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The first time I travelled to the US without my family was in 1980 as a naïve 17-year-old. I found out months later that in my initial days there no-one understood my fast-talking Aussie Strine! Apparently, it was my incessant chatter and smiles that kept people engaged and smiling along with me.

Think of That 70’s Show

I actually lived that life. Each of those quirky characters (young and old) are only slightly exaggerated versions of my tribe then. I spent many hours in converted teenage basements, on road trips and sitting at different family dining tables between getting a formal education of sorts.


Being the token exchange student offered me a level of inclusivity and meant I could cross a mix of cultural bridges. 

I went to 2 Proms, played Varsity basketball, was besties with the Cheerleader Captain, performed in the Musical, was in the Honor Society and had good friends who were deemed “different”; black, gay, nerds and others excluded from the mainstream because of typically unfair reasons.

I graduated my Senior Year in Michigan and returned to Oz with experience beyond my years, struggling to fit back into a life that hadn’t grown with me, and with a comprehension of how small the Australian population was when compared to the rest of the big wide world


The second time I travelled to the US without my family was today!
I’ve just arrived in Austin, Texas to try out my Aussie Strine on a different audience, this time at the 2017 Digital Kids Media Summit

I still carry my fast-pace incessant chatter and my smile, I’m just wearing a few more wrinkles and a better appreciation of the wonderful life experiences I’ve had.


On my first leg to LA I watched the documentary Becoming Warren Buffet.

If you haven’t seen this doco be warned, Mr Buffet isn’t the best singer around but he doesn’t care and that makes him, and his story even more endearing.

“Look for the job you would take if you didn’t need a job”  

Warren Buffet


I’ve seen this doco before but revisited it to remind myself that with hard work and dedication you can achieve important things and make a constructive difference in the world.


And I am! My startup is about just that, positive impact. It’s not cutting-edge technology or even a science-based behavioural tool (yet). It is about bringing a bit more fun into the lives of families across the world which is so much bigger and busier than when I last travelled alone all those years ago.



I’m doing something I love and just like the younger Anne-Marie of the Class of ‘81, I’ve again found myself a community inviting discovery and acceptance. The innovation ecosystem in Queensland is opening the doors for people from all walks of life to “give it a go!” and discover the opportunities technology offers for education, business and societal impact. I’m grateful to be part of this exciting growth sector and want to encourage everyone to join in because we are all important and have something to offer where we live and well beyond.


I embrace change and as I said to a friend on an opportunistic Sunday drive many months ago, I choose and own the risks I’m willing to take. I’m told those are traits identified in an Entrepreneur, and that is a label I’m proud to wear.

Today brings another stage in my startup adventure and ……


I like adventures!


THIS is what happened next

Also published on Medium.