Glass Ceiling is a new fortnightly podcast from the team at Startup Daily looking to tackle the issues around diversity in the startup ecosystem in a way that inspires and educates the leaders of tomorrow.
Hosts Gina and James explore everything from venture capital to gaming during their in-depth conversations with a range of high profile guests who despite their gender, race, disability, orientation have despite the many barriers against them, smashed through the proverbial glass ceiling paving the way for next to come.
Episode 16: Ainsley Johnstone and Natalie Firth/Think Talent
Ainsley Johnstone and Natalie Firth are cofounders and co-CEOs of Melbourne recruitment firm Think Talent. The pair founded the business in 2014, because they wanted to do something a little different in recruitment. They explain Think Talent as a marketing-led business, where they help employers develop strong brand recognition that will future-proof them as the battle for talent gets more intense. Having started the business when they had young children, the cofounders are also focused on helping people ‘find their nirvana’, or whatever blend of work/life balance they need to enjoy both. The business is now turning over $3 million, working with clients including Medibank, Aesop, David Jones, and Cricket Australia. Gina had a chat with Natalie and Ainsley about the launch and growth of the business, how they developed their approach, and how they are helping to prepare both employers and job seekers for the future of work.
Episode 15: Valeria Ignatieva/WORK180
Valeria Ignatieva is cofounder of WORK180, a company which looks to connect women with roles at organisations that have a focus on gender equality. The startup has created a jobs board that filters listings to accept only those that have policies or programs in place to support women, with WORK180 clients going through a screening process before they are accepted. The screening process takes companies through 20 criteria, including pay equity, flexible working, women in leadership, and paid parental leave. This information is then included in listings, allowing candidates to see what is on offer at a company before applying. With clients including Atlassian, Microsoft, Boeing, and Accenture, Work180 raised two $1 million funding rounds this year, to push expansion into the UK and the US. Gina had a chat with Valeria about the genesis of Work180, how it works with clients, and how the conversation about equality in the workplace has evolved since the business first launched.
Episode 14 - Emily Tuteur/littleBits
Emily Tuteur is director of product design at New York-based edutech startup littleBits. Founded in 2011, littleBits created the electronic building block, full of magnetic ‘bits’ that snap together to turn ideas into inventions. Along with Disney and education provider Pearson, the startup also has partnerships with over 20,000 schools, while there are more than 300 littleBits ‘invention clubs’ around the world. Born with inclusivity in mind, littleBits has grown its community through a focus on STEAM - science, technology, engineering, arts, and maths - and gender neutral product design. It’s paid off: around 40 percent of kids using littleBits kids are girls, which is four times the industry average. Gina sat down for a chat to Emily about the growth of littleBits, and how she incorporates STEAM and gender-neutral design principles into her work.
Episode 13 - Cherie Diaz/OpenLearning
Now managing director for OpenLearning in Australia, Cherie Diaz has had an interesting career trajectory: after starting out as a classroom teacher, she made the move to the corporate world with Ernst & Young, before progressing through a series of roles and then taking on the OpenLearning gig this past July. It’s an interesting one: OpenLearning raised an $8.5 million Series A round led by two Malaysian companies earlier this year to help fund its further expansion across Australia and into Southeast Asia. The startup now has more than 1.3 million students on board learning through the massive open online courses created by its university and vocational education partners. Along with Australian clients including UNSW, the University of Melbourne, and the Federal Government, the startup also has Malaysia’s 20 public universities and 34 public polytechnics on board. Gina sat down for a chat with Cherie about her career path, the evolution of OpenLearning’s approach to education, and the growth of the company moving forward.
Episode 12 - Nicola Farrell/muru-d
Now program manager for the muru-D accelerator in Sydney, Nicola Farrell has been working with startups for almost a decade. Originally from Ireland, she led startup and accelerator engagement for the Web Summit conference before moving to Sydney and starting at early stage startup incubator Pollenizer. She then found her way to AGL Energy before taking on the role at muru-d. Gina sat down for a chat with Nicola about her experience with Pollenizer, how the Australian startup ecosystem has developed over her time down under, and her role with muru-d.
Episode 11: Maria Halasz/Cellmid
Maria Halasz is the CEO of the ASX-listed life sciences & biotech company, Cellmid Limited. She has a fascinating background: she originally started in the science, working in executive positions in biotechnology firms, before moving to corporate finance and managing investment funds. Maria joined Cellmid in 2007 - and since her appointment, she has led a capital restructure, attracted a new international board of directors, and built a diverse portfolio of assets. Gina sat down for a chat with Maria about her career, what it’s like running a biotechnology company, and how attitudes to women in the corporate world have changed over her time in business.