Connections: What is a MasterMind?

Is A MasterMind, Peer-to-Peer Advisory Board, Sounding Board, Forum Or An Accountability Circle For Me?

These groups set out to achieve better business outcomes through; camaraderie, honesty, challenges, synergies, accountability, professional companionship, results, leveraging and trust.

They work on the premise that – No two minds ever come together without thereby creating a third invisible intangible force, which may be likened to a third mind. Napoleon Hill

What did Thomas Edison, Alexander Graham Bell, Henry Ford, John D. Rockefeller and J. P. Morgan have in common?

According to Think and Grow Rich author Napoleon Hill, who coined the term “Mastermind Alliance” in 1925, they eachtapped into the Mastermind Group consciousness …a mind that is developed through the harmonious cooperation of two or more people who ally themselves for the purpose of accomplishing any given task.

Why could a Mastermind Group be of interest to entrepreneurs and business owners?

A Mastermind is composed of like-minded peers who come together on a regular basis to brainstorm, learn, set and accomplish goals, and support one other to achieve success.

Members of a powerful Mastermind draw on the collective intelligence and experience of peers as a catalyst for growth and accountability. The collective helps members navigate through challenges and issues they are facing in their businesses in a trusted and non-competitive environment. The synergies and camaraderie of the members are vital to the success of the group, along with honesty, openness and compassion – and a degree of vulnerability.

Many Masterminds have been known to function for three-plus years, and others longer than 20 years, although some only last for a finite time.

Consider joining a Mastermind or Peer-to-Peer board only if you are prepared to:

  • Commit and invest the time and attend every meeting
  • Be accountable for your plans and goals
  • Recognise the benefits of drawing on the experience of others
  • Receive critical insights
  • Take the time out to work “on” your business rather than “in” your business
  • Listen and draw on fresh perspectives
  • Leverage off the network the group has, i.e. joint ventures, lead sharing, social support, professional networking.

Where can you find a Mastermind Group to join? Ask colleagues, business associates, and friends to see if they know of groups seeking members. Look on Meetup, register your interest here to join one of our groups (by sending me an email), or create one yourself.

Creating your own Mastermind Group

  • Decide on the criteria for accepting members
  • Identify individuals who fall within these criteria and invite them
    • However, the advice is to invite selectively as it’s difficult to get rid of disruptive members who are not committed.
    • One rule that must be adhered to is members who do not turn up to a meeting will be asked to leave
  • Decide on a meeting structure, where and how often you will meet, and the rules of the group.
    • Some meet weekly, fortnightly, monthly or even quarterly or half-yearly. Note, though, that research has shown that less than monthly is not as effective
  • Decide on who will chair/facilitate the group at the meeting and attend to the admin associated with organising the meeting. Is this something you really want to be doing? The facilitator usually does not participate in the group.

If you’d like to explore joining one of Cultivate Impact’s Mastermind Circles – please contact me – diana [at] cultivate [dot] biz and we’ll organise a 20-minute zoom call to work out if there is a fit.

image credit |  Bannon Morrissey- #unsplash

Facilitation skills that disrupt, innovate and empower

Good Facilitators Are Worth …

When was the last time you were in a room with an incredible facilitator?

Think about it.

It is rare to see someone facilitate a group well.  

Without realising it, as changemakers and leaders, you often find yourself facilitating meetings, processes, activities and teams. Are you the fabulous facilitator you want to be?

Do you get the results you want?  Is there room for improvement? Do any of these apply to you?

  • You want to lead a team to achieve their purpose
  • You want to facilitate more effectively
  • You want to understand group dynamics
  • You want to be a better member of a group, yourself
  • You want to build collaborative teams
  • You have never had formal facilitation training

If so,  it is time to book into The Art Of Facilitation programme.  It is a practical, experiential course where you will develop the skills and ability to facilitate any group to meet its purpose.

This experiential programme will introduce you to attitudes, develop your personal qualities and give you a presence that distinguishes a person-centred facilitator, grounded in place, space and grace.

You will be coached and receive feedback from programme leaders and the other group members as you facilitate the group.

Over the five day course, you will learn 

  • to understand group development cycles and the role of the facilitator
  • to clarify, identify and create a group purpose
  • to build a safe and empowering group culture
  • the whole personhood approach and, be present to yourself, others and the group
  • to practice a range of interventions, processes and techniques
  • to be comfortable with a wide range of behaviours
  • to effectively handle conflict for the development and benefit of the group
  • to recognise and work with different energy levels in yourself, others, and the group

Are these some of the facilitation skills you would like to further develop? If so, register or email the programme leaders Simone to find out more or go to the website.

The nuts and bolts – each day there will be

  • Topics to study and discuss
  • Sessions to facilitate
  • “In the Moment” coaching
  • Self, peer and programme leader assessment
  • Experiential challenges, and
  • Homework which will include core readings and preparation for your facilitation sessions

Level: beginner to experienced (particularly if you have no formal training or experience with the Zenergy Facilitation Methodology). By the end of the course you will have developed your confidence and facilitation skill set to be truly effective and impactful.

The practical details   

See the website for  Location  | Dates | Trainers

Price:  includes refreshments, a copy of the Art of Facilitation and a comprehensive programme manual. Credit cards are accepted.


We know that not everyone can afford the full price, but it’s important to us that no one should be disadvantaged because of the cost. That’s why Zenergy Global offers a scholarship scheme, discounts for NFP Community Workers, new startups, and the normal discounts for you’d expect for students, people on pensions, disability discounts etc. Basically, if you want to come, and need some support, get in touch and we’ll do what we can to get you in at a discount of some sort.

To talk about possible discounts: Get In Touch

Still thinking about it?  Read comments from past participants


“Thanks for inspiring this one awesome facilitation buddies ? the prickle zone article”  Ash Buchanan, Director of Benefit Mindset


“The programme made it possible to go on a very special journey with a group of colleagues and come out not only achieving our purpose, but gaining some powerful insight about each other and ourselves”  Ryan DeBruyn, Visa Business Banking Consultant


It’s hard to completely capture the magic that happens at Zenergy in words.  Apart from providing a comprehensive and dynamic set of skills that can be put into practice on a personal and organisational level, Zenergy goes above and beyond the ordinary.” Sina Saffari


What I found valuable was seeing conflict as an opportunity to move the group forward, the focus on purpose and culture, and the importance of checking in.”Sarah Finlay, Auckland Council


“The passion, committment, intent and purpose bringing experience, focus and momentum to the workshop whilst capturing (intuiting, thinking, feeling etc.) and promoting the potential energy and richness within the group. this created a warm, challenging and life changing learning and experience. Most powerful course I’ve ever participated in.” Ross Campion, QuestCoach, London


Read the book –

The Art of Facilitation by Dale Hunter

Register for one of the remaining available places.

The Art of Facilitation is the first stage of the Zenergy Diploma of Facilitation.

Happily Made Monkeys Employ Cambodian Women To Empower

Veronica Sherman employs women in Cambodia to create social change



I design gorgeous products that are ethically produced in Cambodia. I then sell them over here in Australia. I am hoping to expand to Bangladesh & India.



I lived in a Cambodian village for over two years and had front row seats to the poverty over there. I could see so clearly that aid & charity just keeps women poor and ethical business is such a powerful way to create social change.


Why does it matter?

 The most exciting part for me is the fact that we now have a scholarship fund attached to the community project as well. This means that we are able to pay for the women’s children to go to school by providing them with the school books, uniforms and English tuition. That is where the long term change will happen because education is key for these kids to break out of the poverty cycle.
I decided to create the crowd funding page as a way for people to participate in what I’m doing. I know there have been many times in my life when I haven’t been able to be the one to actually go and do something, but I’ve been able to take part by supporting from back home. In order to be more effective in what I do it’s important that I am able to add more products to my range of handmade goods and that requires extra money to get the production happening. The best part about the crowd funding is that everyone wins since each ‘donation’ comes with an award.



giving food businesses and conscious consumers a voice

Travel and find ethical and sustainable food

Paul Hellier Founder (Food Forager) with Costa

Why do you give a damn?

I have always loved to travel, see amazing places, particularly natural environments with incredible landscapes, plants and animals. I believe it is our responsibility to look after our world and at the very least, not make it worse than it was before we came.

The environment and the plants and animals in our world provide an amazing service to us, (too many to list). Through activities like surfing, skiing, diving and camping we find escapes from our sometimes routine and structured lives, and so it only makes sense that we protect it. Not to mention the millions of other reasons we need a healthy environment.

I now want to do everything I can to leave the planet in a better state than I found it and do what I can to feel that I am part of the environment, not something separate to it.  Interact, and help others do the same.

What do you do? 

My background is in restoring natural environments, and now I am looking for ways to help others live more sustainable lives, one little action at a time.

I founded Fair Food Forager, the app and website to highlight great food businesses being more ethical and sustainable.  We tell their stories and help consumers find and support them so they too can feel good about their daily actions.

We “make ethical easy”, and together we can make the change.

Why does it matter?

Food contributes to many issues facing our planet, and many of these issues have simple solutions. I believe all we have to do is support the people already running with these simple solutions and not the ones who aren’t. Everyone eats, and the food is one way that we can have a massive collective and positive effect on the planet if we contribute in small ways.

It can be difficult not to feel down sometimes about the state of the environment and what humans have done to it. However, I think we can be hopeful, and people all over the world are living more sustainably and educating others as they go.

Let’s give hope and talk about what we can do, not what we have done. Let’s work together and repair things. Most of it is not rocket science after all.

Founder: Paul Hellier pictured on the left above


YHER | Women Are The Best Levers For Change | YGAP

YHER  a Female-focused program run by YGAP 

Why Do You Give A Damn?

We believe that investing in local impact entrepreneurs will help the anticipated economic growth on the African continent in the next few decades be equitable. One of the best ways to achieve this equitable growth will be to invest in female African entrepreneurs.

We know women are vibrant and vital architects of society.

We know women are the best levers for change in our world.

We also know female entrepreneurs need to be championed.

More women are pursuing entrepreneurship in Africa per capita than anywhere else in the world. Unfortunately, they face greater challenges and are more likely to run low-growth businesses with few employees that primarily sustain their immediate families. For this reason, YGAP conduct a continent-wide search to bring together an unrivalled group of 15 African Female Founders for its YHER Accelerator. Founders running high-impact ventures aimed at improving the lives of women and girls.

What do you do?

Our mission is to help local entrepreneurs improve the lives of people living in disadvantage. YGAP believes in backing local entrepreneurs as they are the best positioned to find solutions to local problems.

  • ACCELERATOR A week-long intensive entrepreneurship program designed to fast track your early stage venture.
  • We’ll provide training and mentorship while also connecting you to an inspiring group of fellow female entrepreneurs MENTORSHIP Connection to a network of mentors from across the world throughout the Accelerator week.
  • HIGH-TEA An opportunity for you to network with investors, funders, mentors and supporters.
  • FUNDING Funding is available for the winners of our peer review and audience votes.
  • GROWTH SUPPORT Potential to qualify for Growth support, including ongoing tailored support and grant or investment funding to help scale your venture.
  • COMMUNITY Ongoing connection with our virtual community to help you along your entrepreneurial journey.

Why Does It Matter?

We truly believe that change is driven by socially conscious businesses and we want to see women running bigger and better ventures.

When it comes to venture capital, women receive only 3–5% of the funding available and less than 5% of venture capital firms are led by women, and the number is even smaller for women of colour.

For female entrepreneurs who are early stage and focus on social impact – the challenge becomes even harder.

We believe backing local entrepreneurs is the most effective, sustainable means of tackling poverty because it redistributes power and choice to disadvantaged communities. These local leaders understand the unique challenges and strengths of their communities and are often much better positioned to identify opportunities to change lives through the establishment of social business opportunities.

YGAP focuses on early-stage ventures that improve access to education or healthcare, create jobs or build safer homes.

Where can you be found 

The YGAP Head Office is in Melbourne, but we run in-country operations in

  • Bangladesh
  • Kenya and
  • South Africa

Websites  YHER  &  YGAP 

YGAP links | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Youtube channel 

hashtags: #TheFutureIsFemale #GirlItISPossible #BePartOfSomethingIncredible

One of our female Entrepreneurs – Peggy Mativo – PACE International 


Founders and Board Members

  • Elena Critchley: YGAP Co-Founder
  • Elliot Costello: YGAP CEO and Co-Founder
  • Aaron Tait: YGAP Chief Impact Officer
  • Adrian Lynch: Senior Associate, Nodco Legal
  • Daniel Madhavan (Chair): Former CEO, Impact Investing Australia
  • David Curtis: Director of Innovation, World Vision Australia
  • Kaitlin Tait: YGAP Impact General Manager
  • Manita Ray: YGAP Chief Operating Officer
  • Marianne Roux: Head of Consulting, Cirrus Asia Pacific.


Circular Food is part of this change

Inspiring Peeps 


The environment is a major passion
for the whole founding team.


Meet social entrepreneur & founder : Steve Morriss, Circular Food

Why I give a damn:  I read a relevant ancient Chinese Proverb just this morning –

“if we do not change our direction, we are likely to end up where we are headed.”

For the population of earth, where we are headed is not a prosperous future. Something needs to change. Circular Food is part of this change.
We give a damn because we want a bright future for generations to come. We give a damn because we want to “sit on our rocking chairs” at the end of our lives and feel good about being part of a solution, rather than resigning ourselves to the fact that we are the problem. We give a damn because without a healthy planet, what else is there to strive for?

What we do: Circular Food is a startup social enterprise, with the intent of reducing organic waste and improving soil health.

We take in organic waste (primarily food waste), blend it with other products such as organic compost, and process that waste through commercial scale worm farms to produce a high-quality organic fertiliser.

This fertiliser consists of essential elements for healthy soil, in a readily available form for plants.
Right now, we collect all of the food waste from a local Turkish restaurant, making it (as far as we know) Melbourne’s only zero food waste restaurant.

Why it matters:  Soil health is an extremely important issue for the world. Farms globally are under immense pressure to feed a growing population. For this reason, the use of chemical fertilisers has become a vicious cycle which farmers simply cannot financially afford to break. Unfortunately, the result of this continual chemical use is eroded, nutrient depleted soils, which cannot sustain growth on its own. This is not how nature intended it.

Food contains all of the nutrients needed to produce another plant. Food waste sits in landfill and rots, releasing harmful methane and CO2 emissions, when it should be back on the soil replenishing it for the next crop. Circular Food is restoring this natural cycle, by turning organic waste into a plant ready fertiliser.

We supply urban gardeners, hobby farmers, hydroponics growers and commercial farms.

Founder:  Steve Morriss. The founding team includes Chloe Morriss and Robert Scherini, as well as a team of other supporters.

Based: Melbourne, Australia. Our factory is in Somerton, north of Melbourne.

#innovation #foodtofertiliser #agtech

How to get in touch |  Circular Food Website  | Facebook 

#TDI #TwoFeet   TDi has been a huge learning opportunity for all of us. When we started the Circular Food journey, we didn’t identify as a social enterprise.

Now we wear those colours with pride.

The TDi team, as well as our fellow two-feeters, have helped us to define our business and our intent.



pst…  if you would like a free copy of Daniel Priestley’s book  Key Person Of Influence  here’s the link

My passions are the well-being of nature, animals, and people.

Inspiring Peeps 

Introducing Dr. Mahdi Mason 

Dr Mahdi Mason passionate about Nature, Animals and People


Why I give a damn: My passions are the well-being of nature, animals, and people.

My passions have led me to work in, and complete a doctoral degree in environmental management, start up a blog on how we can lessen our impacts on the planet, become an energetic healer and write a book on how people can empower themselves. My business allows me to combine all my interests. It aims to help nature, animals, and people. Therefore, running my business fulfils me, while also helping the rest of the world.

What I do: The Earth Healing Hub offers workshops, articles, events and products designed to give people the tools and resources they need to go out and help the world around them. It also teaches people simple ways they can help not only the environment but animals, themselves and other people too.

It educates people on how much the natural world does for them and gives them reasons to appreciate it so that they want to look after it themselves. It reminds everyone that we are not separate from, or superior to, the environment, but very much part of a larger natural system. As such, it’s imperative that we take care of everything in the system, not just ourselves.

Why it matters: So many people know that they would like to do SOMETHING to help the world around them but feel powerless to do anything because they don’t have the knowledge or resources. The information my business provides allows people to act within their own means (i.e. not costing money or much time) to help the world on a daily basis.

Founder Mahdi Mason, Brisbane, Australia

#earthhealer #powerofyoubook #lovenature

How to get in touch   Website  |  Facebook |  Instagram  |  Blog


pst…  if you would like a free copy of Daniel Priestley’s book  Key Person Of Influence  here’s the link

Reduce eWaste ReUse Technology

Inspiring Peeps

 Mardi & Cat - Co-Founders PonyUp for Good IGD ed im

Introducing Mardi Brown and Cat Harding


Why we give a damn

We are all entitled to basic needs, yet some of us spend our days fighting for food, shelter, safety, water, medication, sanitation, education, care, connection – and sometimes even fighting for our lives.

Having travelled extensively in developing countries and working to build, run and fund an outreach school in Cambodia over the past 12 years – the team at PonyUp understand the senseless gap between those who have it all and those who dig through the dirt to find their next meal. It’s impossible to ignore. It changes you.

Knowing all too well the pain point of donor fatigue, we found a way to provide individuals and businesses with a simple and non-monetary opportunity to contribute beyond themselves via unwanted, second-hand technology, knowing that this action will better the future of those who need it most.

What we do

PonyUp for Good is a new social enterprise. Our mission is to provide a simple process for socially minded companies and individuals to turn unwanted, second-hand technology (phones, iPods, laptops and tablets) into charitable currency. We collect unwanted technology, provide a free and secure data cleansing service, sell the technology to wholesale partners and donate 50% of the profits to annual charity partners. We are making it easy to be nice when you upgrade your device.

By-product benefits of this process include; the reduction of e-waste, the clearing of cupboards and drawers across Australia, the provision of much required second-hand technology to those not in a position to afford it new and a warm fuzzy feeling for all those who PonyUp for Good!

Why it matters

Each year more than 5 million Australians upgrade their phones – 48% put the ‘old’ technology into drawers, just in case. Most of them are never used again and eventually become toxic landfill. More than 4 million computers are sold in Australia each year, 88% of these also end up in landfill.

We’re PonyingUp for Good because we have the opportunity to build a business that gives to others compassionately and ethically and has a bi-product of reusing technology and reducing the 18 billion tonnes of e-waste contributing to Australia’s landfill. It’s about conscious capitalism at its root.

We asked ourselves, ‘how can we use our education, knowledge, networks and resources to build a company that directly benefits others with meaning and environmental impact?

Who are the Founders?   Cat Harding & Mardi Brown

Cat is a communications and project management professional with over 20 years experience across a multitude of industries. She has launched music careers, dressed 20,000 people for the Commonwealth Games and managed communications projects for London Underground, Pacific Brands and CitiPower and Powercor.

Cat has two beautiful girls and wants to come home every day proud of the impact she has made in the world so she can teach her children that one person with the right attitude can make a difference.
Her dream is to make ‘PonyUp’ as much the common vernacular for what you do with redundant technology as Googling has become the term for how you search for information.

Mardi is motivated by a need to contribute positively, helping drive meaningful change for those who need it most. You will often hear her asking, ‘for what purpose are we doing this?’

Mardi is a trained Behavioural Specialist and has worked as Head of People & Culture with TEDxMelbourne, and in her own consultancy has helped businesses develop strategies and standards for their own workplace cultures. With a degree in Business/Marketing and 15+ years experience leading teams as a senior marketer across HR, Tourism & Hospitality in both Australia and North America.

Since 2009, Mardi has held the role of Co-President of Act, Change, Educate (ACE), who manage the Happy School project in Cambodia. ACE provides primary education, secondary school scholarships, vocational training and pathways to employment for some of the country’s most disadvantaged young people.

Mardi loves getting her hands dirty in every part of PonyUp’s growth. Her mission: To get everyone in Australia PonyingUp their old devices when they upgrade, to help those in need!

Website & social details




New tech new life horse ponyUpIGD ed im

Aromababy skincare inspired by the birth of a baby

Raffaele Caputo a researcher, writer and editor recently met Catherine Cervasio, the founder of Aromababy, at an event and inspired by her story he wanted to share it.

When Catherine Cervasio fell pregnant for the first time, she was concerned she would have to use skincare products on her baby that contained unnatural ingredients.

Her previous life as a fashion writer and developer of a range of products based on essential oils had given her some experience in skin care products and she knew the majority were synthetic with a petrochemical base.

Through her research, Catherine discovered many products were linked to skin complaints such as eczema. However, of greater concern was the presence of paraffin in some skin creams and bathing oils, as it had the propensity to affect hormones.

“With the birth of my baby on the horizon, these issues really set the alarm bells ringing,” says Catherine. “I thought if there are no alternatives available, then everybody is compelled to use the same kinds of products. This was the inspiration for developing something that was unusual in the cosmetics industry at the time.”

This was more than 20 years ago. Catherine gave birth to a strong and healthy baby boy, and to Aromababy, an organic skincare range for babies. She was so confident about the virtues of her products that she tested them on herself and her baby.

But it wasn’t an easy road ahead for Catherine. Along with the demands of caring for her baby, she had to raise finance, source a reputable manufacturer and, most importantly, educate potential suppliers and consumers because what she was developing at the time was so new.

She tapped into the maternity and paediatric medical profession.

“I was so passionate about making a difference that I actually went straight to the midwives, patient consultants and maternity ward managers and talked to them because their expertise is not only in delivery but also in caring for babies and mothers around the time of birth,” Catherine says.

“They were really quite surprised at my discoveries; and because I had extensive research to back these up, I felt they were listening to me, and realised that maybe they needed to offer mothers a choice rather than only the conventional, supermarket-type formulations.”

Based on her research Catherine formulated her products specifically for sensitive skin and babies – using ingredients such as certified organic calendula, evening primrose oil and natural vitamin E but with no animal products, petrochemicals, sulphates, added colour, artificial fragrances, silicone, or paraffin. Today, Aromababy is a multi-million dollar business, with a premium range of natural personal care products for both mother and babies.


RC pic 1Writer: Raffaele Caputo is a writer for Present Company Included, a member of the Briarbird team, a Melbourne-based online consultancy firm, and is co-editor of the online film journal Screening the Past.

Papermaking elevates social inclusion and hope

Inspiring Peeps 

#socialinclusion, #paperworksinc, #givehope blog (1)


Why I give a damn:  Loneliness underpins so many social ills. Through breaking down barriers to social inclusion, I hoped to create a richer social experience for marginalised people through opportunities for meaningful occupation. My daughter is living with a disability, so I understand the effects of marginalisation on an individual and their families.  I feel that people with disabilities need valueable social roles in the community so they can be seen as contributing to the society like everyone else – not to mention how it improves the self-esteem and self-worth of marginalised people.

What we do: We host social hand papermaking workshops to facilitate opportunities for building friendships and we employ a small number of marginalised people in order to give them more opportunities for economic participation and choice. Our artisans manufacture stationary and seed tiles from locally harvested plant fibre (e.g. tulips after Floriade) and recycled textile (including denim jeans) destined for landfill.

 Why does it matter? Recently a Sydney morning Herald article pointed out that a 1/3 of Australians are feeling isolated and separate.  No wonder leading psychiatrist Dan Siegel describes isolation as an artificial prison. A chronic sense of loneliness can weaken the body’s immune system, leaving the body vulnerable to a range of illnesses and depression. Depression is fast becoming the leading cause of disability worldwide. In Australia, around 1 million adults and 100 000 young people suffer from depression in any given year. An estimated 45% of people suffer from depression at some stage in their lives – 1 in 5 women and 1 in 8 men.   Not only people with special needs are at risk.  A change in circumstance that contributes to social isolation, comes unexpectedly – the loss of a partner, the loss of a job, a car accident, a relocation, a long-term illness. We are all vulnerable.

We have two goals:

  • We want to help our community beat the devastating physical, mental and economic impact of loneliness caused by social exclusion. The first step is to change community perceptions. We believe when people from different backgrounds and abilities get to know each other, they become more tolerant of “otherness”, more open to friendship and more aware of the various issues at stake.  
  • Provide opportunities to develop better social skills, which could promote a person’s physical and emotional wellbeing. Increased confidence levels may also increase peoples employability, which in turn may reduce their dependence on health and social welfare structures. the xes

Founder:  Marja Rouse

#socialinclusion, #paperworksinc, #givehope


 IGD Paperworks collage