Each year, 12 leading CEOs fundraise and take over the dance floor for a night of total entertainment that brings leading businesspeople together with the Brisbane community in the name of a good cause. Dancing CEOs is an award-winning event, recently receiving Queensland's Organisational Award from the Fundraising Institute of Australia.
To book or to find out more visit www.dancingceos.com.au
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Women's Legal Service is a specialist community legal centre providing free legal and social work services to Queensland women. We assist women in the areas of family law, child support, domestic violence and child protection, as well as providing community legal education. Women's Legal Service is a feminist organisation that has been developed and operated by women for women since 1984. It is our mission to advocate to achieve justice for women.
Dancing CEOs funds the Women's Legal Service Helpline, which answers over 8,000 calls from vulnerable Queensland women every year. The ongoing running costs of the Helpline is $200,000, yet with current funding and capacity constraints around 40% of calls go unanswered.
Question: Why did you choose to be involved in Dancing CEOs?
Kate Middleton: I have been a supporter of Women's Legal Service for a few years including having previously been a speaker at a Women's Legal Service IWS fundraising event. WLS QLD is so grassroots in its approach to supporting women through their helpline and free legal counselling services, that is what I love, you can physically see how this incredible organisation changes Women's lives. On a personal level, 18-months ago, I suffered a seizure that left me unable to walk or talk properly and I was eventually diagnosed with a movement disorder called Dystonia. I spent a month in the Neurological ward and underwent intensive physiotherapy and outpatient care. There is no cure and my condition is managed through medication. I still experience periods when I can't walk or talk properly; so, for me this is a real watershed moment. To think that in 2015 I couldn't move…and now I'm preparing to Dance in front of 900 people to raise much needed funds. I feel so humbled and proud.
Question: Can you talk about the preparation, in the lead up, to the Dancing CEOs event?
Kate Middleton: Oh Boy, nowhere near enough preparation! (Laughs). I have my first choreography meeting this week and then plan on attending some fun weekly hip-hop classes in addition to my 4 choreography sessions. I love dancing and don't mind making a Dag of myself so am just treating the whole process as fun experience. Apart from the important element of fundraising, I'm not feeling any pressure.
Question: Are you able to tell us anything about your dances for the upcoming event?
Kate Middleton: All I can say is that it will be upbeat and sassy like me. I want to get the crowd smiling and moving.
Question: What is your fundraising goal?
Kate Middleton: I was a late entrant into the event so my goal is to raise $15,000, I am currently 1/10th of the way there. Outside of my immediate fundraising; I will be using social media and video engagement to build a viral digital movement so that even people outside of Australia are aware of the incredible work the Women's Legal Service QLD do, and hopefully that will build an ongoing level of donation and support (even after the event).
Question: Can you talk us through some of the challenges you've faced in the preparations for the Dancing CEOs event?
Kate Middleton: I am finding the fundraising the most challenging. I want to use this article as a call to action. Please give. Domestic Violence does not affect just one segment of our community; women of all ages, backgrounds, economic and educational levels can suffer domestic abuse (physical and emotional).
Question: How can Australians support your Dancing CEOs journey?
Kate Middleton: If every person who reads this article donated $10 to my Everyday her page, we could change the lives of thousands of women and children who are suffering from domestic violence. All proceeds go towards keeping the Women's Legal Service helpline running. Last year the helpline took 10,000 calls for support. Every donation can quite literally help to save a life and break families free from the cycle of violence. https://give.everydayhero.com/au/kate-middleton-dancing-ceos-1 Also, I am looking for Premium Corporate Sponsors. There will be no general admission to the Gala sit down dinner this year; however I have a few tables reserved. For every $750 donation I received from a person / company, they will receive 1 ticket to the Gala Dinner (Dancing CEO's event). Multiple $750 donations receive multiple tickets. I have 10 Premium Sponsor positions available. To register as a premium sponsor please email: email@example.com
Question: Why have you chosen to support Women's Legal Service?
Kate Middleton: My mum was a police officer and one of the original Domestic Violence liaison officers who coordinated efforts between the police and various outreach organisations in QLD. I was raised by strong women and a loving father and therefore have a frame of reference that I can achieve just about anything I set my mind to. I want every woman and child in Australia to know and deeply feel that they are loved, they are worthy, violence is never ok and they deserve to have every opportunity for a safe, successful and happy life.
Question: What is Censeo Engineering?
Kate Middleton: Censeo are a Structural Engineering & Building Consultancy firm that was founded in 2006, and I purchased in 2016 after being Executive General Manager for 6 months. Censeo provide fast-turn around, capped cost inspection and causation reports for the Insurance, Government and Property sectors. Typically Engineering and Loss Consultancy firms are Bricks and Mortar businesses; however, the team and I are trying to change the market by shifting our model to a technology led business. With the exception of a small office in Sydney, everyone works remotely and we use a cloud based system to manage our workflow- meaning we can work from anywhere in the world (scalable). My aim now is to shake up how Engineers, Building Consultants and even Loss Adjustors complete inspections for clients by bringing in leading technology from other countries and sectors into Australia. I want to be so disruptive that in 5 years' time, Insurers, Property Managers and Government agencies can expect -first report resolution'. My biggest challenge now is repositioning the brand and letting the market know, we are a new values driven team, with deep insurance expertise, a bias towards technology, and have a heartfelt commitment to help improve their client experience.
Question: What's a typical day like, for you?
Kate Middleton: I wish there was a typical day. I travel quite a lot for my work so it varies. I typically wake up at 7am and take 5 minutes to meditate and feel grateful or the day ahead. By 7.30am I attend to emails and any urgent calls. Around 10am I walk up to my local coffee shop to grab my long black and the head out for client, supplier, marketing and prospect meetings. Around 1pm I like to go for a walk or to the Gym, that's where I do my best strategic thinking. Mid-afternoon I check in with the team from my other business (Career Oracle), and between 4-7pm is when I really hit my stride and get stuck into financial management, writing strategy papers, reports, trends analysis. I find just before dinner is when I am able to focus best on high level management tasks. Maybe because I know there is yummy food waiting when I've finished LOL
Interview by Brooke Hunter