Out of all the women we’ve had the pleasure of chatting with for the Stella Women Series, Dani Wallace has to be one of the most memorable (for all the right reasons).
Today, Dani is the fearless founder of the Fly Anyway Foundation (an organisation helping survivors of domestic abuse build successful businesses), a passionate public speaker, business coach, singer and mum to two daughters.
But Dani has overcome significant hurdles to get here. After growing up on the council estates of Preston in the UK, she went over to experience domestic abuse in a range of intimate partner relationships in her teens and twenties.
In her moments at rock bottom, Dani vowed she would go on to help other people overcome adversity – particularly in the field of domestic abuse recovery.
Keep reading to find out more about why Dani is so passionate about helping women take up space in the world, the origin story behind the Fly Anyway Foundation and her words of wisdom for women across the globe.
“I’m Dani Wallace, otherwise known as the Queen Bee. I grew up on the council estates of Preston where things like addiction, domestic abuse, and mismanagement of money were really inherent.
I spent my entire life with poor information about intimate partner relationships, money and what it means to be successful. By the time I got to my early 20s, even though I was an intelligent articulate woman, I found myself where I was experiencing domestic abuse in my intimate partner relationships. I had two children under the age of three and I became homeless.
It was when I was about three months into this experience of sofa surfing between family and friends’ houses, trying to hold on to a job and trying to keep my kids in the nursery that I had to make a decision: either life was going to continue to happen to me or I was going to happen to life.
There was a real sort of pivotal moment during that time whereby I realised that every decision I’d made brought me to where I was. Because of that, it was in my power to change things and I decided that I wanted to get out, ask for help and to rebuild my life from the ashes.
After the trauma I’d experienced, I found employment really restrictive and I found being managed very difficult.
And I had a business idea. I swore that if ever I was to make it out of that situation, I would dedicate the rest of my life to helping people that experienced domestic abuse to do the same.
So, I started to sing full-time, I started to share my story with my audience, I started to build an audience by going live on social media, and people started to take notice. I started to grow the #IAmTheQueenBeeCommunity. In the beginning, it was an idea, a reclamation statement to your birthright to success, to good relationships, to good friendships and to safe communities.
I help people take up space in the world where they maybe otherwise wouldn’t using their superpower hidden in plain sight: their voice.”
“It wouldn’t be remiss of people to identify me as a bit jazz hands and a bit of a showgirl. You know, I’ve been on stage for 25 years, I work in essentially the performance space. But it’s nothing to do with that and everything to do with knowing.
Confidence isn’t about being brave – confidence is about knowing that what you do is important, and that knowing what you do helps.
When building the idea behind the Fly Anyway Foundation, I knew that nobody else is stepping up to this plate in this particular arena. I don’t see really anybody else helping specifically this demographic of people in a way that is necessary and can make a real change – not just to individuals but the national economy, too.
I know we’re facing a difficult time right now with talks of recessions and mass redundancies. But what if we were able to teach people the tenacity to be flexible, to understand the commodities they have within themselves, how to monetize that, and how to build that?
I remember when I was 13 and my sister was 14, we sat on the bed while the adults were arguing outside. I was holding my sister’s hand and told her, ‘one day, we will help people stop this cycle.’ I didn’t know how at the time, but the seeds of the idea were sown.
When a fire has been burning from an ember like that for long – you have to do something about it.”
“I love seeing our Business Builders realise that their concept is valid. It’s often for the first time they’re felt safe and had a support network with people you believe in them to help them put one foot in front of the other.
The other part I love is when we get their business to launch, they start to trade and they see their idea in the real world. We’ve helped women launch businesses that sell out – and we get to do it again and again.
The work we’re doing is really changing lives – these are seriously magical moments for these women, and I’m so proud to be part of their journey.”
“Stop waiting for the confidence to do the things that you dream about. It’s never gonna happen. It’s like a lottery win – do it scared.
If anybody out there is worried about taking up space with anything, remember you’re only going to get better. Confidence is born from repetition.
Don’t wait for it to land in your lap – you might as well go and buy a scratch card and wait for a lottery win. Confidence comes from knowing and it comes from doing.”
We’re so proud to be partnering with Dani and the team from the Fly Anyway Foundation. Learn more about our partnership.