The Big Reveal: Meet The 2022 Miss Earth Australia National Finalists

Miss Earth Australia is one of the most prestigious pageants in the land down under to date. It is held annually to choose which beauty queen will represent Australia in the international and global annual environmental-themed competition, Miss Earth. It was established 18 years ago and aims to utilize its beauty, brains, and talents to promote social awareness regarding environmental concerns and compassion towards our one and only Mother Earth.

Over the years, Miss Earth Australia has aimed to promote pageantry as something that is not always just about the crown, sash, and beauty. It continues to integrate and embrace more inner qualities such as substance, intelligence, kindness, and diversity.

After passing regional screenings, 18 finalists were selected to compete for the Miss Earth Australia 2022 title. Below is the list of candidates:

Himaya Wijeyaweera | Victoria

Her advocacy: “Living in Australia has made me so appreciative of the beauty that we carry throughout nature and the diversity of cultures. My – STRIVE FOR SUSTAINABILITY- approach targets everyone on how we as a collective need to work in unity to incorporate sustainable practices in our everyday lives! This pageant encourages the fulfillment of a purpose toward the protection and preservation of our mother Earth. By taking small steps to educate others on sustainability, I aim to use my platform to target the healthcare industry to bring light to how we can make the change to be more considerate.”

Judith Sanougah | Victoria

Her advocacy: “My decision to join Miss Earth Australia stems from my belief for the environmental problems with a special focus, especially on deforestation – this is my chance to have the journey where I try my best to make a change and leave my mark on our planet, along with teaching young women especially ones like myself with my kind of skin colour and my kind of hair that they are also considered beautiful, and that beauty is not based purely on looks, but that beauty stems from having a purpose.”

Zena Skuthorpe Dowel | New South Wales

Her advocacy: “I joined Miss Earth Australia as I believe this organisation gives young women, whose voices are generally silenced, a large platform to talk about huge global issues to do with the environment.”

Jaisy Molina | New South Wales

Her advocacy: “I chose to compete in Miss Earth Australia because it is an opportunity to raise awareness about the ongoing climate crisis. MEA stands for more than just beauty; it also stands for bravery and courage. Owing to this, I can speak out and inspire others to reduce and eliminate plastic pollution. Let’s protect our precious mother Earth. We are stronger when we work together.”

Fulla Sami | New South Wales

Despina Karpathiou | New South Wales

Her advocacy: “We need a change in the world! There’s so many things happening that aren’t being noticed! Gold mining in Uganda, kids working underground and dying. The weather events happening! The constant floods and devastation. We gotta stand up and do something!

Mariah Whyte | Victoria

Her advocacy: “I joined Miss Earth Australia as I believe this organisation gives young women, whose voices are generally silenced, a large platform to talk about huge global issues to do with the environment.”

Simonne Meiers | New South Wales

Her advocacy: “I’m really passionate about the environment, in particular, climate change and what we as a whole population can do to lessen our carbon footprint on the planet and the greenhouse gases and carbon emissions released into our air. Miss Earth Australia is a really great platform where I am surrounded by like-minded people who care about the environment and our Mother Earth, where I believe I can really make a difference and be in a position to advocate for real change.

Haley Cobb | Queensland

Her advocacy: “I found Miss Earth Australia aligned very closely with my values and beliefs, and I believe Miss Earth Australia will allow me to further develop my self-confidence in my advocacy by raising environmental awareness towards businesses’ social responsibility.”

Sheridan Mortlock | New South Wales

Her advocacy: “I joined MEA because fighting for the conservation and protection of our planet is the most significant battle we must overcome. I’ve always been an advocate for the environment, but this has been further intensified by my university studies. Currently, I’m undertaking a double degree in Global Sustainability and Politics. Miss Earth Australia provides an excellent platform to amplify our voices and action as we protect mother earth.”

Kajol Chand | New South Wales

Her advocacy: “I decided to join Miss Earth Australia to pursue my interests in serving and preserving our environment. My love for nature stems from my upbringing and my background – having Fijian blood meant I was attached to nature. Nature is a big part of the Fijian culture, with much emphasis on keeping it thriving. I share this journey of mine with my sister Shayal who was born with a rare disability – she continues to inspire me to believe that we can create the perfect environment for coexistence between humans and the natural world.”

Robyn Russel | Australia Capital Territory

Her advocacy: “I joined Miss Earth Australia because I love the mission behind the organisation. I will be able to meet like-minded girls who have the same mission as me. It aligns with my morals and views to save Mother Earth. In my current full-time job, I am educating people about sustainability and the impact of internal combustion cars on climate change. Through this platform, I can broaden my audience and educate more people. Miss Earth Australia truly is beauty for a cause.”

Sofiia Starchevska | New South Wales

Her advocacy: “I’ve decided to participate in Miss Earth Australia this year as I believe my life goals and values align with this pageant’s ethos. I’m here to learn more about what we can do to create the best future for the next generations, collaborate our minds, and drive a global change!”

Riley Aston | Queensland

Her advocacy: “I joined Miss Earth Australia 2022 because I believe in promoting environmental awareness, conservation, and social responsibility towards Mother Earth. I will utilise the Miss Earth Australia platform to make a difference by highlighting the importance of our environmental actions and acting on our social responsibilities to conserve the natural beauty of this planet we call home. I am excited to lead by example and share my eco-friendly tips with everyone throughout my Miss Earth Australia journey.”

Jessika Bassan | New South Wales

Her advocacy: “Coming to Miss Earth Australia, I can be a voice to empower everyone to be independent, believe in their potential, and don’t lose their essence of life. Being the eldest sister of my three younger sisters, I believe that I should be a good role model for them, where I live a humble and respectful life – while genuinely learning and finding my life’s true purpose.”

Ariel Beninca | Queensland

Her advocacy: “Our environment through Miss Earth Australia is such a solid cause to speak for and represent my advocacy – “Political Change for Climate Change.” Climate change is the greatest threat to our existence, and there’s only so much we, as individuals, can do about this issue. We need all governments worldwide to act on climate change, and we need to implement renewable infrastructure and hold corporations to account.”

Kelsy Prest | New South Wales

Her advocacy: “I joined Miss Earth Australia because I absolutely love what the competition stands for. As a scientist, our job is to provide facts and information, so I wanted to do just that and use this opportunity and platform to promote biodiversity, encourage sustainability and create awareness, and will back it all with scientific evidence.”

Naomie White | New South Wales

Her advocacy: “I gravitated toward the Miss Earth Australia pageant as I was inspired by my trip to the Philippines in 2018 and met former Miss Earth 2017 Karen Ibasco – she opened my eyes to the fact that young women have a voice to be a catalyst of change. As a young woman who has been proactive about the idea of a sustainable Earth, I find this the utmost opportunity to become a quintessential part of the change.”

In Photos: Miss Earth Australia 2022’s Official Sashing Ceremony

The journey to Miss Earth Australia 2022 has officially begun as some of the finalists (majority from Sydney) turned up last July 30 to participate in one of the most important pageants in the world. The grand finale will be held on the 4th of September 2022, and at the conclusion of the grand finale, Miss Earth Australia 2021 Phoebe Soegiono will be crowning her successor. The Miss Earth Australia Organization recently held its grand launch and sashing ceremony, which saw National Director Julieta De Leon sashing all the beautiful finalists. The ceremony was held in Hyatt Regency.

The sashes looked fabulous, more so because of their simplicity. Its colour was the usual green, with the Miss Earth Australia emblem in white. The Earth Australia 2022 coronation night will be a fabulous event with delegates from all over Australia competing for the prestigious crown and the honourable duties that come with it. We can’t wait to see who gets to take the crown home this year!

Check out the photos below to see highlights from the Miss Earth Australia 2022 Sashing Ceremony courtesy of Ricky Yunata Photography.

The Best Fashion From The Miss Earth Australia 2022 Grand Launch and Fashion Show

Set in the backdrop of Hyatt Regency, various fashionistas, models, and photographers flocked together to witness an event featuring the 2022 Miss Earth Australia finalists. The event is the brainchild of Miss Earth Australia National Director Julieta De Leon and Managing Director Marc Baylon.

Amongst flashing lights, media coverage, and music was Stargazer Production and the Miss Earth Australia Organization right in the middle of it all. It was a great night filled with world-class fashion and entertainment as they celebrated their love and commitment to Mother Earth.

The 2022 Miss Earth Australia 2022 Grand Launch and Fashion Show featured some of the most incredibly talented Sydney designers, such as Tommy Ge of Leatheron, Faten Lawn, Lily African Wares, Alies Bol, and Armando Crisostomo.

Check out some of the photos below from the fashion show courtesy of George Azmy:

 

Entrepreneur To Watch Out For: Meet The Co-Founder And CEO Of SnapADU, Whitney Hill

As co-founder and CEO of SnapADU, an accessory dwelling unit (ADU or “granny flat”) construction company serving San Diego, Whitney Hill is part of a broader shift in how the state thinks about housing. Whitney and her partner Mike Moore, an experienced general contractor, have grown the business to $15M during the pandemic, embracing technology to make it faster and more efficient to design and build an ADU. Her company starts by assessing ADU feasibility – for free – to get homeowners answers they need to design and build an ADU within their budget constraints.

In 2020-21, Snap ADU improved transparency in the market by publishing ADU plans and build prices online, along with the fully-loaded cost to build an ADU, including plans, permitting, site work, vertical construction, and any additional work like required solar power and utility upgrades. Whitney’s team also regularly produces informative free content on the ins and outs of building an ADU in San Diego, including what to watch out for to avoid unexpected delays and cost overruns.

Given the rapidly changing dynamics in the construction industry due to supply chain and labor constraints, pricing in the past year has been highly unpredictable. Snap ADU provides a guaranteed price maximum for construction once plan revisions are completed with the city, allowing homeowners to plan confidently.

In 2020-21, Whitney and SnapADU were recognized nationally as avid adopters of technology, including industry-leading project management software enabling homeowners to view details of their project schedule and financials and make approvals on materials and overall budget. Whitney has been featured on numerous podcasts about construction technology and small business leadership.

In addition to being a woman-owned business, more than 40% of Snap ADU employees are women or of minority status; the number exceeds 65% when accounting for independent contractors that work for Snap ADU.

Global Elite Media Group recently caught up with Whitney to discuss her journey as an entrepreneur, and here’s what went down:

Could you please tell our readers a brief background about yourself and how you started your business? 

I’m the co-founder and CEO of SnapADU, an accessory dwelling unit (ADU, guest house, granny flat, casita) construction company serving San Diego. SnapADU has become the leading builder of ADUs in San Diego as part of a broader shift in how California thinks about generating affordable housing. Our company designs, permits, and builds 50 ADUs annually and has $15M in revenue.

Before getting involved in residential real estate, I gained strategic & tactical experience as a management consultant for Bain & Company and an operations manager for an industrial supply distributor. 

In early 2020, I learned about accessory dwelling units (ADUs), which are small homes of 400–1200 sqft on residential lots with an existing primary residence. Regulation changes made it far easier to build ADUs on most residential lots. I was excited about the concept of more efficient housing as an option for intergenerational living or generating rental income. 

Within a month or two of researching ADUs and thinking about how to make an entrance into construction in San Diego, I was working in a coffee shop. I overheard a conversation between two people who were clearly in development. One of them later introduced me to his good friend Mike Moore, co-founder of SnapADU.

We joined forces to focus on getting extremely good at meeting the increasing demand for well-designed and value-oriented ADUs in Greater San Diego. Mike has spent his life in construction, working for both larger commercial and small custom home builders before starting his own business. His experience in small business ownership and construction meshed perfectly with my skills, and together we set out to make a difference in the San Diego ADU market.

What are you currently doing to maintain/grow your business?

We have been painstakingly combing through each step of our business to ensure we have sufficiently defined operating procedures and enacted automation wherever possible. This attention to detail is helping us maintain margins by keeping our costs down. It’s also ensuring that our clients get a consistent and high-quality experience in industry – residential infill construction – that is historically hit or miss in customer service. We’re also working on establishing concrete points for soliciting feedback from our clients to ensure we are keeping up with evolving needs, while also sharing that valuable specific feedback with team members.

Another priority for us is continuing to publish high-quality information about our niche of accessory dwelling units in San Diego. Building this kind of content strengthens our web presence, which helps generate organic leads. Additionally, we gain trust with potential clients by providing a high level of transparency about information like cost and process.

Lastly, we are laying the foundation for future growth by ensuring our systems and technology can support our business as we scale. We are investing in new visualization software to help clients make more informed decisions about their build while streamlining the customer journey.

What form of marketing has worked well for your business throughout the years?

Our strongest form of marketing is ranking highly on SEO to generate organic leads; 70% of our business comes from people finding us on Google searches. We reach this level of success by generating regular content on our topic of expertise, then ensuring those articles are optimized for SEO – at least 1000 words, targeted keywords, and backlinks whenever we can generate them.

We also receive about 20% of our business through job site signs. This is, of course, geographically targeted, which is important to us, particularly in the same neighborhood, since HOAs and other factors can limit the buildability of lots.

What social media platforms do you usually use to increase your brand’s awareness?

We post 3-5 times a week on Instagram and Facebook and at least weekly on LinkedIn. We also post on local forums via Patch and Next Door. We generate our content for the month for Instagram, then decide which additional platforms should also have that information published.

On Instagram, we have been pushing to create more Reels, which are shown to an audience outside of followers. We typically reach 3X the views we can with a regular post. In our industry, there are not yet many other players focused on “edutainment,” so we are exploring that avenue.

What is the toughest decision you had to make in the last few months?

The toughest decision we’ve had to make in the past few months is when to begin reorganizing our sales and pre-construction process. For us, this is a large investment of both money and team resources, as we have to staff these initiatives appropriately while also not letting our operational goals slip.

So deciding when to pull the trigger is difficult; we know we need to undertake the change, but we are running at top speed to keep up with our growth as it is. It’s tough ever to feel fully ready for a large undertaking like that, even though it is a necessary step and a good decision to support future growth.

How has your business been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?

The demand for our product has gone up. Especially in light of COVID, families are looking for new living options that keep loved ones closer to home. ADUs offer families flexibility since ADUs are versatile and meet the demands of evolving intergenerational lifestyles.

How have you adapted your business operations in response to COVID-19 and its associated impacts?

COVID has opened opportunities for working smarter. Our business was created entirely during the pandemic. For us, it was a unique opportunity to take advantage of tools to help assess properties remotely. Traditionally, contractors would make site visits early on. We use satellite imagery, zoning, and parcel information to learn what is buildable on the lot. Since COVID, people are much more willing to work remotely, and we’ve learned that we can push industry norms in this new environment.

Additionally, all our team – except for field crews – works remotely. We no longer have an office, but you can find many of us connected via Zoom throughout the day. We’ve embraced technology that makes it possible to work from anywhere, even in the historically site-based construction world.

What are some of the most important lessons you learned from this pandemic?

The biggest challenge has been handling escalating material and labor prices. We don’t want our clients to feel like we are doing a ‘bait and switch’ with them, but unfortunately, long project timelines mean that pricing can move quite a bit from when they sign a proposal to when we start building. We try to mitigate volatile pricing by having several checkpoints on price along the way to keep them informed and to ensure the reasons for any increases are transparent.

What do you hope to see happen in the near future for small businesses all over the world?

I hope to see more strategic partnerships that enable people to do what they are best at.

Many small business owners started out in their industry because they loved the hands-on part of the job. By the time they are running a small business, most of their day to day is filled with tasks that don’t excite them: administrative minutiae, worrying about how to get more people in the door, trying desperately to make margins.

Meanwhile, a host of other people out there went to school for business administration and LOVE that part of small business… yet they are busy looking around for that “perfect” new idea. Innovation doesn’t have to be flashy or new or exciting. It can be just as impactful to run an extremely efficient operation and focus on an underserved niche.

Partnering with someone with a complementary set of skills can help you bring a business to the next level at multiple of the speed you could have done alone. And it feels like such a life hack to focus on the exciting parts, while your partner focuses on the parts that they love (but you really despise).

What advice would you give to a newbie Entrepreneur setting up a new business in this pandemic?

Focus on your niche. Get extremely good at serving your ideal client. Turn people away if you must, which feels scary at first. Serving a smaller group of people well will lead to better reviews and referrals while also allowing you to really dig in and understand that group and provide value to them. All of this has the effect of building a strong core business from which you can grow.

Entrepreneur To Watch Out For: Find Out More About Lisamarie Monaco

Lisamarie Monaco is a National Independent Life Insurance Agent. She’s a successful entrepreneur who started with very little. She currently co-owns her business (Insuranceforburial.com) – and is a “Family Protector.”

Monaco helps seniors daily, and she ensures their loved ones are protected from financial burdens when they pass away, ensuring they receive a lump sum check at the most difficult times in their lives. Global Elite Media Group recently caught up with Monaco to discuss her journey as an entrepreneur, and here’s what went down:

Could you please tell our readers a brief background about yourself and how you started your business?

A little about me and my background: I grew up on Long Island, New York. I worked at a Level One Trauma Center for 18 years. I have raised four children. I lived through a divorce and was unsure where life would bring me. I knew I needed to make some decisions and decided to take a leap of faith. I moved to Florida a few years ago and married my now husband, Danny Ray. We founded our company together. Although he has been in this industry for over 27 years, I have not. I was starting my life over and knew I wanted to do something meaningful and decided I wanted to help our seniors protect their loved ones from financial burdens when they pass away. That is when I became “The Family Protector.” Insuranceforburial.com was born shortly after.

What are you currently doing to maintain/grow your business?

I am currently working on preparing for Medicare open enrollment to ensure our clients have everything they need in coverage and to be certain they are in the right plan and not overpaying by even a penny. We also want to ensure they do not have any gaps in their coverage.

What form of marketing has worked well for your business throughout the years?

Search Engine Marketing and Social Media Marketing. These are great ways of building our business through the years.

What social media platforms do you usually use to increase your brand’s awareness?

The social media platforms we use the most are Facebook and Instagram. Everyone today is on Social Media. People use Facebook probably the most and not only socialize, but shop and have found us via Facebook and have reached out to us to help them obtain life insurance.

What is the toughest decision you had to make in the last few months?

The toughest decision in the last few months has been implementing more automation in our business. We have hired people to be administration assistants, but we have not had luck finding the right fit. I have decided we will utilize automation as much as possible, and in addition, I take on Administrative roles two days a week to keep up with the daily routine.

How has your business been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?

Since the Covid-19 pandemic, the business has increased even more than ever. We are a National Telesales Agency, licensed in every state, and have clients in every state. Since the beginning of the pandemic, more people have appreciated the ease and simplicity of the online application process and voice signature application process for their life insurance needs. Our seniors can get an active policy from start to finish in 20 minutes and never have to leave their homes or have anyone come into their homes. They are safe and have their family protected by the end of that call with an approved policy!

How have you adapted your business operations in response to COVID-19 and its associated impacts?

Since Covid-19 we have adapted by keeping distance and working from our home offices. We have a few in-house agents and several remote agents that have been wonderful throughout the pandemic.

What have been some of the most important lessons you have learned because of this pandemic?

Some of the most important lessons I have learned since the pandemic is to appreciate our current clients, our clients to be, and to appreciate the business we are in. I find it an honor and a privilege to do what I do, especially with such uncertainty over the last two years. Knowing I have helped so many of our seniors get through this and help them reach their goals of final expense insurance and protect their loved ones leaving a legacy for their children and grandchildren. It is a tremendous honor on every level.s

What do you hope to see happen in the near future for small businesses all over the world?

I hope to see small businesses continue to grow by leaps and bounds in the near future all over the world. I hope for this because small businesses are people’s dreams, their creativity, desire, grit, and passion for what they do. Seeing that come to life is a beautiful thing.

What advice would you give to a newbie Entrepreneur setting up a new business in this pandemic?

Don’t overthink anything. Write out your goals. Set up a plan. Create a vision board of everything you want to achieve and take that leap. You will have sleepless nights; you will have feelings of failure at times or make mistakes; takes those as your stepping stones to greatness, and never give up. Take it from this small-town Long Island girl who started out with $58.00 in my checking account and eating Triscuit crackers. I am an example of anything, and everything is possible. Take your leap!

Five Prominent Social Media Platforms Every Entrepreneur Needs To Invest In

If you are planning to launch a small business or you’ve started one just recently and you haven’t utilised the power of social media because you think it’s for teens only – then you’re definitely missing out! You have probably encountered a load of information explaining how you can use social media to promote your business which makes sense because social media is a powerful money-making machine as long as it’s utilised the right way. It doesn’t really matter if you think social media is for kids, bottom line, EVERYONE is on social media and it’s free communication.

Although there are millions of social media users all throughout the world, it is quite easy to get carried away by the number. Looking for the right social media sites to get your business promoted and maximize its potential is important to the success of a business, and it is the part where you should be concentrating your efforts.

What will your business gain from engaging in social media?

Social media is all about engaging through sharing, which means, in business, it’s targeting your services, your product range, or your articles at engaging a possible client base or customer. With millions of users worldwide, social media is covering every topic range that you would be able to think of.

Along with engaging a prospective client base and customer, social media also plays a big relevance to SEO. Social media has been a unique format because it is helping you promote your content directly to your audience, which in turn, would generate traffic through people who share your content with others, and through search engine optimization.

The most prominent social media sites and their uses:

Below are six of the most prominent and significant social media sites that you need to utilise right now if you want your business to succeed.

1. YouTube  – This site is about showcasing videos to a large range of audiences. It is being utilized by businesses at all times to sell products and services. While YouTube is owned by Google, videos have a tendency of featuring prominently on the search engine results. You are even given the chance to utilize the YouTube ads for making a secondary stream of income.

2. Facebook – This social media site has been predominantly built for sharing. These can be articles, products, or services. It is for sharing your content with as many people as possible.

3. Twitter – It is about sharing news on any subject. You should not let the word “news” make you feel as if it does not apply to products. Twitter is good for new stock ready to be sold, new product launches, and other press releases.

4. Linkedin – For the newbies out there who haven’t heard of LinkedIn before, it’s a social network that is designed for career and business professionals to connect with each other. Unlike Facebook wherein, you can ask to be a friend of anyone you like, LinkedIn is not about numbers, it’s about quality, not quantity. It’s about building strategic relationships and connecting with people that are relevant to your business.

5. Instagram – This social media site is good to use when it comes to showcasing visual products. If your business is selling something on the web, make sure you post on Instagram and as many bookmarking sites as you can find. Instagram has been around now for a while, and it doesn’t just end there. It keeps growing. More than 500 million people have an Instagram account, and 300 million of these users are actively using the platform daily. This is great news for social media marketers.

Entrepreneur Spotlight: Introducing Boston-Based Entrepreneur and Psychotherapist Angela Ficken

Angela Ficken, LICSW is a full-time psychotherapist in private practice. She specializes in OCD, eating disorders, and anxiety-related concerns. She started her career at McLean Hospital, which is one of the top-ranking psychiatric hospitals in the country and affiliated with Harvard University. She was the head social worker on an inpatient unit that focuses on anxiety and depression.

During her time at McLean, she trained in exposure therapy and became certified in CBT and DBT. Shortly thereafter, she worked at Harvard University as a primary therapist for undergraduate and graduate students. During her time there, she taught students CBT and DBT skills to help them manage a range of challenging emotions that young adults face daily.

Along with her work at McLean and Harvard, Angela had a small private practice for years before she decided to move full-time in 2013. From there, she focused her attention on working with young adults and entrepreneurs primarily after noticing that both groups struggled with anxiety disorders and stress-related issues due to life transitions and the uncertainty of what was coming next in their lives.

She spent years fine-tuning her practice and building her business into something more than a standard full-time private practice. She began writing for Huffington Post as an expert, which then catapulted her into writing for other major online sources which include Marriage.com where she is a verified expert, YourTango.com, ThriveGlobal.com, and has been quoted in Oprah Magazine, and Fastcompany.com, Inc.com, Forbes.com, MSN.com, Bustle.com, Popsugar.com, Buzzfeed.com, Nylon magazine, Allure.com, and Justluxe.com. She has also been a guest on Onward Nation with Stephen Woessner where she talked about OCD and intrusive thoughts, as well as on the radio in Chicago and Reno speaking about stress and anxiety.

 Global Elite Media Group recently caught up with Angela to discuss her journey in the industry and here’s what went down:

What are you currently doing to maintain/grow your business?

There are several things my team and I are working on right now. I have two brands ProgressWellness.com which is focused on my private practice, and then the WorriedtoWellBalanced.com brand, a wellness platform designed specifically for professional women with busy lives.

We focus heavily on marketing both brands through Pinterest, publicity, and organic search engine optimization.

What form of marketing has worked well for your business throughout the years?

The best marketing strategy for my business has been Pinterest. My team has helped build ad campaigns for infographics that go directly to related articles I’ve written for the WorriedtoWellbalanced.com blog, and to Amazon where I have a CBT workbook and stress buster guide available for purchase. Pinterest has by far been the most cost-effective strategy we have used and will continue to use for the foreseeable future.

What social media platforms do you usually use to increase your brand’s awareness?

While we’ve tested out Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok, Pinterest has yielded the best results. The platform provides us with the biggest reach for sharing our message and letting people learn more about me and my brands.

What is the toughest decision you had to make in the last few months?

My team and I discussed goals for both Progress Wellness and Worried to Well Balanced, and the attention required for the business to grow financially. In order for each of the businesses to grow, I needed to be more present for it which meant I would need to spend fewer hours with clients.

Seeing less clients means I give up an immediate cash flow for the potential growth of both brands, and that was a tough and stressful decision, but one I needed to make.

How has your business been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?

Both of my businesses have seen an increase over the past two years. My private practice, which is Progress Wellness, has had more people interested in therapy because it’s much easier to show up in a virtual setting. Sessions are virtual so after we end, they are back at work without a commute. It makes it much easier than taking a ninety-minute break in your day to factor in a commute to therapy. 

Worried to Well Balanced has also done well. During the pandemic, I wrote the Covid Coping Kit which was available on Amazon. We are now working on an Everyday Coping Kit, and I am currently writing my first book which will be released late this year.

I have had more availability working from home to partake in more podcasts, be on live television and build the Worried to Well Balanced and Progress Wellness brands.

How have you adapted your business operations in response to COVID-19 and its associated impacts?

My private practice has been virtual since mid-March 2020 and will remain virtual most likely for the foreseeable future. I have also used this time to create more online stress and anxiety management products knowing that stress levels for many people were going up and would possibly have less access to support. I wanted to give people easy access to skills and strategies which is how Worried to Well Balanced came about.

What have been some of the most important lessons you have learned because of this pandemic?

The most important lesson I learned over the past two years is how precious time is. Time is our hottest commodity and being able to work from home has afforded me more time with my daughter and husband that I never would have had if it were not for this pandemic.

Before Covid, I did not have thoughts about how I wanted to spend my time, but now I do. How do I want to spend it and who gets my time? This has helped me think through my work schedule, time with loved ones, and quality solo time. It’s been the best lesson.

What do you hope to see happen in the near future for small businesses all over the world?

For the US, my hope is that small business owners, no matter where they are in the country, can get affordable health care, paid maternity and paternity leave, and other benefits bigger companies are able to give to their employees. For the world, I hope smaller businesses have more opportunities to increase their brand awareness giving people more choices.

What advice would you give to a newbie Entrepreneur setting up a new business in this pandemic?

As the world is starting to go back to “normal”, many people will want to continue online shopping as their main way of purchasing products. With that in mind, I would encourage you to have a website that is easy to use, on point with your message, and customers can easily find and purchase your products.

Entrepreneur Spotlight: Introducing Glen Bhimani, The CEO and Founder of BPS Security

Glen Bhimani is the CEO and founder of BPS Security, which is one of the fastest-growing security firms in the US. He has decades of experience in security and was discovered by Grow Disrupt as a phenomenal business powerhouse during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic when he navigated the pandemic in such a way that created a 400% growth in his company. Glen’s company utilizes proprietary software and integrates technology in novel ways to protect clients and improve the security industry as a whole.

Global Elite Media group recently caught up with Glen to discuss hia journey in the industry and here’s what went down:

What are you currently doing to maintain/grow your business?

Currently, we are pursuing effective marketing strategies. We’ve got a solid sales system going and we’ve developed some of the leanest operations I’ve ever seen along with proprietary software that allows us to offer better services to our clients. In short, we’ve spent the last few years working on building our company into the best possible option for security and now we’re working on spreading the word through our marketing.

What form of marketing has worked well for your business throughout the years?

Ironically, we didn’t have much marketing when we started. I knew nothing about marketing when we started and didn’t think it was important, so we didn’t have marketing for the first few years. Now we’ve discovered that having our website highly SEO’d have made a huge difference. We went from having maybe one call a week to sometimes five calls a day once we optimized the website, and we’ve begun to see a lot more traction in our credibility since starting our public relations campaign.

What social media platforms do you usually use to increase your brand’s awareness?

We use a variety of platforms, but right now we primarily use LinkedIn, Facebook, Youtube, and Twitter. Twitter is where we heavily interact with the public, and our other social media platforms are utilized as information, education, and entertainment disseminators where we can keep in contact with our clients and fans.

What is the toughest decision you had to make in the last few months?

The toughest decision has been turning away poor clients. We have had several potential clients approach us for security services in the last few months who would have been huge revenue generators for the company. But at the same time, they would have been a horrible fit for our company: the way that they run their businesses is completely contrary to the integrity we believe in and act out, and would have required us to compromise our standards. It was a painful decision to watch that potential revenue disappear, but I knew it was the best choice to make; because once you compromise once, it becomes easier and easier until you no longer have a standard you hold to.

How has your business been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?

Because we were extremely prepared for it, the pandemic has actually helped us grow. At the beginning of the pandemic, I was watching the way the virus affected the security industry in other countries and saw how it caused the demand for security to shoot through the roof as valuable buildings were left unattended. I knew it was more than likely that the virus would make its way to the United States, so I prepared us for it by interviewing massive quantities of guards and making huge bulk orders for equipment so that we would be prepared when it hit the United States. Because of that, we had a growth of over 400% in the second quarter of 2020 when we were the only security firm prepared for the massive spike in security demand.

Aside from that, we’ve had to institute some company policies surrounding the handling of the virus’s impact on the world, but otherwise, we haven’t seen any negative effects of the pandemic.

How have you adapted your business operations in response to COVID-19 and its associated impacts?

Our operations have changed very little. We have always worked very heavily via internet and phone communication, and security guards are regularly required to wear facial coverings so switching over completely was a non-issue.

We do believe very strongly in the rights of the individual, so our stance on COVID-19 policies has always been to let our clients govern what the guards have to do on-site. If a client doesn’t care, we leave it up to the guard’s discretion. If the client has rules, our guards are required to follow them. Additionally, we were never interested in forcing anyone’s hands so we never made the vaccines a mandatory requirement. However, we offered bonuses for fully vaccinated guards and have seen a lot of success with that method of risk management/mitigation for COVID-19.

What have been some of the most important lessons you have learned because of this pandemic?

The biggest one is that you can never just sit back and hope people don’t notice your policies. Eventually, you are going to have to make a decision about current events and where you stand, so it is best to immediately consult your core values and make a decision before you’re put in a high-stress situation. I had way too many friends who tried to just ride out the wave of chaos over COVID restrictions and they suffered a lot of backlash for it. Knowing what you stand for and making policies before you ever get into a situation is the best way to have a solid response to chaos.

This one is not so much one that I learned because of the pandemic, but one that was strongly reinforced to me because of it: prepare for the worst, expect the best. If you pay attention to the goings-on in the world and always prepare yourself in case it happens to you, you’ll rarely be taken by surprise and you’ll likely be able to discover opportunities for growth like I was.

What do you hope to see happen in the near future for small businesses all over the world?

I would love to see self-awareness rise in small businesses all over the world. Too many small businesses have an idea in their head of what their business should look like, but it doesn’t match reality and they make poor decisions based on it. Then they end up in a worse place than before. I think if small businesses were all to become far more self-aware, we would see greater growth in small business success. This would be my ideal for the world of small business owners: that all of us find the quickest and most sustainable path to growth through self-awareness.

What advice would you give to a newbie Entrepreneur setting up a new business in this pandemic?

Don’t let the pandemic intimidate you. There are so many opportunities for growth if you will just look for them. Your natural instinct is going to be to shy away from the tough decision that growing a business in a pandemic brings, which is normal: we tend to flee what we fear, and tough decisions are scary. But push through the fear and be courageous, you will find there are so many opportunities in places you never imagined if you just act in spite of your fear.

Entrepreneur Spotlight: Introducing Lindsey Carnett, The CEO & President of Marketing Maven

Lindsey Cartnett started Marketing Maven after working at a public relations firm in Los Angeles, being the Marketing Director for a Scandinavian publicly-listed biosciences company, and starting a PR division for a multi-million-dollar advertising agency in Los Angeles. After many hours on the road commuting, at 26 years old, she was fearless and started Marketing Maven at the beginning of the Recession. She wanted to bring accountability to the public relations industry the same way that direct response advertisers brought attribution to their media dollars spend. She announced that she was doing PR for DR, meaning Public Relations for Direct Response, and launched into the direct-to-consumer marketing world, which had been her work experience from the early part of her career.

Global Elite Media Group recently caught up with Lindsey to discuss her journey as an entrepreneur and here’s what went down:

What are you currently doing to maintain/grow your business?

Today, Marketing Maven looks very different than it did in 2009. When Marketing Maven was born, the service offerings included Public Relations only. We have since added social media marketing, digital advertising, influencer marketing, email marketing, event support, market research, and creative services including copywriting, graphic design, and website development. Marketing Maven is now bicoastal with its headquarters in the Greater Los Angeles area and offices in New York City.

Marketing Maven continues to grow because we practice what we preach. We contribute articles to noteworthy media outlets, we speak at conferences, we have award-winning campaigns, we announce significant agency news, and we establish strategic partnerships that allow us to advance.

We also put our money where our mouth is in terms of having the core value of a growth mindset. This means being lifelong learners- something of paramount importance in an industry that is constantly evolving. Marketing Maven allows for education time for each employee and even sponsors it, so we are investing in employee education to improve our skill sets, learn more about the industries our clients work in, and cross-train our fellow staff. Our emerging leaders are strategically placed in leadership development programs and acquire new skills that they bring back to Marketing Maven.

What social media platforms do you usually use to increase your brand’s awareness?

Marketing Maven uses LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram to increase brand awareness. Each platform is important for current and prospective clients, new hire recruiting, and employee engagement.

What is your experience with paid advertising, like PPC or sponsored content campaigns? Does it work?

Paid advertising only works if you have a solid strategy and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that you’ve established to gauge success. It’s important to start with a competitive analysis, understand your target audience and know what’s going to drive them to convert into qualified prospects. It’s more than getting a lead to your website. You must have a plan to keep them, as a nurture campaign with a series of relevant emails that have a substance of value in order to ultimately have them convert into a valuable client.

What is your main tactic when it comes to making more people aware of your brand and engaging your customers? How did your business stand out?

Pre-pandemic, we’d walk tradeshows with clients and they would do all of the selling for us. The best advocates are your existing clients who can show others the great work you’ve done for them. Today, we are working with our clients on case studies that they are proud of that we can share with prospects to showcase the work we do. We are also submitting case studies for awards so we can highlight award-winning campaigns in our marketing efforts. It’s great for us and for our clients!

What form of marketing has worked well for your business throughout the years?

The best form of marketing that has worked well for Marketing Maven throughout the years is word of mouth. The majority of our business comes via referrals so LinkedIn connections, one-on-one consultations, and a very customized approach are something that has proven successful year after year. Many times, we’ll do unique direct mailers prior to trade shows to request appointments and express our interest in working with specific brands.

What is the toughest decision you had to make in the last few months?

The toughest decision I had to make in the last few months was about office space. It’s hard to predict the post-pandemic office environment but I think the hybrid office is here to stay, at least during the next 5 years.

What money mistakes have you made along the way that others can learn from (or something you’d do differently)?

When I started Marketing Maven at age 26, I thought it was bad to get a business loan, so I put all my expenses on my personal credit cards. It wasn’t until I got more education about business financing that I realized that was a big mistake. I received an excellent education about business finances through the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Program.

What new business would you love to start?

I have many ideas for new businesses in many industries. Some are service-based and others are product-focused.

If you could go back in a time machine to the time when you were just getting started, what would you do differently?

I would have invested more money in seasoned industry veterans with proven success in my industry who weren’t already from my existing network. I think that would have accelerated our growth in an even more meaningful way. The flip side is I have many great memories with people who I know, love, and trust. And to know I helped them get started and trained in their careers is very rewarding.

What is the best advice you have ever been given?

The best advice I received was from my first PR boss. He told me that to be successful in this industry, I needed to have tough skin. I couldn’t let the little stuff get to me or it could eat me alive. I was to think of oil and water and just let anything negative roll off me. I still remember the pep talk to this day!

What advice would you give to a newbie Entrepreneur setting up their first business?

My biggest advice to a newbie entrepreneur setting up their first business is to ask for help. I didn’t realize the number of free resources for entrepreneurs until I was years into my business. There’s SCORE, SBDC, WEV and the list goes on! Many entrepreneurs are too proud to ask for help but I will assure you that there are many blind spots along the journey and being humble will get you a lot farther than being proud. Sometimes you don’t know what you don’t know. And to sit with that thought and be okay with it is the first step to seeking help from someone more seasoned who has your best interest in mind.

Five Simple Steps Employees Can Take Now To Boost Their Savings

With the quieter summer holiday upon us now might be a good time to make some super simple changes that could make a lifetime of difference in retirement.

Many Australians are concerned that they won’t have enough money in their super accounts to fund their retirement.

But there are five easy steps workers can take now to boost their savings:

First, check with your fund to make sure you are getting paid all your legal super entitlements. Unpaid superannuation impacts 3 million workers a year – costing them a total of $5 billion and while most bosses do the right thing there are still some employers out there who deliberately rip workers off. And with the super guarantee rate rising to 12% it is more important to check that the full amount is being paid.

Second, consolidate your super funds into one account, finding lost or unpaid super is simple now using the Australian Tax Office tools.

Third, compare your existing super fund with others in the market to make sure it is meeting your needs. New government ‘stapling’ laws mean that workers are likely to stick with funds for longer. Alarmingly only 7% of people switched after they were told their fund failed a government performance test. Being stapled to one of those dud funds can cost a worker $230,000 at retirement.

Fourth, make sure the type of fund and level of insurance is right for you. Make sure the investment strategy matches your needs and appetite for risk – which your fund can help you with. Also be sure to check the insurance coverage is the right fit for you and your family.

Fifth, if you find some loose change or get some type of windfall consider putting it in your super fund. It is a tax-effective way to make savings and with the power of compounding interest a little invested in super now, makes a big difference in retirement. A 30-year-old on average wages that salary sacrifices $20 a week into super has $67,000 more at retirement and gets a tax saving now.

Further tips on boosting your retirement nest egg can be found on Industry Super Australia’s website

Comments attributable to Industry Super Australia chief executive Bernie Dean:

“There are five easy tips to getting your super right and most can be done from the comfort of your deck chair, beach towel or at home.”

“Check you are being properly paid super, consolidate accounts, compare funds, select the right investment mix and make small extra contributions if you can.”

“With the Super Guarantee set to rise to 12 percent it is even more important to make sure you are getting paid your full legal entitlement and that the fund is working for you.” 

This article was sourced from a media release sent by Medianet