By EHM Editor Jade McKenzie
I first heard about Lisa Messenger when a friend handed me an early issue of Collective magazine in 2013 and said, 'You HAVE to read this'. I read it the very next day and I was immediately hooked! Now my trusty set of Collective mags lie loyally in my office, ready to be packed up and taken in my carry on luggage when I travel or even if I'm just hopping on a train (I love reading them on the go). A never ending source of inspiration, Lisa has been a guiding light in my entrepreneurial journey by consciously choosing to live her life out loud and taking us along for the ride with her. Under her leadership, The Collective has grown rapidly into a multi-media brand to more than 30 countries, has defied the odds of the print magazine industry and along the way, has created a community of like-minded, driven, talented and inspired human beings.
I am so proud to have her on the cover of issue 3 of EHM as The Collective hold many beautiful reader events and Lisa herself is a very entertaining and candid speaker who I have seen numerous times over the years in rooms of 30 people and rooms of over 1,000 people. She shares with us her insights and behind the scenes of The Collective events and her speaking gigs.
Thank you so much for speaking with us today Lisa, I know that so many of our readers will be so excited to hear from you! A lot of people feel a connection with you because they meet you at different events across Australia and you always make yourself so accessible for people to have photos with you and speak to you. Is it important for you at events to connect personally with the audience?
Thank you – I really appreciate that feedback. I get asked a lot why I make myself so accessible across social media and in person at so many events when I’m simultaneously trying to run a VERY fast growing start up that is now in 37 countries. And my answer is really simple – it is ONLY because of our incredible community and their belief in me and the Collective that we are growing and achieving what we are achieving. And my personal mandate us unwavering in that I consciously decided to be an entrepreneur for entrepreneurs living my life out loud and proving that anything is possible. So this journey is not about me – it’s about me using myself as a conduit to help others and so I have a great desire to personally connect with as many extraordinary readers and our community as possible.
The Collective regularly holds beautiful, intimate reader events that always wow your guests with a gorgeous experience. When you and your team create these events, do you have a complete vision for what you want before you even start the planning process, or do you find that the event organically grows as you go along?
This is really my event manager Jessie’s department. I don’t really get involved with that level of detail. Having said that though I did start my career in events management (for about eight years) so it’s something I love dearly and also I absolutely set the strategy and intention for each event with the team. We do pride ourselves very much on having beautiful events that make people feel like a special part of our extended Collective family.
And when you are at your Collective events, is there a certain part of them that just really lights you up and gives you an incredible amount of joy? A part of it that makes you feel on top of the world?
Absolutely 100%. When people come to me and tell me how the Collective has impacted them and helped provide the courage to start their own business or overcome a hardship, or given them more confidence or helped them chase their dreams. It gives me the greatest joy on the planet. And so, even on the tough days (and there are many) I think who am I to not keep going with this. It is now impacting hundreds and hundreds of thousands of people all over the globe and that is certainly a pinch myself, anything’s possible moment.
Something that people really admire and love about you is that you are always so honest. I know that as business owners and entrepreneurs, we always want to see what goes on behind the curtain and in a world that can sometimes be clouded in smoke and mirrors, you really have been a breath of fresh air for people who want to come along on this journey with you. Do you believe that events are a great catalyst for conversation around the challenges we face as entrepreneurs and that speakers should not be fearful of looking less than perfect on stage?
Thank you so much. The entire Collective is about showing the true story behind the story and so I purposefully live my life like that as well tearing down all the barriers. I believe it’s only when we are authentic and vulnerable and tell it how it really is that we can help others. If we just show the highlight reel, well that doesn’t really help anyone. It just becomes unattainable and un-relatable.
You have said that just three years ago, you didn’t like public speaking at all and it was a fear for you, but now you absolutely love it! How did you overcome your fear and learn to love being on stage?
I despised it. Oh, that has been a long process but essentially I eventually stopped trying to do it like everyone else I know does (and they are so very good at it) which was basically learning something by rote. I realized I just had to meditate before and ask the universe what is the best use of me when I am up there and then just let it flow. It’s so completely counterintuitive in every single way to what you would think someone who had such a fear of it would do i.e. not prepare at all – but it works for me. I sometimes have a complete clanger – but rarely.
This is one cheeky question we like to ask our cover girls, just like musicians have riders, business owners usually develop their own little list of must haves when they are at events.
What can’t you live without at your events? An extraordinary team, my music for pre-event meditation and a green juice.
And finally, we all know that The Collective is all about disrupting industries and shaking things up. Do you think that the events world can evolve and be disrupted in a new and exciting way?
Absolutely. Having had eight years in the industry many moons ago, I’d like to think that we are doing things a little differently. Any industry is ripe for disruption but particularly industries that have been around forever as the events industry has – as there are so many existing systems and processes and those are ripe for breaking.
Can I get an amen?! There is a lot to admire about Lisa's style and so much to learn from this entrepreneurial powerhouse. If you ever get the chance to attend an event she is speaking at then get in quick. In the meantime, keep up the inspiration with your monthly dose of Collective magazine, you never know where it may take you!
Photo credits belong to Fi Mims Photography