Paz is Co-Founder of The Community Collective, providing a space of support, camaraderie and belonging for community builders themselves. After years as a valued start-up supporter, Paz is now flourishing in two ventures of her own making, and loving it. Her passion for The CC’s mission makes the extra hours fulfilling, but it’s also her dedication to life-long loves – music and nature – that helps restore and sustain her energy.

Striking a chord

Many in the start-up community know Paz from her time at Startup Victoria, where she was the endlessly enthusiastic MC of pitch nights and member events, among other things. She was great in this role, and her shift from start-up supporter to founder wasn’t planned.

A natural people magnet, Paz was proactive in connecting with her community-managing peers when the pandemic kept us apart. What started as a Melbourne meet-up group between lockdowns grew to become The Community Collective, with nearly 300 members across the Australian and New Zealand start-up ecosystem. This growth has been largely through referrals – impressive, but perhaps not surprising if you’ve witnessed Paz’s infectious energy and genuine care for other humans.

“It was never our intention to build a community or start a business. However, we quickly realised that we had struck a chord with a niche audience that really valued our support.”

Not long after The CC’s first birthday, their offerings expanded too, launching a 7-week cohort-based experience to help community-builders level up together.

“My role as co-founder has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life so far.”

Creativity and connection

In case connecting community-builders wasn’t enough to do during lockdown, Paz also released her debut record ‘Ambiental’ through her music brand, Paz Sounds.

Music has been a life-long passion, playing classical Suzuki guitar since age four. Her love and commitment to music has seen her perform on iconic stages in Australia, Spain, Italy and America. But it’s also about connection to people and nature. Paz Sounds produces instrumental compositions incorporating classical guitar with piano, ambient music and nature sounds. She describes her music as “a modern take on sound healing”, prescribed to support meditation, study, work and sleep.

When she’s not working or making music, you’ll often find Paz in her vegie garden or boogie boarding along the Torquay Surf Coast.  

Structure and space

Paz loves planning, but intentionally applies a different approach to her work and personal spheres.

In business, she sets one “big audacious goal” and three core objectives to guide her time. Flowing from those are projects (grouped tasks) and actions ranked by importance and urgency. Her tools of choice are Asana and Todoist.

Paz describes her non-work life as “much more free-flowing and filled with friends, adventures, nature, delicious food and live music”. Conscious of sustainable productivity, she works in “seasons” – taking a week off in nature twice or three times per year to recharge and refocus on the work ahead.

Day to day, Paz credits her Vedic meditation practise as an important source of inspiration, energy and clarity. When she’s taking time out to mediate, she feels on top of her time.

More time, well spent

Acknowledging that she’s working more hours as a co-founder than ever before, Paz finds that time flies in the best sense.

“I feel so fulfilled at the end of each day knowing that I’m creating something from scratch.”

She also knows this can be a trap for founders; the to-do list is never done. While she admits she’s still learning this herself, she’s aware that “the faster you realise you need to ask for help, the more enjoyable and sustainable the journey will be”.

The one piece of generic time management advice that’s never gelled with her? Setting phone reminders to complete tasks: “Honestly, [it] distracts me more than keeping me on track!”

Community ask

Paz has spent most of her career supporting founders and the start-up community. You can support Paz and The Community Collective by sharing her story with any online or IRL community managers in your network.

Check out The Community Collective, and listen to Paz’s favourite working from home track, Rock Pools.

TimeBeings Founder Jenna Polson

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