Mary-Anne Waldren is known in some circles as “Canberra’s Chief Connection Officer”, in others as “the fast and the furious Mary-Anne”. Business is in her blood and her passion is in making connections.
In this talk at TEDxCanberra 2011, Mary-Anne talks about her heroes, about not letting things stand in your way and about connecting and collaborating with your community.
Mary-Anne was managing a laundromat in Kingston from the age of 9, during her school holidays, while her friends were dive-bombing into Manuka Pool. She loved swimming. If someone tells her she can’t do something today she knows she is on to something and goes ahead and does it, like no-one else before her. Mary-Anne, as the oldest girl of eight children, helped bring up her siblings. She learned how to achieve, how to treat people and how to work throughout a childhood spent on weekends and holidays in the family’s service-industry businesses.
“When someone wanted something, you did it,” she said. “There’s always a way. My family taught me everything I know,” she says. “I can get into most boardrooms because I’m that nice girl who makes things happen.”
Mary-Anne is an entrepreneur and the CEO of MAW Action. She creates and manages events, mentors businesses and is a corporate speaker. She is the dynamo who created the Australian Science Festival, National Science Week and Canberra’s innovation festival, ICAN.