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Louise M Empowerment Series with Nadia Owen, Head of Meetings and Special Events Optus Stadium, Perth

Posted on May 26 2022

Louise M Empowerment series with host Louise Matson and guest Nadia Owen, Head of Meetings and Special Events Optus Stadium.

Becoming an Empowered Woman - Episode 15.

Louise Matson, Founder of Louise M shoes, a luxury footwear brand for airline cabin crew and corporate women, speaks with women about their empowerment journey from childhood to adulthood. Louise is intrigued as to where business women have found their confidence and self belief to become empowered and successful in life and business. 

“Being bullied is no one's blessing in disguise, but it certainly shaped me to be the way that I am now.” - Nadia Owen

 

Louise Matson:

Hello today I'm absolutely thrilled to have Nadia Owen with us. Nadia is Head of Meetings and Special Events at Perth's Optus Stadium. Nadia has never been one to let geographical boundaries stop her career progression or personal growth. She's lived in Sydney, Melbourne, London, Paris, and now Perth, has facilitated all manner of events across Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom, France, and Southeast Asia. Australian born and educated, her love for the customer experience, business development, venues and events is the result of many years of five star hospitality management, and a well-rounded education. Nadia pushes the boundaries and is unapologetic about slaying a few dragons in order for people to believe in the magic of events. That's fantastic! Welcome Nadia.

Nadia Owen:

Hi Louise. Thanks for having me.

Louise Matson:

Oh, thanks for coming on. Look, part of my business journey has been meeting amazing women and men, but particularly interested in women because my shoe brand is around women. I've just met so many lovely women, but I've also met women that have really inspired me in my business journey and you are one of those, you are one of the more recent ones I've met. We've met at a couple of events in the last couple of years and you trialled my Louise M shoe brand at Optus Stadium for me, which was just absolutely lovely of you and really appreciate that. So thank you for inspiring and supporting the brand along the way.

Nadia Owen:

Oh, it's the least I can do.

Louise Matson:

With this empowerment series, I'm really intrigued to know where we find that sense of feeling confident and empowered and to go on and succeed in business and life. We often talk about the business journey, but I want to take you back to your childhood and see if there was any influences in your childhood that helped you gain this confidence and sense of empowerment as an adult. But first of all, Nadia, what's your definition of empowerment? Cause it's different, little different for everyone.

Nadia Owen:

I think for me, it's about self belief and having the courage to be able to either stand up for yourself or put yourself in a position that might be challenging or unknown to you, but knowing that you have everything within yourself to be able to come through on the other side successfully.

Louise Matson:

So that sounds like you believe that you have everything in yourself to achieve.

Nadia Owen:

Absolutely.

 Louise Matson:

Do you think that presents physically or emotionally, or do you think they come together? Like if you're feeling confident you actually stand taller? How does it present for you.

 Nadia Owen:

I'd say both. It's definitely a combination of the two. I mean, there's, there's lots of studies that have been done about poses, you know, people standing there and, you know, legs akimbo, looking up and a certain tilt of the chin. And, if you don't, you know, you see it's its body language studies as well. You know, if somebody's sitting like this, uh, they're not, they don't exude any form of confidence. So the recipient of the conversation with that person might not even understand that this person does have the, the self confidence or the charge to be able to, to do well. So it's, uh, the way it manifests is definitely both physically and internally, because if you don't believe that you are gonna be able to do something, no, one's going to physically see it on you either.

Louise Matson:

And believe it.

Nadia Owen:

And it comes down to, you know, I was talking to a friend about this, yesterday, actually, when, when one is single. I remember I remember doing this a lot when I was younger, you know, you'd go out and you'd be like, right. It's Thursday night or Friday night. I am so like, it's time for me to get a man and I'm gonna look I'm on the hunt. And people can feel that that energy coming from you and it would scare the crap out of most men. And they they'd generally run away from you. Whereas it's when you are cool, calm and collected and you are like, I don't care if a guy is interested, that's his prerogative. And then I will make the decision if I'm interested in him, that's when they come at you, like bees to honey or what have you, you know, they just, they they're like, oh, she's so confident that I wanna be part of that. And she's not even asking for any sort of engagement. She's just, she's just got that je ne sais quoi, I suppose. So, yeah, I think it's, it's a combination of how you are presenting yourself mentally, internally, and then that carries through into your physicality.

Louise Matson:

I love that tips for single women too. <laugh> in the empowerment journey. So I love that because I haven't had that before, so that's really great. So I want to know where it all started for you. Did it start in your childhood or have you had to develop that in your adulthood? So as a child, you know, did you have siblings, where were you in the line up. Did your parents give you confidence that you can do anything and you believed it or did you have a someone in your life that really, you thought, wow, if they can do it, I can do it as a child, wer are still in childhood.

Nadia Owen:

Probably, there's a few elements that I can draw on there. My dad was a pioneer in his industry. He was a pioneer in medicine and he always used to tell stories of the fact that he wouldn't have gotten as far as he did in his career, had he not broken rules. And he, you know, pushed the boundaries, he got fired from places, but he is now, known in the medical industry for being one of the people at the absolute forefront of where it is today. And so having that type of, he was almost like a little devil on my shoulder being like, you can do it, even if they say that you can't do it. In fact, I encourage you to not do it the way they want you to do it, otherwise there's not gonna be any progress.

Nadia Owen:

And you know, they do say the definition of insanity is doing something over and over again and expecting a different outcome. So my dad was always of the mind just because it's done a certain way doesn't mean that that's the way it should always be done, and you see that these days with all the, you know, the tech startups and, you know, the Elon Musks as well, they're doing things because they're breaking the boundaries and that's helping to propel society forward. Then on, I suppose on the other side, I have a older sister, and she to this day is still very much a mentor or an inspiration to me. Um, but I wouldn't say necessarily she made me or influenced how I am and certainly how I have been since moving to Perth or around the world.

Nadia Owen:

But I was actually bullied really badly in school. So I used to get beaten up by some of the girls at my school from when I was about six or seven years old. I was very little and I was very polite because my mum being English had brought us up to be good girls. And I got the absolute shit kicked out of me, to be honest with you. Um and quite regularly and always from females. So I found girls very intimidating growing up and then I moved to an all girls senior high school and stopped being physically bullied, but then got to learn all about the intellectual and the emotional bullying that girls can do. And from that, it was, I think back on school and it mortifies me, you know, I know a lot of people say it's the best days of your life, but for me it was, it was awful.

Nadia Owen:

And whilst I got a delightful education and you know, come out of it on top, really in the grand scheme of things, I didn't like it, because I wasn't treated well. And I was taken advantage of in so many different ways for being petite or having a focus on the arts and languages versus being a sporty person. And so, as a result of that, when I finished school, I hung back a year and didn't go straight to university and I wanted to not be in university with all my peers, because I said to myself and I was 17 at the time I'm gonna do something else and I did a hotel management diploma, but I'm gonna do something else and start fresh because this is the first day, the rest of my life. I'm not gonna let those people define me.

Nadia Owen:

I'm not gonna let those people influence me and how I am going into my tertiary studies and, and yeah, and then had a wonderful time learning the hospitality side of the business which is what really solidified my love and has got me on the career path that I'm now on. Uh, but when I went to university, then a year later in Sydney, I was myself. I was the person that you now see before you, I was confident because I was like, you know what? I am a great person. I am definitely someone that people should know if they're interested in knowing me and kind of screw them if they're, if people aren't gonna notice of that. Um, and I don't have to succumb to bullies anymore. And the friends that I've made in even my first week of uni are still really, really good friends of mine.

Nadia Owen:

and they know me as this confident, outgoing, extroverted person, but that's something that I had to almost reinvent to be able to go down the path that I knew I wanted to go down because I didn't want the, I didn't want the bullies to win and I think I've now, if it's a win or lose situation, I'd say I'm in a winning position, and my career is exactly where I have pushed it to be because I have empowered myself to take the bull by the horns and not listen to people who want to stand in my way or not bow down to people who are physically or emotionally trying to overwhelm me. So yeah, I'd say being bullied is, I wouldn't say a blessing in disguise but it certainly shaped me to be the way that I am now.

Louise Matson:

Firstly, sorry that you even had to deal with that in primary school but you have come out of it. And even that though Nadia you had a choice, you could actually crumble and fade away to society and hide, and yet you've come out this, you know, strong woman you chose to be that. So yeah, was it your dad's kind of rule, you know, speaking the background perhaps that helped you through that and you know,

Nadia Owen:

I certainly, he was a influence for sure.

Louise Matson:

and your sister.

Nadia Owen:

Yeah, she was a nice sort of moral compass as well because she saw what I was going through, and her school experience was so opposite to mine, but it also comes down to, you know, that belief and self confidence. And I think I was just, I was incredibly shy, and physically intimidated by other people. And then it just got to the point over my, you know, in my twenties where I was like, do you know what everyone's got their own issues. I, I can now reflect all the people that were bullies to me in school and go, geez, those people had some messed up things going on in their lives that they then had to manifest physically to make other people feel like crap. And, if I had to choose between being a bully and a bullied person and do it all again, I'd still go through and be a bullied person because I think I've come out of it with some resilience, a significant amount of resilience and confidence. And, I just imagine that those people, you know, they're the ones that peak in school and don't know how to verbalize or understand their emotions or their triggers and they're probably not in a good place now.

Louise Matson:

They're probably exactly the same, but in their workplace

Nadia Owen:

Yeah.

Louise Matson:

In a slightly different way perhaps and yeah, as you say, they must have had other things going on in their life, but your life was lovely and why would they want to destroy your life because their life isn't, I just don't understand it. Good on you. I just love that. And, and you do come across that way that you ask, you know, confident in yourself and who you are and, you know, you have so many influences, in our lives that it's kind of hard to find yourself sometimes, you know, because you're trying to please everybody, but it's, it's incredible you have actually found who you are and you are sticking to that. And as an adult, I mean, you have found that through, your hospitality, but do you listen to any podcasts? Do you have your favorite Wayne Dyer, Joe Dispenza, Amy Cuddy's power pose do you have that or do you, has it been networking or has it been someone that's mentored you through the hospitality area, or you have done it all on your own?

Nadia Owen:

I think generally I've probably done it all on my own because I, I taught myself to be quite self reliant. And I originally didn't, I I've only recently started talking about the fact that I was bullied through school, probably in the last, probably in the last four years. I previously didn't want to talk to anyone or admit it to anybody, because I had trained myself to not show any weakness because it's what the bullies will prey upon is there's any form of weakness. So I didn't want people to think that I was weak. So therefore I didn't want to talk about that. I'd been through those experiences, but I think the older I get, the more senior I get in, in work as well, the more you realize that you need to, the way you can engage and empathize with people and the way people can also engage with you is through showing those types of vulnerabilities and allowing people to know that it, you're not just, you know, a hard shell and that there's much more within and by recognizing that people have gone through certain emotional or physical traumas in their lives is actually not making them a bad person.

Nadia Owen:

It's making them a more well rounded, or a complete person in many ways. So I have a huge amount of responsibility with having, nine women of varying ages reporting into me here at the stadium. And,, if I was just a tough nut, I wouldn't have the level of engagement that I have with the team. I wouldn't have probably progressed as far in the Perth network as I have, and I wouldn't be getting up to be a speaker at an international women's day because people don't know that there's more to what meets the eye.

Louise Matson:

Okay. Well, I was going to ask you how you're empowering others and I think you just said it, you know, a team of nine women and it's all about being relatable, isn't it? And you know, you still, so-called boss, although I know you are very much, you leave it up to them to, you know, they know what they need to achieve and you are there if they need them. Yeah. I love that leadership style, but, um, yeah, it's being able to relate to people and have empathy, but still have strength. Say you were having a down day, do you ever have a down day?

Nadia Owen:

Oh, a hundred percent. Yeah.

Louise Matson:

How do you go about picking yourself up those days or do you just let it for that day?

Nadia Owen:

I try, obviously keep it professional at work but music is my lifeline. I love listening to music. I have a very fond relationship with my Spotify and my home speaker system. Um, and then I also know how to trigger myself if I'm feeling like, you know, it's, there's one more thing waiting to just poke the bear and then it might make me upset or explode. I know that there are certain movies that I can pop on and I will immediately cry and I will have that catharsis that you just need from a good old fashioned cry. And then that just helps me sort of expunge whatever emotional things I'm going through, whether it's just stress or, you know, concern about family and friends over, around the world who might have been struggling over the past couple of years with COVID. So, and also wine, wine is a classic.

Louise Matson:

Wine music and movies. I love that because I love the fact that you actually recognize that is building up in you and to play a movie and you know, it doesn't affect anybody else, but you. You're not lashing out at anybody else. So yeah, I think that's really important to be able to recognize that, I really love that. So can you tell us what your go to real movie?

Nadia Owen:

Happy to share, it changes over the years, because there'll be times when I've just watched this movie way too many times and it doesn't have the same impact.

Louise Matson:

You know all the dialogue

Nadia Owen:

Any of the hunger games movies will just get me, and then the original little women , the one that had Winona Ryder in it, when, when Beth dies and that's an obviously spoil, I feel like everybody would know this, but when Beth dies, oh my goodness, Claire Danes it's awful.

Louise Matson:

And favorite wine choice.

Nadia Owen:

I'm a Chardonnay drinker. And that's one of the most amazing things about living here in Perth is the ease of access to the Margaret River region. So I have several hundred bottles of wine in my wine rack slash cellar and, a good, robust butter Chardonnay is just,

Louise Matson:

Ah, call me <laugh> that's mine too. And don't forget the great Southern wines as well. A little bit further. Yeah. Fantastic.

Louise Matson:

Or a French champagne Louise. Let's be honest.

Louise Matson:

Making some very, very good sparklings too. It's been wonderful to speak to you about empowerment, but I also want to speak to you about your relationship with shoes. So what's your relationship with shoes?

Nadia Owen:

I love a good shoe. I have large feet, one of those many things that I was bullied for in my youth and I always used to choose to wear heels over flats because the angle of your foot makes it look smaller if it's up higher, or at least that's certainly something that I've deluded myself into thinking over the years. And I am a big believer of comfort shouldn't win over style and working in a mega venue like a stadium, whether it was here or back in Melbourne I always used to pound the pavement in a good pair of heels or even a bad pair of heels <laugh> because I wanted to complete the look rather than, you know, you don't wanna look like one of those women who wears the suits and then the sneakers and then they're running around or you don't want to look like Steve Jobs and wear jeans and sneakers all the time just to be comfortable.

Nadia Owen:

If I'm representing a brand or business and I also have my own personal brand, which is generally bright and colorful and big jewelry, big bling, that type of thing, you have to complete the look with a good pair of shoes. So I have an entire walk-in robe dedicated to shoes, to my heels at least and there's a separate one flats. And I do love a good heel because it just, I know it's old fashioned and it's very, almost sexist, but it does make a woman's legs look a lot better. I think it carries off the the outfit. It's a really good way to complete a look. So I love a shoe. I love a heel.

Louise Matson:

Yes. Well Louise M intends to empower women. So yeah, I understand completely a good shoe, but mine also have that comfort level for you. Nadia thank you so much for sharing your story today, as I said, you so lovely and I'm just so grateful to have met you along my business journey. So all the very best, enjoy some wine we will have to catch up for a Chardy

Nadia Owen:

Sounds good.

Louise Matson:

And yeah, I just loved what you've shared today. Again, it's different from what others have shared about their empowerment journey. So I'm just loving speaking to all women from all different industries and you being in the event industry that's new to me so thank you so so much. Oh, and I intend to go out to the new Optus Stadium walk. Oh my gosh. That looks very scary.

Nadia Owen:

I'll have to get up on the roof. You can't wear high heels up there. I'll tell you that much.

Louise Matson:

No, no. I don't think I'd want to <laugh> my feet firmly on the ground. So thanks. Thank you so much.

Nadia Owen:

My pleasure. Lovely to chat to you.

To be empowered in Louise M shoes visit louisemshoes.com

To contact Nadia Owen visit LinkedIn

Podcast is available on Apple podcast, Spotify, and your other podcast channels.

 

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