As part of the lead-up to Myriad Festival, founder, keynote speaker, super-connector and consultant Heather MacKenzie will visit the Sunshine Coast stopping in at the Innovation Centre to present Being Awesome Through Innovation, Inclusion and Global Connection on the 14 May at 5pm. Heather works with a variety of mission-driven organizations, start-ups and individuals to help them develop growth strategies, connect with their true purpose, increase market presence and build key relationships.

“Having recently met Heather and seeing firsthand the positive impact she has had in Boulder, Colorado, I am just thrilled that she is now able to share some of her entrepreneurial insights with the local business community,” said Mark Paddenburg, Innovation Centre Sunshine Coast CEO.

“Boulder sits in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains and has one of the highest per-capita rates of startup participation in the world,” said Mark. “This is not the result of good luck but due to highly collaborative capacity building, impact-driven entrepreneurs and world class programs, and of-course passionate connectors like Heather.”

Heather is also the co-founder of SheEO Colorado, a leading global innovation in the female entrepreneur marketplace with a new model to finance, support and celebrate female entrepreneurs.

“SheEO is a global movement founded by Vicki Saunders in 2015, an entrepreneur from Toronto,” explained Heather. “I was on the founding team in the US in 2016. The concept is based around securing women funding because women have trouble accessing capital. Through SheEO, 1,000 women have donated $1,000 and the money is pooled and all the women in the network vote for the ventures they would like to see funded. They are all female-owned and led ventures that have some sort of social impact. We funded five ventures in our first round and another five a few weeks ago. SheEO just launched in New Zealand and the idea is to bring SheEO to Australia.”

According to Heather, “it’s so important to support and fund women in early stage companies. We’re about to experience the largest wealth transfer to millennial women. We need to tap into their expertise and passions and the ways they see the world. Women only receive 4% of venture capital funding in the US and that is definitely tied into the #metoo movement. Women opened up about harassment and a lot of that came from Silicon Valley where our venture capital comes from. I’ve done hundreds of interviews with female founders and there is a strong theme around the other things they have to think about, mainly what they have to wear and will it send the wrong message and should I go into a pitch room alone with men. Because our society is built by white men for white men, they don’t see the value in female founders.”

“We need men in the conversation and in the rooms with us,” said Heather. “I seek to create more unification. You create more wholistic solutions when you have more diversity around the table trying to solve the problem. My goal is to foster meaningful connections. I connect the global community through social impact focusing on people, planet, profit and purpose.”

Heather is also part of The CORE, a boutique international firm comprised of a group of seasoned entrepreneurs and executives who have held leadership positions in some of the biggest companies in the US including General Electric, Johnson & Johnson, Proctor & Gamble, Google, Oracle, MapQuest, CableLabs and TechStars.

At the Innovation Centre, Heather will present her experience working with startups and corporates, tackling wicked problems and major challenges, what makes for successful startup ecosystems and how to create new funding models.