Girl, Empowered: The Building Blocks of Confidence

With Featured Guest

Tanya Meessmann


Blog divider

Girl, Empowered: The Building Blocks of Confidence

With Featured Guest

Tanya Meessmann


Blog divider

Top Takeaways From This Episode

  • Growth isn’t always pretty—Any teenager can tell you that. But growing pains are temporary, and can be punctuated with moments of joy and celebration.
  • Play to your strengths. If you do something you’re good at and you do it well, it’s still worthy of celebration.
  • Being brave isn’t easy. It’s a conscious choice, not a permanent state of being. 

Head Cheerleader

Tanya Meessmann was ambitious from the get go. Born in a small town in Queensland, Australia, she sought out leadership roles for herself as early as primary school. She went to college for business communications and quickly took on a significant role at an advertising agency. 

At work, Tanya was everyone’s cheerleader. She encouraged her colleagues to follow their passions, but it wasn’t long before she realized that she wasn’t following hers. She quit her advertising job and moved to Ireland, where she fell into filmmaking. For the next twelve years, Tanya worked as a film producer (If you’re curious about her work, check out her IMDb page).

After she had her son, she moved back to Queensland, where she worked as Head of Brand and Communications for a set of three International Baccalaureate (IB) high schools. Her work led her to meet several frustrated parents of girls who refused to take risks. Her conversations with these parents led Tanya to realize that girls have a major confidence problem.

Girl, Empowered 

Tanya served as a mentor to young women for most of her adult life. At the time, she worked with a couple of college-age girls struggling to break into the film industry. Tanya realized that these girls had a confidence problem, too. As a mentor, Tanya helped the girls feel less alone on their journey, which allowed them to reckon with their insecurities. She decided she wanted to scale up that impact and help girls all over Australia boost their confidence.   

Tanya founded Girl Shaped Flames four years ago to serve that purpose. Since then, Tanya’s worked with over 3,000 teenage girls, their parents, and educators. Girl Shaped Flames offers powerful mentorship, inspiring events, and transformative courses that help high school girls develop their confidence. Her work inspires unique career pathways and courageous parenting. 

Identity Stage

Many of the girls that Tanya works with are going through a developmental stage that psychologist Erik Erikson calls “identity vs. role confusion.” Unless imterrupted by traums, naearly all young people aged 12-18 go through this stage. During this time, teens look to influences like their friends and pop culture to establish a sense of self, like friends and pop culture. This can be incredibly frustrating for the parent, but Tanya says that it’s a crucial part of development. According to psychology, if teens don’t cycle through this phase completely, their sense of self will crumble in adulthood. Anyone who’s been a teen knows that the so-called identity stage can be rough, and Tanya loves shepherding teens through this phase.

Girl, Empowered: The Building Blocks of Confidence Tanya Meessmann The Brave Files Podcast EP 161

Camp Courage

Girl Shaped Flames hosts programs that are entirely out of Tanya’s comfort zone. Her favorite program is the one that’s the scariest, Camp Courage, is a three-day overnight camp in the bushlands of Australia. They put the program on hold in 2020; Still, it’s back on for 2021 (Australia is leaps and bounds ahead of America in terms of mitigating the spread of COVID). Running a camp means that Tanya’s responsible for her campers’ wellbeing, which is sometimes daunting.

But the impact Camp Courage has on its campers is undeniable. Nearly all the girls who attend have overwhelmingly positive things to say about the program, and so do their families. That’s because the camp allows girls to connect to their peers and reflect on their sense of self. One of Tanya’s favorite parts of camp is a tradition at the end, when each girl hands another girl at the camp a paracord bracelet and says, “You got this.” For Tanya, this act is a celebration of the girls’ power and a way for them to feel less alone as they navigate adolescence. 

Connect with Tanya!

Tanya Meesmann is an entrepreneur, film producer, and mentor based in Queensland, Australia. Her ambition, which began in primary school when she joined the debate team, has only grown with age. In 2016, Tanya founded Girl Shaped Flames, an organization committed to cultivating the most confident, courageous, and self-assured generation of girls the world has ever seen. This past February, Tanya founded a not-for-profit called UNIQ YOU, which strives to increase the number of teenage girls in Australia who pursue roles and industries currently under-represented by women. 

Courageous Parenting

Raising Girl Shaped Flames FB Group

Raising Girl Shamed Flames Podcast

Giving is Good

We would be remiss if we didn’t plug Girl Shaped Flames. Tanya’s organization is committed to cultivating the most confident, courageous, and self-assured generation of girls the world has ever seen. To do this, they provide online courses for girls and their parents to help develop their confidence, communication, and connection within their everyday life. They also offer programs that connect girls to women with fascinating and empowering jobs. Check out Girl Shaped Flames on Facebook and Instagram. If you’re raising a daughter up to the age of 18, check out their Facebook group, Raising Girl Shaped Flames.


Australian National Youth Mental Health Foundation

Tanya supports the Australian National Youth Mental Health Foundation, branded as headspace. headspace offers information about and support for mental health for people 12–25. Their services touch on a range of issues that can perpetuate mental illness, like physical and sexual health, substance abuse, and work/study life. They also offer resources for friends and family of young people experiencing mental illness. Tanya loves that there is a nationwide, free service in Australia that offers mental health support for young people. She especially likes their early intervention approach, because it helps young people with mild or moderate mental health issues manage their symptoms so that they never become too severe. Headspace is funded by the Australian Government Department of Health, but be sure to show them some love on Facebook and Instagram.

"Just because we're brave doesn't mean things are easy!"

- Tanya Meessmann

Meet your Host, <em style="color:teal">Heather Vickery<em>

Meet your Host, Heather Vickery

Heather Vickery is an award-winning business owner and global leader with over 20 years as an entrepreneur. She leverages her entrepreneurial skills and expertise to coach individuals towards greater personal and professional fulfillment by helping them leverage their fear into intentional bravery. Heather says “When we choose bravely, on purpose, we choose bigger, have bigger successes and it’s contagious” A celebrated public speaker, Heather inspires audiences and empowers attendees with the tools they need to live bold and successful lives through creating balance, time management, mindfulness, as well as countless systems, strategies, and boundaries. She’s the author of Gratitude Journal: Shift Your Focus and Grow Grateful: A Gratitude Journal for Kids and Families. Heather is also the host and executive producer of The Brave Files Podcast.

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