Ladies Who Lunch @ Harbourside

Ladies Who Lunch Facebook Page

#ladieswholunch

The fifth ‘Ladies Who Lunch’ event was held on 6th April @ Harbourside Restaurant in the Viaduct. 70 Auckland women attended this glamorous event, which started with a glass of Soho Wine in the Harbourside Bar area, overlooking the Viaduct Harbour and ferries.

Tickets sold out in a record 14 days to this event and I couldn’t believe the demand there was for women to come along! Every ‘Ladies Who Lunch’ ticket includes a 2-course meal, an impressive goodie bag and a glass of wine on arrival. Plus a bunch of prizes and special deals that are given away on the day.

The real purpose of the lunch is a fun social occasion that women can really relax and enjoy themselves at. The focus is on the ladies! And with the busy and often crazy lives we lead, I encourage these women to take a couple of hours out of their busy week and do something for themselves. Many of the ladies come on their own and everyone has made new friends by the end of the lunch. It’s also a great networking opportunity with many career women, business owners and mumtrepreneurs in the room.

We were lucky to be sponsored by brand new Dry Cleaning Ap – Laundromap, who gave every woman a $20 voucher to try their new wash/dry/fold service.

Also onsite was Dry & Tea with a mobile ‘Touch Ups’ Salon. So the ladies were treated to 15 minute sessions of professional hair styling which meant a room full of absolutely beautiful looking hair!

Glamorous fashion label Augustine was generous enough to give away a $200 voucher on the day and dress me in a beautiful gold dress. Every guest also received a current season Augustine Look-Book and Kelly Coe, designer of Augustine came to the event herself with her gaggle of gals and drew the winner of the prize.

MOR candles were definitely the beautiful touch that enhanced the room. Their fragrant candles added a sensory experience to the event while their beautiful selection of hand-creams, candles, soaps and pretty things made every table look special.

Also onsite was an Eco Minerals makeup artist there with products from online beauty store http://www.ecoboutique.co.nz

 

There were so many great feedback comments from the ladies about the food at Harbourside. We enjoyed a delicious King Ora Salmon starter, followed by the choice of Crispy Skinned Snapper or Duck Confit main. The quality of the dishes was absolutely incredible. Not surprising as that Harbourside is currently ‘Winner Best Restaurant’ at the Hospitality Awards NZ!

The goodie bags were valued at over $150 per guest and featured beautiful Lindi Kingi bracelets, Kronenburg Blonde Beers, a European cookbook by Flip Grater, Absolute Essential ‘Stress Less’ oil, OI ladies products, Arbornne samples, Lemuriun Springs Water, Mildred & Co vouchers and heaps more.

 

One of the ladies who came along is talented photographer Carmen Bird who is a regular contributor to Woman’s Day. She took these Ladies Who Lunch photos!

Also onsite was Red Carpet TV’s talented Director and Videographer Deb Brynand.

Check out the Red Carpet TV video here!

 

To join the Ladies Who Lunch group simply like the facebook page for all the updates http://www.facebook.com/ladieswholunchNZ

 

Mediterranean diet could reduce your risk of Breast Cancer by 40%

We all know that eating a healthy diet can greatly improve our health. And in many cases we hear of ‘wonder-foods’ and superfoods that can boost our health and wellbeing in specific ways. But more recently researchers have started to look at diets from around the world, and the health impact on the people who eat these diets.

This huge study in the Netherlands followed 62,000 women aged 55 to 69 over a period of 20 years. The researchers found a strong link between the Mediterranean diet and reduced oestrogen receptor (ER) negative breast cancer.

Around 20 to 25% of all breast cancers diagnosed in New Zealand are ER negative, that’s 1200 – 1500 women diagnosed every year. According to this study, if we all followed the Mediterranean diet, 40% of those cases could be avoided.

The Mediterranean diet is rich in olive oil, fruit, nuts, fish, vegetables and whole grains, and is already known to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.

READ THE FULL STORY HERE!

More information about eating a Meditteranean Diet HERE!

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Silicone Success!

My reconstruction was completed in August 2016 by Dr Michelle Locke. I am so happy with the results, my breasts are now the size they’ve always been and they are a great shape, complete with my very own nipples. Of course I have small scars on each side of my nipples and overall they arent exactly like the real ones, but I think they are wonderful.

Growing up I watched my mums breast operations, and after so many she was left without any breasts or implants – just one big long scar. So I feel very lucky to have had this breast reconstruction through St Marks Breast Clinic.

Now that 2017 has arrived I feel like I’ve really achieved something getting through the surgeries. I’m naming 2016 as my ‘discovery year’. I discovered so much about myself through so many challenges. I’m pretty sure that makes this year my year for living!

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You can read about my reconstruction here in magazine ‘The Beauty Book’:

 

Anna Jobsz is a do-it-all kind of girl with a boutique PR & Events business, series of ladies networking lunches, mineral cosmetics business and a 3 year old son.

In January this year Anna learned that she had the mutant cancer BRCA gene that significantly increased her odds of having Breast Cancer and other cancers. This busy single mum wasted no time in acting, and in April this year, at age 36, Anna underwent a double mastectomy with nipple sparing. This lifesaving procedure reduced her lifetime chance of Breast cancer from over 80% to just 1%.

Was it difficult deciding to have a Double Mastectomy?

No it was a very straight forward decision. I knew immediately that I was not comfortable with my extremely high cancer odds. With the BRCA gene from my dad’s side I had around a 60% chance of Breast Cancer but with my mum’s history of invasive Breast Cancer in both breasts – it raised my odds even higher. I wasn’t prepared to play the waiting game and inevitably end up with a life threatening cancer. I watched my dad die at 39 from a BRCA cancer and one of my best friends died last year from Breast Cancer at age 38, so I wanted to be proactive.

What was the hardest part of having a your big operation?

The single hardest thing for me was being away from my son every time I went to hospital. Not just because I missed him, but because he was too young to properly understand that I hadn’t just abandoned him. I think by the third hospital stay he was starting to understand that mummy was going somewhere to get better. Physically it was hard going, I was in a good deal of pain the first two weeks and unable to do even simple things. I had moderate to mild pain for 5 weeks after that. At no point did I regret my decision. I knew having a mastectomy would come with significant challenges and I was prepared to deal with whatever came my way. I also suffered a bad infection after my operation that put me back into hospital, it was a truly challenging time but the team at Auckland Hospital were amazing.

Tell us about your reconstruction and your cosmetic result?

After the removal of my breasts they pumped my expanders up each week with saline until I reached my pre-operation C cup size. Then you wait about 6 weeks for the skin to settle before having the reconstructive surgery to put in the silicone implants. I had an amazing team with Dr Vanessa Blair from St Marks Breast Clinic removing my breasts and Dr Michelle Lock doing all of the cosmetic surgery work. When I started this process at the beginning of the year I had no idea what my breasts would end up looking like, so to have such an amazing result has really been the silver lining on this bittersweet journey. I still have my original nipples and my size and shape is really quite incredible. I was told that BRCA operations are very tricky because they remove over 95% of the breast tissue which makes it hard to get an even result. So I’m very lucky to have such a great outcome.

What is your biggest learning from having BRCA and these procedures?

Firstly – I have had to accept that I am not always going to be in control. In the beginning I really struggled to accept the help, but once I gave in to my close friends life became much easier. They quite literally had a roster of pick ups, drop offs, sleepovers, washing, food, nursing and emotional support. I was blown away!  I’ve also learned that it’s not about ‘the right decision’ it’s about ‘your right decision’. I can’t keep trying to do what is right in life, I can only do what is right for me. That’s a biggie.

How have your surgeries affected your view on beauty?

Being beautiful isn’t just skin deep, it’s soul deep. If you feel beautiful in yourself people will feel it simply by being around you. When I first had my breasts removed it was an interesting process to go through. I had been worried pre-op that being ’breastless’ for several weeks would make me want to hide away. But it wasn’t the case at all, I felt brave! I rocked my A cup bras, it was surprisingly liberating. Now that I have my reconstruction complete I feel every bit the beautiful woman I was with my original breasts. Ultimately I think if you can’t be happy without your breasts then you have no chance of being happy with them!

Embracing your inner sparkle!

When you know someone who has the biggest, brightest personality – for some reason you expect them to be the last one to leave your world. That’s how I felt about Helena McAlpine. So when she passed away a year ago it left a big hole in my life and my heart.

Last week http://www.stuff.co.nz asked me to write this piece on Helena to commemorate her one year anniversary. Helena lost her battle to breast cancer in September 2015 after a very long and brave fight. She will be remembered by so many people in New Zealand and the world…

http://www.stuff.co.nz/life-style/life/84793532/remembering-helena-mcalpine-best-friend-anna-jobsz-touching-thoughts-a-year-on-from-her-death

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Kia Kaha Helena in the sky Xxx

Getting it done!

My journey with BRCA was a strange thing. My mission to get testing seemed to take forever and it started to feel like I might never know whether I carried the cancer gene. So when the news finally came that I had tested positive as a carrier of the BRCA2 gene, I should have been prepared, and I thought I was, but I wasn’t at all. Hearing the words from Genetics NZ left me feeling numb.

The first few days after finding out I was overwhelmed thinking about what it would mean for me and my son. It wasn’t just the worry of surgery it was also the practical things like  -how long would I need to take off work? And who would look after Carlo? And what were the risks of the operation? Would I end up with breasts and nipples?

I had so many questions, and I realized that I had been so focused on trying to get testing that I hadn’t really thought about the next steps. St Marks Breast Clinic was helpful. The first thing they did was give me a folder of reading material. I was put under the care of Vanessa Blair, an Oncologist that specializes in ‘high risk’ cases, with a special interest in BRCA. She assesed my unique situation taking into consideration my family history and BRCA2 genetics and explained that my chance of breast cancer was extremely high. The thing that most shocked me was that BRCA cancers are most likey to strike at a younger age – they are not an older persons cancer.

In April 2016 I had a bilateral mastectoy at Auckland Surgical Hospital, under the care of St Marks.

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This photo  was taken the night before my operation. My girlfriend Delia came over to help calm my nerves. I told her what was planned with the surgery, and we celebrated my breasts and all the great memories they had given me. ‘Bye Bye Boobies’ we said. And although I was certain about my decision to remove my breasts, I was also apprehensive about the surgeries and procedures to come.

 

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The night before my double Mastectomy I didn’t get much sleep. Although I’m usually so calm under pressure, I wasn’t at all, it was unsettling. The morning of my operation I felt surprisingly OK. I said goodbye to Carlo and dropped him at his daycare to keep up our normal routine – then went on to Auckland Surgical Hospital.

My Plastic Surgeon Michelle Locke was very calming and ran through the procedure with me again. Dr Blair would remove my breast tissue and Dr Locke would work with her to put in my expanders (temporary pockets that get filled up with saline injections over 3 months).

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The operation was a success. I was under for more than 5 hours. But everything had gone as planned. The best news was that they had been able to do the nipple sparing procedure – I had kept my nipples! The first thing I said when I woke up was “I’m so glad they’re gone.” I was bruised, swollen and sore – but relieved.

It’s hard to really make the weeks that followed the operation sound great. I was very sore for the first 10 days and so frustrated not to be able to do all the things I wanted to do. It was over a week before I could make a cup of tea and even longer until I could really tuck my son into bed. But at no point did I regret the operation. I just looked forward to being fit and able again – and after two to three weeks I started to feel like myself.

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Only a couple of weeks after my operation I had my first expansion. The process was like something out of a sci-fi movie. Dr Locke explained I had metal ports inside the expander pockets, and started by using a magnet to find the point to inject. She used a pen to mark the exact spot. Then she injected me with a long needle that was attached with a curly tube to a syringe full of fluid. Gradually she pushed 100 mils of saline into my breast and it was like watching a balloon slowly inflate. I wish I had a picture to show you with just one side inflated – the difference was quite amazing.

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This photo was 4 weeks after my operation with 200 mils of saline in each breast, which is about an A cup. The inflation process takes approximately 3 – 4 months and during that time I kept having the inflations until I was back to my normal C cup size. The inflations feel really tight and they are generally uncomfortable. But there is light at the end of the tunnel!  Once the inflation process is complete the next operation is scheduled to have the silicones implanted.  Watch this space…

 

STORY ON STUFF:   http://www.stuff.co.nz/life-style/well-good/inspire-me/79422634/Mum-and-socialite-Anna-Jobsz-undergoes-double-mastectomy-for-her-son

Canadian Woman raises awareness for BRCA

Canadian woman, Laura Kelly carries the BRCA gene. After losing both her parents to cancer her odds of getting both breast cancer and ovarian cancer were extremely high. A few months ago she had a double mastectomy at Women’s College Hospital in Toronto.

I feel so many parallels with Laura, as though we are living almost the same life in another place.

Check our Laura’s story and her brave message here: http://www.orilliapacket.com/2016/08/25/washagos-laura-kelly-who-carries-rare-genetic-mutation-wants-testing-to-be-more-accessible

Laura’s blog here:  http://www.laurakellybrca.ca/

Laura Kelly

Information from the story:

According to the Canadian Cancer Society, most breast and ovarian cancers are not hereditary. Some women have a family history of breast cancer, but only a small number are due to an inherited gene that increases their risk of cancer.

“BRCA mutations account for about 5% of all breast cancers and 4% to 11% of all ovarian cancers,” the agency says on its website. “Genes are not the only factor that affects cancer risk, so not every woman who inherits a BRCA gene mutation will develop breast or ovarian cancer.”

EA Power

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Last week I was honoured to feature as the guest speaker at the Robert Walters Executive Breakfast, an annual event held for their top EA’s. The list of EA’s was impressive, with representatives from many of the country’s top businesses.

The topic was ‘Closing the confidence gap between men and women in senior leadership’ and a big part of it was looking at how we gain confidence as women to set ourselves on the path to senior positions.

Researching the topic was interesting. I could not believe that in such a gender equal society we still have only 13 – 15% of women in leadership positions. The numbers didn’t seem right? And on investigation it wasn’t a case of competence, so much as confidence that has been proven as the missing link.

I showed the guests some of a TED TALKS discussion by Facebook COO SHERYL SANDBERG

Sandberg gives examples of confidence issues in women and talks about the obstacles faced by women wanting to further their careers. One of her most powerful statements was ‘keep your foot on the throttle until the day you leave’. She advises that regardless of your future plans, you should keep moving in a forward direction until the very day you leave your organization.

We also discussed work life balance and the importance of wellness in your daily lives. About a third of the guests already had workplace wellness plans in place, and many of the EA’s wanted to implement plans within their organization. Some interesting research has been carried out by Robert Walters (as part of their White Papers on ’empowering females in business’) which suggests that the majority of both employees and employers see the value of a workplace wellness programme. That to me is a win!

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When aiming for career leadership, research suggests three key steps to progressing your career:    1> Mentoring 2> Training Programmes 3> Networking with Senior Leadership   (in that order)

We discussed the importance of mentors, and the way we can work with our mentors as an ongoing part of our careers. I shared several of my role models with the audience and I was surprised to learn that not a single person in the room had a mentor or role model that they were working with to further their careers. I wondered if this was to do with our Kiwi mentality of ‘hanging back’? Or perhaps a lack of confidence in approaching a mentor? So much research points to mentors as being the single most important step to career success – so why is this not the norm in NZ? That is a question I cannot answer.

Anna's mentor - Erica Crawford

 

One of my beloved Kiwi role models is Wine Entrepreneur, Erica Crawford. Formerly of Kim Crawford Wines and more recently Loveblock Organic Wines. Erica’s business savvy is second to none and her career speaks for itself. After eight successful years of growing the Kim Crawford business the wine label became a top wine exporter to the US and Canada. The company was eventually sold to Vincor International and Erica was able to pursue new ventures in NZ’s wine and lifestyle industries.

 

I gave this example to the audience and encouraged them to find their own role models and mentors – a ‘smart support person’ who is willing to work with them on their future careers and give unbiased business direction.

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I closed the talk with a simple yet powerful life analogy. “Look after yourself so that you can look after those around you.”

No one can be powerful and project happiness onto others unless they are really happy within themselves. While we know this – it can be easy to forget. Whether we are mothers, partners, colleagues, friends, daughters or otherwise, it’s always great to remind ourselves of our own needs.

I loved meeting the EA’s at The Langham and the discussion that followed. I look forward to more inspirational talks to come.

 

More interesting reads here on ‘The Confidence Gap’ & women’s leadership:

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2014/05/the-confidence-gap/359815/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ekaterina-walter/leadership-qualities-women_b_2491203.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2016/03/03/real-women-say-what-gives-them-confidence_n_9029744.html