My name is Zulimel Leon. My husband and I moved to Australia in 2009 because our home country of Venezuela was going through a really hard time at that point.

My journey has been really bumpy since arriving. Two months after we arrived, I got pregnant with my daughter. When I was ready to work after she was born, it was really difficult for organisations to understand my temporary visa. Then there was my language. Some people said I have a strong accent, but I never try to hide it – the more you embrace who you are, the better people can understand the real you. 

Some employers felt I didn’t have continuity in my career. My background is in advertising and PR and people would tell me ‘It’s too hard, you will never be able to work in those kinds of jobs’. I started to believe that. We moved from Adelaide to Melbourne to the Sunshine Coast and I tried so many times to re-enter the industry and I applied for so many jobs. 

But, inside, I also believed anything is possible. I started gaining courage, and, at one point, I decided that if no company believes I have the skills that they require, I am going to make my own opportunities. Since I was a teenager, I’ve always loved to do anything regarding design. I never stopped believing I could go back to being creative.

I joined Global Sisters in September and my original business idea was completely different. It was for a fashion retail store, but the right tools came at the right time and I switched completely. When you have that a-ha! moment, you know what you need to do, you know where you want it to go, you feel that this is right.

My business, Leon Studio, is a branding consultancy and design studio. Being able to do what I like and help other businesses while working around the needs of my family is paramount to me.  

The pandemic hit and I decided I need to find this time as an opportunity to grow. When I saw the invitation to Global Sisters’ Ten First Customers program I said ‘This is it, I need to do this’.

The program gave me focus and accountability to somebody. I know that I have to meet my business coach fortnightly and so I know I need to be accountable. They are relying on me. 

Global Sisters has given me new perspectives. Meeting other people from other industries has brought different ways to tackle problems. It has been wonderful to meet other entrepreneurs – we all share the sense that we can contribute to society with our knowledge and our skills and what we love to do. 

The pandemic has opened so many opportunities. We are able to provide services in other parts of the world. Local barriers have been lifted and we are able to grow in other ways.

I have been working hard and for longer hours and some days I am really tired but it’s something I am passionate about. I feel more alive now than ever.

Zulimel LeonLeon Studio