Lisa LaMaitre – “Trust your inner knowing, experience, and expertise, the world is waiting for you!”

Meet Lisa LaMaitre

I grew up on the Central Coast of NSW and moved to Canberra in 1991 to study at the Australian National University. I met my hubby at Uni and we made the decision to stay in Canberra. Over the last 28 years, we have had four businesses, across four different industries in Canberra. My husband and I both come from a family of business owners. Business is really sewn into our DNA. When we aren’t working in one of our businesses we enjoy time at home, or out on adventures with our fur babes(we have two black German Shepherds – Jet is 9 and Freya is almost 4). Things that are important to me are connection, resilience, ingenuity, delicious food, real conversations, creativity, and self-care.

What business are you currently running?

I don’t ‘run’ any business. Running is a word that to me implies running from task to task, being unfocused and ungrounded – and it’s not a word I use in business.

I currently work in two businesses. My Remedial Massage practice Therapy Masters and my connection platform Canberra Wise Women. I’ve been in the Massage Industry for 24 years. I’ve founded and lead a successful practice in Canberra City, I sit on various Industry panels sharing my expertise to build the Australian Massage Industry, I also teach Massage at the Canberra Institute of Technology. Last year I downsized myself back to a home-based clinic. I’m very happy with my decision to downsize and grateful for the opportunity that lockdown presented.

Assuming you are now in “Your Next Chapter”, what led you here? Was there an internal discontent or an external issue you felt strongly about that prompted a change in direction?

I launched Canberra Wise Women (CWW) in 2015. It was born from an extremely harrowing time. From 2006 to 2010, our third business was targeted for crime. Over a 3 year period, we experienced 18 incidents requiring ACT Policing, including 4 armed robberies. I went on to have counselling for PTSD for 18 months after the store closed in August 2010. Then in August of 2013, my older sister died suddenly. It felt like my healing journey had unravelled, and I was all the way back at the beginning. The idea for CWW bubbled away for many months before I started talking about it to a friend and then another friend.

The second friend was able to align some corporate sponsorship and we launched very quickly in December 2015. The concept of CWW is to share stories of inspiration and positivity, in the hopes that we share a spark of inspiration with people in our audience.

We do this by interviewing inspiring Canberrans, at a live event, in front of an audience. To date, we’ve hosted 25 events under the CWW brand, interviewed 58 Canberrans (49 women, 1 non-binary, and 8 gents), and welcomed over 1,000 people to our events. The Canberra media have described our events as ‘Oprah’-like since our launch.

What did you find most challenging about getting started/moving in a new direction?

In hindsight, it was me having the energy to invest in a new project and new direction. Once I made the decision to create and launch CWW – it all happened very quickly. I was very much inflow and would think about something I wanted to happen for CWW and the connections would align, and the idea would manifest into the world.

The best example of this was having Catherine McGregor, columnist, and transgender advocate, on our stage within 8 months of our debut. I have seen Catherine interviewed on Australian Story and I knew she would be perfect as a Canberra Wise Woman. Unbeknown to me, our Interviewer had a personal connection to Catherine, and with a message or two, Catherine was on our speaking list!

What have you found most fulfilling?

The connection that CWW has achieved. New friendships, creative collaborations, business opportunities have all been borne from the space we’ve created for people to come together and genuinely connect.

Have you experienced self-doubt? What causes it to flare and how do you work through it when it hits?

I’ve had more self-doubt the last few years. I was quite unwell in 2018 with my endometriosis and grief. My reserves of energy were eroded. I’m more mindful now of where I put my focus and energy. I have ideas for new businesses but not the energy (at the moment) to birth them into the world.

Being able to downsize my health practice last year was a blessing. I still feel there’s healing and restoring to do from closing the business in 2010, going through PTSD, losing my sister in 2013, and our beautiful fur daughter in 2017.

I’m taking time to rest, take care of myself, prioritize sleep and health. I’m working with a new Personal Trainer and choosing activities that I enjoy. As a business owner self-doubt is always present. There’s always something new to learn, a new idea or opportunity.

I find listening to business podcasts and catching up with close business friends are my best remedies for self-doubt.

How do you feel you have grown since you started?

The business has changed SO much over the last 28 years. When I first started you just had to be ‘good’ at what you did. Now you need to be across business admin, taxation, HR, marketing, branding, social media, PR – as well as keeping up-to-date with your particular industry and technical knowledge.

I’m more outspoken than I was when I first started in the business. I’ll step up, reach out and say yes to opportunities (like this interview) to share my knowledge and experience.

So many women have it ingrained in them to play small. What the world needs though, is for us to step into the light, harness our gifts, and help others.

Have you developed any particular habits/strategies that facilitate getting things done in your business?

Oh, my Goddess.. my work ethic varies. Some days I’m SUPER productive and other days I’m watching Netflix, eating biscuits, and gardening. Life is about ebbs and flows.

We need to honour those ebbs and flows. The main skill I rely on is chunking tasks. I pile up similar tasks to get them done at the same time. This works really well when doing errands. It can drive my husband crazy when he’s waiting for something to happen, and I tell him that’s not on my schedule ’til next week!

Why do you feel women in the 40’s and beyond make fabulous entrepreneurs?

It takes tenacity, ingenuity, commitment, passion, flexibility, and resilience to be successful in business. Women in their 40’s are in their prime and hold these attributes unequivocally.

Overnight success rarely happens in the business world. Women have a deep understanding that progression, growth, and change take time. It’s this instinctual knowledge coupled with the above attributes that allow women to be successful entrepreneurs.

What would you say to other women who are standing on the edge of their own Next Chapter, not sure if they can take the leap?

Jump on in! You don’t know what you’re capable of. Step away from the perceived safety of the hierarchies, organizations, and institutions.

Trust your inner knowing, experience, and expertise. The world is waiting for you!

What’s next for you? Share your vision with us!

Is it wrong if I say a cup of tea and a biscuit!

I’m about to be back teaching business at the Canberra Institute of Technology. Teaching business to The Massage students is a passion of mine.

I missed teaching last year due to classes going online. I’m now leading Women With Altitude (WWA) in Canberra. It’s wonderful to work with Andrea from WWA and help her grow the network in Canberra. This is also letting me get back into hosting events.

I shelved CWW in 2019 due to an undersubscribed events market in Canberra, and then COVID hit. And in the background, I have new business ideas bubbling away. A new offering in my health practice, helping businesses gain PR, sharing my business expertise through mentoring and advising. I’ll see how my energy goes!

When I’m facing something new and challenging I…
talk to my husband, potentially ignore it for a bit, then strap on my ‘big girl pants’ and get stuck in!
I know my greatest strengths are…
connecting with others, being a clear communicator, resiliency.
The best piece of advice I’ve ever been given is…
make sure I’m happy (the advice comes from my Mum).
Some of my favourite books are…
I love a good romance novel – Johanna Lindsey, Kathleen E Woodiwiss are two of my fave romance authors
My favourite podcasts are…
Inside Influence by Julie Masters
My favourite business tool or resource is…
My network
My favourite quote is…
You get back what you give out
Not many people know that I…
like Country and Western music


You can connect with Lisa here.

Therese Bince

Leave a Comment