Hi there! I’m Nicole.
Overachiever, step parent, nerd and newest member of the Fempire HQ team! I am a proud LGBTQI+ advocate, passionate about women’s empowerment and a massive proponent of living your truth. I am also a trans woman.
I believe there is nothing more damaging to your performance in both your professional and personal life than lying to yourself about who you are and what you want.
Living Your Truth
But what does it mean to “live your truth”?
It sounds simple, but I find the easiest way to test if you’re doing it or not is to write down every compromise you made this week. Now look back at those compromises and for each one and ask yourself in hindsight, am I still comfortable with this decision or does it make me uneasy? If the answer is the latter, there’s a good chance you’re not embracing your truth.
A perfect example of not living my truth is living the first 32 years of my life as a man.
I was constantly compromising and never feeling settled in the body I was born into. Putting on a male facade every day for the benefit of others. I started my transition in April 2022 and Fempire was the first company I had the courage to apply to as a trans woman.
Transitioning to Fempire
I can’t tell you what it felt like to get an interview for the position. I had emailed my application minutes after updating my CV with a new photo and my preferred name, with the sincere expectation it would be immediately deleted by Fempire.
When I received an email back asking to confirm a time for a meeting I had to leave my desk, run to the boardroom of my current job and call my partner Janene. I definitely scared some customers away pacing the boardroom with a series of hops and fist pumps while manicaly yelling at my phone!
Was this female focussed company really willing to give me a chance to finally embrace the woman I was born to be in my work life?
At that point I was a woman on the weekends, my authentic self and compromising my truth by retracting back into a man’s body during the week for work. Can you imagine what that might feel like?
When I was offered the position and I was told I was the best candidate for the position and Fempire would be honoured to welcome me to the team if I accepted, I could not contain myself. Again I had to leave my desk, but this time I headed for my car, called Janene and poured my heart down the phone.
Finally I could live a life doing meaningful work for a supportive company, and I could do it as my true and authentic self. This was my opportunity to finally close the door behind me, of the closet I’d been stuck in, and live every day in my truth. No more facade, no more masks, no more lying to myself.
That night Janene and I drank toasts to my new chapter with two bottles of far too expensive champagne.
When you’re trans, every interaction you have falls into two categories. Affirming and dysphoric. An affirming experience reinforces your identity and makes you feel accepted. A dysphoric experience leaves you feeling excluded, like an imposter. Being offered a position at Fempire has been the most affirming experience of my life.When you’re trans, every interaction you have falls into two categories. Affirming and dysphoric. Click To Tweet
My career started in commission sales for an insurance company. A “baptism by fire” into the tightrope world of sell nothing, earn nothing. In hindsight I appreciate a lot of the lessons it taught me like resilience, persistence and persuasion. But by far the greatest lesson I took away from peddling insurance was to never stop moving!
I moved through a number of sales roles after that, some technical and for large companies and some relationship focussed for small enterprise. I picked up skills along the way that allowed me to communicate with anyone, from CEO to small business customer. To present myself as a problem solver and subject matter expert no matter the content type. To negotiate deals from a position of confidence and authority.
In 2017 I took these skills that were worth $100K+ a year to large corporations and started my own business, offering them to small businesses as a pick up – putdown service that they could afford. Dealing with a variety of sole traders and small businesses in all sorts of industries I had to diversify my skill set (Yay! learning) and found myself offering a broader range of services through several certifications and strategic partnerships. Before long I was offering content marketing, website design, tender proposals, product development, you name it!
Empowering people to start or grow their small business is the passion that drives me every day.
It was, of course, bound to lead me to Fempire eventually to join a sisterhood of women who share my passion. But not only that, to ACT on it every day through journeys of both self development and client empowerment.
Transitioning to my True Self
As a trans woman, I often get asked when I decided to become female. To which my standard response is “when did you?”. The truth is, there was never a time in my life that I saw myself as male. I looked up to my mother when I was young and would rush home from school to try on her clothes before anyone else got home. My perspective of femininity was largely influenced by her (as it is for many young girls). She embodied a silent strength and courage that was formidable without the need for acknowledgement. She had a sense of determination and tenacity that endured our circumstances and held our family together.
I had mostly female friends in school and was always accepted as one of the girls.
That is, until puberty. Growing up in a regional town and attending a Catholic school meant sex education was a dirty word and I had no idea what I was in for. I was so disappointed and confused as all my friends started growing breasts, getting their periods and crushing on boys.
I had to accept that I was on a different journey, and that walking the path I yearned for was not an option. I abandoned my truth. I did what was expected of me. I kept my hair short, drank beer and participated in the toxic boys club that was my small town’s business community.
I didn’t hear the word “transgender” until I was well into my 20’s, and had moved to Perth.
My manager was casually telling me about a colleague that had taken a 12 month leave of absence and returned as a woman. My mind was blown! I spent the next month down the rabbit hole researching terms I had never heard of but described perfectly the way I had felt my whole life.
The term I find myself most often describing to others when they ask about my journey is “Gender Dysphoria”. In a nutshell, dysphoria is a disconnection between perceived and actual reality. And it is the word that attempts to describe the ever present feeling of despair for trans women.
Dysphoria is a difficult feeling to explain. We all have a “self image”, the way we see ourselves in our head. And for most of us there are small things that we notice that other people don’t seem to. Usually it’s something like “my eyes aren’t perfectly symmetrical” or “I have HUGE pores”.
But imagine if you looked in the mirror and the person staring back at you was the wrong sex. You don’t even recognise them because they are so far removed from your self image that they may as well be a totally separate person. That’s what dysphoria feels like.
My first attempt to physically transition was stone walled by process. Contradictory and impossible requirements to start treatments placed me in an endless loop of expensive appointments with uncaring professionals.
For the second time, I abandoned my truth for 5 years of being “out” but not transitioning. Until, I met my partner Janene. I learned the power of community through her, of friendship and support. With this support I was able to find the people and resources that could finally help me begin my new chapter.
As a member of the Fempire team, I am ecstatic to be part of a movement and sisterhood that empowers women to live their truth. Whether that’s conquering the corporate world as a founder and CEO, coaching small business women to the success they deserve or just accomplishing a better work-life balance.
The truth is there is only so far you can make it on your own. At some point, everyone needs community support from like minded and inspired peers. The Fempire Sisterhood is that community. A united collective of women holding each other up to forge a path toward a future of unrestricted opportunities for women everywhere.The truth is there is only so far you can make it on your own. At some point, everyone needs community support from like minded and inspired peers. Click To Tweet
I am so excited to be a part of all of your journeys and look forward to becoming a sisterhood leader, living my truth.
Nicole is a Fempire team member with a passion for branding and small business. With a background in both corporate sales and content marketing, she understands the art of turning strangers into leads and leads into customers. Nicole is a LGBTI+ advocate with a mission to see female representation and influence in business and community leadership.