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Interview with Naomi Lindermeyer

 

Naomi Lindermeyer is a co-founder of PropellHerand founder of Kimberlin Education. Naomi is a passionate business owner, having started the successful agency Kimberlin Education five years ago. With a background in education and training,  and the wisdom of being a world-traveller, Naomi is truly a woman to watch. Being a female entrepreneur, Naomi has first hand understanding of the challenges women face in the professional arena. She sat down to talk with the editors of PropellHer to explain just how she worked towards the exciting professional position that she is currently in.

 

Firstly, let’s ask a few more fun questions so our ladies can get to know you. How do you take your coffee?Decaf mocha at the moment as I’m pregnant…other times full strength!Who is the most inspirational woman in your life and why?

This is a tricky one as I’m fortunate to be surrounded by so many. Other than my beautiful mum, I would have to say my PropellHer co-founder Danielle Fletcher. She is the most driven, fast-paced, clever woman I’ve ever worked with. I am truly in awe by her array of multi-talents and self belief. I’ve learn’t so much about how not to procrastinate from her!

Do you have a favourite quote or novel? What is it?

My favourite quote I first heard from our awesome front-end developer, Mitch Furlong. “Always be yourself…unless you can be batman…then, always be batman!” I suppose I should change it to superwoman though.

What caused you to feel passionate about the equality of women in the workforce?

I’ve always felt passionately about the inequality women face in all areas of life. It started with an incredible teacher I had in high school, Joanna Herbert. She is a strong and intelligent women who really challenged the status quo in an all-girls Catholic high school. She fostered a sense of responsibility in me to make positive changes in my own life towards self-empowerment.

In a male-dominated business world, what difficulties have you faced?

Having spent the first 10 years of my career in the largely female dominated world of education, I found the transition into the world of business 5 years ago quite a challenge. I was quite affronted by the transparency of some people, openly bringing their bias towards meetings. A few years ago I was equal partners in another business with a gentleman, some years my senior. When being introduced to an all male board before giving a presentation, I was introduced as my business partner’s ‘lovely assistant’. This was about as far from the truth as possible. Nobody bothered to learn my name.

What inspired you to become an entrepreneur?

I don’t claim to be one of those people who always knew they would start their own business. I come from generations of ‘safe, secure, long-term employment is best’ attitudes. I pursued a career in teaching for my love of educating others, but also because I knew it would be a fairly stable job. However, as I grew older I started to realise that this was not the only way. The catalyst of change for me was actually a boss I had in the teaching profession. She epitomised everything that was wrong with management, and then some. After a few years of struggling with a system that was not open to change, I decided that I didn’t have anything to lose and took the plunge out of the secure, safe employment I had always known towards the unpredictable, unreliable but incredibly rewarding world of entrepreneurialism.

How did you know the time was right?

I am quite a practical person so I sat down with my partner and family and wrote a list of pros and cons about starting my own business. I also looked at my health, which was suffering due to stress and in the end it was a no brainer. It was an easy decision but I had the luxury of no debt and no family responsibilities. For me, it was the perfect time!

Have you ever had a mentor who helped you get to where you are today? What did they teach you?

I have had two really great professional mentors. Peter Antcliffe was an incredible source of positive motivation and practical support for me when I first started and Lars Rasmussen of Google and Facebook acclaim was the main instigator in the idea to take PropellHer online.

How many times have you been a Mentor before? What did you take from the experiences?

I have been a mentor many times in the past, from teaching students through to entrepreneurs wanting to take a similar path to me. From each experience I take something new but the one recurring learning for me is that everyone wants to be listened to and feel as though they have been truly heard. The power of listening to someone should never, ever, be underestimated.

INTERVIEWED AND EDITED BY CYNDALL MCINERNEY.

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