Corrie Nicholson

Proud Aboriginal Woman, Mum of Two and the CEO of Thendro Pty Ltd

Corrie was travelling around Australia when she stumbled across Thendro. She was into body modifications – tattoos and piercings – so she started work as a trainee body piercer, and loved it. She remembers saying to herself “I’m either going to compete against this company or run it one day. And so began her journey to CEO.

What job did you want to do when you were at school?

I was really interested in fashion from a very young age – I remember dreaming about moving to Paris to become a fashion designer when I was 10 years old. I kind of do that right now actually, as part of my job. At Thendro, we have our in-house fashion brands, so I get to work with designers and contribute to ideas for apparel and accessories.

How did you get started?

My career trajectory changed when I turned 20 and my dad died. I was studying creative writing and journalism at University and when my dad passed away, I took time off. I went on a big self-discovery journey and travelled extensively around Australia and that’s when I stumbled across Thendro. I was into body modifications – tattoos and piercings so I started as a trainee body piercer and I loved it. I said to myself ‘I’m either going to compete against this company or run it one day and that’s how my journey to CEO started.’

What do you love most about your job?

I love the people aspect of the job, I love being around people, collaborating with them, appreciating the diversity of people and ideas and mostly I love seeing people achieve. I feel like I have a duty to ensure that all our staff are achieving and reaching career and personal goals.

What makes you feel confident at work?

I feel confident in general, not just at work, because I really strive to better myself, to keep educating myself. I support myself mentally and physically so that I can be the best person I can be, both at work and at home.

I have this internal dialogue that lets me know that I can achieve things. That’s what gives me confidence because I trust myself, I trust my gut instinct and I know I have a purpose.

Do you have a mantra you use at work?

Yes, I have a personal mantra that I use with my staff. I asked two questions: Has someone died? Is something on fire? If you can answer no to these questions, you can step back and take a breath and work things out!

Who helped you get to where you are today?

I was an adopted child, so my dad had to struggle to get me. He told me to look past stereotypes and that I would not be held back because I was a girl. He told me I could achieve anything. The owners of Thendro also really believed in me early on in my career. They encouraged me to leave the company, to go outside and get broad experience and then bring it back to the company.

As well as all that, I had awesome teachers who encouraged me and told me that I had talents and that I could achieve things. I also had informal therapy and support from girlfriends, and actual therapists and coaches.

Did you make mistakes or fail along the way?

Well, I don’t really believe in failures, because they give you direction and clarity. You learn something, so you need to have failures. I sometimes think about how my life would have been different if I had taken that tennis scholarship when I was 12 year old. But I knew them that even though I was good at tennis, I wasn’t really passionate.

Did you explore other options along the way to becoming CEO?

I didn’t actively seek out a CEO role. When I was younger, I explored becoming a tennis player, a fashion designer, a writer, a journalist. I explored many options. I didn’t like the pressure and the structure of university, because I had a lot of chaos in my head and I loved working with it and being curious and creative.

What else did you do at Thendro before you became CEO?

I did retail, store operations and HR before I became CEO. It helps me hugely now, because I know what my people are going through.

What advice do you have for young girls seeking a career in your industry?

My advice to girls is to just be open to the idea that opportunities exist in everything, It’s taken me 20 years to get to where I am today. You don’t rest on your laurels, you have to keep on learning and exploring. I love speaking publicly and sharing parts of my career journey and being open to all opportunities.

I tell young girls to be curious, and creative and open to opportunities. Really trust your gut. If something really gives you the warm and fuzzies, follow it, trust your instinct and don’t listen to other people. Stay with your instinct and the path will be mapped out for you. I think I’m really lucky that I trusted myself early on and this has led me to where I am today.

There’s so much pressure on young women today, to fit into the mould, to do what is expected.

Young girls need to be proud, bold and strong!

What’s your advice for how we can all live and work in these crazy, changing times?

It’s going to be okay. It may be a new kind of okay, but it’s going to be okay. You’re going to have to use your brain to think outside the box. It’s a different kind of normal. Think differently. Think your wildest thoughts and start working on that.


Job: CEO
Industry: Body Modification