Friendly dragon profile: Michelle Hollands

Once a month we have a group of "friendly dragons" (aka Team Soda) that come together to hear pitches from startups and review the progress being made of those in a Soda startup programme. Over the next few months we'll be introducing you to this panel of knowledgeable business legends. This one's all about Michelle Hollands.

Michelle Hollands is a Strategic Projects and Partnership Manager at Te Waka – Waikato’s Regional Economic Development Agency. Michelle’s strengths lie in business strategy, implementing and planning. She has successfully delivered development sessions across a broad range of business sectors ranging from small-medium and privately-owned companies, to large multinational corporates.

This is Michelle's first year on our panel, so we are very excited to have her on Team Soda.

Who inspires you?

I’m generally inspired by those who have the commitment and focus to work hard for success and the humility to be quietly proud of their success. “Work hard in silence, let success be your noise”.

What’s the best concert you ever attended?

I’d have to say, Madonna! Less about her music, more about the performance, her precision and energy.

If you could be any animal, which would you be and why?

A Jaguar.

What’s your favourite business book/podcast?

A financial literacy book has probably most influenced my business outlook and business investments. The book, Your Mortgage and How to Pay It off in Five Years : By Someone Who Did It in Three, by Anita Bell is a clever financial model that challenges hand to mouth spending and enables anyone to consider how to invest to achieve their personal goals, whatever they may be.

What are you passionate about?

Physical wellbeing and encouraging others to benefit from physical activity. Continual personal and professional development – supporting others and learning from others.

What’s your favourite movie?

This will show my age, Shawshank redemption. Any movie with Morgan Freeman in it.

What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done?

Czech Republic to Poland overnight train as a back packer.

What are you currently watching on Netflix?

Blacklist, Money Heist, Designated Survivor, Modern Family. I’m a bit of a snack watcher – easily bored.

If you could visit anywhere in the world you’ve never been before, where would it be?


Which four people, living or dead, would you most like to eat dinner with? What kind of dinner party would it be?

My mum and my three daughters, hands down the three most important ladies in my life. If I could invite one more, I’d invite my husband too! We would all spend the night telling life stories.

If you were a crayon, what colour would you be?

Red, no questions asked.

If you have an epic idea for a startup and want to pitch to our friendly dragon’s den, click here to find out how.

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