Ferriss. I’ll probably be embarrassed by this later.

[00:47:40] I love Tim Ferris. I always have, there’s a couple of things that we don’t always agree on, but I think he’s unapologetically himself and I’d like to be a bit more like that too. 

[00:47:50] Germaine: [00:47:50] That’s true. He likes to experiment with like, um, different, weird herbs and stuff like that. Doesn’t he is that is that I always mix up.

[00:47:59] There’s this [00:48:00] sort of group of people who do awesome stuff, but then, um, do borderline stuff that I don’t necessarily agree with that I lumping as, as one group. Cause yeah. They like to experiment on their body and do stuff that I just, I don’t have the luxury of doing so 

[00:48:16] Rae: [00:48:16] nice. 

[00:48:18] Germaine: [00:48:18] Exactly. Just watching. Just go cool.

[00:48:20] That’s happening to them? Not to me. I’m I’m okay with that. Awesome. Um, once again, Ray, thank you for your time. Um, and um, yeah, all the best with, uh, Canberra gals, 

[00:48:32] Rae: [00:48:32] Thanks Germaine, this was super fun. 

[00:48:35] Outro: [00:48:35] Thank you for listening to the future tribe podcast. If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe and leave a review on your podcast app.