A Rebel with a Cause – Rebecca Tapp
What was growing up like for you?
I grew up in Galston, a suburb in the Hills District. Apart from my father who had three boys from his first marriage, I was my parents’ only child.
In a lot of ways, I had a picture perfect childhood. I had a pony, went to pony club for about 12 years and I did dancing lessons at least four times a week. I also had an amazing family from my parents, to my aunties, uncles and cousins who lived up and down the east coast of Australia. Christmas was always my favourite time of the year, as the family would all come together at our Galston home and we would spend that few weeks swimming in the pool, riding horses and singing along to the guitar and piano headed up my musically gifted Aunt.
I have been blessed to have the most extraordinary parents in the world, and despite constantly pushing boundaries with them they always stood by me and believed I would achieve great things. It was because of them I do think of my youth with a smile, because whilst to the outside world I had the perfect life, there were shadows lurking in the background that wouldn’t come to the surface until my early twenties.
What made you decide that you wanted to help be of ‘service to others’?
At the age of twenty-three, I had a massive breakdown. I had been admitted into hospital suffering from depression and anxiety trying to unravel memories that I had repressed. When I was in primary school I endured sexual abuse at the hands of an art teacher and her partner. Due to the nature of how a child deals with a high level of trauma, I completely repressed the memory at the time until much later in life. This is common for victims of sexual abuse, and the implications of child abuse in an Adults life are still widely misunderstood in society. This is primarily due to ignorance and a lack of education, so I hope to educate as many people as possible about this issue. This experience has been a huge driver for me to be of ‘service to others’.
When I was eighteen years old, one of my older brothers also unexpectedly passed away. It was highly distressing for everyone in the family, and in that moment I learnt in the hardest of ways…that every life matters.
During that time I also met my ex husband, and went on to spend nine years with him. Everything happens for a reason, and his family played a vital role in supporting me through the nervous break down I spoke about earlier. Needless to say the break up shattered me at the time, yet in a funny way it was also the catalyst that led me to find purpose.
As you can imagine with these three big life events, I became adept at self healing and understanding the true nature of the soul.
I wouldn’t say in anyway that my healing journey is done but what I have learnt is acceptance. Everything that happens in life forms the fabric for our authentic purpose, and only the universe understands the true nature and meaning of the events in our lives.
Trying to work it all out and ask ‘why me’ is a like running on a hamster wheel. I don’t need to know why these things happened to me, I just need to know that I have been gifted with wisdom because of these experiences. It is my duty to use the experiences as the paint, which creates the masterpiece I now call my life. I am proud of the pain, the journey, and who I am today. I can’t change the past, and I wouldn’t change any of these things. These are the reasons I am driven to be in the team of people who are creating a new world, where the power of love far outweighs the love of power.
First opportunity in business
In my late teens I travelled and worked in various jobs from hospitality to doing social work for charities. My first big opportunity was when I stumbled across a job at a boutique management company for professional speakers. At the time the company was called O2 Speakers, and they have now rebranded to Ode Management.
To this day I am amazed that I even got this job, as I was completely under qualified. Looking back at the decision made by Julie Masters and Leanne Christie (the founders of Ode), this was a true sliding doors moment. I look back and wonder who would I be today, if they had not taken a chance on me. I would say to any leader, look out for the unexpected; you may come across someone who on paper doesn’t fit, but may be your next magician – give people a chance. I will always be grateful for the chance Jules and Leanne gave me.
Needless to say I was Ode’s first employee, and over six years I learnt everything there was to know about the business of corporate speaking, and also what it meant to be a good human in business.
Who has been your mentor in business?
I mentioned Julie and Leanne in the question above, and they both have been my number one mentors. Leanne has one of the most extraordinary business minds I have ever come across (and I have met some amazing people), but I do have to give full kudos to Jules who worked with me ‘one on one’ for two years before Ode employed anyone else. I consider myself the ‘lucky one’ at Ode because Jules is in every sense of the word is an extraordinary woman, in business and in life, and I got to have her in my life as a personal coach.
The birth of The Supernova Tribe
When I left Ode Management, I randomly met a guy in a bar. He was looking to amplify his speaking message, and was focussed on entrepreneurialism being the key to world change. I just happen to be the right person who turned up at the right time.
We caught up for dinner a few times after that initial meeting, and brainstormed ideas, which included starting a speaker management company. The focus would not be on experts, but people who were changing the world. Whilst the dinners with this person came to an end, I will always be grateful for this time in my life as I walked away with a solid business plan for what is now The Supernova Tribe.
It wasn’t long after that; I came across a job at ‘Project Futures’, which I felt reflected my purpose. The job really didn’t pay that much, and my family thought I was nuts, but I remember going through their website and balling my eyes out. How could we as human beings plead ignorance to the fact children as young as six were being sold into brothels? I knew that regardless of pay, it was my duty as a human being to try and stop this exploitation.
That interview was a day of providence in meeting the CEO of Project Futures, Stephanie Lorenzo. Little did I know she would become the founding member of The Supernova Tribe and one my nearest and dearest.
After a few months I ended my role with Project Futures, and my business plan was still at home safely saved on my laptop. At the same time I reconnected with an old friend. In the coming months this person asked me to go into business with her and another partner. At the time I felt that it was the right thing for me, and given what I had been through I felt the need to belong to a group or a community. It was in that time I learnt about the nature of tribe, and whilst the business didn’t work out I gained an incredible amount of wisdom.
I look back now and think on some level I wasn’t ready to 100% back myself to go it alone. I thought that I needed other people. I also learnt about what real purpose meant, and how it felt to have it. Whilst the business model was extraordinary my heart was never in it, and I never really felt that I owned the brand. It was so hard to stay motivated and that alone indicated and there was a disconnect. It was a vastly different feeling to how in love I am with The Supernova Tribe, and through that experience I learnt to honour my own voice. That little voice inside guided me home and back to the world of speaking.
Going back to my roots, I started consulting with professional speakers, and interestingly Steph from Project Futures called me as she wanted to refine her speaking message. After a few sessions she told me that I should manage her around speaking. This got me thinking about the business plan I wrote a year before. With a huge amount of support from my current partner Ash, I started the ball rolling and now have 20 world changing speakers on the books. (Half are live on the website, with the other half launching in the next six weeks).
Tell me about the Supanova Tribe Speakers
Our Tag Line – “They are the rebels with a cause. The ones who are brave enough to make it happen. They have founded charities, or used their talent to have a voice. They decided that it was risky to stay safe, because right now the world isn’t safe standing still. These are the starry kind of supernova people”
The Supanova Tribe are a collective of professional speakers who are either charity leaders or speakers with a clear humanitarian message. Each speaker has a message that has been tailored to add corporate value while also raising awareness of a key social issue, or cause. I refer to the speakers we represent as world changers. They are people who are taking on purpose action to change the world. They walk their talk, opposed to just talking!
What is the key purpose of the Supanova Tribe?
Our purpose is to bridge the gap between not for profits, social enterprise and the corporate world. Corporates have a requirement to book speakers for conferences or training reasons. Why not book a speaker who is changing the world with their story? At our core we activate purpose in people.
Through these stories our speakers can raise awareness of key social issues, gain exposure to Corporate Social Responsibility programs, gain access to donations or simply promote attendance at charity events. We are also aiming to educate corporates on how they can use the tools, talents and time they already have available to enable positive social impact. As an example this might be as simple as auditing supply chains to make sure they are ethical, or looking at ways your service can be used to help solve a problem or support those in need. There are so many ways the not for profit sector, social enterprises, the corporate world and government can collaborate to make this world a better place for future generations.
The essence of The Supernova Tribe brand is about the activation of purpose. A Supernova is a star that is in transition, and as it transitions into gases and chemicals it not only becomes the brightest star in the sky, but these chemicals and gases also create and sustain all life on earth, including human beings. In essence we are all made of stardust. We believe that activating that stardust is the activation of purpose. Once we are able to be of service to others and the world, we also create and sustain all life on earth. The fact of the matter is that if people don’t activate purpose and care for each other and the world, the world will cease to exist. We only need to look at environmental trends to know this to be true.
What is your own personal message?
This may change as my career evolves but right now, my personal motto and message is about the power of a world change message. My business is a portal for these messages, and every day I work with our speakers to create world change messages that have impact. They deserve to he heard.
I think the other part of this is around the power of education. If every person on earth looked at their talents, time and resources with a view to change the world or solve a problem, we would not be experiencing the vast amount of pain, poverty, abuse and disadvantage that reflect humanity as it is today. The truth is people are fundamentally good, and they want to do good things. Some times the reason these things don’t change is because people are ignorant to the facts or don’t know how to get involved. My purpose and that of The Supernova Tribe is to show them how.
What is something that has surprised you since being an entrepreneur?
I had an idea that I wanted to create, but what I maybe didn’t realise is that when you become that person you also become a leader. Leadership puts you in the light and sometimes you can feel exposed. Anything that you have used to ‘stay small’ will be put under that spot light and it takes a huge amount of courage, commitment and compassion to work through those things and become the leader you ultimately want to be.
Marianne Williamson nailed this when she said ‘Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure’.
What do you enjoy most about what you do?
The people I work with and the extraordinary stories I get to share with the world. There is nothing greater than the power of a story. In all of human history we have shared stories. Stories are the fabric of human existence and just like DNA they hold the code for our past, our present and our future.
Who has been your inspiration?
Hands down my parents. When I was growing up my mum has always been passionate about charity and would spend weeks and weeks doing these fundraiser events. She harnessed dad’s talent and his celebrity status into doing something that was good for the world.
From my dad, his tenacity and dedication. As a little girl he would say to me ‘the harder you work the luckier you get’. Every day I hear his voice and those words ringing through my head. I’m still yet to meet someone like my father who is as disciplined in setting goals and executing them. My father taught me to believe in your dreams and believe in your gift even if you don’t know what it is yet.
My boyfriend Ash is an incredible support and believes in me when I don’t believe in myself. We met one year ago, at a time when the business I was in fell flat, and he has stood by my side through that, and now with starting up The Supernova Tribe. He is the love of my life, and is the one to hold my hand on the days that I want to give up. There have been those days, and he always there to fan the flame.
What are you currently reading?
Love and Life – Lisa Messenger. Lisa is incredibly authentic and raw in her delivery. I think she is ballsy and I have to say I hope to follow her lead in that regard. It is hard to be vulnerable and real in a world full of judgements and perception but if I don’t adopt that attitude I have abandoned my brand. Real people sharing real stories. No frills, no bullshit, just life and love.
What advice would you give to new entrepreneurs starting today?
I would encourage entrepreneurs to look for new and daring ideas, but look for those ideas with the end user in mind, no matter what that product is. Make it easy for them to adjust to small amounts of change, so that great change can take place.
I would also say that you may have a thousand and one ideas, but when you find your authentic purpose your business will become like play doh in your hands. The manifestation of that will feel like magic.
Don’t look to push ideas that don’t feel right just because you want to be your own boss. Use that time to look in the mirror and know yourself. Know your talents, understand your resources, and really know who you are. That is where you will find a business idea with the power to change the world.