Our stories: Jessie Healy

Written by Amelia Murray.

Jessie Healey 36 of 196As a child, Jessie knew that she one day wanted to make the world a better place. Arriving in London with just £500 in 2005, armed with a positive attitude and a wealth of friendships from her travels, she set off to make this dream a reality.

She embraced the harsh reality of a cold and dark British winter and saw the beauty in the daily London commute that so many of us love to hate. “I remember smiling and looking at the grim tube and thinking it was just the best thing ever!” With a tight purse, she was quick to land a temp job in PR and later worked her way into the digital marketing world.

Fast forward 5 years and Jessie found herself making the move back to New Zealand, in what a good friend described as her “OE from her OE”. Determined to experience New Zealand through fresh eyes, she moved in with a bunch of Irish housemates in a large flat share in Auckland. It was during this time back home that Jessie met her partner, who funnily enough, was British. He was due back to the UK as his visa was up, and Jessie made the decision to move back as well. She explains, “I still had my working visa and loads of friends and connections, so I thought I would just go back there and see what happens”.

However, the last 10 years back on UK soil has not come without its challenges. After being made redundant twice within the space of 12 months marked a turning point for Jessie. “It made me not want to rely on other businesses. I thought, with my own business, I can at least control my own destiny,” she explains.

Jessie soon identified a need for strategic marketing advice to eCommerce businesses that were either small, growing or looking to scale up. She explains, “they wouldn’t need a Chief Marketing Officer, but would need someone with a lot of experience to help them. I wanted to create an agency that provided expert advice and took on a tailored approach that left out the frills of an agency.”

With extensive knowledge from previous digital marketing roles, Jessie was able to explore the possibility of starting her own business. She acknowledges the support of her mentor, Cat Howell, who specialises in training programmes that assist new agencies. Being connected to this community of likeminded agency owners across the world helped to build her confidence and provided the reassurance that she was not doing it alone.

In 2018 Webtopia was established. What initially started as a case of working with various freelancers, soon led to the hire of her first full-time employee, and two years later, a further 8 employees. Jessie reflects, “A year ago at the beginning of the pandemic I had one employee. There was a hairy moment or two, but we soon learned that eCommerce really boomed. Retail had to pivot toward online which created a huge demand for agencies to service the need of digital advertising.”

Off the back of this wave, Jessie and her team have recently launched an online training programme to help accelerate small businesses through digital ad channels, coached by her and her team.

As a 16 year old, Jessie read ‘Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway’ by Susan Jeffers and acknowledges that this has been such a guiding principle for nearly everything in her life. “Yes, it feels scary, but embrace the pain anyway because when you are scared it means you are pushing yourself in the direction you need to go.”

Follow Jessie on LinkedIn
Find out more about Webtopia and their online eCommerce training courses.

Our Stories: Kiwiroa Marshall

Written by Amelia Murray.

From a young age, Kiwiroa Marshall has stayed true to her high school motto - Summa Pete, Seek Thou the Highest. As head girl atKiwiroa photo square 1 Papakura High, this has been a value which has resonated with Kiwiroa (known as Kiwi) and one which undoubtedly has been applied throughout various aspects of her life.

Kiwiroa describes herself as being from a true blue-collar background. Her father, who spent most of his life in the freezing works, always championed her progress. “Dad wanted more opportunities for me than he had, so he would go into school and talk to the careers advice officer and my teachers." It was an accounting teacher that said she should be going to to university that lead to her completing a four-year Bachelor of Management Studies (majoring in Accounting) at Waikato University.

Review: Business Book Club: Humour Seriously - Why Humour is a Superpower at Work and in Life

Written by Libby Gordon.

Author: Jennifer Aaker and Naomi Bagdonas
Reviewed by: Libby Gordon 

Kicking off NZBWN International Women’s Day on a cold winter February morning a group of Kiwi women gathered on Zoom, coffees in hand, lockdown weariness on faces, to discuss… humour! Humour Seriously

The conversation as always, wove around a bit as reflections and takeaways were shared from the pages read. Easy to consume, either reading or listening the people enjoyed the relationship between the two authors, they enjoyed the collaboration, friendship and story that was woven throughout. 

The two main takeaways from the conversations were around being yourself and the importance of humour, especially in the workplace. 

The first point was nicely summed up by this statement ‘I don’t see self as very funny, this book may not be for me… but it is not about telling jokes it is more about being yourself’

There was a recognition that you don’t have to be a comic to bring levity into your work persona; it’s about your personality and what works for you but not being afraid to use what you have. Often surprise humour is the funniest, it does not need to be a big joke, just something to show personality so that other parties know they are not talking to a brick wall. Being natural can help you to be better at your job; one group member reflected how it made their sales calls better, just being themselves. 

Our Stories: Daniella Walters

Written by Amelia Murray.

In her mid 20’s, Daniella did what so many of us curious Kiwis do - she packed up her life to move across the world. Armed with a two-year working visa, she headed off to London, with the desire to travel Europe and live in “one of the most exciting cities in the world”. Fast forward 11 years and Daniella is still proud to call London her “home away from home”.daniella

Growing up, Daniella said she didn’t have a dream career. “I decided very last minute what University I wanted to attend and what to study,” she said. She was living in one of London’s Kiwi hotspots, Fulham, surrounded by a great network of friends and working for a magic circle law firm, when she decided to make a change. She stepped away from her job as a foreign qualified lawyer, for a new career path to work in digital marketing. It was these skills in law and marketing that Daniella eventually carried through into her very own business - Pēpi Collection.

What's the Goss?