I’m the youngest of 5 children. I’m the only daughter and I’ve got 4 big brothers, 4 sisters-in-law, 8 nieces and nephews, a great-nephew and a great-niece.

All of my family live in Scotland, and I’ve now been away from the town I grew up in for 27 years (18 of them in Australia).

I’ve been lucky that my work for many years allowed me to travel back to London, which in turn means I got to go to Scotland regularly. In fact, I’ve lost count of the number of trips I have done.

I’ve also been lucky that my Mum has traveled out to see me regularly. In fact, I just said goodbye to her two weeks ago and while she was here we worked out it was the 11th time she had flown to Australia to spend time with me. She also joked that she had never visited me in the same place twice because I like to move around so much (Mum – if you’re reading this, brace yourself, I’m about to move again!).

It hasn’t always been easy between me and Mum – my move to Australia was tough for her as we were very close. She has felt distant in my life – not just physically but emotionally too. Divorce, break-ups, child birth, cancer – we’ve been through it all together, and the distance has meant most of it has been done over the phone!

As well as missing my Mum and the rest of my family terribly, for many years I also felt a huge amount of guilt for having moved so far away.

This time round when Mum came to visit, I found myself wearing 3 hats at once – tour guide every day for Mum, school holiday Mum and business woman. It was quite a juggle, but I reminded myself that it was only a few weeks – and that in the great scheme of things it didn’t matter if I got behind in work.

That’s because what I really love about Mum being here is the fact we spend quality time together. And spending quality time together means that we tend to talk about the things that really matter, which in turn makes our relationship stronger.

For example, on this trip I asked Mum a question I had never asked before – what was the last conversation she had with my grandparents (her Mum and Dad) before they died? While that may seem like a morbid topic, it was one that made me feel closer to her – as I got to understand more about how she felt when she lost her parents.

We are ALL busy, with many competing priorities. Spending time with Mum last month reminded me that no matter what’s in your schedule, you need to take time with the people who matter most to you, and doing the things you love doing.

One of the reasons that SmartWomen Connect is membership based (and not simply a group of people paying to attend individual events), is that it allows the women who are part of it to spend quality time together, whether that’s at our networking breakfasts, over drinks, or when they catch up outside of our events.

The more events they attend, the better they get to know each other! While they may not have a lot of time together, they know that it will be time well spent for them professionally, and personally and that from that time strong and valuable relationships will grow.

So next time you think you are too busy to network, or to spend time with friends and family who are important to you, remember to choose quality over quantity, and know that your bonds will strengthen as a result.

As for me and Mum, I left the guilt behind a few years ago, deciding to focus on the quality of time we spent together. I can honestly say our relationship has never been better ☺.


PS If you’d like to come along and spend quality time with a quality group of women, come join us at our next Smart Networking night. Click here to register.


Trisha Carter

Katherine Mountford

We love seeing the collaboration between members and we’re happy to share a Webinar being presented by Trisha Carter with special guest Katherine Mountford on 4 August.

The topic is ‘Cultural Intelligence & Recruitment’. Trisha is an organisational psychologist and cultural intelligence facilitator who works with firms and organisations to develop global skill sets in their leaders and employees. Katherine Mountford, Principal Consultant at the Marsden Group, specialises in professional services Marketing, Business Development & Communications recruitment.

They will be talking about some of the challenges involved in recruiting across a global market and the Webinar is very relevant to anyone involved in recruitment and/or international mobility.

Friday 4th August
10.30am AEST


SmartWomen Connect member Claire Bibby is one heck of a business woman.

She’s won awards to prove it. But what makes Claire stand out from so many leaders is her generosity – whether it’s opening doors, mentoring others or supporting causes, she is indeed a Generous General.

That’s why I’m sharing that Claire will be the Guest lecturer at Salvos Legal on 17 August where she will talk about her journey to become a leading inhouse lawyer.

If you’re looking for inspiration in spades, backed up by practical advice from a great woman, go along and support this great cause.


Catherine Chant is a senior IP and advertising lawyer specialising in brand name protection, management and enforcement.

If you are a business owner – or thinking about starting a business, Catherine shares her advice on brand protection in this article written exclusively for Smart Talk.

She is currently studying for an LLM (Applied Law) majoring in Commercial Litigation and loves learning about alternative dispute resolution.  Catherine works for Sydney boutique IP practice Halfords IP and can be contacted at


Intellectual property (IP) is a grand sounding term but nearly all businesses have IP and often their most valuable IP is their brand name.

Apple is reported to be the world’s leading global brand with a reported value of $178,119 million. But you don’t have to be Apple to have a brand that’s worth protecting. Here are 4 dos and don’ts of protecting your valuable brand name.

1 – Do your homework

If you are adopting a new brand, it is critical that you research whether it is available for use and (ideally) registration as a trade mark in Australia. This entails a search of the Australian Trade Marks Office records, looking not just for identical trade marks but trade marks which may be sufficiently similar to yours to pose a threat to its registration or use.

It is also a good idea to search other databases, such as, business and company name records, business listings in telephone directories, domain name records and Google pages. This will tell you whether anyone else is using your proposed brand name already. Trade mark lawyers/attorneys can help you with these searches if you are not confident of carrying them out yourself.

Seeking help with trade mark searches is generally advisable as they are quite technical.

2 – Put an ® on it!

The best form of protection for your brand name is obtained by registering it as a trade mark. That means applying for registration through IP Australia. The application will go through a formal examination process and, if there are no grounds for rejection, formal requirements or oppositions, IP Australia will register your brand name as a trade mark.

Trade mark registration provides a statutory monopoly throughout Australia for the goods and/or services covered by your registration. This generally makes enforcement of your rights in the brand name more straightforward and less costly than if you are relying on unregistered trade mark rights. You can also use your Australian registration as a basis for international trade mark registration.

Australian trade mark registration lasts for 10 years and can be renewed indefinitely. Once registered, you can use the symbol ® with your brand name.

3 – Don’t rely on a business name registration

If you are trading under a name other than your own, you are required to register the name as a business name. This means that if anyone wants to take action against you, they can get behind the business name to find out who owns it. However, a business name registration does not confer any property rights. For that, you need a trade mark registration. See 2 above.

4 – Don’t forget to review your brand name use and protection and monitor the marketplace

It’s important to regularly review how you are using your brand name and whether you have extended its use to other goods and/or services and/or countries. If your brand name changes, you may need to file a fresh trade mark application. Ditto, if you have started using it on different goods or services to those covered by your trade mark registrations/s. Also, if you plan to provide your goods and/or services in other countries, you should consider seeking protection for your brand name in those countries without delay.

It’s also important to keep an eye on the marketplace. If anyone is using your brand name, or a similar brand name, you should address this quickly. Failure to do so may negatively impact your rights against the other party and/or in your brand name.
Your brand name is likely to be valuable IP. If you treat it as you would other valuable property, by way of the above, you are likely to secure and maintain strong protection brand name protection.

Catherine Chant