Lisa Longman is the Co-Founder of The Young Boxing Woman Project, empowering women to claim their space without apology. The project aims to build confidence and leadership skills disguised as a boxing program, leveraging the evidenced based links between physical achievements in sports and achievement in education and career. Utilizing her experience in traditional commercial enterprises to create an effective and targeted for-purpose model, Lisa is focused on creating conversations, challenging mindsets and facilitating change.
Can you give us an overview of your business?
The young boxing woman project uses boxing to empower women to claim their space without apology.
Combining 45 minutes of non- combat skills boxing with 45 minutes of facilitated content our sessions provide women with the space to challenge themselves and their preconceptions.
Based on the findings in the Filling the pool and EY: Women sports and Leadership reports, our project is an actionable solution to the issues contributing to the gender and wage gaps.
We are in our second year of operation. Our goal was to run 2 programs in our first year, and we’ve smashed that with 11. The demand for a proactive approach to issues women are encountering has been phenomenal. So far we’ve had 130 participants, trained three participants to become peer coaches and mentors, and have a further 10 programs planned for this year.
What ignited the spark in you to start your business?
The desire to do something I would actually want to talk about when asked, ‘So what do you do?’
If you had the chance to start your career over again, what would you do differently?
I would have placed a greater focus on gaining financial and IT skills. Leaning in isn’t half as effective as having in demand skills.
What do you believe was the best decision you made in business?
Not waiting to be the best, or to be perfect, but just doing it, consistently and continually.
Looking back is there a piece of advice you wish to pass onto someone starting out their entrepreneurial journey?
Have very clear roles and responsibilities, get your basics right. You need to start with a strong foundation to build on. There is so much help out there, access it.
What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
Being willing to just drive through your ideas no matter what, a good balance between having enough ego to believe you can and little enough that you’re willing to do everything needed, the ability to sell your idea to others and make them believe in it and you.
What was the best advice that you have been given?
Your life is not defined by the big life-changing moments but by all the little decisions you make everyday. By the time you get to the big decisions, you realise you already made them through all the little ones.
How have you personally measured your success?
The involvement of our participants. They have taken ownership of the concept and made it thrive. They’ve recruited others to insure we have the numbers to keep the sessions open, the peer mentors went to external training sessions 4-6 times a week to rapidly progress their skills to the level of being able to train others. They’ve convinced friends and family members to donate their time and expertise.
They’ve connected with each other outside of the sessions and offered support from eating lunch together to avoid bullying in school, to providing one on one training to participants who felt their skill level was falling behind the group. Each week stories are shared of them engaging in new sports, doing more than they thought they could, standing up for themselves or other in situations they found confronting.
I watch them go from having to be coaxed away from leaning on the wall, head down in their first session to them bounding in excitedly telling me that this is the highlight of their week and they miss it if they can’t make it.
I am humbled each week, by the enthusiasm with which they engage with our project.
How do you make the most of your day?
Be present with each activity I’m engaging with. Use all the little corners of the day
Other than your business, what other hats do you wear?
Berets, beanies, top hats
What is your favourite thing to do in your downtime?
Be outdoors. Long walks on the beach or in the bush, Sunday music at Freo art centre, wandering the city finding laneway art.
How many hours do you work a day on average?
13 – 16 depending on the day
What motivates you?
When I think about packing it in, I can’t think of anything else I could realistically be doing which would challenge me and provide me with the same opportunities to grow and innovate.
What is your favourite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
The diverse nature of the role. You are continually learning and innovating finding new ways to do things and building networks and partnerships.
Excluding yours, what company or business do you admire the most?
Social Reinvestment WA – They combine proven social innovations with solid economic reasoning to create a workable solution to a social justice issue.
If you’d like to connect with The Young Boxing Woman Project you can do so on any of the following: