“Like any movement, it’s important to leave no woman behind.” Find out how the trio behind Outspoken Women came together to help empower others

Hot Chicks with Big Brains recently had a chat with the incredible brains behind Outspoken Women: LJ Loch, Tracey Spicer, and Louise Pascale. All three joined forces to answer our questions below, and we’re excited to share this insight into how their business came to be, and what attendees of their masterclasses can expect.

Image provided by Louise Pascale

HCwBB: Can you each tell us a bit about who you are and what you do?

LJ Loch: I’m a reformed journo and a lover of words. I am CEO (and officially an Alpha Female) of Alpha Consult, a reputation management and protection consultancy. I work with companies, causes, and individuals to help them accentuate their positive. Trace and I were at uni together at what was then QIT (now QUT) studying journalism. We flatted together, shared the ‘joys’ of relationships (boyfriends, potential boyfriends, first husbands, divorces, blah blah blah), Brisbane’s nightlife, and breaking into the media workforce. Our friendship dates back to 1985—the time of superscopes, pre-pager—

Louise Pascale: Who remembers pagers?! I do!

LJL: —The Church, Violent Femmes, A-Ha, Dead and Alive, and INXS. Fun fact: we all have shorthand and touch-typing skills, courtesy of mandated uni courses.

Tracey Spicer: My beautiful mum Marcia was my earliest inspiration. She was the first female courier driver for TNT in Queensland. Her appointment resulted in a Courier-Mail story headlined, “Who would have thought? Women can drive after all.”

Mum and Dad always made it clear to my sister, Suzanne, and me that equality was non-negotiable: we should stand up for what we believe in.

I grew up in Redcliffe, Brisbane. I’m a bogan, a proud bogan. I’m a mum to two wonderful children, a wife, a journo, an author, a travel writer. One tweet resulted in a tsunami of #metoo disclosures, leading to the development of Australia’s version of Time’s Up.

LP: When I’m not being an outspoken woman I run my own media consultancy and production company in Adelaide. All of my clients have a social issue at their heart or an ethical product. It’s my way of making sure I use my storytelling powers for good. I met Trace via Twitter the night Women in Media National launched and she then introduced me to my 80s loving sister LJ.

Women in Media connected we three several years ago. Since then, we’ve become a wonderful trinity of power, strength and focus. It’s inspiring, rejuvenating, and inspiring, and we LOVE IT. Being able to tap into this deep well of our shared enthusiasm and experience is amazing. Outspoken Women is our way of making that feeling go viral.

LJ Loch (Image via Outspoken Women)

HCwBB: Please can you tell us why and how Outspoken Women came to be?

Outspoken Women: Tracey and I [LJ] had been working for some time on a platform to empower women in academia to have more of a profile in the media and across the conference circuit. At the same time, Lou was working her magic in SA. We collided with purpose during our involvement with Women in Media, an amazing network supported by MEAA, to mentor, network, and advocate on behalf of women in our industry.

From the very beginning we were determined to celebrate the extraordinary abilities of the women around us, personally and professionally. It was just a question of how to break down the barriers that hold us all back.

We know this space inside and out, after working in the media for almost three decades. And then there was the fundamental thought of “Imagine how much fun we will have working together and imagine how much impact we might have.”

And yes, we’ve all suffered from Imposter Syndrome as part of the process of making this happen—all three of us have, promise! The best counter to that has been the powerful feedback we get back from our classes.

HCwBB: Who is your target audience and how do you hope to be of benefit to them?

OW: Women who are starting out in their career and women who are mid-level. So many women feel they aren’t being heard and want to know how they can be their best.

We had all been contacted individually by women, and men on behalf of their peers, spouses, sisters, mothers, and daughters, wanting to know what advice, insights, and learnings we could share.

That’s why we decided to combine our experiences and expertise into Outspoken Women (and claim being outspoken women!). We do this through our Masterclasses with tailored, organisational-specific training.

Tracey Spicer (Image via Outspoken Women)

HCwBB: What can attendees expect from your Masterclasses?

OW: A supportive, encouraging learning environment like no other, as a result of our women-only workshops. Real life, tangible advice on how to communicate effectively and assertively in the workplace. The MOST amazing networking connections. The complete go-to-wow Masterclass which covers messaging, body language, voice, nerves, personal presentation, story-telling, negotiation skills, networking optimisation, social media management, and branding.

HCwBB: Who are some of the women who inspire you most and why?

OW: The power of the sisterhood is captured in our trinity of support. We all have momentary crises of confidence (just like every woman) and the lovely thing is that, because the three of us are working together, it’s normally just one of us who feels fragile at a time so the other two step in to reinforce what we all need as women—that we’re stronger than we know, that we have valuable learning to bring to the table, and that the world is a better place when all women have a voice and are confident in being outspoken.

We’ve run Outspoken Women Masterclasses in most capital cities now, and there hasn’t been a single class where the three of us haven’t walked away without being 1) reduced to tears by the incredible stories 2) inspired by the transformational progress of the participants and 3) energised by the amplified impact of these women.

We are particularly inspired by Caroline Jones AO, the Patron of Women in Media. She is warm, wise, witty, and as tough as nails: a national treasure.

Louise Pascale (Image via Outspoken Women)

HCwBB: What’s one piece of advice you’d give to women struggling to be confident in their abilities, both privately and professionally?

OW: You have a right to be heard and always remember: if you don’t ask, they can’t say “yes”.

HCwBB: What’s next for Outspoken Women?

OW: Our dream is to create an army of outspoken women.

This is a social enterprise, in which we use the proceeds from the fees charged to corporate women in order to fund scholarships for marginalised and CALD [culturally and linguistically diverse] women.

Like any movement, it’s important to leave no woman behind. We’re all in this together.

Get your tickets to Outspoken Women’s Melbourne Masterclass on the 21st of March here!


Compiled and Edited by Emma Kate Lewis

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