#StandTall: Kura Antonello, founder of The Cool Career

Have you ever met someone and instantly thought, “You are one of the coolest chicks I have ever met”?! That’s what came to mind when I crossed paths with the firecracker that is Kura Antonello.

Having spent 13 years in marketing and public relations, Kura launched her killer business idea The Cool Career to help educate and inspire high school girls on what they can do post graduation. There are resources, interviews and tips to help girls figure out what they want to achieve in their life, without judgement or doubt. Kura has an absolutely infectious positive aurora about her and you can’t help but want to kick goals after spending some time with her.

Name: Kura Antonello

Age: 34

Occupation: Founder of The Cool Career + Brand Manager of Maxi-Cosi

Home city: Melbourne, Victoria

Social media handles

Website: thecoolcareer.com

Instagram: @thecoolcareer

Facebook: /thecoolcareer

You’re the Brand Manager of Maxi-Cosi and are also the Founder of The Cool Career, tell us a bit about both.

I have a very full (Ok, I’ll be honest… crazy) life. By day I am everything Maxi-Cosi. I work with our international and local teams to build the brand in Australia and New Zealand. I create campaigns, launch programs, manage all things digital, plan ambassador and media relationships, work with product and sales teams, packaging, social media, you name it, I do it. I love that emotional, challenging and eclectic side of being a Brand Manager. It also helps that I get to work with cute as pie babies and incredible parents who are focused on the safety of their children. It’s a great job but a job that I will eventually leave for my one true love, The Cool Career.

I am an early riser, so each morning before work, each night after work, and on the weekends, I am all about The Cool Career. The Cool Career is very much in its infancy, but it’s 100% my heart and soul and growing at a rapid rate. I am currently in an awareness, tribe building stage –  but from July onwards the brand and website will morph into a hub of career centric activity with more live events planned, some online and physical products (hello school hoodies) and the launch of School Sessions, a specialised program created for high schools all over the country.

The Cool Career, WOW! I wish it was around when I was in high school! It’s aimed at Year 12 students but can other girls in earlier years find it useful also?

When I launched The Cool Career, I had originally wanted to focus on girls who were in their final year of high school. This was very much a strategic step, because I believed that girls of this age were most prone to confusion and needed clarity and guidance when it came to career options and pathways. I revisited this niche a couple of months ago and conducted some market research on my #girlgang. What I found was astonishing. Girls from Year 7 all the way up until further education and even beyond were reading and getting value in my content. Moving forward we will be targeting events, products and some blog posts to a more varied group of girls – but the focus will still very much be on High School.

How can girls connect with you and TCC offline?

Nothing excites me more than receiving emails from girls that are digging the content, asking for personal advice and telling me their own career and school stories. Girls can connect via email at hello@thecoolcareer.com via Facebook or even DM me on Instagram. Hit me up, I’d love to hear all of your suggestions, comments, etc.

Just like Poppy Renegade, The Cool Career interviews some pretty amazing women. Who has been one of your favourites and why?

Ohhh do I seriously have to pick just one? I break all the rules, so I’m going to pick two haha. Ava Matthews who is a Brand Manager at Mecca Cosmetica has an incredible, hilarious story. Ava went deep with her answers, was brutality honest and her advice for girls wanting to work in the cosmetics industry is unparalleled. I read Ava’s #careerstory at least every month, because I always get something from it. Another interview that I love on a personal level is Cherie Clonan from The Digital Picnic. This story has it all. Triumphs, tribulations and everything in between. In this #careerstory we dive into life a Law student, to nine years as a nurse and finally landing in digital. Cherie is one switched on cookie with a heart of gold and love a golden story. Just quickly I also love Kelly Muller’s from KMC and Sali Sasi’s from Poppy Renegade because I am slightly obsessed with each of these women, their aesthetic and resilience.

So many of our followers are working in full or part time roles whilst they put the building blocks in place for their ‘dream’ businesses / careers. How did you go about bringing your idea to life whilst working full time?

This is a great question and my answer might surprise you. I had been toying with the idea of The Cool Career for three years before I launched. I procrastinated, strategised, created, erased and started again so many times that I got over myself. I have always worked well under pressure, so one particular morning, after having a fight with my boyfriend I sat in the car park at work, pressed the ‘publish’ button on my website. I then sent a Facebook post out to my friends and went into work. On my lunch break I checked Facebook, looked at my emails and nearly fainted. In the first couple of hours I had 211 people of my list, my website had been shared so many times that I lost count and I had people from all walks of life congratulating me on an idea that they felt was very much needed in the world today. To me it seemed as though the universe was validating my idea.

So when it comes to juggling both working full time and bringing my idea to life, I just do it. I make the time and trust in the universe to deliver me the goods when I need them. Yes, I am tired, yes, I am well aware that I am missing out on parties, get-togethers with the girls, and that the last time I had a wax was… Wow THAT long ago, but I wouldn’t change the late nights, delirious-ness for the world.

When you know that you are interviewing an epic babe that is crushing it in her career, after work, you show up no matter what.

You would have to have some pretty impressive juggling tricks, can you share with our readers some tips on keeping both ‘worlds’ together?

I am religious with batching. I batch everything from marketing, to interviews to content writing. I am a note paper and pen kind of girl and prefer to sit down and write out a task list then entering it into something like Trello or Team Work. But… I can see that I will need to implement something soon as the opportunities for The Cool Career are growing and I don’t want to loose track or over commit.

I am also BIG on visualization, and giving whatever task I am doing 100% concentration. I would never work on The Cool Career while at my 9-5 and vice-versa.

I have been known to get in my car after my 9-5, pull out a bright lipstick, fluff up my curls and get into The Cool Career mode. I have no idea why, but lipstick makes me feel creative. That and BIG earrings. The bigger the better.

I’m actually kinda obsessed with TCC’s branding. What inspired it and how did you go about executing it?  

Well thank you! I love the branding as well. It’s actually a reflection on my personal aesthetic. I am all about a clean brand experience with a pop of crazy. Hence the gold glitter, animal print and touches of neon. I work with a developer and designer in the UK, so I send Steph a link to a Pinterest Board, or even clips of something that inspires me and she brings my vision to life.

Has there been any mistakes you made along the way to launching your business that you wish you could have avoided? If so, can you share with us what it was so hopefully some of our readers can dodge a bullet too.  

I have made plenty. I did make a commitment to my fan base very early on that I would post a new #careerstory each week. At the start this was easy, as I had plenty in the bank, but as my community grew and so did the demands of live events, sponsors etc I found it hard to keep up. In hindsight I wouldn’t have committed to so much new content each week and perhaps stuck to every fortnight.

My advice to anyone starting out is to look at your own capabilities, time and resources and make a content judgment that you can commit to. I compared my offering to some online superstars and tried to keep up with what they were producing. Now I look to no one and really focus on my own direction.

What’s been the best advice you have ever received?  

The best advice has come from my mum. I come from a family of fitness freaks, my mum is nearly 60 and trains six days a week!

I’m your more, “I’ll get us a great spot at the cafe and wait for you to finish exercise” kind of girl.

My mum has always told me that sweating everyday is the most important thing that you can do for your skin, body and mind. At the start of the year I started F45 and I must admit, I have never felt better. It’s taking me a while to get there. J

With two jobs on the go what is your number one rule to ensuring you get some personal time?

I don’t really have a rule that I religiously follow. I get my energy when I am alone, and despite being quite an animated, happy-go-lucky kind of person, I can guarantee that people can tell when I need my “Kura time”.

My Kura time consists of taking myself out for breakfast, scrolling and pretending to buy everything on Shopbop and reading. I am a massive reader of anything and everything. I swing from business books to autobiographies, crime novels to paranormal romance (haha); you name it I read it.

Latest book you read?

Oh, the Places You’ll Go, by Dr. Seuss. I always learn something new about myself when I read this classic.

Savoury or wweet?  

Savoury. Give me a cheese platter over a cake any day.

What is your confidence trick?

I would say that I am a confident person but sometimes life happens and you just want to crawl away and hide. Before I have a big meeting, or an event I read aloud to myself and pretend that I am already in that room. I practice responding to imaginary questions. I tell stories and sing to myself in the shower. I swear that my neighbours must think that I am crazy.

The trick to feeling confident is believing in yourself. Believing that you deserve to be loved and respected.

I watched most profound TED Talk last night by a young poet by the name of Shane Koyczan. He said, “If you can’t see anything beautiful about yourself, get a better mirror, look a little closer, because there’s something inside you that made you keep trying despite everyone that told you to quit.”

What does #StandTall mean to you?

#StandTall is everything to me. It’s about having a voice and not being afraid to speak your mind. It’s about knowing who you truly are and having the guts to follow the course irrespective of what others think. #StandTall is not about standing alone, but standing alongside others and standing up for others that can’t stand-up for themselves. I’ll stand by you, if you stand by me!

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