Tell us about your career journey

I am the founder of Damn Gina - a hair accessories brand specialising in products for textured hair. I have had an interesting career path. I graduated with a software engineering degree, but never worked in the software field. I interned as a lifestyle writer for a tabloid and was offered a permanent role in the same media company. This is where I fell in love with the beauty and hair industry as it was fun. I moved to Singapore to do my masters in Marketing in 2010, and had a small stint in Hong Kong before permanently moving to Melbourne, Australia. Here I worked in marketing for a Canadian fashion brand before launching my side hustle of costume jewellery handmade in India. This business, even though not a traditional success story, taught me a lot about starting a business with no capital in a new country and how to navigate the ever-evolving DTC, eCommerce landscape - which eventually helped in building Damn Gina in 2019. 


What are you most proud of in your career?

I am really proud of building a transparent, ethical brand with a product that celebrates self-love in a new country with zero connections and zero funding. It feels surreal that 2 years ago at this time, there was no Damn Gina - it was just in my head and in the form of a few samples in my bedroom. 


Biggest challenge in your career?

I would say networking. I am a people's person and love to connect with female founders. But I have found it challenging to cold email or DM someone I admire because it feels intrusive. Now more than ever because of the pandemic there hasn't been an organic way to meet and connect which could have happened if we had events taking place. I have learnt a lot listening to other founders on a podcast or by reading their interviews. This journey can be lonely and you need like-minded founders to navigate through similar highs and lows. 

Alpha-H Skincare image
Alpha-H Skincare image

What role did other supportive women play in your career progression? 

Women have played a very key role in shaping my career and life. From my editor at my first job who took a chance on an intern to my co-stall holders at the markets in Melbourne, I have found amazing support, love, learnings and friendships in these women. They become your allies, celebrate your wins and lend a shoulder to cry on when things go south. 


How has gender equality in the workplace changed over time?

Gender equality in the workplace has come a long way, but it still has a long way to go. We see more and more women forging career paths in what was previously a male dominated industry. The number of female CEOs in Australia is stuck at 1000 compared to 5000 male CEOs. I think women can thrive as well as men in senior, executive roles if they are given the chance. 


Which Alpha Values resonate with you most and why? (Awareness, Authenticity, Attitude, Ask, A-Team) 

I think all the Alpha Values are equally important and necessary for success. I would definitely say Authenticity and Attitude resonate the most with me. Being Authentic to the values you started the business on and sharing those with your audience is key. Authenticity also helps with clear thinking when you stand in the crossroads of decision making as an entrepreneur.

Attitude makes all the difference in how we are perceived and how we see things. It's the glass half full or half empty analogy; it really depends on your attitude how you see things, how you come up with solutions when times are tough