Women In Confidence with Jane Vandermeer - Women In Confidence

Episode 34

Finesse, Business and Style with Jane Vandermeer

Jane Vandermeer is a highly intuitive, gentle & innovative thought leader.

She has always had a love of high-end fashion…..you could say that it is her blood.

As a creative & entrepreneurial thinker, she has a 30-year career within the Fashion Industry. Including:

Designer, Tailor, Pattern Maker, Quality Control, Buyer, Wholesale & Retail sales, Lecturer, Business Owner, Creator……

She has created & built a number of award-winning businesses within the Fashion & Creative industries. Starting with a Couture design business styling & creating wardrobes for beautiful women.

A highly accomplished buyer & Australasian sales manager. She manages to find time to teach, lecture & inspire Tertiary fashion students.

Jane has the ability to truly listen to her clients, from a non-judgemental perspective. Gently guiding them to a revised, updated & truly authentic aesthetic.

She understands that women are multi-dimensional. Our identities are a tangle of connections to activities, places, interests, values & aspirations.

Jane has an innate ability to connect with her clients often when they can’t always articulate their own needs.

She is in tune with trends but a confident individualist when it comes to style.

Jane has also built a number of other businesses. Intuitive Whispers being one. Multi Award-winning Australian made artisan Parfume Oils & Natural Deodorants. Ethical luxury for the conscious consumer. An International multi-award winning business, featured in many places including VOGUE UK.

For information on Jane, use the links below:

email: contact@finessebusinessandstyle.com

website: finessebusinessandstyle.com

Linkedin - linkedin.com/in/janevandermeer

IG - Finesse_business_and_style

FB - Finesse Business and Style

If you enjoyed this episode then please rate, review and share. It helps other women find us.

I am looking to get sponsorship for Women In Confidence - if your organisation is aligned to the purpose of the podcast and wants to sponsor an episode, then please email me on contact@vanessa-murphy.com

Vanessa xxx


Hello, and welcome to women in confidence with me, Vanessa HR expert confidence coach for now podcast. This podcast discusses all things to do with conference in life. And this is a podcast for women who want to learn what competencies are to obtain. And how to maintain it and learn how confidence can help you grow and flourish.

Every week. I introduce you to amazing women who have interesting stories to tell about confidence through their stories, insights, hints, and tips. You realize that lack of self-belief or low self-esteem is common and also very human, but by listening to them, you'll take away what they have done to show up confidently on the inside, as well as on the outs.

Jane. Hello and welcome to women in competence. And thank you very much for joining us at very short notice. I have to say it's so lovely to be here, Vanessa. Thank you for asking, why should I point out to the audiences that my previous guests canceled it very last minute, due to an illness and Jane, so heroically stepped in.

I think it was last night. We agreed. We're going to go for it. Honestly. I'm so grateful. So we're going to get straight into it. And the first question I always ask people, Jane is what does having confidence mean to you? Yeah, it's such an interesting question. That sounds so simple. Doesn't it? And really it's so multidimensional.

I think ultimately confidence is, and this is the grown-up James version. So life experience is seating truly grounded only within myself. So knowing myself. Good bad and indifferent and understanding myself and sitting within that. It's when I, I was fighting part of myself. I think that is where the lack of confidence came in.

And would you say that you are a confident person? Gee, yes, I would, but I certainly have my days certainly have my wobbly days. Absolutely. You know, it's funny because I, as an adult, I've been in roles that have been, um, on the front foot in sales, I'm forever talking to people I don't know, or going to events where I know nobody.

I'm traveling to places all around the world on my own. So that takes a fair amount of confidence in the same sentence. I would describe myself as, especially when I was younger, very shy, very shy. So it's, it's, it's in there, but it's definitely been a learned skill learning practice. And when do you know when you're showing up confidently, what's going on for you?

What shows up? So each art being in fashion. I make sure everything on the external is making very most of what I've got. So that, that, that gives me a few little pits forward. Um, and I make sure I, I sort of ground myself and I'm not, I try and not rush from a to B. Entirely as much as possible so that I could, I can deliver whatever message that I'm there to talk about with confidence and clarity and be present.

And of course know my topic, whatever that is. Well, let's talk about fashion, cause you mentioned it, you work in the fashion, Intergen have done for a long time, but across many roles. How did you get into fashion in the first place? Yeah, I. Lucky enough that I, it was never a decision. I just knew in my heart and it's in my blood and it's just, it just is.

And I'm very grateful for that. I didn't really know what I wanted to do within that area. I think as a creative person, We're good at quite a few things. So we can do a few things. My, I studied, so I'm, I'm academically trained. Um, but I started sewing at nine and just haven't stopped. I had my first business at about 16 years old.

I was making gowns when we're all going to balls and depths and that kind of thing. And I'm used to make for my peers, I love really high end fashion and then started my first full-time business straight before I finished college or university. And I thought I'd do it forever actually, but I'm all about learning and growing and improving and moving forward and bravely taking risks.

So that's that has dictated my life, actually of trying new things and to keep trusting my instinct of when to walk away from situations and, and bravely try new ones. Actually, I'll give you an example of character. Sorry, is I, I sold that business, that business, when I was about 30, I had no idea what I wanted to do.

I needed a break from the general public, so I went very quiet and very internal for a few months. And I started, I got a part-time job at a fabric. And I love fabric. I get that. It makes me very happy. Their agent left, who was the Victorian agent. And I thought I can do this. I've never done it before, but I thought I can do that.

I know fabric and I confidently know what I'm talking about. So I made a time to go and say the owners. And I said, here's why I'm perfect for the job. This was a good example of confidence because inside I was wobbly, but on the outside, I knew I could do it. And they said, why should we give you a go? And I said, cause I can do it.

Um, and I did, and I did, and I B I became their general manager and I became their buyer. And I, I thought I'd stay for about three months and I stayed for 11 years, but that was because I kept growing and I kept saying, okay, here's what, Y R I w I would look for opportunities that suited my strengths and.

So the here's why you need me, which all sounds very confident, but I do believe we get given opportunities along the way in life. And there's nothing wrong with not taking the opportunities and staying safe and staying still. But you never know what's over the other side, around the corner. If you bravely give it a go, you brought up the sport for a lot there that I want to delve into.

The first one you said was knowing when to. Step away or to leave. And you did that with some elements of your career. How would the time, if you can recall, did you know, as the right thing to do, because it is the easy thing to do is to stay and it's safe and stable, but how did you know that it was the time to walk away?

Yeah, I've, I've done that again and again, and again, truly. I've just sold another business about a month ago as I've got older. I've learned to trust my instinct more and more and more. And I don't second. Guess it, you know? I suppose it's just instinct. Really. It really is. And there's no, there are no, um, it's not a sure thing by a long shot.

It really isn't. Um, you know, or like when you've got a mortgage and, and responsibilities, it's pretty scary. Of course it is. So I suppose it's. But it's a bit learned behavior. So it's, you know, save up for a rainy day. Do all those things that your parents tell you to do, make sure that you've got a little bit of a buffer there, keep learning, keep, keep doing.

Like, I love self learning, self improvement and reading and doing little courses like, um, I'm up for all that, that kind of thing all the time. So it's balancing that. And then I call it listening to the whispers. So, you know, when. I'll give you an example with dating. So, and you date some, some guy that you know is really, really bad for you, but super appealing ones.

And you know that if this is not a good situation and you choose to ignore those little wisdoms and you end up in the streets falling head over heels for someone that's not good for you until eventually realize, okay, it's time. I'm out. So it's trusting those little whispers when we bring it back to business and careers.

Okay, well, I'm getting, I'm hearing that again and again and again, maybe, maybe I need to act now maybe it's time to act now. And I think that is like a muscle. I think that not, I think that is like a muscle. You need to practice that. And the first time. I second, guessed myself and hummed and hard for ages and done it a fair few times now.

And now, now I trust that more and I don't ask a trillion people's opinions is I think that is distracting. When you ask, you know, six girlfriend's opinions, they'll all give you a different opinion and most will most people talk from their experience. Very few will say, actually, I know you inside out and I know.

That is for your greatest scores. I was going to ask you, do you, when you were coming, you'll get your whispers and then you get your feeling and your intuition. Do you ever go and seek external advice? Whether that's from girlfriends or business experts? I do. Um, as, as time's gone on. Now, I know if I have to seek external advice or if it's that, I'm not sure then that's my answer.

Now. I only act on nine times out of 10. I only act on things that are right. Yep. Yep. That sounds perfect. Yup. So with that in mind, and it sounds like, you know, you talk about opportunities and, you know, going out and constantly developing yourself. Do you feel like you'll be doing what you're doing now forever?

Or do you feel like there'll be another opportunity come along? That's such a good question. I, I, I don't think about forever and ever. No, I don't. I used to, when I was, you know, 20 odd and idealistic and brown heavily, I'm a very romantic person. And I had these ideals of how life I wanted life to be. And then life takes different twists and turns.

And I've learned that often the twist. Uh, for a better outcome. If I bravely follow them, there's nothing wrong with not taking them and you can lead a safer kind of life, but actually deep down. I don't want that. I don't want that. So I was, I was in a corporate job for a little while. And corporate is perfect for many people, but I remember I knew it was time for me to go.

I needed to get back into small business again and back with my own freedom and flexibility and creativity. And I remember my boss's boss rang me and said, Jane, what can we do to keep you? And I said, actually, thank you for the offer, but no, I'll, I I'm, there's nothing. And she said, but this is a job for life.

And. I remember thinking it's so interesting, isn't it? So she thinks that's appealing. And for many people that is appealing for me, I felt very stifled by that. That that's not for me. Yeah. I actually felt like that was a nail on the coffin of creativity and freedom. Oh, you too. I can totally understand where you're coming from.

And I think we're similar in that respect. So I did do a job for about 15 years, or I worked for the same company for 15 years, but I was fortunate that you moved. I moved around quite a lot in those, but I think if I'd stayed in the same area for 15 years, I think I'd have felt suffocated. 'cause it just, yeah, it just, I'm just not a job for life kind of person.

I think it's refreshing to move and to challenge yourself. I mean, there is something about confidently or going into a new part of business or industry or whatever it is, sector and the confidence to do that really just pushed me off my comfort setting and that smears where I stress. A hundred percent.

Like, I feel like I'm constantly the new girl constantly. I constantly know almost nobody and go to events on my own or go to things and go to new departments or whatever. And I think that's. It's something I got better at, but it's, it's something I really enjoy now. Yeah. Well, let's talk about events and networks because there's probably many people and I have grown to like them, but there'll be people listening who think that's just like going to hell or if you're religious, but you know, some of the networking events or.

Oh, they have really hard. How, how my big word actually for this year is discerning. And I would use that word in reference to events like that. I pick and choose. And I just trust my instincts with them. You know, if they are ones where people are shoving their business card down at you and what can I sell you on?

Honestly, you can just watch me step right back and find someone more like-minded. Cause I, I don't operate like that way and I don't respond to people talking to me like that, but you do find. You do find your people about about three or four years ago? I've I, when I first actually left corporate again, I thought, right.

I need to find like-minded. Um, I deal with, I work with women, so I thought I needed to find like-minded women. How on earth am I going to find them? So every week I went to at least two to three different events every week for I did that for probably a year. And, you know, you'll go to one and make some, there'll be some, at least one lovely person there.

And she'll say, you know, would it be good for you? And I fall, I call it like following the bread crumbs, you know, you find one girl and she's lovely and more your kind of person and she'll suggest something else. So you think, all right, well, I'll give that one a go. And that's how, that's how I found my people.

But there was a lot of trial and error and it was a lot of going to things that weren't quite the right. You know, nothing wrong, but just, just not, um, not my people. So that just takes time. And do you think people give up, they go to a few networking events and they think, oh, this is awful. I couldn't find, or they find that one person and think, well, the object of these network events is to find people more people and give up.

I mean, what would be your advice to people about facing into that? I bravely give it a go. Yeah. And, and try and look at it as a big picture, rather than getting really stuck on the small stuff. So I, I would suggest to try and not get too caught on the small stuff. I would, when, when say you've gone to an event and it's not your, not your jam and, you know, try and look at it that, okay.

It was an opportunity for me to refine. How much in my case, how I talk about my business, you know, the old elevator pitch, which we need to get better at communicating who we are and what we do, but in a nice way, not, not as salesy smarmy, if that's the right word way. And so I think going to those events really helped me do that and it helped me walk up to someone and say, I can see you're new.

Hi, I'm Jane. You know, how come her joined up here today? Find something it helps. It definitely helps your communication skills and, you know, smile and be nice. Like you, you just don't know. It doesn't mean you have to be best friends. Doesn't mean you have to see each other again, but just give it a go and sit there and say nothing.

And. Um, I think that's a great piece of advice. Just to go up to somebody and say, look, you look new, or you look as lost as me, or you look like you don't know anybody as chat and let's find out about each other. And like, surely you can find a compliment somewhere. Surely someone's got a great pair of shoes or, oh, I don't know a handbag you love.

Like, I can't tell you how many. Tom's but I mean, I genuinely mean it I'm I only say things if I've made it. Like, how nice is that on the reverse, then we have to run off into the sunset. It just means that was nice. And she made, she made it, uh, made me feel a little bit comfortable when I was a bit nervous because you can bet your bottom dollar.

They're probably just as nervous. So let's talk about your, your job. I hate the word job actually, cause it's not a job, is it really? But then what you do. So if you tell everybody what you're, what you do, that would be great. I'm a star, a fashion stylist. So I've been a fashion stylist for about 30 odd years, but I have, I have done a lot of things.

I'm a fashion designer. I've been a buyer. I have been a tertiary lecturer in fashion and all aspects. So business and whatnot, these days, I still guest lecture from time to time, but I've very much come from the angle of. So I work with women. I work with female founders and women in business who want to elevate their self confidence to know themselves more, just sit strongly within yourself.

Part of knowing yourself is making sure that the outside, the inside the outside reflects the inside that they can grow it together. And it's my observation working in the industry forever and ever, and ever that. Teaching teaching that side of things, teaching women about themselves. So you know how we built our colorings, our, all those things to give you the very best opportunity to go out there and share your magic with the world, your skills, your, your message, whatever that is.

So I work with women, what I've realized over the time. Self-confidence takes time to lose. You know, we have some girl who said something years ago and it just, it got you on the sore spot about something that you were you're a bit self-conscious about anyway. And then some boy you dated said the same thing and, and we start to believe these silly things.

I call it the 150% mirror. When we look in the mirror, there are very few women I've dealt with. And I've dealt with many who look in the mirror and say, I love my body. Just the way she is. Majority. Not all, but majority say, oh my tummy, my bottom, my hips, my mom whatevers, but actually the way you look at it and the way most of us look at your body are very, very different.

Just like your eye magnifies. It hits the 150%. And so I'm all about, okay, well, if that is what you worried about, let me show you how to work around that. Let me, let me teach you, let me give you the tools. So I come from a space of education and. What my signature course actually goes over five months, because like I said, women take time to lose their confidence.

So in return, it takes time to read that. And at a certain point in every woman's different, at a certain point, someone will email me, ring me whatever, and say, I get it. I get what you're saying. Yes, I could give you a cuddle through the phone. And like, that is the best bit where women can then say, you know what?

I know that that particular shop the designer and cause I've taught them all about the, the patterns and the, you know, from the technical point of view, that that designer is not made their blocks. Aren't made for your hips and bottom. It's not your hips and bottom that are wrong. It's just your, not the right match for them.

Um, they're what they call their blocks, their pattern blocks. So that's empowering, isn't it. Instead of thinking, you know what? You need to lose more weight or all this kind of thing. No, no, no. That's not what it's about. So when it comes from a place of education, loving your body, Just the way it is. So one lady who has just finished my course sheet, she's 47.

So highly educated, traveled the world, lovely relationship husband home the whole lot. So on paper, everything is amazing. And she said, I am beautiful figure. And she said, Jane, I have never loved my body. And I thought, wow, it's amazing. Like here we are. It's just fascinating to watch, like why we think the way we think.

And then she said, by the end, she said, you finally taught me to look in the mirror and love myself. And I thought that alone is why I do like, that's, that's pretty life-changing for women, you know? Yeah, that's a lot of emotion to carry around for 47 years as well. That must be quite tiring. So imagine you released exhausting.

Yeah. Another lady that comes to mind, who I, I know is an ex international models, so beautiful, beautiful on the outside and the inside. And she said to me, Jane, it is exhausting keeping up the facade. And I thought, Hey, I would never have guessed you to say that to me. B you're exactly right. It's exhausting, lost in trying so hard for all of us.

So see, one of the part of what I teach you is just with the tools. So sit within yourself and that that's really hard. It's really hard. It's so much easy to pretend. We're fine. And we've got all the balls in the air and pretend where, I don't know, like Instagram, where the it's actually the sit within our truth is takes a lot of courage.

So it sounds like, I mean, your fashion to me would be, it's all about the external, what you learn and how you represent yourself to the world. But you sounds like you spend a lot of time doing the internal confidence and you say being in yourself and probably listening to whispers and all those things, is that true?

Do you spend, yeah, so we, every, every session is a combination of both it's tailored depending on. Who needs water at the time? So you're a hundred percent, right? So one of the things that with my self-confidence that I struggled with all these years is my love of fashion. So that's been there the whole time, but my love, knowledge and connection to the whispers, to intuition, to all the inner work.

And I've always done a lot of inner work. Now having worked in fashion all these years, a lot of, I can't tell you how many people said to me. Oh, you're so sensitive. Oh, stop being so sensitive, you know, toughen up. Like it was all negative for me. I started to believe it's negative. So I kept that side.

Very hidden, kept my life compartmentalized. And then at a certain point, I realized both of these. Special skills. They needed to come together. And that's, that's what I do these days, which is bringing them all together and I've realized that's what women need in both because they, because by taking your shopping and buying you a beautiful new jacket, which might suit you.

It's to me, it is an element of that is a band-aid it's sorta, I feel ashamed that it takes almost so long to get to the point cause I'm 50 next year. And I feel it was only in the, probably the last four or five years I've got who I I've really understood who I am and what I like and what I'm good at.

And it's all coming together, but it's so frustrating that I've had to get to that point in life, but maybe that. That's how it is because you have to go through life experiences to the point where your true confidence just happens to be nearly in your fifties. I think something happens with women because most women I work with are loosely in, you know, for mid forties on age group.

And I, I think, and when I think of even just the example, I've just given you so. You know, th the fashion side I've known inside out my whole career, but the big thing of bringing the two worlds together really only happened mid forties for me. And finally getting to that point where it's like, okay, this is the whole Jane package and owning it.

Takes its own sense of confidence. Yeah. I, I, I don't know. I just, I see that across a lot of women who, you know, we've, we start to find ourselves in our thirties and th and every now and then there are unicorns who bless them. They just seem to work it out and well done. My goodness. Well done. But for a lot of us that it's older than that change in our foot.

Sorry, change in our forties as we head towards 50 and the weight distributes differently and all that kind of thing. And children are a bit older. If you've gone, the children angle children, you know, for a long time, the extra money is put into educating children. Fair enough. Rightly so, but at a certain point, There is more money to spend you again.

So I was curious, cause I was going to ask you as well, what sort of woman comes to you and perhaps wants the services of a stylist? Yeah. It's interesting. I've just written actually my first, what a biography and I in there, I talk about in my twenties, I used to dress celebrities here and I always thought that's what I wanted to do because you know, it's, you're in the media, all the rest of it actually.

I'm glad I've done it, but it only took a couple of years for me to go, you know what, actually, this doesn't really make my heart sing. So who I work with, uh, women in business, particularly women in small business. Sometimes it's it's corporate women who are looking to get up, make their way up the ladder and refining.

There their sense of self and dressing for the role they want, not the role that they currently are, but a lot of the time it's women in female founders following their heart, setting up their businesses. And then when they do that, especially scaling up and you out presenting you are the face of your business.

So what is that? Look now that's not corporate. Uh, perhaps you're going pitching for funding or, you know, whatever or media or speaking at events, whatever. So it's, it's women in that space to help you refine exactly what we've just spoken about. Your, your confidence really own it so that you can really walk out and come on that stage.

And so when you're, when the clients come to you and they start saying, this is what's happening in my life, and this is what I need your support, how many of them really know themselves? And they know where they stand for most clients, uh, majority, um, mid forties and above. I do attract younger, but essentially they're that.

So they are starting to really get to know themselves, which, which is amazing. But probably who I checked because of how deep I work too. And then I take them on a journey and most of them, nine times out of 10, say, I'd never knew this you're teaching life skills. And I, I didn't, you know, it's the, you don't know what you don't know.

So they, they, they know themselves to a point. Yeah. So Jane, whilst we have to come to an end of this interview, sadly, what's your one piece of advice for women who perhaps want to think about their, how they're presenting themselves through that fashion, to the outside world? What was your one piece of advice to them?

Yep. So have a think about. I ran a few workshops during lockdown. We both Melbourne girls here. And of course we're in the world's longest lockdown. And I, I ran a number of workshops and I said to the girls, okay. In the lead up in the week before our workshop, I want you to write down what you're wearing today and how it makes you feel.

So I, you. Pepe and joyful. Are you really, really dragging yourself to the computer? Are you feeling low? Like whatever adjectives you've got and what I noticed, and this was a bit myself included. Is if, if you stay in yoga gear and you're not a yoga teacher, if you're in yoga, fine. No worries. But if you're not, I find that your vibration can drop a bit.

You can start feeling a bit flat and start being. A bit, just a bit blur, not big blob, but just a bit blur. When you put on a pretty outfit, you prop put proper shoes on, like not just, um, you know, home stuff and you do here. Do you face and sit in and ready to present your vibration with your rise to the occasion and your own.

So I would just take notes. And again, this is not a judgment thing. This is just an observe. What I found is when we are losing that part of ourselves and getting into, I just don't care. Then, then our, our positivity, our daily, your positivity and sense of self just keeps dropping. That would be my one.

Hint. Yeah. Thank you for that. I was on many zoom calls over the zoo. Sorry, the locked down periods. And I can remember people saying to me, I haven't washed my hair today. I just can't be bothered. It was so common. I think because Melbourne, as you say, we're were in. Long lockdowns. I guess people just, just gave up a little bit.

And as a result, now, your services are going to be so now emerging and people are starting to see us. It's so important how we portray ourselves. Absolutely. And because what that does, what I noticed is it just chipped away at now. So what is self worth? You know, one girl I spoke to her children said to her mum, Oh, you whereas the track suit or you're dressing down every day and she was on zoom calls and I said, but how does that make you feel?

And she was so flash and she's normally peppy and she was so flat. Now I know there's a lot of factors there. I know that I lived it, but you know, I find for me personally, I put on high heels. And, um, a fully dressed the same way I would, if I was meeting you in person or running a seminar together, because.

Then I feel on and I feel ready and I'm on my front foot and I am the most Jane I can be. And that's who I need to be to show up. Well, Jane, thank you very much for your time and I hope you've enjoyed being on the podcast and thank you again at short notice for stepping in and it's been wonderful. Um, I should say we didn't actually know each other or have a previous.

Preliminary calls. So I just think it's been really natural and I really appreciate your time. Thank you. Thank you for having me. And I hope there's a few nuggets of gold for some of your beautiful listeners. You sound like you've got a really lovely connection with your listeners. They're all beautiful.

And just before you, before we sign off, can you just tell people how they can find you and how they can get hold of? Yeah. Look, I'd love to talk to if this resonates with anyone, um, feel free. Reach out. My website is finesse business and I N D style.com. Uh, you'll notice on there, on the front page at the very bottom sort of low down, you can connect and, uh, for a complimentary chat, if you would like to sort of see whether.

What, what the offerings are and whether it appeals to you and, um, we can go from there. Great. Uh, do you work with clients all over the world? I do. I do. I have women all over the world, which is amazing. So yeah, we love them. Great. I put all those details in the show notes. Anybody can find you using those needs, so, yeah.

Thank you very much. Thank you for having me.

About the Podcast

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Women In Confidence
The podcast for ambitious working women

About your host

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Vanessa Murphy

Vanessa is a HR Consultant, The Founder of Boom Podcast Agency and a Podcast Host.
Vanessa got her first proper job in 1998 when she joined as an Officer in the Royal Navy and then after 15 years doing that, she transitioned into senior HR and Culture roles working for organisations all over the world.
She now has 2 strings to her bow....
Firstly, she is an empath, avid people watcher and she likes to observe people when they were operating with confidence and self-belief and learn strategies, tools and techniques from them. She helps women with confidence at work and her Women In Confidence podcast is a way for her to share her knowledge and her network with a wider audience.

Secondly, she has always been fascinated by what makes a company great to work for and now devotes her time to creating workplaces that not only have impressive performance but are also human centred - hint... they are not mutually exclusive. Her Conversations About Company Culture podcast is her way of sharing ways to build great organisations.