Mary-Anne Waldren

Business mentor

Mary-Anne Waldren

Business mentor

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.