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Mike Doman
Technology Journalist

Mike Doman is a technology, lifestyle, industrial and education writer

Mike Doman
Technology Journalist

Mike Doman is a technology, lifestyle, industrial and education writer

For former Shell executive Penny Locaso, the future of business is in collaboration. And when it comes to her office, it’s all about creating positive energy that’ll feed into her latest big idea.

Penny Locaso sitting on sofa with red blanket

Penny Locaso’s road to self-employment hasn’t been traditional. What started as a five-year plan at Shell extended to 16 years and a position on the leadership team as the business grew from 200 to 1000.

But when the business consolidated operations, the threat of redundancy loomed and she decided to call it quits.

For the first time in nearly two decades, Penny didn’t have something to do.

“My career was always designed by someone else. I just kept getting promoted, so I never really thought about it.

“When that happened I thought ‘wow’… I actually felt a bit lost.”

So she thought about what she wanted to do, and BKindred was born.

Penny Locaso’s a big fan of Smarter contributor, Lisa Messenger.

Read Lisa’s Smarter columns here.

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“In the corporate world, it’s all about networking – who you know and collaboration. And the way that these big joint ventures get off the ground is these large companies coming together and collaborating, but why can’t small business do that?” Penny asks.

“Not that they want to do massive small business projects, but why can’t they get better learning from each other instead of going back to school? And so that was how BKindred was born. So it is an online collaboration platform that helps small business build community.

“The other thing that I found that was interesting about small business, anyone [in the community] trying to help these guys was giving them the most overwhelming amount of information. I mean the government gives you a 15-page business plan for a small business.

“I didn’t complete a 15-page business plan for the multi-million dollar businesses that I ran for Shell, so why … do it for a business that is turning over a couple of hundred thousand dollars a year? So [BKindred focuses on] Inspiration, Tools and Collaboration Opportunities.”

It’s an idea that could well change the way small businesses operate and collaborate in the future. So we caught up with Penny at her headquarters; her house in Melbourne’s east, to find out what motivates her and drives how she operates.  

So what’s on Penny Locaso’s desk?

Looking to work from home?

Read our guide to setting up the perfect home office here.

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