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International Women’s Day 2020: Figtree celebrates with special guest Layne Beachley

by on March 09, 2020 in News & Events


Layne Beachley is a legend.

A surf legend. Having jumped onto a surfboard at age 4, Layne is Australia’s leading professional woman surfer having won the World Championship seven times.

But she hasn’t always felt on top of the world.

The intense pressure she put herself under to maintain her world leadership in the surfing world took its toll.

It took one social media post to send her into a tailspin. She hadn’t been invited to a girlfriend’s wedding. Was she not good enough?

After speaking to her husband, she realised that she was not okay.

The question she asked herself… was she willing to shine a light on why she didn’t feel okay. She needed to examine the negative stories she was telling herself about why she wasn’t where she wanted to be.

She needed to turn around her thoughts.

As a result of this process, she became an Ambassador with R U OK?

Overcoming life’s setbacks

Layne realised that there were two things in her life that had affected her tremendously.

The first was the early death of her beloved mother when Layne was six.

The second earth-shattering news was finding out at the age of eight that she had been adopted.

The news of her adoption affected her deeply. She took this to mean that her birth mother had rejected her.

Devastated, Layne’s reaction to this news was to decide to be a ‘world champion’ to prove that she was worthy.

She just wasn’t sure at what!

“The ocean was my place of solace,” explained Layne. So, she chose surfing as her way of becoming ‘worth it’. To prove to herself and to others that she mattered.

Layne’s aim was always to be a surfing world champion

Layne embraced the challenge with gusto. Spending years learning to surf at the very male-dominated Manly Beach, Layne steadily earned her surfing stripes.

The environment was often hostile. Layne was one of the few female surfers and many male surfers let her know that they didn’t want her there. Eventually, she found ‘her tribe’ and surfed with many supportive surfers – mostly men.

Her courage came from two places – her vision to become the best in the world and her support network.

Layne realised that for her, people fell into one of two groups – dream thieves or honesty barometers. Dream thieves gave her a hard time. They tried to bring her down.

Honesty barometers were people who buoyed her up when she felt down. They encouraged her to reach her goals.

She learned to identify the difference.

“I now surround myself with honesty barometers because they elevate you. They support you. They encourage you. They’re unconditionally there for you. They tell you to pull your head in if you get egotistical. Most importantly, they’re honest with you. “

Her honesty barometers include her personal trainer, her surf coach and her physical therapists – and her loving husband, rock-star and INXS band member Kirk Pengilly.

Layne’s network of women supporters

In the past, Layne judged women harshly. They were competition.

But that’s changed now. These days, Layne surrounds herself with a ‘tribe’ of women who support her in a different way. And she supports them.

“What matters most to everyone is who you are and how you feel about yourself. That relationship sets the tone for all your other relationships.

“Our tribe affects our lives. We become the sum of the top five people we spend time with. So, the lesson is to surround yourself with honesty barometers. “


More about Layne Beachley

In 2015, Layne was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia for distinguished service to the community through support for a range of charitable organisations, as a mentor for women in sport, and to surfing as a world champion competitor.

She was also awarded the Australian Sports Medal in 2000 for her back to back world titles in 1998 and 1999.

Layne is now an inspiring keynote speaker, sharing her stories with people in Australia and all over the world. The aim of her presentations is to inspire people to be ‘the most successful version of you’.



International Women’s Day 2020 event theming at Figtree Conference Centre

We wanted to create a lively, attractive atmosphere to help us celebrate this year’s International Women’s Day. Our own in-house staff worked with our catering and theming suppliers to create a delicious high tea using colourful table settings and purple and white balloons.

If you’ve got a special corporate event coming up and would like to discuss how we can make it special, please get in touch.