In our series, the GLOW GANG, we talk to inspiring women doing incredible things. Its a hub for everyone to tap into - it may resonate, inspire, encourage or give you the new perspective you didn't know you were looking for.
Today we spoke to Sheryl Thai. Sheryl is an incredibly inspirational entrepreneur, having launched her first business, Cupcake Central over 10 years ago. Quickly growing her cupcake empire to 5 stores that employed over 80 staff, Sheryl also published 2 cookbooks and sold over 2 million cupcakes. But that's just the beginning. Sheryl is also a co-founder of the The League of Extraordinary Women, a community connecting females and inspiring women to bring out their extraordinary.
We sat down with Sheryl to talk all things The League of Extraordinary Women and her mental health during a global pandemic.
Sheryl! We're long time fans of yours, so thank you for your time today. We'd love to start with learning more about why you started The League of Extraordinary Women?
The League started by my pure need to connect with other like-minded women. When I started my business 10 years ago, I felt isolated and disconnected. I didn’t enjoy going to business networking events filled with men that were just “killing it” and 10x their business. It made me feel small and as if there was something wrong with me that I felt I was struggling so hard at growing my business.
As I decided to give one of those business networking events one last go, I believe that the Universe introduced me to my League co-founders. We just clicked instantly. I felt a sigh of relief that I had finally met other women like me.
The League was born shortly after all four of us meeting every couple weeks to chat about business and life. Without really trying at all, this community went viral. Our first event that we thought maybe 30 women would show up to was 160 women! We filled up the entire bar. The League took on a life of its own, with the four of us behind it to nurture and support it however it needs to in order to serve the women that are drawn to it.
League of Extraordinary Women exists to connect and inspire women to bring out their extraordinary. That’s our mission and we’ll continue to drive that in everything we do.
9 years on we’ve run over 400+ events, facilitated hundreds upon thousands of connections and spread across the globe.
What an incredible achievement. The world was just waiting for you to come along and change the way things were happening. What is your best advice for anyone wanting to start their own business?
Every business started off as a seed of an idea. There is no better time to start creating than now. We are amongst the most fortunate where we can create anything and access knowledge from our fingertips.
Start by surrounding yourself with people that have achieved what you’re setting out to achieve, soak in their knowledge, connect with them. You’ll be surprised as to how many people will want to help you achieve your dreams as long as you take those dreams seriously.
We couldn't agree more. During recent months, we've all been hit with the effects of the global pandemic that is COVID-19. It's impacted so many businesses, but we can only assume it's affected you immensely as so much of what you did was running events and connecting people face to face. We'd love to learn how you've found a silver lining and pivoted The League of Extraordinary Women to an online format.
When COVID-19 hit us in March, we ended up having to scrap all the events in the year ahead including our highly anticipated Run The World conference in Brisbane. With the future looking bleak and uncertain to be able to create connections in person - we decided to give it a go to building an online membership community so that we can all connect virtually.
In all honesty, I was at a low point mentally and emotionally, not knowing whether I really had it in me to keep pushing forward and whether if what we did really made a difference. So it was my last shot at keeping the community alive.
The response was remarkable, within days we had women joining and supporting each other. We navigated a new way of creating interactive Q&A sessions, confidential sharing circles and ways to keep our spirits lifted. Most of all - the ability to provide connection when we are called to stay inside, that was the cherry.
Hope is a powerful notion. Hope has allowed humankind to survive the bleakest and darkest of moments throughout history. Our online community is about bringing women together to lift each other through hope of a brighter, better future through intention and action.
You can learn more about Sheryl's journey here, find her on Instagram here and learn about The League of Extraordinary Women here.