Asha Peck is a busy woman. She’s a mum, a business owner and the creator of Gold Coast Girls in Business (GCCIB), a rapidly growing movement of women in business. In only 7 months, Asha’s GCCIB group has flourished and now has 11,000 members – a community of women helping women.
I met Asha in a busy local café. She arrived with her tiny “tribe” of two sweet sons and greeted me with a warm smile and a hug. As she spoke, I sensed a genuine passion for the movement she has created. She believes in the power of women and the supportive community she has created is testament to that.
I also got the sense that you shouldn’t mistake her kindness for weakness, this girl is on a mission.
What’s the first thing you do in the morning?
I wake up around 4:30-5:00am and immediately reach for my phone! I check my emails and social media notifications, reply to messages and try and get that done first. I wake my boys up at around 6am, get them ready and do the kindy and school run. Then I’m either off to meetings or back home working which doesn’t stop until pick up time.
What motivates you?
Seeing the support the women give each other, seeing women helping other women. When I started GCCIB it was my baby and watching it grow has been amazing. I receive messages daily from women thanking me for creating the group and letting me know how much it’s helped them not only professionally, but personally too.
If you could give your teenage self some advice, what would it be?
Believe in yourself. Don’t listen to the negative things that people will tell you.
On the rare occasion you get to do something just for yourself, what do you like to do?
(laughing) It is rare but I love letting my hair down and having a drink with my girlfriends.
How do you like to spend a Sunday?
With my kids and my husband. He only gets Sunday’s off so we like to spend quality time together as a family.
What do you think about in the car when you’re alone?
What can I do next?
If your friends or family described you in three words, what they be?
Crazy, driven, sarcastic.
You own a small business called The Social Circle. What do you do and is it what you’ve always wanted to do?
At the moment The Social Circle only about 5% of my day now that GCCIB has taken off the way it has. I do graphic design, business branding and social media. It’s not what I always wanted to do but I’m good at it. I started the business while I was on maternity leave and it grew from there.
What is one piece of advice you wish you’d had when you started your own business?
Don’t trust that everyone who offers help is genuine. Keep your guard up.
If you woke up one morning to 2000 emails in your inbox but you could only answer 300 of them, how would you choose which ones to answer?
Oh god, I’d need to prioritise them by urgency and importance but to do that I’d need to go through them all. So I’d probably just answer all of them!
How do you juggle motherhood, running a business and GCCIB?
To be honest, I have no idea. I just do. No one else can do it for you so you just make it work.
How did GCCIB come about? What inspired you to create it?
I’d just started my business and while I had clients, I was stuck. I wasn’t sure where to go for advice and I needed real, honest answers and knowledge.
I found some support groups on Facebook but they weren’t exactly what I wanted. Most were worldwide groups so a lot of the advice wasn’t relevant here, or to me. I spent so long searching and in the end I thought “why don’t I just start my own?”. So I did and in the first week there was 1000 members!
Did you expect the response and growth GCCIB has received since it begin in November 2017?
No! Not at all. There’s around 11,000 members now which is just incredible.
What has been a big challenge along the way?
Finding the path I wanted to take it. As it started growing, I’ve had so many ideas for what I want to do and it’s all so needed but time management is an issue!
Women can be each other’s biggest supporters but also their biggest rivals/adversaries. Do you think women are hard on each other?
Yes. Growing up I tended to steer clear of the groups of girls because the bitchiness and rivalry just isn’t my thing. I think when we were growing up, society made us feel that if someone was doing the same thing as you, they were the competition. That’s why I always say “collaboration instead of competition” and why I’m so proud of the community of women on GCCIB. We have a pretty damn good group who want to support each other. I don’t see it as competition, I see it as an opportunity for people to join together, team up, create new opportunities together, learn from each other and work with each other’s strengths. There’s enough business to go around.
We have had some issues along the way, as you do on social media, however, out of around 11000 members there’s only been 5 or so that I’ve had to remove from the group. I make sure the page is monitored and have made it very clear that anything but supportive comments won’t be tolerated.
How do you handle criticism?
When it’s constructive criticism, you take it on board but don’t take it personally. When it’s negative or nasty, you have to ignore it and remember who you are and why you do what you do.
I saw a few posts on the page that mentioned some negativity you’d received. How do you handle that? It’s easy to think you can ignore it but you’re only human and some of it has to hurt.
Yeah, there was some nastiness happening and sure, it did hurt but I can’t let it get to me. There’s more supportive women than there are negative ones.
If we’re sitting here 1 year from now, what do you hope to have achieved?
I want to take GCCIB Australia wide. We already have groups set up for other states but I really to travel to those areas and get them to a place where the Gold Coast page is now. I want to have more workshops and women sharing their knowledge with each other.
If you could change anything that’s happening along the way, what it would it be.
Nothing. I wouldn’t change a thing.
What message do you have for the women in the group?
I just want to thank them. If it wasn’t for these women helping to create such a unique and supportive platform it really wouldn’t be what it is today.
What’s next for you?
Bigger events, bigger workshops, more of what the members want!
Photo: Daphne Health Photography