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Community Focus; Lucie Hammond from BeingVR

Sep 2, 2019

1. How did your startup/business journey begin?

I have the Motherhood Penalty to thank for kick-starting my entrepreneurial ride! For those of you that don’t know, the Motherhood Penalty is a term coined by sociologists to describe the losses incurred by career women for having babies. And the losses are significant – financially each baby cost a 4% decrease in salary for mum, whilst dad gains 6% per child (tied to his additional commitment on being the breadwinner, and her ‘distraction’ on being primary caregiver). They are also often penalised for the flexibility required to undertake the majority of caring and domestic chores whilst holding down a full-time job, and often not considered for promotions, work involving travel or meaningful projects associated with leadership pathways because of it.

A Forbes article from February this year sums it up well; “Women lose out on opportunities, men lose out on feeling accepted as caregivers, companies lose out on amazing talent, the economy loses out on the $28 trillion that could be added to the global GDP if we reach full gender equality”.

So, for me this meant opting out of the corporate world I had known and thrived in, and finding another way to challenge myself and contribute meaningfully. In fact this came as a blessing in disguise as I rediscovered my passion for psychology. I studied counselling and psychotherapy and began coaching and training individuals and groups on Women in Leadership, with a focus on up-skilling in critical capabilities such as confidence, negotiation, networking, mentoring, and communication.

This experience of being shocked to discover my options were limited because of my gender, drove me to help others prepare and cope with these life changes, and to become an advocate for equality in the workplace.

One start-up led to another and virtual reality became part of the training solution when BeingVR was born.

2. What are you working on at the moment?

Right now BeingVR is finalising a tech-enabled workshop for Unconscious Bias in virtual reality. Last weekend we used Riff as one of our scenes to shoot a 4-part story in virtual reality, which transports the learner (inside a headset) to various interactions with colleagues at work that expose them to bias behaviour – and in the ultimate scene, strategies and alternatives conducive to successful collaboration. Virtual reality environments are touted as the next best thing to learning on the job (but consequence-free), and are an incredibly powerful tool for gaining insights through storytelling, in a way that emulates reality so closely. For this project we collaborated with The Experience Lab who use live actors for role-play and training. The workshop will be available to enterprise customers and training organisations mid September.

3. What do you love about being a part of the Spacecubed community?

I keep coming back to Spacecubed over the years because of the community, the vibe. It’s just a feeling I get coming to ‘work’ that makes me feel like I belong and provides value over and above just a space. I’ve worked in lots of different environments but none that energise and motivate me like Spacecubed. When you’re an entrepreneur working long stints in isolation you need a hub more than ever to feel human and connected. And the people, it’s always about the people.

4. Can you share with us one of your favourite success stories?

As a start-up one of my favourite success stories is when I was one of two WA entrepreneurs to be selected for The Duke of York’s Pitch at Palace competition, almost 2 years ago now. The Chamber of Commerce and Industry here in Perth, and Perth Angels, Greg Riebe and Rolee Kumar helped to prep myself and Mamood Hussein, Founder of a drone business, for the epic trip to Sydney’s Macquarie University to meet the Prince and compete for the finals at Buckingham Palace in London. Prince Andrew established Pitch for Palace to encourage industry and government support for entrepreneurship and innovation. 

I say “success story” but the truth is I developed a severe case of laryngitis and literally mimed / whispered my speech on stage next to a very lovely volunteer who read my scribbles out loud so the audience and the judges could actually hear it. If that wasn’t enough of a disaster, all participants had been briefed on the royal etiquette and I was mortified when the Prince approached me to congratulate me on my resilience under the circumstances. Luckily he was fairly unconventional as far as Princes go and not too fussed when I struggled but failed to stand in time to curtsey and murmured something about …”your Royal Highness, pleasure to meet you”.

I actually had the opportunity to continue this comedy of errors when The Prince toured Flux on his first trip to Perth the year after our inaugural pitch in Sydney. I reminded him that we had met before and that I was the participant with laryngitis! What a claim to fame. We had a good laugh together and featured that night on Channel 10 news.

5. What do you hope to achieve in 2019?

Loving relationships with my family, to have fun at work and maintain a meaningful outlet for my ideas and creativity. 

Interested in hearing more about Lucie? She’ll be speaking at Six for Six for September 10, an event by Skills of the Modern Age where six gurus share a big idea with the crowd in just six minutes. Find out more here.

If you want to find out more about Spacecubed, book a tour to get started, or try 30 days for $200! Contact bkleeman@spacecubed.com to learn more.