‘Women Who 2018’ celebrates women who LEAD, INSPIRE, FIGHT AND CARE. These visionaries from the worlds of entertainment, media, science and politics—among others—challenge the status quo by empowering others through their stellar achievements. In the last of our groundbreaking four-part initiative in conjunction with Holden, we honour entrepreneur Samantha Wills, who’s committed to supporting and connecting young entrepreneurs.
In 2011, Samantha Wills’s jewellery business was catapulted onto the world stage when The New York Times named her as a breakout star. “That was very surreal,” says Wills, who’d started designing jewellery as a little girl growing up in the NSW coastal town of Port Macquarie. At 21, she launched her eponymous brand but found those start-up days “really hard,” says Wills, 36. “I just needed that business support around me.”
What Wills lacked in those formative years she’s now committed to offering others, through her foundation. “I launched the Samantha Wills Foundation to essentially be a portal that was accessible 24-7. I wanted it to be a platform that shared my advice, shared my learning, shared things that I’m still learning in business … Secondary to that, I wanted to bring a community of women together who are in the same boat or at the same stage of that journey and they can connect with each other.”
One of the foundation’s programs is Surprise and Delight, a “conscious kindness” initiative “that is probably the favourite part of my job,” says the New York-based businesswoman. “It’s about finding people who are doing good things and sending them something to make their day. We’ve been doing that for a few years, which we find has a trickle-on effect, because then they are inspired to do something good for someone else.”
Wills is passionate about finding ways to contribute—within her industry and beyond. “We have to find a way to give back. I’ve been a long-time believer in that,” she says. “As a brand, we’re always looking for ways we can make a difference to the local community and for the greater good.”
For more on Samantha Wills and her commitment to supporting and bringing together budding entrepreneurs, pick up this week’s issue of WHO, on sale now.