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WOS ambassador & partner embraces "ubuntu"

Ahead of the upcoming Women of Storm cocktail event in Round 22, get to know the inspiring Yolanda Uys, founder and owner of supporting Partner Banks Botanical, who will be sharing her story at the upcoming Women in League Round event!

With over 25 years' experience as a Global and Local Marketing expert and 10 years working in the drinks industry, Yolanda began Banks Botanicals with husband Brian and friend Frank after a growing need for non-alcoholic drinks.

“Born in South Africa, I embrace the philosophy of ubuntu – “I am because we are”,” Uys shared.

“In an African village, tribe members all understand that the different skills and perspective they bring plays a vital role in keeping the community connected and forward moving.

“Growing up in South Africa I understood the importance of inclusivity.  When I think about the changes in drinking culture in Australia, I can see Banks Botanicals as part of this – whether you choose to drink or not you’re still included, still part of the social moment.

“Launching Banks was all about making sure that everybody was part of that social moment, everybody felt included.”

Raised next to a rugby field with the view she was as welcome as the next, Yolanda shares that she never saw herself as any different from her two male business partners. However, she admits the start-up process shone a light on areas requiring her to look inward and believe.

“One of them is unashamedly being able to talk about and hero the business. Letting go of the concept that it feels like “boasting” is hard,” Uys says.

“I still find it difficult, but it is vital in securing investment and building a network with the right stakeholder and getting access to the right supporters.

Despite a strong self-image, backing yourself and having the self-belief and confidence in your own experience and capability is something I continue to work on every day.

“How we see ourselves creates the blueprint for how the world treats us.

“As woman I think our first supporter and bigger cheerleader needs to be ourselves. When starting Banks, the hardest thing was believing that the idea could work and having the confidence to take the first step.

“Having people around you to give you that push or to help you see the potential is vital...Who you surround yourself with can be the magic ingredient to unlocking your full potential.”

While every day running a start-up has been a rollercoaster, Yolanda notes a highlight of her ever-evolving career as being a part of ‘change’ movements, such as non-alcoholic drinks and the Women of Storm program.

Speaking to what drew her and her Banks Botanical partners to the Storm initiative, Yolanda shared it came from belief in better tomorrow.

“When we heard about the Women of Storm program, we felt that the values and intent were aligned to Banks,” Uys said.

Both Banks and Women of Storm are about creating inclusion at every level, whether it is playing sport or getting together over a drink – all without compromising who she is and what she stands for, being authentically herself.

“By working with the team at the Storm it brings the philosophy of “ubuntu” to life. We all have a role to play in building a modern village reflective of a world we want the next generation to grow up in.”

A supporter of positive change and inclusivity deep in her core, Yolanda ends with a message for other women out there yearning to go out on their own or just thinking about their personal career journeys.

“Don’t let perfect be the enemy of progress,” she adds.

“Start where you are with what you have and believe that you can do it.

Authentically embrace who you are and unashamedly go out there and chase after what matters most to you. You are braver, stronger and smarter than you think, and you can 100% do this.”

Don’t miss out the opportunity to hear more from Yolanda and secure your spot at the Women of Storm cocktail event now!

Acknowledgement of Country

Melbourne Storm respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.