Getting to know… Kylie Ostle of Mum Society

Mum Society, inspiring talks and events for mums, by mums. A place where you can mingle, share, and enjoy a room full of like-minded women.
Tell us about yourself
I am mum to 3 girls aged 5, 2, and 6 months old and wife to Ryan. I’m also the founder and owner of Mum Society. I have a background in sales and marketing, specifically in the liquor industry, and prior to that, FMCG in health and pharmaceutical.
I was made redundant 4.5 years ago over email in my final weeks of maternity leave and on the back of that I realised that during maternity leave women are just not supported. We’re given a baby blanket and a bunch of flowers and sent on our merry way. In that time you have grown and given birth to a human and you have no idea who you are or what you are doing. After my confidence was shattered, I was struggling with who I was coupled with the overwhelming responsibility for my first child.
I started chatting with other mums and found that I was not the only one who was made redundant in pregnancy or during maternity leave and that it was, unfortunately, fairly commonplace. I found that maternity leave on the most part was not being well managed. A week after my redundancy I registered a business and 4 weeks after that I ran my first event with 20 mums attending. We also hosted two events in one day which was, now looking back, completely bonkers! We held an event during the day and another in the evening, which I soon realised was untenable.
Tell us about Mum Society
Mum Society has been likened to TEDx inspired talks for mums. I found that on maternity leave you are put into these groups such as your mothers groups, which are fantastic and there are loads of resources out there but to go to an environment where there is childcare onsite, you get a spring in your step with new conversations and a little bit of mental stimulation. We have lots of mums in the early years seeking inspiration that come along to our events. Having women get dressed and attend an event and rather than introducing themselves by referring to their child, they say, “I am” which is a lovely feeling. These were the things that I felt I was lacking during my maternity leave, which helped fill the void in this new experience of being mum.
Most of our events sell out; we have corporates booking tables to better support their mums, which is all occurring organically.
Mum Society works with corporates too – what services do you offer?
I have been doing a number of workshops and speaking with corporates with the aim of assisting them to better support women while are on maternity leave. We now have some significant contracts with corporate businesses after they approached us to assist, some of which also send their mums along to our events with a Mum Society membership. We have created step programs to better support their maternity leave processes and we champion and advocate flexibility, which is really exciting!
The maternity leave side of things is extremely important and something I am passionate about. I am also hugely an advocate for small business. I have worked in a global, luxury-focused organisation and have also worked for a small start up. My passion lies with the start up and what you can achieve on a very small budget is amazing, especially through relationships. When it comes to mum run businesses I love being able to help.
We work with businesses by recruiting or accessing our talent pool. We have 4,500 mums registered with us who are looking to get back in the workforce and we advocate women going for promotions while on maternity leave. Recruitment was never something I thought I would be involved in but we have some exciting things happening there. We are collaborating so stay tuned for some exciting developments!
Has the business changed and shifted from where it started?
Absolutely. We have outgrown 2 previous spaces and are now at capacity at our current venue, Centennial Homestead. In terms of business change – initially I had visions of being everything to everyone and when you get started there is only so much time and what the family needs allow. It’s a balancing act on that front. We are continuing our Sydney events; launching interstate events and focusing more in the mum and maternity leave space.
What’s new, upcoming and exciting for Mum Society?
We will be running national events during the later part of this year in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Canberra and have some really high profile speakers signed up. Stay tuned for dates! We also have our much anticipated (and requested) after dark series on the horizon. Collaboration is key for us.
Our next Sydney based event speaker is Talitha Cummins who was also made redundant on maternity leave. We are being approached by speakers who were listed on my vision board for Mum Society, which is just so humbling. I need to pinch myself sometimes at the calibre of speakers we’re attracting.
Each cloud has a silver lining, what good things have come out of being made redundant?
I struggle sometimes with the concept of the silver lining, as my palms still get sweaty when I think of being made redundant. I was at the my absolute most vulnerable and I know that because I am back there again with a 6 month old who is struggling with sleep and feeding from a bottle. It just didn’t need to happen, and even if it did it could have been better managed. Every time someone shares their story or gets made redundant in the public eye I stomp up and down and get so angry for them!
However, let’s be honest that if my redundancy didn’t happen, Mum Society simply would not exist. I know that I am making a difference to these women and I know that providing a space for them to connect with other women during maternity leave when everything nowadays is generally online is hugely beneficial to them.
What is the best thing that has happened to you in business?
Hosting Sally Obermeder twice as a speaker was a big one and she is now a friend as result. I am lucky that many of these women who I host have now become friends and are the people I turn to. It’s the speakers that make this business and the community. Now being approached by key Australian role models and inspiring women and getting the external validation is amazing. There are lots of little wins along the way that make me happy in my business.
We have had over 3,500 women coming through our events and 4,500 registered looking for work, which is a big deal. Also being approached to speak on a radio station about maternity leave and redundancy is amazing.
The entire time I have run this business there have been challenges personally with family and at the moment I don’t feel like I am getting runs on the board which is obscene considering the events run so well and I receive so many gorgeous emails. I love the emails that come through after connecting people or helping them find a dream job or being able to support a brand that wants to get out there. It’s the little things that are my biggest achievements.
What do you love about motherhood?
Right now, I think having three has forced me to give up trying to control everything, it’s chaos which helps you to enjoy the little things and to just love motherhood on the whole. I love that you realise that there is so much more out there; that you can look at the world through your child’s eyes. Yesterday, I was pretending to be in a music class when my 2 year old was being Angeline the Disco Queen. I love newborn snuggles and am enjoying motherhood the third time around more than the first or second time.
I loved being at the Mothers Day assembly at school and today, I was gifted a Mother’s Day flower crown. Both brought me to tears!
What is your most favourite day ever, and why?
My wedding day, it was a truly perfect day that I still get very emotional about and this is closely followed by the birth of Sadie. We never in our wildest dreams expected a third and the birth was magical and there was so much relief and emotion when we thought we had lost her and she was actually ok. I look back on ‘THAT moment’ that was captured by my husband on camera and thank my lucky stars all the time.
Who inspires you in business and why?
Kate Sutton – when I approached her the very first time we ended up chatting for hours and on the back of that she became a mentor and a friend. She is a seasoned campaigner and trailblazer and the way she has evolved in her business, I really look up to. She is the person when I am really vulnerable I call and she boosts me up.
Emma Isaacs from Business Chicks – she is amazing and we were chatting at an event a little while ago and I said to her “I’m not going to ask you how you are doing it” and she said there is no way she could do what I am doing right now. I asked what she meant and she said you are still in the early start up stages and you have small children. That’s when she said that to me balance doesn’t exist when you’re a parent or a business owner and I still quote her and it picks me up!
Sarah Roocroft is a biggy, I went to Wired for Wonder when Sadie was just 4 weeks old and it was one of the most mind blowing, incredible experiences. Over two days, I met an astronaut, a monk, a free diver, a rockstar and so many more truly amazing people. Sarah carefully curated the most incredible 2-day conference and again, I am so lucky to call her a friend. I love her outlook on life, parenting, marriage and WONDER.
Bianca Kristallis of Pamper Hamper. She is just one of the nicest people I have ever met and is so forthcoming with support. Then there are businesses that are just launching and I love being able to help them. There are a few women I look to in terms of business. I love it most when we all work together and truly believe that together we can have so much more.
Favourite spots in Sydney’s Inner West?
First and foremost for me is Tresillian, it literally saved me.
I am a café and restaurant tart and always have been a foodie diehard. I love places off the beaten track like Jasmins, Fahim’s, Marrickville Pork Roll but also Tramsheds – what they have done there is incredible. I love the Stinking Bishops, Glebe Point Diner, Hartsyard, Luyu & Yum Yum and can we claim the Fish Markets as Inner West? My husband has played football for Balmain for 12 years so we are often at Birchgrove Oval, Callan Park, and Easton Park. I love the Bay Run and I love Sydney Park, I can be found at the scoot park there quite a lot!
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