Stefani's Story

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My advice to anyone out there who is struggling with staying the course of catching their dream, push through it! Remember why you started in the first place and focus on yourself and your vision.

Being the CEO of The Inner Ninja Foundation didn’t happen over night. It was a process of many years and it started off as a thought/idea of “If I get through this, I need to help others see that they aren’t alone and try to make their journey a little less painful than mine”. This then cultivated into finally being ready to make an impact on society and start a Not For Profit. In March 2016, I finally took the leap to start my own mental wellness organisation.

The inspiration for the name came to me while I was driving to work after listening to one of my favourite songs “Inner Ninja” by Classified. Essentially we all have an inner ninja within us and in the moments when we believe that we can’t go on but some how we do that is our inner ninja! Our silent warrior!

This year has been solely focused on becoming a not for profit organisation. I wanted The Inner Ninja Foundation to become a not for profit so I would be able to have a bigger reach in the community and also be able to apply for funding. Being a registered not for profit gains trust amongst the community members, clubs and corporations, which enables more opportunities to share the workshops, seminars and ultimately lived experience. The mission was always how can I help more people and after weighing up the options this was the best way as something like inner ninja didn’t exist already.

What that means is a lot of late nights and a lot of paper work. You see I am doing all this while still having a full-time job, studying full-time online to finish my degree and trying to maintain relationships! Many people told me how hard it will be and that it would be easier to just brand myself and make an impact by only sharing my personal story. What they didn’t know was that every time someone tried to deter me from chasing my dream when ultimately I knew would help the community, I became more determined. I was even told because I am a women people wouldn’t respect me as a CEO as men are just better at it than women. People questioned my all female board of directors.

Change scares people and I’ve noticed that when you really are being/becoming a change maker and going against the grain it freaks people out. Now I am a matter of weeks away from gaining the not for profit status and being able to roll out some pretty awesome initiatives.

My advice to anyone out there who is struggling with staying the course of catching their dream, push through it! Remember why you started in the first place and focus on yourself and your vision. It is very easy to get distracted by our fear or negative feedback. The key is self belief. I have used every single one of my hardships and set backs in life to help me stay on this path and also to have the inspiration to continue. My passion to share hope and impact people’s lives has lead me to speak throughout Australia and this year overseas as well.

I also have the support of an incredible friend and ambassador of The Inner Ninja Foundation, Formula 1 driver Daniel Riccardo. There is no way even 2 years ago would I have thought that I would be where I am now. Getting here though hasn’t just been a one women show. I have many times relied on my closest family and friends for motivation and also to remind me why I am doing this. I’m not going to lie it gets tough sometimes, it gets draining and it can take up my whole life. But have you ever heard of anything good coming easy…no.

I am looking forward to the year ahead and really taking The Inner Ninja Foundation to the next level. Finally there is light at the end of the tunnel and all the hours, time spent and travelling has paid off. Follow your heart and stay true to yourself! 

Live, breath, embrace;

Stef