Editor’s Letter: Issue 36

It was time for a move, shares our Editor-in-Chief, Lisa Messenger.


Well, it’s finally time! I’ve alluded to this moment many times over the years but it’s finally here – we’re moving offices! If you stepped into our office any time within the last year (or, to be honest, the last two years), you might have loved the floor-to-ceiling windows that led to a huge deck but you also would have had to be blind to miss the floor-to-(almost)-ceiling boxes, the cramped desks and constant tussles over wall plugs.
When we first rented this office, I remember thinking how ridiculously large it was for my staff of three at the time – we each practically had our own wing. Well, until last month we had almost 30 of us in the same space (including two not-very-OH&S desks that partially closed off access to that huge deck).
Now, as I sit here and write this, I can hear masking tape being strapped over yet another box, and by the time you have this in your hot little hands our team will all be working remotely from across the city as the final preparations are made for our new office space (which has two balconies, a kitchen that fits more than one person at a time and ample bathrooms – the first thing my staff checked).
If you walked into our new offices you might be blown away by the open space and natural light flooding in, but like anything in business and in life, there’s a lot more to the story. To be absolutely honest, we tried to find a space this time a year ago but things just didn’t work out, and we knew if everyone bunched in together we could make do for another year. In business it’s often a case of holding, holding and holding until you’re completely at capacity to be able to support the next big move (whether that’s a physical space, a staffing decision or any of the myriad growth metrics).
But by December last year, getting out of each other’s personal space was top of everyone’s to-do list, so we hired a General Operations Manager, the lovely Aimee, whose first task was to find us a new office. Easier said than done! All up, it took Aimee eight months, 25 property inspections, countless phone calls and five property negotiations for us to finally sign on the dotted line.
Walking around our new digs, visitors – and maybe even new staff over the years – will have no idea of the journey that it took to get there, but it’s important to always appreciate those hard times. And that’s also a big part of why I launched Collective Hub – to tell the behind-the-scenes stories of how businesses and individuals really get to where they are.
It’s for this very reason that I just adore our cover girl, ballerina Michaela DePrince. Months ago, when my team was planning out our covers for the year, our European Fashion Editor, Mariela, disappeared in the middle of a Skype session. Soon, she reappeared with a poster she had stripped from her daughter’s bedroom wall. “This,” she said defiantly, “this is who we should have on the cover – she is beautiful, she is strong and her story is incredible.”
That week I watched a TEDx talk by Michaela online, and I cried from start to finish. If you saw her perform on stage you would have no idea that she started off life as ‘orphan number 27’ in Sierra Leone after losing both her parents. She was adopted by a US couple who helped her pursue her passion for dance, but not before she came up against barrier after barrier because of her background, her body type and her skin colour.
And it’s a story not isolated to Africa, the US or Europe. While rebel-inflicted violence may not exist here in Australia, we do suffer from other social ills – domestic violence, racism and even bullying. (One of my very own team, who also had dreams of being a ballet dancer, has bravely opened up about her own struggles with some of these issues on page 144).
And while ballet, or more specifically, barre, has taken hold of my team (our new office is now even closer to the studio!), I do hope you enjoy the diverse range of stories packed into this issue. One of my favourites is the incredible portraits of Australian Paralympians who are competing in Rio this year. It reminded me of another wonderful (and one of the world’s most-watched) TEDx talk, by the late Stella Young, about ‘inspiration porn’; where she talks about her disability and society’s reactions.
My hope is that you don’t see the athletes in our story as being inspirations just for living with disability, but you admire and respect them as individuals and as athletes at the top of their game.
In this issue we also look at athletes who, just like many of us, have their own side hustles (Eloise Wellings, who I met earlier this year when I spoke at Love Mercy Foundation’s inaugural fundraising breakfast, is having such an incredible impact and I just love what she’s doing). Plus there’s a look inside the offices of Eventbrite, we spend time with the young woman who has released a Muslim-focused fashion line for Uniqlo and take a trip around the world with a hot new luggage start-up funded by Jay Z. I hope this issue leaves you feeling pumped, refreshed and ready to take on the world.


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