Tell us a little bit about yourself – who you are and what you do
Pauline, 50, co-owner (with my sister Sharon) of Me Time Experiences, an event company that specialises in small group singing, writing, walking and surfing retreats. I am a married mother of two boys 10 and 15 and our Boston Terrier Scout as well as chauffeur to said boys to what seems like every sporting event, ever, in Brisbane. Lover of all things singing. Member of Cheep Trill Community choir – my Wednesday night addiction and happy place.
What did you want to be when you were a child?
I wanted to be a singer. My first record was The Carpenters Greatest Hits (showing my age here) and I just wanted to be Karen Carpenter. I auditioned for lots of roles in school musicals and I got a few (never the lead though!). I auditioned for Pot of Gold (The Australia’s Got Talent of the 70s) but got rejected in round one. I decided then that I wasn’t really up for the continual rejection, so I let that dream go. While I never became the next Karen Carpenter, music was still a big part of my life. After high school I sang in a trio with my friends. Our name was Two Skirts and a Shirt. I think we sang at just about every one of our friends’ weddings. I gave it all away as work and then kids and life got in the way, but I’ve found my way back to singing through the funkiest, most fun choir ever – Cheep Trill. Led by Emma Dean, who also leads our Me Time Experiences Singing Retreats, we sing contemporary arrangements and have become the unofficial pop up choir of Brisbane!
What are you most proud of?
My family – I love our unit of four – Carl, Jack, Tom and me. I’ll be in trouble if I don’t include our dog Scout, so better make it five. We travelled and lived away from Brisbane for my husband Carl’s work when the kids were younger, so we spent a lot of time just with ourselves. We relied on each other for everything and for me I felt that made us bond even more. My boys have always been talkers, so I feel that the teenage years are going to be tough from that perspective. The “grunt” phase is definitely in full swing now. One of my favourite things at night is going in to say goodnight to my 15 year old. He pats the bed next to him and says – “Sit down Mum – how was your day?”. Heart melt! I know my sweet, little boy is still in there!
Which person inspires you the most?
My husband Carl. He is the eternal optimist and has great self-belief. I have never seen anybody work so hard to achieve their goals. Whether it’s in business or on the footy field. He always gives 100 percent. He is such a great role model for our kids. He comes home after a 14 hour day and he’ll still go to the nets with the boys or help them with their homework. No matter how busy he is, he finds a way to make us all feel special.
What has been a life changing moment for you?
My brother Stephen took his own life nearly four years ago. It has left a huge hole in our very close family and life will never be the same. It has shocked and changed me in so many ways. That someone you love can be in such pain, and you never really know or understand the full extent of it, seems unfathomable. But this is the situation in so many cases. I’m not frightened to ask people the tough questions any more. It’s an absolute must in a world where suicide rates are skyrocketing. Stephen was the catalyst for Me Time Experiences and our need to create something that encouraged connection between people.
What drives you?
Doing things that make people smile, feel good. Me Time Experience grew out of this simple concept. The joy that has come from the retreats for ourselves and participants is so much more than we could have ever imagined.
What has been the biggest lesson you have learnt (in life or business)?
Everything comes from within. Don’t look to others to make you happy or tell you what to do or fix your life. That’s your job. Be brave and do whatever it takes to have the life you want.
What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given and by whom?
What other people think of you is none of your business. I read this years ago and it absolutely resonated with me. I spent way too much time worrying what others thought of me. It was a bit of a wake-up call. ’m certainly not “cured” but I’m doing my best!
Quote to live by?
“If you can dream it, you can do it. Remember that this whole thing was started with a dream and a mouse.” Walt E Disney
What are your top 3 bucket list items?
- Singing somewhere fabulous like the Sydney Opera House
- Taking six months to travel the wine regions of Italy
- Going to Africa with the boys
What’s next for you?
Continuing to develop Me Time Experiences. We started slow and small on purpose. Finding the right presenters is everything. They absolutely make or break a retreat. It’s important to have facilitators who are passionate about what they do – who have the ability to share/teach their craft in a truly engaging manner. We decided from the beginning that we had to love them (and they had to love us back), to really make it work. So far so good! I guess we are just searching for more people to fall in love with and grow our business. Oh and singing. Lots and lots of singing. Watch out for Cheep Trill at the Queensland Music Festival.
What’s your greatest regret?
Not believing in myself enough to have a career in music. If I could put my 50 year old head on my 18 year old body, boy would I give it a good talking to! At the same time, and while I know it’s a cliché, if I didn’t make the choices I made back then, I wouldn’t have this life now and I’m pretty bloody happy how its turned out so far!
What is the key to your happiness?
Surrounding myself as much as possible with those I love – my family my friends, my dog. If good food is involved, well even better!!!
Where is your favourite place to long lunch with friends in Brisbane?
What are your three favourite Brisbane cafe’s you like to visit when you are craving your morning coffee?
- Famished at Ashgrove
- Java at Paddington
- Merlo at Paddington
Summarise Brisbane in 3 words…Hot, hot, hotter (if you asked me this a few months ago, my head might have been in another place, but right now, this hot streak is killing me!)
SheSociety is a site for the women of Australia to share our stories, our experiences, shared learnings and opportunities to connect.