Michelle Gallaher, Co-Founder and Director of The Social Science inspired more than a round of applause amongst her STEMM network when her name was called not once, but twice during the 2017 Telstra Business Women’s Awards. Where – to her amazement (but our expectations) – she took home Victorian Business Women’s Woman of the Year and Victorian Entrepreneur of the Year awards.
“I was deeply honoured to be nominated and truly surprised to be presented with both awards – It’s still sinking in!” beamed Michelle. For over 20 years the Telstra Business Women’s awards have been celebrating the contribution of women in business, highlighting leaders and the positive results of female-inclusive leadership. True to her character, Michelle was quick to acknowledge the other remarkable finalists:
“The calibre of women nominated for these awards is tremendous and to be recognised as part of the women in Australian business narrative – it is such an honour. It is so energising to hear stories of women making such an impact within their communities and professions, being recognised and celebrated, congratulations to you all. You are all awe-inspiring.”
Also inspiring is Michelle’s own journey. Her hard work and passion can be reflected not only in her awards but through the concurrent foundation of The Social Science and not-for-profit advocacy group, Women in STEMM Australia in 2014. Both organisations were established virtually in the same month.
Initially establishing her career as an allied health professional, Michelle progressed rapidly into leadership roles within the biopharma and research sector in Australia. Prior to starting The Social Science, Michelle served as the CEO of the BioMelbourne Network, the peak body for biotechnology in Victoria, representing, developing and advocating on behalf of the $60bn local sector.
Recognising the gap in quality digital content, the emerging opportunity that social media could offer in promoting and connevcting the biotech and research industries in her role at BioMelbourne Network and being a recognised advocate for women in the STEMM workforce, Michelle decided to leave her comfort zone and take up a new challenge; through co-founding Women in STEMM Australia with Dr Margeurite Evans-Galea and establishing a start-up business The Social Science in 2014 with Michael Avery, bootstrapping their way to success.
— TelstraWomensAwards (@womens_awards) October 10, 2017
The Social Science (TSS) – a marketing and communications consultancy specialising in digital content creation for clients in STEMM – was built upon Michelle’s knowledge, contacts and advocacy skills in the Australian science and tech industry. Working to support STEMM clients into the digital media space, TSS provides fast, real-time and share-worthy specialist content.
Alongside TSS, Women is STEMM Australia is a not for profit, grass-roots organisation boasting the largest digital footprint in Australia networking and connecting STEMM women and promoting dialogue and a deeper understanding of the unique challenges and opportunities for women in STEMM. Michelle’s commitment to Women in STEMM can be documented in the large number of speeches she delivers each month to school girls through to Ministers and bureaucrats advocating for gender equality and for wormn in STEMM to play a larger role in the Australian leadership dialogue.
And if that wasn’t enough, Michelle recently co-founded Skin Life, a new startup expected to launch its first range of products into the market in 2018. She calls this her ‘Wednesday job’, carving out a day each week to work on a new creative horizon with a trio of long-term collaborators.
Mentorship and investing in networks are elements that make up the core of Michelle’s philosophy in business and in life. She is a generous and committed mentor to so many in the STEMM sector – you will often hear her on the phone or ‘popping out for a coffee’ with a peer for a quick pep talk.
We here at TSS couldn’t be prouder to have Michelle as our mentor and leader, both in the workplace and in Australian STEMM at large. We look forward to seeing her move from strength to strength and watching the impact of her ongoing and inspiring passion for women in leadership.
You can read more about the finalists for the 2017 Telstra Business Woman of the Year awards here.