Mastello and Blake named finalists in the AusMumpreneur Awards

Christine Mastello

Hamlyn Terrace’s Christine Mastello and Wyong’s Emma Blake have been named finalists in the AusMumpreneur Awards.

The awards celebrate Australian mums achieving outstanding success in business and are designed to recognise the growing number of women who are striking a balance between their family and professional lives and coming out on top.

Mastello is the founder of Southlake Incorporated (formerly known as Southlake Marketplace), a social enterprise that provides an umbrella of direct support services for homeless and disadvantaged people across the former Wyong Shire and Lake Macquarie, with some services going even further afield, most notably Community Hair Project, a project that sees hairdressers around three states donate their time and expertise to give haircuts to people in need.

This year she’s a finalist in three categories, Women Will Change the World, Big Idea and Making a Difference, and after missing out at the finals last year, she’s hoping that 2020 will be her year.

“I’m so excited to be a finalist again.

“Last year I was runner-up in Women Will Change the World for Community Hair Project, so hopefully, this is my year,” she said.

This time around Mastello’s Change the World nomination stems from her overall work with Southlake, with her Big Idea nomination linked to the soon to be launched Share Your Home App, an app that will help connect homeowners that have spare rooms with homeless youth in need of urgent short stay accommodation.

Her Make a Difference nomination also comes from a soon to be launched initiative, Indigenous Hair Workshop, that will see Community Hair Project volunteers visit remote Indigenous communities across the country to provide free hairdressing workshops, once the pandemic risk to these communities has passed.

All three nominations mean something special to Mastello, who has actively worked to grow Southlake Incorporated into the thriving social enterprise that it has become today.

For the mum of three, the enterprise’s success is also an uplifting reminder of what a person can achieve no matter their circumstances.

“When I started Southlake nine years ago, it was actually a very hard time in my life.

“One of my sons had just had a stroke and another had been diagnosed with autism.

“I am a sole parent and at the time, it felt like my entire life was being split between doctors’ appointments.

“I wanted to do something for myself, so I started a foodbank.

“It was 70 per cent for the community and 30 per cent for me.

“Looking back, I never would have imagined that little foodbank at Morisset would become what it is today,” Mastello said.

With her family a driving force behind her passion for helping the community, it comes as no surprise that Mastello’s boys have all been involved in Southlake over the years.

“One of the most important things that I wanted to teach my sons was to have a good work ethic.

“I used to bring them along to all of Southlake’s events and over the years I’ve watched them grow to have an amazing ethic and more importantly, big hearts.

“I think their involvement definitely contributed to the young men they’ve become, and it certainly helped me find the balance between family and work,” Mastello said.

Blake is the owner operator of wellness coaching and energy healing business, Mind Body Soul Wellness.

She’s a finalist in the Health and Wellness category.

Helping clients overcome past traumas is Blake’s calling, but doing so while juggling three teenagers and a 9-year-old has proven to be quite the balancing act.

Luckily, she’s had plenty of practice, even finding the time to study and incorporate neuro linguistic programming, timeline therapy and hypnotherapy into her practice.

“I have used my new learnings during a period of self healing and improvement.

“This has given me a deeper understanding of how these holistic modalities will help adult and teenage women heal their hearts from past pain and allow them to realise their true worth,” Blake said.

Blake said she was incredibly proud to have been named a finalist at this year’s awards and that her achievements were being recognised.

“I have recently co-facilitated two women’s healing retreats and I’m currently writing my first book to be published next year,” she said.

While their businesses may be different, like Mastello, Blake has embraced the unique opportunities and challenges of balancing her career with motherhood.

“Being a mumpreneur allows for me to help others heal and grow.

“It also allows me to lead in my industry and inspire my partner, our children, family, and friends to heal so they can live the lives that they all truly deserve and be encouraged to chase their dreams,” Blake said.

With the awards due to be announced at the online AusMumpreneur Festival on September 7, Mastello had the following advice for any local mums interested in getting into business.

“Trust yourself.

“If you think something’s worth pursuing, then do it.

“Even if it doesn’t work out, you haven’t failed, you’ve just learned what doesn’t work.

“The only real failure is not trying at all,” Mastello said.

Blake also encourages would be mumpreneurs to not get caught up in the what ifs.

“Ask yourself, is where you are at now where you want to be in the next five years?

“If no, then believe in you, your passion, your dreams and go for it.

“Only you can make the choice to make the change,” Blake said.

Dilon Luke