Since graduating uni I haven’t done much in the way of professional development. There was a conference in Melbourne that my work at the time paid for me to attend and a short course (also paid for by work) in 2013, but that’s about it.
Meanwhile, heaps of networking opportunities came my way. There were drinks in Melbourne, talks by well-known reporters, seminars and so many other events that I found out about, looked into and then ultimately passed on. Because while the descriptions had looked interesting, nothing had excited me enough to actually get me to attend.
That was until, Business Chicks’ 9toThrive event in Sydney and Melbourne this month.
I’ll be honest, the main reason I went was not only to hear from amazing Australian businesswomen and network with like-minded “chicks” but because my (well let’s just be honest) idol Zoe Foster Blake was going to be speaking at the event. My fellow Zoe fan-girl, Farrah and I essentially made the decision to attend based solely on that fact.
But the day was so much more than a chance to hear from Australia’s most-loved beauty blogger/author/skincare tycoon. My friend and I attended the second day of the two-day event in Melbourne. We heard from health-food gurus, including paleo cookbook author Luke Hines, entrepreneurs like Nadia Bartel, psychologists and business-owners across two stages. We also wandered around the exhibitor stalls – bagging freebies and samples.
Aside from being inspired listening to the delightful ZFB discuss her career journey, the big take-home of the day, for me, came from Therese Kerr’s 30 minute presentation.
Therese spoke about the “harmful” chemicals in cosmetic products that 99% of us use daily and the damage they could be causing, particularly through endocrine cancers.
For those who haven’t heard of Therese Kerr, she’s Miranda Kerr’s mum, and she’s had some questionable (alright, down-right dangerous) things to say about immunisation and birth defects. And while that means I took everything she said with a grain of salt (or a whole shaker) I wasn’t going to dismiss everything she said outright.
For one thing, the popularity of natural skincare products is on the rise as people become more aware of the potentially harmful side effects of ingredients, such as sulphates. My face moisturiser markets itself with a list of 11 different things it does not contain. Even big brands such as L’Oreal are starting to advertise their paraben-free shampoo.
However, I was very aware that Therese did have her own (expensive) cosmetics label to plug and that some of the links to cancer could be a bit overstated. She did have some research to back up her statements, including from the World Health Organisation, but I know how easily data can be skewed to back-up almost any argument. So, I vowed to do some more research, which included downloading one of the apps she recommended: ThinkDirty. You can use it to scan the products on your bathroom shelf and check out their rating out of 10. (10 being the worst on this scale).
So far it’s been eye-opening. But more on that later.