Bondi Innovators: Sarah Nelson on entrepreneurship and creating legacy

Bondi innovator Sarah Nelson has a wealth of experience, including as Chief Operating Officer for Sydney School of Entrepreneurship and Head of Marketing for Barangaroo. Among other projects she is current Chief of Staff for Mums and Co, an IAG-backed initiative supporting entrepreneurial mothers.

In this video she shares insights into her entrepreneurial journey, her focus on creating legacy, and her drive to support female founders and entrepreneurs. See below for the full transcript.

TRANSCRIPT:

Ross:
Sarah, wonderful to have you on Bondi Innovators.

Sarah:
Thank you, Ross.

Ross:
So, what’s your story?

Sarah:
I was thinking I’ve been in Bondi for nearly 14 years.

Ross:
Oh, right.

Sarah:
So in and around since in Melbourne and New York, but yeah, Bondi and then Waverley, when family kicked in.

Ross:
What were you doing in the last… In all these exotic places.

Sarah:
Oh, traveling around, but really, it was State Government that took me to entrepreneurship and it’s brought me to the Innovation Alliance through involvement in big place making projects like Barangaroo, and then going across to Department of Industry, I was actually the founding General Manager of Sydney School of Entrepreneurship, and got the startup bug and very satisfied with that bug in Bondi.

Ross:
Fantastic. So what are your current projects? What are you working on?

Sarah:
So now I’ve got my own consultancy where I’m an advisor to startup founders and CEOs, like their external general manager or Chief of Staff, I’m really passionate about how you can integrate your own sense of personal legacy into all aspects of business operations, and my own legacy is something to do with rebranding Australia through strength of the feminine, and so I’m working with a couple of clients particularly on that, that female innovation and entrepreneurship space.

Ross:
That’s really intriguing because Australia globally has this very masculine part to it. And so I think there’s a lot of power to that, but there is actually a lot of feminine, I think, to Australia as well.

Sarah:
Yeah.

Ross:
And its contemporary society.

Sarah:
Yeah. Yeah. I mean, going way back to the matriarchal culture of, of course, our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, but also, SolCups comes to mind in Bondi; there are some fabulous female entrepreneurs here as well.

Ross:
Absolutely. So you’ve been in Bondi 14 years now. So why do you choose Bondi?

Sarah:
A long time. It’s just the most phenomenal mix of a beautiful place to live on every single level; access to public transport, connected into the CBD, or across to other areas, going to Carriageworks to see something cool where you can just jump on the train straight from Bondi Junction to Redfern. Of course, the natural environment, but not just for the beach. We are so lucky to be surrounded by the public open green space that we have in Queens Park and Centennial Park. And then just being on top of the hill in Waverley, you get the choice. I mean, the Bondi Bowl is beautiful. I love it. But there’s something about being in one of the highest parts of Sydney and feeling like you’ve got this option of such an incredible city, in such an incredible community.

Ross:
Where we’ll see the city and the ocean.

Sarah:
And nice to have that choice, you know, do you feel urban or do you feel natural? Feel multicultural or do you feel really neighborly?

Ross:
Have it all.

Sarah:
I really, really, really do feel that you definitely have it all.

Ross:
So what do you think the potential for Bondi region is and making it more than it is and how do we get there?

Sarah:
Well, you and I were lucky enough to be in that conversation on Innovation and Placemaking that was hosted by the Waverley Mayor, Paula, and just that sense of connectivity, of confidence. We know that we’ve got the creativity, we know that we’ve got the skills, we’ve just got to figure out the gaps. And so I’m involved in my daughter’s school, I’m involved in their Parents and Friends Committee, I’m on the Centennial Parklands Community Trust, and there is just so many ways that individuals and groups can get involved in community organizations and just share their suggestions and make those small changes. So at a policy level, I’m really excited about Bondi Junction. I think that it’s got this Manhattan vibe and if we’re careful and if we’re diligent we could do some really cool things.

Ross:
All right, let’s work on it.

Sarah:
Awesome.

Ross:
Is there any links or places to go for people who want to find out what you’re doing?

Sarah:
Yeah. So a couple of women that I’m really enjoying working with and are definitely ones to watch are Dr. Sarah Barns, who’s just initiated Story Box in the city of Parramatta. And it’s a very cool public art activation that I’d love to see in Waverley and Bondi, and also Mums & Co. is an organization that I work with and they are all about harmonizing ambition, livelihood, and wellbeing, so if you are a woman in Bondi or Waverley, and in business, then Innovation and Creativity would love to support you through Mums & Co.

Ross:
Okay. Fantastic.

Sarah:
Thanks for the plug.

Ross:
Thank you so much for your time, Sarah.

Sarah:
Thanks.

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