Brisbane I Friday 10 March 2023
A true disruptor for purpose, Justine’s leadership as co-founder of Thankyou has seen a small start-up go against all odds to become one of Australia’s leading social enterprises, globally recognised for its creativity, innovation and impact.
As young as 12 years old, Justine Flynn was deeply impacted by the stories she had heard of millions of people overseas living in poverty and was inspired to take action and make an impact in whatever way she could.
She began holding bake sales and running clothing swaps to save enough money to pay her own way on trips to developing countries to understand the hardship these people experienced and to help those living in extreme poverty.
These trips profoundly impacted her and only 9 years later, she co-founded Thankyou, a small start-up that went against all odds to become one of Australia’s leading social enterprises, globally recognized for its innovation, disruption, and impact. Thankyou exists because of a simple idea.
Currently, there are more than 736 million people living in extreme poverty with many dying daily simply because they lack access to meet basic human needs, meanwhile, global consumer spending totals a staggering US$63 trillion per year. Thankyou is a bridge between these two extremes, bringing consumers a choice that exists all for the vision of a world where not one person lives in poverty. To date, Thankyou has raised over $17 million to impact the lives of people across 32 countries, and its fast-growing range of personal care products is stocked by major retailers in Australia, with every product existing all-for the end of extreme poverty This is a story of love, heartbreak, sheer grit through times of hardship, triumph against all odds and a revolutionary idea to flip business as usual.
In the early days of Thankyou, Justine and her co-founders fought hard against the multinationals already in the industry they were trying to break into. They had no budget, minimal business experience, and a whole lot of conviction to see this dream become a reality. Thankyou exists as the social enterprise it is today because of the power of people, coming together to take a stand for what they believe in, and when they started out, that was all they were - three young students who took a stand to try and right a wrong that should have never existed. With social media petitions, campaigns recorded in one-take videos, and helicopters flying 30,000 square foot signs above the head offices of industry giants, Thankyou finally got 7-Eleven to range their first product - then Coles, and then Woolworths, and the story continues to grow as every major retailer in the country followed.
The groundswell of grassroots community support behind Thankyou translated into record sales with Thankyou’s hand wash holding the number 1 position for years along with the launch of product ranges with some of the highest loyalty in the category. In 2021, The Australian Financial Review recognised Thankyou as number 29 in the top 50 corporate philanthropists, ahead of many ASX 200 listed companies. To date, Thankyou has given $17 million to their impactful change-makers working in over 32 countries, and both Justine and her co-founder and husband Daniel, believe this is still only the beginning.
Justine’s personal leadership journey and wisdom gleaned from the lessons learnt over the last decade and a half in business will leave a profound impact for other leaders on their own journey. She has led the Thankyou team through each of the critical life cycles of a business journey playing an instrumental role in creating the consumer movement Thankyou is today and battled severe burnout and come out the other side, all while raising her son Jedediah and her daughter Jordan. Justine’s story and the insights she has to share will deeply inspire and catalyze change in the hearts and minds of every audience, and as a gifted storyteller with an incredible ability to engage her guests, she will have you on the edge of your seat and walking out different to when you came in. Justine recently moved back to Queensland with her husband Daniel and son Jedediah to be closer to her family as they welcomed their daughter Jordan into the world. After a decade and a half deep in the day-to-day management, Justine now supports the growth of Thankyou in a governance and strategy capacity with a desire to broaden her impact and invest more time into inspiring others, through speaking at events, sharing in thought leadership, and supporting other organisations on their own journey, as well as a few other projects on her heart.
Justine Flynn appears by arrangement with Saxton Speakers Bureau.