Sometimes you come across people who make a huge impression, and when I met Jane Wurwand, Founder of Dermalogica, she did just that. Down to earth, interested and curious; she was amazing, a true inspiration. Like the golden sunshine warming you through an afternoon breeze, while enjoying a Caribbean sunset; Jane set alight all natural sensors.

“Nothing is random, everything has a reason and should be looked at as a lesson” Jane Wurwand

Recently, Sue-Ellen Watts, our CEO, and myself were at the equally amazing Sir Richard Branson’s Necker Island on a four day leadership gathering where Jane was one of the international speakers who was presenting to a small group of business owners from Australia. There were nine internationally renowned speakers who immersed themselves in four unique days of learning. The beauty of the experience was the speakers participated with us, we broke bread together, zip-lined to lunch, learnt to kite surf and told stories over drinks at the bar. We all fell under Sir Richard Branson’s Caribbean spell, building unique friendships that will never be broken.

As Jane told us, nothing is random and we were all together on Necker Island for a reason. Following our day three workshop, we zip-lined from the main house to a stunning lunch location nestled just behind an idyllic white beach. Adrenaline still pumping, we sat along a long wooden table in the shade of some palm trees to eat. All lunches and dinners were on different parts of the island, our environment and company constantly changing. Today I sat next to Jane, a lunch I will never forget.

“Stay connected to your tribe, stories engage people, success comes when your tribe is engaged” Jane Wurwand

Observing Jane throughout the leadership gathering I was blown away by her participation, she asked more questions and took more notes than any of us. Her keynote was amazing, her own story and connection to her businesses purpose was impressive. Jane had never raised a cent of funding (she said she was not good at being told what to do), she had developed tribes within tribes who lived and breathed Dermalogica’s Vision, Mission and Values. Jane was a business owner who practiced what she preached.

“Embed your sense of purpose, stay connected to your purpose and specifically that feeling you had when you discovered it” Jane Wurwand

During lunch, Jane asked me about wattsnext, she wanted to know what our challenges were, and she really, really listened. She was interested. Her stories and analogies will stick with me for a lifetime. Three hours felt like minutes as I hung on every word.

Jane knew I lived in Brisbane, and adjusted her analogys to suit. She asked me if I was taking our three boys to Noosa on a driving holiday, would anything stop me getting there? No chance, I immediately replied. No parent would disappoint their kids and turn around on a family holiday. Think about that feeling as your business journey, she said.

“Life isn’t about balance, it is about resilience” Jane Wurwand

What if the navigator in the front seat sent you off track? I would read the map and get back on course I replied. What if you ran out of petrol, would you go home? Not a chance, we would walk to the closest petrol station, fill a can and return to the car. If a shiny new car pulled up next to you at the lights, would you get out and jump in with them? No way! What if the road deteriorated and became really bumpy, then large pot holes appeared, would that stop you having a family holiday at Noosa? What if you got a flat tyre? What if you broke down? What if the Noosa triathlon was on and blocked the main highway? What if there was a flood? What if your journey had slowed to a walk? Fifty examples later the answer was the same. No way, we are going to get to Noosa, hell or high water!

“Do more, how can you make a difference” Jane Wurwand

The analogies were uncomplicated, easy to understand and real. Much like a business journey. Much like the woman herself. Jane took the time to connect, understand, listen and give back. She has worked for everything she has, absolutely no free lunches, and I can honestly say I have never met someone who deserved their success more. Amazingly generous and well after she had made it; still taking what she had learnt and educating others!

Our Noosa journey is well underway at wattsnext and in the weeks since leaving the island there have been some challenging bumps, but there is nothing that will get in the way of our kids enjoying this family holiday!

Author: Ben Watts
Ben is a veteran in the HR space- a forward-thinking leader specialising in functional business structures and people performance techniques. With twenty years’ experience managing large ASX listed corporates across multiple industries, Ben adds depth and expertise to our clients' strategy solutions, genuinely providing a commercial result for their investment.