Kate Fisher is an award-winning Australian storyteller and changemaker. She is the founder of Milkshakes for Marleigh and the host and executive producer of the Milkshakes for Marleigh Podcast, which has released over 70 episodes across 3 seasons. She has a child who is dependent on blood products to survive and is on a mission to end persistent critical blood shortages in Australia.

Kate is also a Non-Directive Child-Centered Play Therapist and has a private practice on The Sunshine Coast in Queensland where she specialised in working with children and their families who have experienced medical trauma.

When did you start your business?

Year 2021

What was the inspiration behind starting this business?

Our daughter Marleigh has a condition called Seronegative Paediatric Autoimmune Encephalitis and while there is no cure, treatment is possible with products derived from donated human plasma. For Marleigh, blood products are life-saving when she relapses and life-preserving for every infusion in between.

I saw the incredible power of telling Marleigh’s story in recruiting new blood donors and also did not realise the extent of persistent critical blood shortages in Australia. I’ve created The Milkshakes for Marleigh Podcast and community to thank blood donors and encourage new ones.

If you have ever been a blood donor, you can listen to the podcast and wonder if you are the one who saved, prolonged or improved the quality of life on my podcast guest. I also remind listeners that 1 in 3 Aussies will need blood within their lifetime and yet only 1 in 30 ever donate. I’m on a mission to change that and to end persistent critical blood shortages in Australia and around the world.

What are you most excited about in your business?

Since commencing my blood donation advocacy work, the lives of over 5000 Australians have been saved by blood donations made through The Milkshakes for Marleigh Lifeblood Team.

What has been the most challenging thing about starting your business?

The greatest challenge that I have found is growing my audience with no advertising budget and without the backing of a podcast network. My husband does the audio production but I am responsible for every other aspect of making the podcast and associated blood donation advocacy activities. Like so many other female startups, this is led by my determination and hard work. There is no financial safety net of Human Resources to catch me.

What advice would you give to other women thinking about starting a business?

Find something that you are really passionate about and be realistic about what other things in your life may need to shift while you pour energy into building your business and brand. It’s exhausting but the exhilaration of seeing your hard work convert into business “wins” is incredible.

Why did you enter the AusMumpreneur Awards?

I wanted to win awards to elevate my messaging of the importance of blood donation. But more than getting trophies and recognition I wanted to be in the room with like-minded women, the best in the business, in their respective fields to network, learn and grow!

What did you enjoy the most about being part of the awards?

The AusMum community is unlike any other I have ever been a part of! I love the friendships I have formed and the kinship in celebrating each others successes and using our respective resources to support other women to grow their business and pursuits.

What surprised you most about the awards?

The support that women genuinely offered to each other!!! I’ve never been part of an all-female community before with such a distinct lack of bitchiness!!!

How did the awards help you in your business?

The awards have helped me to engage media and further my messaging of the importance of blood donation advocacy. They have also assisted in linking me in with a prospective publisher for my book manuscript.

What advice would you give to other mums thinking about entering the awards?

DO IT!!!! It’s such a uniquely supportive community and whether of not you win, its so nice to have a way to document and celebrate your successes!

What has been the best thing about starting your own business?

Being able to drive my own agenda and be a real changemaker. The Milkshakes for Marleigh Podcast is a creative change to a social problem and it’s amazing to see that change in action as we recruit so many new blood donors.

What’s happening next in your business?

I am thrilled to be rounding out the last episodes for Season Three of the podcast and then I am going to focus all my attention on finding a publisher for my book manuscript.

What are your big plans for the future?

I would love to have one of the larger podcast networks to pick up my podcast to help as I know it’s amazing, just not enough people know about it yet! I need the backing, placement and advertising dollars to take it to the next level.