Friska Wirya

Founder of Fresh by Friska

Friska helps organisations, and the individuals within them, more readily accept and thrive through change.

She brings digital transformation to life by accelerating adoption and building proficiency at scale, having worked for some of the biggest names in mining, engineering and technology. A change and transformation expert for nearly a decade, she’s led change programs influencing up to 23,000 people – technology implementations, operating model redesigns, M&As, process and system reengineering, restructures and culture shifts.

She headed up change at Newcrest Mining, the largest gold miner on the ASX, leading its digital transformation changes to achieve significant financial and innovation outcomes, winning the 2018 METS Ignited Collaboration Award, the SAP Innovation Award and several other innovation rankings. Prior to this, Friska was the Global Change Lead at engineering giant Worley, overseeing technology, process and system changes across its 55 offices.

Friska’s change management efforts for a $42m technology implementation at the world’s single largest policing jurisdiction attracted national recognition by an Australian Federal Government panel as ‘best in class’.

Her expertise has been sought after at Microsoft Indonesia, Women in Leadership Asia, Future of Mining Sydney, Female Influencers in Tech, Contino’s The Leadership Panel, Wonder Women Tech, Women in Mining & Energy Indonesia, Minerals Week Canberra, Women in Leadership Australia and Mining Leaders Forum Perth. Friska also contributes her thought leadership to The Future Shapers, Thrive Global, Delivering Happiness and has been published in The Australian HR Institute and AusIMM’s digital disruption series.

Where did the idea for Fresh by Friska come from?

Clients have remarked the way I approach challenges and resistance is very fresh – innovative, different, creative. Unlike anything they’ve encountered before. So it’s about fresh thinking and fresh perspectives to realise better outcomes.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

I need 8 hours sleep to function optimally! I exercise, shower, make a green smoothie, catch up on emails and socials from last night, speak to my VA, I may need to review or approve deliverables – and then it could be practice for an upcoming speaking event, review materials and sequencing for a workshop I may be delivering, being interviewed on podcasts or radio, or developing a keynote for a conference.

How do you bring ideas to life?

A picture says a thousand words so visuals and analogies make something dry leap off the page. I also socialise my idea with my trusted network for feedback.

What’s one trend that excites you?

I think COVID-19 has normalised mental health – it’s important to keep having these conversations and for leaders to start leading it. This is a change that will have a domino effect. More authenticity, more integrity, less mask wearing.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

I know when I perform at my best. I’m not a 5am riser, nor do I want to be. I experimented with what worked for me and I’ve stuck to it! This means I can do more in less time.

What advice would you give your younger self?

You don’t need to see the whole staircase to take the first

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

There is a bamboo ceiling even in this day in age, although everyone pretends it doesn’t exist.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Follow up, follow up, follow up. Silence is not an answer. Persist until you get a response, even if it’s a no, not right now.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

Partner and collaborate with complementary businesses. I’m in change management – I collaborate with project management specialists, outplacement services, career coaches, digital strategists. Change comes in all shapes and sizes, hence the scope is broad.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

Not a failure, a learning. Great services don’t sell themselves. I’m now learning about facebook marketing for my online course!

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

A personal virtual concierge. We all make comments like ‘oh we should find out if they do yoga classes in x’ or ‘that looks like a great restaurant to try’, ‘when will Hamilton be showing what tickets are available?’. It takes a lot of effort and time to do this for yourself and your family!

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

My virtual assistant. Life saver. Sanity regainer. We only have 24 hours in the day. Spend them wisely, spend them doing things in your genius zone – not admin!

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?

Slack – every single day! No more inbox overload. I use it to communicate with my VA, graphic designer as well as clients.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

Brene Brown – Braving the Wilderness. She hammered home the fact that the only thing you stand to lose by being real, is something fake. The way she talked about belonging – as opposed to being excluded – had me looking at this topic from an angle I hadn’t thought about.

One of the early stories she shared about from her upbringing had me reflecting on my own isolated, tumultuous and lonely childhood, many moments of feeling abandoned – from looks of disappointment, extended silent treatment, right down to physical abuse and never being comforted when I needed it most. It challenged me to think that even if 90% of the time it was unintentional, and my extended family didn’t know any better… even just one time – 1% can shift a child’s sense of self worth

What is your favorite quote?

No change, no progress.

Change can be downright uncomfortable, but what growth isn’t? You just gotta keep pushing.

Key Learnings:

  • Everyone has an opinion – only listen to those from people who have trodden down the path you’re wanting to walk.
  • Health is wealth – pay attention not just to what you put in your mouth, but in your mind. Don’t associate with negative people who bring you down, be aware of what you read.
  • FAIL – f*cked attempt in learning. Keep going. Dust yourself off and try again.