Becoming a finalist in this years Telstra Business Women’s Awards in the Entrepreneur of the Year category I have to admit is a little surreal…. When asked by the judges during the shortlisting interview if I had always wanted to be an entrepreneur, I laughed and said I’d always wanted my own business… thinking to myself I can’t even spell entrepreneur!  [thank god for spell check!].

When I started Marsden Collective a little over three years ago it was, as where all good business’s start, in my spare room.  Having gone through what I described as a “life cleansing” leaving my role as a Director of a national firm, I started to take on small projects and before I knew it I had a business! Within three months Kathryn joined me, within 12 months we “moved out of home” and then things quickly ramped up from there.  Within 3 years we had 10 staff, and were working on projects across Australia for global companies from our Brisbane base.

The nomination to enter the awards came from a woman I respect and admire greatly, Emma Issacs, Global CEO of Business Chicks.  To me, having Emma nominate me was something special, so there was no way I wasn’t following this through.  The entry process in itself is an awesome opportunity to sit back and take stock of your achievements.  We get so caught up in the doing we often forget to look back and see what we’ve done, and give ourselves a well deserved pat on the back!

When I took that moment, I realised just how much we had accomplished in the last three years.  When I say “we” I mean my team and I, because without them none of what I have achieved would have been possible without their blood, sweat and tears, helping me do it.

We have crossed borders and oceans with the clients we have worked with.  We have stretched the boundaries of what it is to be an “interior designer” taking on projects that shape and influence cultures and communities, from the ground up and the inside out.  We have made our mark as a Workplace Strategy firm, framing organisations futures, changing their workflows, cultures and the engagement of their people through the spaces that we have created for them.  Our approach is holistic, from end to end, partnering with our clients to guide the internal business changes required to achieve the key successes.

Every day I am inspired by what we can do for our clients, what that little ‘something more’ is that we can uncover for them, that little gem, that unexpected outcome.  To influence and change our industry through the way we think and approach every engagement, to create something far more substantial, quantifiable and sustainable.

I’ve been fortunate enough to have been a Finalist in the Telstra Business Women’s Awards in 2011 and know first-hand the amazing connections and opportunities that come from being involved.  To be recognised again, but this time completely independently, is a huge rush and such a proud moment of achievement.  Should I be fortunate enough to win this amazing award I can only imagine the opportunities that I will be afforded.

Either way, the pride that I feel for being recognised as an Entrepreneur is overwhelming, and reinforces my commitment to continue down this path and influence change in our industry one project at a time.