AN INTERVIEW WITH OLIVIA RUELLO
She started her career in industrial relations, moved into senior roles in the HR and recruitment industries and by the time she was 24 years old, was General Manager of a well-respected recruitment firm.
Olivia Ruello is the CEO of Australia’s largest and most influential women’s network, Business Chicks Australia — and is moved and motivated by remarkable women, every single day.
Olivia has a deep passion for women stepping into and realising their own power and potential, and in her CEO role, wants to help women harness their strengths as females — empathy, kindness, collaboration and connection — to create a generation of leaders who care.
Today, we’re over the moon to feature Olivia as our latest Guru To Watch as she and her team prepares to bring Business Chicks’ 9 to Thrive womens’ expo back to Sydney this month, and to Melbourne next month. 9 to Thrive will be jam-packed with highly curated panel sessions, workshops, keynotes, and one-on-one conversations with some of Australia’s most influential women, including Zoë Foster Blake, Michelle Bridges, Nadia Bartel, Donna Hay, Mia Freedman, Lorraine Murphy, Lola Berry, the girls behind Frank Body, Emma Isaacs and Justine Flynn, and many more.
Now, let us introduce you to Olivia Ruello!
The best part of my job is…
Hearing the stories of the incredible women in the Business Chicks community every single day.
I chose to enter this field of work because…
I have a deep passion for women stepping into, and realising their own power and potential. That’s one part of it – but I also hate the idea of people feeling lonely. I love the idea of a community and women supporting other women because, when those connections are made and when women lift each other up, that’s how we achieve amazing things.
The greatest challenge in my career has been…
Stepping into a founder’s business as the first CEO has been challenging but hugely rewarding. Business Chicks founder Emma Isaacs is now the Global CEO of Business Chicks and living in the USA and she’s left some huge shoes to fill. It’s so important to me that we keep her legacy going – and that the energy and the feeling of intimacy people get from every interaction they have with Business Chicks continues.
The funniest misconceptions about my industry/company/brand are…
Many people think Business Chicks is very young and that we’re an events-only business. What we really are is a community of women who want to learn, connect, give back, and feel inspired. We do that through our 110+ events every year, our magazine Latte and through telling stories and connecting our members online.
The most influential person in my career has been…
Can I have two?
Business Chicks founder Emma Isaacs for creating endless opportunities for me to work beside her and for believing in me for more than a decade.
And On Purpose Hub CEO Karen James for teaching me that I am enough, just as I am.
If I could give one piece of advice to my 18-year-old self, it would be….
Don’t worry about what other people think of you. Focus your attention and energy on the people you love and the people who love you.
My greatest achievement has been…
Becoming the CEO of Business Chicks Australia. The sense of intimacy and connection you find at Business Chicks is something you don’t see anywhere else, and to be able to lead a business where one of the core beliefs is the need for women to support each other – that’s an amazing feeling.
The greatest personal challenge I have over come is…
Living for four years with chronic fatigue syndrome in my late teens and early twenties. Going from a being a high-energy achievement-focused person to not being able to get out of bed every morning was incredibly tough.
I don’t understand why…
We don’t have more women in senior leadership roles in Australia.
I try to relax by..
I’m terrible at relaxing!
My biggest fear is…
People I love getting hurt. And birds. I hate birds.
I can’t live without…
Family, friends and my morning green tea.
I really wish I had…
I know it’s cliché, but I wish I had more time in the day.
The greatest lesson I have learnt is….
To not confuse kindness with weakness. The strongest women I know are also the kindest women I know.
If I had one super power, it would be….
It wouldn’t be flying. I hate flying! I’d like to be able to magically inject the world with compassion and kindness.
If I could invite four people to a dinner party, they’d be..
Gloria Steinham. Michelle Obama. Tina Fey. And my dad (who has long passed but was the best man I knew).