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Meet Steph, Work My Own Way’s Program Manager

Steph leads Work My Own Way as the Program Manager. You’ll often meet her at our mentoring and meetup events. Steph is also the Program Manager for Startup Gippsland a truly innovative regional startup program, and the co-founder of The Herd, Gippsland’s first innovation and collaboration-focused coworking space.

Steph researches and creates Work My Own Way’s innovative program content and liaises with bodies from the government to other entrepreneurship facilitator programs. She’s constantly reviewing what we are doing now to make sure we offer the community what is most needed and wanted – if you have ideas Steph is always happy to hear from you.

Steph is the brains behind the operation, with an MBA (first class honours) from Melbourne Business School and a wealth of innovative learning. She’s an expert in the latest business trends from design thinking and human centred design, to lean startup methodology, jobs to be done theory and agile methodology. Don’t worry if these are all new names and ideas to you, Steph will be sharing her knowledge regularly on our blog.

Steph lives and works in Gippsland with her partner and her gorgeous dog Denzel, who’s often the star of social media posts from The Herd! Outside of work, Steph is building her dream home and loves to dance.

We get to know her with this quick question and answer.

What’s your favourite business tip?
There’s a famous quote by Reid Hoffman, founder of LinkedIn, “If you’re not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late”. Having a lean mindset is critical for early stage businesses. You need to get your offering out to your customers as quickly and cheaply as possible so that you can learn and get feedback directly from the people you’re serving.

What do you love about business?
What I love most about business is how anyone can be an entrepreneur and business owner – you don’t need a degree, you don’t need to know how to code, you don’t need $1m to start up. The barriers to starting a business are the lowest they have ever been. There are so many tools, resources and supports out there to empower anyone to get up and running – you just need to know where to look.

Where did you grow up?
I’m originally from Adelaide but my family is an eclectic mix of Chinese, Malay and Irish. I’m one of six so our household growing up was always ‘organised chaos’ – I think this is why I’m drawn to the fast-paced nature of innovation and entrepreneurship.

Where have you lived and worked?
After school, I spent a year working in the UK in the recreation centre of a care facility. When I got back to Adelaide I studied Health Sciences (public health) but fell in love with business through my hospitality uni job. I moved to Melbourne in 2012 to complete my MBA (and enjoy the coffee) and have spent the last 3 years splitting my time between Richmond and Warragul. I’m now a proud Gippslander who loves travelling across our beautiful region to meet entrepreneurs far and wide.

Why do you love WMOW?
I love this program because it unlocks so many resources and support mechanisms that I’ve seen so many entrepreneurs struggle with in the past. The fact that this support is fully funded for three years and there’s no cap on how much support you can tap into is an incredible opportunity that doesn’t come around very often.

Why the passion for research and new business theories?
I’m a true believer in lifelong learning – the world is changing around us so quickly that we constantly need to be learning to keep up. I’m a proud nerd and love researching the latest methodologies and tools that world class entrepreneurs are using. If we can tap into their experiences and learnings, then we can increase our chances of forming successful Gippsland businesses.