Hollie Gordon is a world traveller, business woman and hippy at heart. We met each other last year when I interned for her social enterprise, Milaana. Hollie was twenty one and had created this business while she was still at university. Now graduated, she was building the business and travelling all over Australia and the world.
I will always say that Milaana changed my life but if I were to be honest, Hollie changed my life. Her encouragement, love and wisdom changed the course of my career. It is so hard to write about someone who had such an immense impact on your life, so I will let her do the talking. While Milaana closed its operations early this year, the soul of the business lives on in Hollie and everyone involved.
Describe yourself in one sentence.
A pragmatic idealist, loved and loving, finds purpose through creation and connection.
What is your mission or purpose in this life?
To live my journey richly and authentically in a way that serves and empowers others. Whilst this is constantly evolving, it currently means helping others to connect more deeply with their communities and learning to utilise the resources and power of the capital markets for good.
When do you feel the most like yourself?
When I am being creative (painting, dancing), connecting with a new community (often when travelling) or when in an authentic one on one chat with someone. Essentially situations where the categorisation, perception and constructs fade away and I’m simply, Hollie.
Can you share with us a moment that changed your life?
The defining moments have been experiencing deep connections with people that have challenged my core perceptions of the world. The strongest of these have been finding richness, joy and wisdom where I had been expecting poverty and suffering. One of these was in an Indian slum, the other was through weekly visits to a beautiful family from Burundi through a refugee tutoring program.
When do you feel the most feminine?
Dancing! Often in other ethnic styles like afro-Brazilian or Indian as it allows for exploring my femininity beyond cultural confines, connecting with the broader universal experience of the feminine. Moments of nurturing both self and others also grounds this sensation. Whether it’s a friend, my partner, an animal or even a plant, it’s the lioness instinct to both protect and gently support those you love. Finally, when I’m surrounded by authentic women the energy of the feminine is so powerful, it helps me to embrace my own power.
How do you define success?
Putting your unique talents and your energy towards the benefit of others.
Define a wild woman.
A wild women is not ashamed of her power and sees the beauty and strength in her flaws and vulnerabilities. She thrives by supporting and nurturing others as it lifts her soul in the process.
What gets you out of bed in the morning?
Learning and creating in order to better connect. I'm loving exploring ideas and concepts (new and old) to better enrich what it is that I am creating. Whether that creation is a business, an article, a painting or a relationship, the purpose is to connect with others and myself on deeper levels.
By combining my own experience and truth with what has already been created, I can forge ahead on a conceptual level and then integrate these insights throughout my everyday life and activities.
One expression of this is the creation of MilaanaOpen, where we are sharing all we have learnt and created in our two years to support others in the field. This has already allowed amazing opportunities to connect with other leaders in the space and to learn so much from them. This enriches the next phase of creation.
How do you find balance in your life?
For me, it is all an equation of energy and balance. Some interactions and activities really lift my energy and put me into flow state whilst others only decrease my energy. I find one on one deep talks with people incredibly energising but group situations and small talk deplete my energy rapidly. Both are essential but balancing out these energies to achieve my practical goals is how I sustain. Also being aware of these effects, I’m learning to approach the energy depleting situations more mindfully and turning them into natural or positive energy. High energy and flow state is amazing but it’s unsustainable. When I painting or am in the flow of writing, I forget time and I don't eat. So like everything, there must be balance. When I’m being holistic in focusing on all core aspects– health, relationships, creation, ‘work’, spirituality and community, I’m able to sustain this balance for much longer periods.
If you could tell all women just one thing, what would it be?
Keep putting yourself in new and challenging situations that strip away what is not truly you. Like when you’re travelling, all the labels you carry don't exist. It’s just 'Hollie from Australia' and there’s huge freedom in that. It also builds great self confidence that 'just Hollie' is more than enough for the people you encounter.
Only when you go beyond your comfort zone and are tested in a whole range of circumstances can you truly understand who you are at your core. What is consistent about you in all of these situations? What aspects of you emerge that you previously weren’t aware of? Through this you can rapidly understand your strengths, your weaknesses, your motivations and what it truly means for you to find contentment. You can then offer a more authentic version of yourself to the world and inspire others to do the same.