The story of a successful mum in business
With two young children, a busy working husband and a company to run, Karen Matthews was one of the youngest female Chief Executive Officers in Australia when she was awarded Telstra's NSW Business Woman of the Year for achievements including turning Ella Baché Australia into a $17M company several years ago.

Karen sees work/life balance as involving sheer commitment and honesty.

“I was born determined as my parents said. My father had various senior company roles and was always entertaining people so as a three year old I was handing out the cheese and biscuits and talking to all these international players. Mum was a teacher and an amazingly intuitive woman. My parents' only expectations were to support everything I wanted to do. This is something I want to teach my own children: be whatever you want to be and do the best you can. I don't think there is a parent out there who wouldn't say the same thing to their child.”

During her five years as CEO of Ella Baché Australia, Karen has enjoyed steering the company through significant calculated risks, improving sales and profit and changing the company's environment and morale along the way. As part of her commitment to take the Ella Baché brand in a new strategic direction, Karen brought the business from a loss of $1.5M into a profit of $1.2M in 4 years.

In 2004, Karen celebrated her 40th birthday, an occasion which coincided with the  50th anniversary of Ella Baché Australia.

“The secret to work/life balance I think is honesty, openness, and asking for feedback. Ask the question. Build the strength around you. Don't be intimidated by what you don't know. Talk to everyone. Your clients, your partner, your team. The rest falls into place. If you know who you are, you'll find your niche and then you'll find you're living your life honestly for yourself and your children. I believe this is my spot. For me this company is just an extension of who I am. And for me, it's perfect because it incorporates all the things that I've learnt over the years. So it's not hard. I just come to work and be me.”

Having realised her dream of balancing work and play, Karen is passionate about being an inspiration to business women and other mums. “I felt humbled and honoured to win the Telstra award,” Karen said, “I am proud to be walking in the footsteps of two female visionaries, Madame Ella Baché and Edith Hallas who brought Ella Baché products to Australia more than 50 years ago. I am also excited to be able to validate my mission to inspire people to realise their goals, men or women, young or old, in whatever they want to do.”

Visit our website for more information about Ella Baché, call 1800 789 234 or visit For further information please contact: Michelle Bakar Communications Manager 0431 707 681 or 02 9432 5014