International Women’s Day: Having the courage to pivot

Published 3:00pm 7 March 2022

International Women’s Day: Having the courage to pivot
Words by Jodie Powell

A new book co-written by 24 Australian women, sharing advice and inspiring women to overcome their fears and follow their calling, includes a chapter from Eatons Hill lawyer Sarah Stoddart.

Sarah was invited to be part of the collaboration for Courage and Confidence after being named as a finalist in two categories of last year’s AusMumpreneur Awards - disability excellence and emerging entrepreneur.

She draws on her own experiences to offer advice in a chapter that’s all about having the confidence to pivot.

Contemplating a return to work in the Brisbane CBD after the birth of her son in 2020 – and having had the COVID-19 induced opportunity to experience working from home – gave Sarah the chance to take stock.

“It’s one thing to just keep working and doing the daily grind when you don’t have kids, but when there’s children involved it’s a game-changer,” she says.

She toyed with the idea of starting her own law firm to avoid the daily commute and give her more flexibility, but was initially daunted by the prospect.

International Women’s Day: Creating a world of opportunity

Turning to family, friends and colleagues for advice, it was a simple sentence from one that set her on the path to working independently.

“A friend said to me `what’s the worst that can happen?’,” Sarah says.

“And I thought `it doesn’t cost a lot to set up a law firm,’ so there wasn’t much to lose.

“I gave myself a timeframe of six months.”

The right choice

International Women’s Day: Having the courage to pivot

Almost 18 months on, Vitality Law has gone from strength to strength, building a burgeoning client base focussed on the health industry.

“I’m really focussed on delivering law differently – people get legal advice and they don’t understand it,” Sarah says.

Having a child is a major life change on its own, but Sarah was also diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis around the same time.

“My MS diagnosis came as a massive shock. It’s challenging – I have good days and bad days,” Sarah says.

“It’s very easy to crumble, but for me it was a trigger that I had to do something different.

“There’s no way I could commute and go into the city.”

International Women’s Day: Forging meaningful connections

A particular point of pride for Sarah was being named the 2021 Lawyers Weekly Women In Law Sole Practitioner of the Year, reinforcing her conviction she’s made the right choice.

“I encourage women to go for it if they’re not happy with where they are,” she says.

“Don’t let anything hold you back, just find what works for you.”

Courage and Confidence launches today, ahead of International Women’s Day tomorrow.

Proceeds from the book will go towards providing scholarships to The Women’s Business School.

To purchase a copy of Courage and Confidence, click here.

Read more local news here.

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