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Four incredible Gold Coast women who #BreakTheBias

Natalie O’Driscoll | March 2, 2022

(Photo credit: Kurtosgram/AFL Photos)

We meet four Gold Coast women who personify the theme of this year’s International Women’s Day.

The International Women’s Day theme for 2022 is #BreakTheBias, where all are invited to imagine a gender equal world free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination. These four hard working Gold Coast women have broken through multiple biases and challenges in order to forge their own successful careers, on their own terms. Today we celebrate their achievements.

Sharna Hupfeld
Owner and Creative Director at Salté Designs

Salté Designs is an eco-friendly Australian lifestyle brand with a mission to celebrate the sunshine seeking women of the earth through beautifully hand-crafted and sustainable swimwear and clothing pieces. Owner and creative director Sharna Hupfeld might have started the business at the tender age of 22, but she is an old soul at heart with a love for the sand and sea, groovy vibes and authentic self-expression. When not working, she can often be found wandering barefoot through local thrift stores on an endless search for vintage treasures and textile inspirations.

Tell us about a woman that has inspired you in your life or career.

Samantha Wills is my biggest muse in the bizz world! I just finished reading her book ‘Of Gold & Dust’ and was inspired by every chapter of her journey.

Otherwise, I’d have to say my mum… she is always inspiring me to move forward, to work hard and to kick goals. She is the first person I call when I receive new samples, or when I have new business ideas. Love her.

This year’s IWD theme is #BreakTheBias. What is one way you have broken through or fought through a bias about women during your life?

I pride myself on being a one woman show when it comes to Salté Designs. I was taught from a young age that being a woman was never a limitation in life. People are often surprised that I do it all. From carting large boxes in the studio, packing orders, graphic design, photoshoots etc. There’s nothing in business that women can’t do. Salté’s ethos revolves around empowering other women to feel confident and strong no matter what. I think it’s clear that bias views or attitudes don’t have a place in my community!

Michelle Roth
Founding Director at Brezel Bakery

Brezel is the real deal; a German bakery on the Gold Coast that offers a wide range of wholesome and natural rye sourdough breads and rolls, pastries, sandwiches, cake slices as well as delicious pretzels and organic local coffee. It opened in 2021 thanks to mum-of-two and German expat Michelle Roth’s desire to something that had a bit more flexibility than your average job. Having lived in Australia for 11 years, she was missing the authentic taste of real German bread – especially the pretzels – and knew that the estimated thirty thousand Germans living on the coast were probably feeling in the same way. She was right.

Tell us about a woman that has inspired you in your life or career.

There isn’t really one particular woman to be honest. I’ve had a few female friends starting their own business successfully which really inspired me to take the plunge as well. It takes a lot of guts to start something up on your own during Covid while also having to import from the other side of the world, especially as a woman (I always get asked if the business is owned by my partner and myself, hardly anyone just accepts a female entrepreneur without a male back-up, how crazy is that), but my friends all did it so gracefully even while balancing motherhood.

What does International Women’s Day mean to you?

It’s a great day to highlight the achievements of women and show the world that we are in fact very much capable of doing anything we set our mind to. There shouldn’t be any discrepancies between men and women and it’s sad to see that even still in 2022 we still have to fight harder to get the same respect as men in some spaces. But doing this now will hopefully provide a better, more equal future for our children.

Fabienne Costa
Founder, CEO and Creative Director at YCL Jewels

A woman in a black dress

Fabienne Costa founded YCL at her high school desk in 2013 when she was just 21 years old, with no funding or experience in business development or design.

Growing up, Fabienne was obsessed with jewellery, sitting on the floor with her Nanny’s pieces and asking her about each one. The stories Fabienne’s Nanny told her quickly highlighted how jewellery can be a tangible thing that marks milestones in someone’s life. She established YCL as a means of creating modern heirlooms that could be passed down through generations. YCL has been featured in publications such as Vogue, Coveteur and Who What Wear, and has been worn by the likes of Lorde on the stages at Coachella.

Tell us about a woman that has inspired you in your life or career.

My Mum. She was a single Mum working 12 hour days, 6 days a week just to put food on the table for my sister and I. From a very young age I was taught the importance of working diligently and with integrity. Even when I told her I was quitting my Bachelor of Nursing in 2013, two subjects away from graduating, she believed in me and has been my number one supporter through my nearly decade-long journey of owning a business.

How are you going to celebrate International Women’s Day this year?

With my team, the women who inspire me most!

Jamie Stanton
Midfielder, Gold Coast Suns

A player kicking the ball in women's AFL
(Photo credit: Chris Hyde/AFL Photos)

Jamie Stanton is an Australian rules footballer playing for the Gold Coast Suns in the AFL Women’s (AFLW). As a child, Jamie was a huge AFL fan and always dreamed of being an athlete, experimenting with golf, gymnastics, and even having a go with her local community marching band. A keen soccer player until she was 18, Jamie turned to AFL at the age of 21 where she was accepted into the inaugural ALFW draft, carving out an impressive career in the sport including being named as the inaugural Gold Coast Club Champion in 2020, and Gold Coast’s equal leading goalkicker in 2021. A tough-as-nails midfielder, Stanton is equally as skilled as a forward and knows how to hit the scoreboard, giving great flexibility to her game.

Please describe a woman that has inspired you in your life or career?

This is a very typical answer, but the woman who has inspired me to chase my dreams is my mum, Rachel. As a kid she was a talented sportsperson but didn’t have a supportive family to allow her to achieve her dreams. Honestly, her family didn’t support her in many aspects. As a child, she didn’t have any of the opportunities I was afforded, being the times they were, but more importantly from her family, which is just devastating.

As a mother she has afforded myself every single opportunity she could have, whether that was her time, love, drive, attitude, money etc – she made sure anything I needed to chase my dreams I had. She didn’t have a great example to follow from her mother but she knew she wanted to break that cycle and provide myself with the world to allow me to be safe, confident and determined to achieve my dreams.

Every day her strength to be different than her mother drives me to go after my goals. I am inspired to make her proud of me and to share in my dreams. If she wasn’t supportive of me as a child and allowed me to do everything to chase after my dreams, I wouldn’t have been able to achieve a childhood dream. I do what I do because ultimately I love it, but it also makes me feel like her and I were both able to achieve our dreams.

Can you tell us about a particular challenge you’ve faced and overcome, either personal or professional?

A challenge that I have had to overcome is to be the first person in my immediate family to go to university and graduate. Within my immediate family (grandparents, parents and sibling) education was never a high priority for many years and myself and my parents wanted a different outcome.

We knew that females in sports aren’t lucky enough to make a living from it, and even though I wanted to be an athlete I had to have an alternative for if that failed. Becoming the first person in the family to go to university may not seem like a massive challenge, but the higher order education landscape is hard to navigate when your support system is foreign to the environment. I didn’t have a support system that could help me understand the academic rigours of university or even help me apply for it. Therefore I am proud of overcoming that challenge and now I’ll be able to help my nieces and nephews when it’s their turn if it’s the path they ultimately choose.

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Michelle Roth
Founding Director at Brezel Bakery

Fabienne Costa
Founder, CEO and Creative Director at YCL Jewels

Jamie Stanton
Midfielder, Gold Coast Suns

(Photo credit: Kurtosgram/AFL Photos)