#truestory

We love to celebrate the amazing women who make our community that little bit extra special. Their stories and experiences are meaningful, honest and often gritty, with zero airbrushing. All of these crusaders are following their own paths on their own terms and it's worth your time to stop and listen in. They may not have travelled the same work path as you, but they all bring something of value to learn from.


Chandni Hirani is a social entrepreneur who’s single-handedly ending energy poverty through her work in Kenya and East Africa. 🙌

On a mission to help local women and girls make a livelihood from solar power, Chandni is the founder behind Kilimanjaro Green Energy, a social impact business that helps rural communities light their homes with affordable energy while providing tools to help them build small businesses. 🌞

Read Chandni's story
A champion concept, she is tackling the gargantuan problem of billions living without power by lighting up new ways of working that go way beyond lightbulbs and lanterns. Her products are helping local women entrepreneurs launch anything from cyber cafes, laundry services to hairdressers!

Chandni's journey in getting Kilimanjaro Green Energy to where it is today has been an incredibly challenging one. Having seen first-hand the level of poverty in Kenya's most impoverished areas, she knew that for social change to take place, a creative grassroots solution was needed. Trust is paramount, so she spends a great deal of her time working out there with the local communities, building strong foundations while teaching them how they can do more every day. The focus is on moving away from a culture of dependency on aid to educating them on how to be profitable and self-sufficient. The results are amazingly effective! 🤙

Chandni says her move into entrepreneurship was almost accidental, as it was only being out in Kenya that helped her see the huge gap in modern energy provisions. She has always been curious of mind (while she's not empowering communities, she's busy experimenting with amateur farming by growing quinoa and keeping beehives! 🐝). But it's seeing the results - where women are successfully managing their own profitability - that drives her success.

What's the one takeaway Chandni would give women looking to set up a social enterprise business? Find supportive female mentors! She believes that the ones in her own life have made a significant impact in keeping her pushing forward. And she's clearly pushing forward in all the best ways possible. 👊

If you’ve ever spent time travelling on your own, you’ll know those moments when you’re holed up in a hotel, wishing your pal would rock up and grab a gin with you in the offbeat local over the road. 

Irena Miroforidu knows this situ well, having travelled all of her life as a surfer. Although her friends are up for the occasional trip away, plans nearly always turn into a game of calendar ping pong as they try and pin down a date, and the idea gets sidelined…🤔

Read Irena's story
More often than not, Irena ends up travelling solo and she knew she wasn't alone in this predicament, so she put a solution down on paper and began work on it... 👩‍💻

Fast forward a year, while keeping a full time role and studying epic volumes of research, Irena has turned her idea into a working reality, registered the business, committed a tech company and the launch is underway... She is the razor sharp mind behind Tribd, a social networking platform that solves the issue of lonely travel, bringing together backpackers, adventurers and boardsport enthusiasts travelling the world solo, to buddy up and share their next adventure with. CHA-CHING! 👌

Irena is the living, breathing incarnation of she.space. She's done what so many women don't do. Because... #fear. She's given up a successful FinTech city career to follow her own path on her own terms. 🙌 With a small pot of cash, a raw idea and a mahoosive dollop of passion, she did her due diligence and learned all the aspects of owning a startup: the financial implications, the tech involved, how to get it seen, options for funding, legal responsibilities... 🤙

It's been a steep learning curve. Irena is a sole founder, following her own common sense and gut instinct most of the time (although having a super geeky brother in tech has been a mega advantage!). She's also experienced the stress that many female founders face - the lack of funding available. She would get so far with a scheme application, only to find out there are limitations on the spending that would undermine her vision for Tribd, ultimately. 

Despite all of this, she's ready to launch. OUTSTANDING! What's Irena's golden nugget for surviving the first stages of a tech start-up? Trust your gut and just do it. If you strongly believe in something, you'll find a way even if the first two stabs are a flop. So long as you do your homework and don't take unnecessary risks, you're educating yourself in the best way possible. What's not to love? ❤️

Miranda Gowlland is one of those cool, calm and confident women who is quietly winning at #lifegoals. 🤩

She knows her own worth, with a righteous career in digital marketing, working for the likes of Facebook and Google. Not only that, but she’s a role model for women starting out in #STEM, having trained in later years as a full stack Javascript web developer, with a taste for building apps. This girl knows her inner geek value and she’s struck gold balancing work and play.

Read Miranda's story
Having lived in 11 countries and travelled to over 100 across her lifetime, taking in her favourite happy places alongside work, diving in tropical waters with bright corals and memorising reef fish. 🏊🏻‍♀️

Leaving a rich corporate career behind her, Miranda followed her instincts and moved to Berlin to learn how to code. And she's never looked back since, enjoying the freedom of working for herself as a digital nomad, soaking up one culture at a time while she chooses her own hours and who she wants to work with.

A big advocate of finding the right company culture, Miranda believes a lot of her success comes from seeking out the work spaces that are a good fit for her personally and professionally. She believes that so much of your happiness at work comes from how much you value your time while there and it's important to make this a part of your search. 👨‍👩‍👧‍👦 👨‍👩‍👦‍👦 👨‍👩‍👧‍👧 👩‍👩‍👦

Her takeaway advice for women looking to work with major digital brands? Don't be seduced by an external perception of company culture. It's the people, not the perks, that make a place great to work. Take a job because you want to work with the people you've met in the interview process - it's key to your future happiness. And trust your gut instinct!

Yaaaaasss, Miranda! #smashingit 👊