FOR more than 10 years, whenever Courtney Papuni was asked what she did for a living she would always answer: “I am just a mum”.
With a husband who had a successful career in information technology and four children, Courtney was happy to be the primary caregiver at home. But now, she wishes she could reach back in time and slap herself.
Her perspective changed after she attended a workshop in Sydney. Her husband, Damian, had been to a few before and knew the benefits. So he registered himself and Courtney.
She says while it was a long weekend in Sydney, she has one overwhelming memory of that first workshop. She was sitting at lunch and Damian asked her why she was hiding.
Courtney says even though she knew she had been avoiding drawing any attention to herself, she became angry with her husband. She says it was because he was forcing her out of her comfort zone. “But I can’t stay angry at him and he was right.”
Courtney says in a room full of business people she felt intimidated and so was blending in the background, trying to hide. Now, she says she is delighted that Damian gave her the push because it has led her to see she needs a purpose in life that fulfils her.
Naturally optimistic, that first workshop sparked Courtney to work out how she could make a living by doing what she loved.
Courtney says she has always had a knack for organising parties and events for her family and friends, so she launched an events management company specialising in team building exercises. Her first gig was an amazing race event for the staff from Thornton Park Retirement Lodge in Opotiki.Proudly Maori, Courtney shaped the Dreams Team Aotearoa business using indigenous philosophies. She has set her goal to become the largest indigenous company to offer team building.
But in the past few months she has also stumbled across something that sets her “on fire”. It started because she was stewing about an incident where someone had claimed sole credit for work that she had helped with. She says it took her a few days to realise she wasn’t achieving anything by being angry and she needed to take control and move on. But she also saw the opportunity.
As the owner of an events business which specialises in team building, Courtney knows the power of social media, and so started the Bossbitch official Facebook page to share her insight.
She also launched a series of workshops where she teaches the philosophy behind the name she coined. Bossbitch – or Being In Total Control of Herself – has five principals underpinning its philosophy.
Courtney says to be a boss in her life, a woman must be responsible for herself, be grateful for all that she has, ensure she speaks her truth, be prepared to make mistakes and love herself, warts and all.
The workshops involve participants sharing their stories and then setting goals. After three days, Courtney will make a follow-up phone call with each participant to check on progress. She then calls every three days for the remaining time in the two week period.
Courtney says she charges participants $7 to take part in the workshops, but the nominal fee is only because she believes people should pay to improve themselves.
Courtney credits the investment she has made in herself for being able to develop a philosophy like Bossbitch in the first place.
She says over the past 12 months, she and Damian have spent $30,000 on improving themselves because self-investment is important to them.
In fact, Courtney has just returned from a workshop in Sydney where she rubbed shoulders with some of Australia’s most successful business women. And she is just fizzing.
She says when she decided she was going to the conference she rang Damian and told him about it, saying she wasn’t asking for his permission but just letting him know.
Previously she would have asked him if she was allowed to go, so she was surprised when he was happy for her to go while he stayed home and looked after the kids.
Courtney says the workshop was amazing and she met so many inspiring women. She says there were women at the conference who were mums but they were also business leaders, entrepreneurs and innovators.
She says she was inspired by them and wants to inspire other mums to find what drives them.