“Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So, throw off the bowlines. Sail away from safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain
I’m Tammy Ven Dange, and I’m the founder and CEO of The Refoundry in Canberra Australia.
Across four continents, I’ve worked in casino marketing, served as an US Air Force officer, was a Peace Corps volunteer in W. Africa, worked for NASA, held senior IT jobs and most recently was the CEO of an animal welfare charity.
Despite all this, I’m currently embarking on what may be my hardest career change yet.
Recently I started a for-profit, social enterprise called The Refoundry in Canberra, Australia. Our mission is to reduce the amount of plastic going into landfills and waterways by creating great products out of recycled plastic.
This isn’t my first business. In fact, it’s my fourth. But this one is different – for I’ve never felt so strongly connected to this company’s purpose. I’ve been a long-time paddler of boats and boards, and it has always bothered me to see plastic rubbish in just about every body of water I’ve ever paddled in across the world.
This business isn’t just about my desire to be my own boss. It’s about doing good things for the environment and of course, our customers.
Financially and from a career perspective, it would far less risky to take another executive-level role with a charity or IT company where there’s a decent, dependable paycheck. Instead, I’m investing my life’s savings into a start-up where I have no manufacturing or industry experience.
The only thing I really have going for me is my business background and a deep passion to help out animals and mother nature in general. Hopefully, this is enough with support from friends, advisers, new supplier relationships, investors and happy customers.
Here I am writing about my entrepreneurial journey as I take another crack at turning an idea into a sustainable business. I’ll definitely make mistakes, as well as do some good things along the way. You can read about my trials and tribulations here as I use this blog to journal this adventure.
I hope that by sharing it, you too might learn something and maybe even gain some courage to follow your own dreams. In the comments section of each post, feel free to teach me a thing or two as well. Just be constructive.
As the toast goes… Here’s to new adventures!
P.S. There are probably typos and the occasional swear word in my posts because I’m literally using this website as a journal. Try not to judge me too hard if you see such things.
P.S.S. Some of you may want to know what products I’m making. Well, it’s a secret – at least until I have something to show you. Then, I’ll do a proper product launch. Until then, I hope you’ll still find value in my posts.