Change Starts at Home, with Lisa Hollinshead
From PR professional, to being stuck abroad, to launching an app that facilitates acts of kindness: meet Lisa, Founder of One Another.
Good news stories, and the humans behind them.
When COVID hit Spain and Lisa’s flights home were cancelled, she was inspired to action after witnessing the response of the community. Read on to learn a little more about Lisa’s journey from PR professional to social entrepreneur.
What’s your story?
I began my professional career as a publicist in London working for one of the biggest entertainment PR agencies: Taylor Herring. Here, I did the PR for Britain’s Next Top Model and The Apprentice.
I then went on to do the PR for a long haul airline and travelled the world in first class hosting travel journalists to destinations like Barbados, Antigua and Moscow. I caught the travel bug and decided to head to Australia on a one way ticket. I was just 23.
Upon arriving in Australia I was sponsored by Oglivy PR’s consumer division, Pulse Communications, where I managed the PR for LG Electronics and 20th Century Fox. A highlight was launching the biggest selling Blu-ray and DVD of all time; Avatar here in Australia. I also got to travel to Seoul with LG Electronics for the Life Tastes Good championships in 2010.
Since then I’ve gone on to work for some of the biggest PR agencies and brands in the world including (but not limited to): Frank, Herd MSL, McCann, Mullen Lowe, Maverick and represented: P&G, RB, Disney, Hilton, Maybelline NY, Samsung, Big W, Cancer Council, Diageo and Suncorp.
I set up my own PR agency in July 2017: Comms 101. I pride myself on my flexible workplace model, which involves working with senior PR professionals that have become parents, or moved to a regional area, who require flexibility in the work. Brands I have represented include: Sheraton, Marriott, Vision Direct, ADMA, Quality Dental, Pacific Boating, Urban Alley Brewery, Speedo and Navitas.
In April 2019, I was selected out of 800 applicants to take part in the BlueChilli SheStarts accelerator program for my tech start up, PAR-ENTrepreneurs. Here I gained many valuable skills to equip me with the knowledge of founding a tech startup, whilst building my network in the startup ecosystem.
I decided in October 2019 that PAR-ENTrepreneurs wasn’t the right fit for me to pursue long term , and decided that I wanted to pursue my dream of founding a tech startup that brought communities together – I just didn’t quite know what my solution was, or even the problem I was trying to solve at this stage.
In March 2020, I landed in Europe after winning a pair of flights to Berlin. I headed to Spain to spend time with my mum and granny. Only two days after I arrived, the European lockdown hit Spain. We were housebound with our flights home to Australia cancelled.
Luckily, I was safe with a loving family and full pantry. Despite this, the initial moments of panic and fear are not easily forgotten. And as I sat in the safety of my mother’s home, it hit me just how lucky I was and how difficult this whole experience would be for a huge number of people who didn’t have access to this safety I was afforded. It got me thinking – what would I have done if my grandmother didn’t have support?
Or if I was stuck in an unfamiliar hotel room with my son without assistance, for weeks on end? These were unprecedented times. One of the only bright spots throughout this entire experience were the acts of kindness we were witnessing. Neighbours singing together as night fell; friends checking in with one another, despite being apart; acquaintances making sure their elderly neighbours had groceries.
It was a moving depiction of humanity striving for goodness while society as we knew it was rocked to its core. And it was inspiring – I wanted to help make a difference for those in our communities who perhaps did not have access to this kindness. I found others who agreed with me, that making a difference both now and into the future was an essential goal that needed to be achieved.
So the idea for One Another was born. We now have a social kindness app, which is live in all APP stores and is 100% free. It has been built by over 200 professional volunteers on a volunteer basis, who have dedicated over 20,000 hours of time, equating to over $1 million in value.
People can offer and request assistance via the app - whether picking up groceries, meet for a friendly coffee, walking a pet offering to build a website, or being someone's mentor.
Anthropologist Margaret Mead describes our mission at One Another best: “Helping someone else through difficulty is where civilisation starts. Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.” We are those citizens. We have the power, and thereby the responsibility, to help those in need.
What causes are particularly close to your heart, and why?
I believe strongly in finding passion in purpose. So any causes which strive to make a positive difference are my jam! Feed Our Medics, Pledge for the Planet and Project Kindness are all initiatives that make my soul smile!
How do you take action about these, and what motivates you to do so (and keep going)?
Via One Another I'm very active in the collaboration space. I've always believed in collaboration and connection over competition. In fact, collaboration, connection, kindness and community are One Another's core values.
By partnering with like-minded brands and ideas/causes, I can not only help spread the message of what they're doing to make a difference, but also raise awareness of our platform as well. I find that the more people know about what we're doing, the more we gain traction. A recent collab has been with Feed Our Medics, and we've secured coverage on Channel 7, The Project, Studio 10, SBS World News and the Daily Telegraph. By joining forces, we are able to boost a conscious knowledge surrounding our purpose, and in turn help more people along the way.
Do you have any tips and pearls of wisdom for people who want to do a little more good in this space, or in general?
I believe that Covid-19 caused a lot of people to stop and reflect. It certainly did for me. I was at burnout before with far too much on my plate (Comms 101, Social101.com and SheStarts accelerator, plus trying to be the ‘perfect’ mum). Something had to give.
When COVID-19 hit, I lost my clients for Comms 101, there were no events to cover for Social101.com and I’d exited the accelerator 4 months prior. For the first time in forever, I was able to focus my attention on one business and factor in time for Albie too.
I also became more aware of my health and how vulnerable we are as humans and that we can’t take anything for granted. So I decided to only have an alcoholic drink if it was at a restaurant for a special occasion (usually once a week). I also decided to take charge of my health - joining my local gym and going 4/5 times a week at 5am.
It may sound super early (which it is), however I finished up at 6am and find I have so much more energy, and am falling asleep no later than 9pm in the evening – which is much better for me in terms of routine. I started regularly listening to Calm meditations twice a day (nighttime and after lunch), as it’s so important to be able to switch off. I also read a book for 20 mins before bed, rather than being on my phone before bed, and no phone.
Finally – drinking three litres of water a day has made a massive difference to productivity and my skin.
Also, these apps have helped me infinitely:
Is there anything that others can reach out to you about - and where can they find you?
Absolutely, if anyone is keen to collaborate - we're expanding our pro bono professional offering to help support small businesses across Australia with offers of time, value and mentorship. Get in touch with Lisa at firstname.lastname@example.org ☀️