Courageous Conversations: How Lorena Gaxiola built an international interior design business to inspire and empower a new generation of women

Internationally acclaimed interior designer Lorena Gaxiola is a firm believer in one simple truth: without friction there cannot be change.

And she’s endured more than her fair share of friction over what has become a highly successful career.

Originally from Mexico, Lorena dreamed of following in her father’s footsteps and becoming an architect.

When he advised it was no career for a woman, she chose another path, moving to the US to pursue an alternate ambition to become an interior designer.

Aged 24, she built her own business, working with Fortune 500 companies and building an international brand.

She’s been through recessions, launched products in China and made a name for herself for her customer focused design.

Still, all this wasn’t enough to ensure cracking the Australian market would be easy.

When Lorena brought her business to Australia in 2016, she found a very different landscape to the one she was used to, where it proved hard to get a look-in as a boutique brand up against the big names.

In this Courageous Conversation, Lorena shares her story, including how she overcame the major setback of breast cancer shortly after arriving in Australia, and why it wasn’t going to deter her from serving her clients in both Australia and the US.

She also discusses why she’s committed to empowering women in a male dominated industry, and how she is working to shape a new generation of business leaders.

“This is it. I’m going to just completely devote the next 10 years in mentoring and building the next generation of female creatives and giving them a place in a position where they can gain recognition early in their careers.” Lorena Gaxiola.

This‌ ‌episode‌ ‌of‌ Courageous Conversations ‌is‌ ‌brought‌ ‌to‌ ‌you‌ ‌by‌ ‌‌Connect‌now‌ 

Leanne and Lorena also discuss:

  • Why her father’s advice to keep her business light and lean has consistently paid off
  • How she established a business point of difference to secure major clients in the US and internationally
  • Why opportunities present themself when you’re willing to take a chance and put yourself out there
  • How her Mexican upbringing helped her break into the Chinese market
  • Why the Australian industry is very different to elsewhere in the world
  • How she found the confidence to start a business young, grow it quickly and restructure when the need arose
  • Why she was in the perfect business position to thrive during COVID-19, servicing clients in the US, Asia and Australia.
  • How she intends to empower young women and mentor them into management positions in a bid to shift the dynamic of the creative industry

And more…

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Leanne Pilkington

Leanne Pilkington is Chief Executive Officer and Director of Laing+Simmons.