WomenCAN Australia is a social enterprise that helps isolated and vulnerable women achieve financial independence through peer-supported education and meaningful employment.
After kickstarting WomenCAN Australia in 2020 through a Myer Fellowship stipend, energetic founder Mikaela Stafrace was moving at pace to secure funding, set up the organisation and establish a Board.
“When we first connected with Melanie Bois and her team at Three Chairs Consulting, WomenCAN Australia was pretty much just an idea and a group of dedicated volunteers. She helped set that first strategic direction,” says Mikaela.
Process and outcomes
Three Chairs Consulting designed a bespoke approach to strategy development by conducting discovery interviews with key people to better understand the business challenges, opportunities and risks.
The team then workshopped the purpose, vision, strategic objectives, drivers and measures of success, priorities, financial models and capability requirements, as well as conducting a skills matrix to shape a competency-based Board.
This was all achieved remotely during COVID-19.
“I’ve been in business for 35 years and have participated in hundreds of strategy sessions. It’s very unusual to find somebody who can bring everyone along, making them feel comfortable, as well as display the intellect and rigor that comes with setting the frameworks and posing the right questions at the right time,” says Mikaela.
“Melanie and her team seem to have nailed that blend.”
WomenCAN engaged Three Chairs Consulting again in 2021 to move the business into a new stage of growth and help them achieve their key outcomes.
With a skills-based Board in place, this second strategy session was an opportunity to gain alignment on the purpose, vision and objectives for WomenCAN Australia.
This included supporting legal entity developments, creation of customer journey maps and a refresh of the strategy. Three Chairs Consulting also helped develop the value proposition and business model and structure.
Since working with Three Chairs Consulting, WomenCAN Australia has moved out of the start-up phase and is now focussed on scaling the organisation.
“The pillars that underpin that growth came about because of our strategic thinking. That converted into an operational plan that’s led to where we are now. There’s a maturity pathway that we’ve embarked on that was guided by those facilitated sessions with Three Chairs Consulting,” says Mikaela.
“They were also able to generate a real sense of camaraderie in the room. It was certainly a very powerful outcome that the team came away a lot stronger and unified and enthusiastic.”
“They listen, and I think that’s their key point of difference. They don’t come in with a preconceived or cookie cutter approach. They’re very careful, measured and considered, and they’re guided by what they’re hearing us say.”
“They also prompted us to think, ‘What else?’. So it wasn’t just what we’ve got on the page today and for the next 12 months. There were lots of big ideas generated that we can consider later. I think that’s important because there’s always more over the horizon.”