New Event Champions Authenticity, Diversity & Inclusion

New Event Champions Authenticity, Diversity & Inclusion

8 August 2017, 2:46PM
Nicola Carter

With roughly 70% of the TED stage given to men, yet the top ten TED talks of all time being 50% women, we have to wonder what that stat would look like if more women were on the platform?

It was this observation by Paula Gosney and an overwhelming feeling that most personal development events at the high end were dominated by middle-class, white men, that gave birth to Courage, Connection & Badassery. (A recent, well researched “top 25” list had only six women identified as personal development leaders.)

She further observed that most women’s events had the intention of fixing women—subtly reinforcing the idea that women need to constantly change and reinvent themselves.

This was enough to make her pull on her big girl’s pants and decide to do something about it. Teaming up with Nicola Carter, an event specialist of 20 years, they have created She Says Events to provide a platform for courageous, badass women to share their incredible knowledge, stories and wise words with the world.

Courage, Connection and Badassery is an event that champions authenticity, diversity and inclusion. In the Great Ball Room at the Langham, on October 8, Turia Pitt, Lizzie Marvelly, Makaia Carr and Paula Gosney promise that everyone at this event will leave—not with a to-do list, but—celebrating all that they are, connected and ready to take on the world.

“Women are drowning in an ocean of shoulds; relentlessly being held up against an ideal that is almost impossible to achieve. We are expected to be slim, fit and forever young—domestic goddesses, career women and some weird mix of a sex kitten and Mother Teresa.” Says Paula.

Paula has spent years coaching, speaking and inspiring—mainly in the corporate world, but more recently, through her online platform Belief School. On the surface she looks like a well-adjusted, successful business woman and a happy mum of two fabulous boys; scratch the surface a little and you’ll learn it was not always so glossy.

Life threw some pretty nasty curveballs her way as a young woman. Sent to boarding school at the age of eleven—never to live at home again and the victim of a serious sexual assault as a teenager— what seemed like an inevitable decline into drugs and alcohol defined most of her 20’s. “I lived a double life, one of a successful young woman, the other, a woman in deep pain, relentlessly trashing my body as the worthless object the rape had taught me it was.”

Her burning desire to live, eventually won over what seemed like an inexhaustible appetite for self-harm and self-sabotage; she credits the personal development industry and the principles and practises that now define her life, for keeping her heart beating and giving her the tools to embrace her past.

Nicola’s story couldn’t be more different in contrast. An Auckland girl with three brothers and a close, loving family, her first taste for events was as a successful competitor, holding the NZ Secondary Schools’ Triathlon Title and representing her country.

Leaving Uni with a Degree in Sports Management and a blossoming career in events, public relations and marketing, she was developing brands, opening stores and editing magazines before choosing to partner with her husband in Total Sport—one of New Zealand’s largest event companies that produces 20 sports events annually.

In 2015, Nicola stepped away from the day-to-day operation of Total Sport and shifted her focus to the Arts, establishing and leading the production team for the Taupo Winter Festival—a four-day arts and entertainment festival—now an annual event.

What Nic and Paula have in common is a burning desire to contribute to the worldwide movement of women supporting women, women teaching women and women believing in women; knowing we are so much better when we connect, rather than compete and compare.

“We believe we can all be rebellious and contribute to change by supporting women where they are” says Paula.
We must celebrate our broken bits, look at our life’s experiences and cherish them all. We all mess up, all the time—that is what makes us so deliciously human.