Women’s movement bans “bitchy”
BY kicking down barriers, empowering women and smashing stereotypes of what Gold Coast girls are like - Asha Peck is arguably one of the city's most influential people.
The 30-year-old is the brains, and beauty, behind The Girls in Business Movement, an Australia-wide online group set up in 2017 to offer a safe and supportive environment that connects, supports and motivates like-minded entrepreneurs.
A successful offshoot of the website is the Gold Coast Girls In Business Facebook (GCGIB) page, and with nearly 27,000 members, it's the heartbeat of the movement.
But Ms Peck has one rule for those involved - "bitchy" behaviour will not be tolerated.
"I was working in marketing full-time and had two children and I also had a graphic design business I wanted to kick off, so I started asking for advice online from those in the same boat at me," she said.
"I found a few groups but they were all extremely bitchy and negative, I just felt there was enough negativity in the world without women tearing each other down."
So Ms Peck decided to create her own space, and within a few weeks 5000 Gold Coast women had joined her GCGIB page, now one of the city's most supportive and powerful communities.
"Together we've done so much good, from giving melanoma campaigner Ashleigh (Hale, nee Simrajh) a wedding in two weeks, to raising money for mothers facing terminal illnesses, whenever we're asked to help our powerful community bands together and gets it done."
Girls in Business Movements also exist in Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney.
Ms Asha said before COVID she held events so her online community could network. She was also growing her groups and offering paid memberships.
"Then COVID hit and any income I was making from events stopped and I lost more than 70 per cent of my paid members, which I completely understand considering they are struggling financially also.
"But when I started this movement it was never about making money, but over time I have had to change this mindset, which I struggled with. But I realised I need to find a way to earn a wage, even if it was just modest."
At the end of 2019, Ms Asha said she was not in a good mental space after dealing with the breakdown of her marriage, so COVID hitting could not have come at a better time.
"It was a blessing in disguise. I was able to spend time with my kids and more recently met a new partner. Between us we've got five kids."
The young entrepreneur said the break enabled her to focus on the exciting future of her Girls in Business Movement, with plans to host events across Australia when she's permitted.
"Our vibe is just compassion and happiness and it's all about empowering each other. Just the other day in our GCGIB Facebook page I saw a lady start a fundraiser for this family whose mother had brain cancer.
"There were more than 300 comments and offers of help - our platform is literally changing lives and making dreams come true, that's what it's become."
At a recent COVID-safe event in Burleigh Ms Asha said she was flooded with women in tears thanking her, with one saying she had changed her life.
"I was born and raised here. Sure, I've got a few tattoos and swear a bit too much but that's why people love me. I am authentic, doing my best to break down barriers and am passionate about encouraging women to be true to themselves."
Originally published as Women's movement on Coast smashes stereotypes bans "bitchy"