It has been 11 years since Melanie Perkins and her partner Cli Obrecht created Fusion Books, a child-friendly software program designed to help schools easily and cheaply create their own yearbooks. Successful in its own right, it became the catalyst for Canva, a digital platform that can be used to develop everything from greeting cards to business presentations. Perkins spent months at a time travelling back and forth between her base in Sydney and San Francisco’s Silicon Valley to get Canva off the ground. It was worth the hustle, with the company recently valued at more than $1.29 billion, cementing the entrepreneur as one of the country’s richest women under 40.
Since taking out the Women of Style Business category two years ago, Perkins has driven Canva to new heights. In 2017 alone, Canva Print, Canva for Android and Canva Animations were launched. And despite the constant battle of wanting to “do more and be more”, the 30-year-old CEO recognises the importance of allowing for time out to reflect on her achievements. “Winning [the award] was a great vote of confidence in [the company] and our mission to empower the world to design,” Perkins says. With an ultimate goal to make Canva “the platform that powers the modern workforce”, she certainly has the confidence and clout to back up such an ambitious target. “The most exciting thing is we have no signs of slowing down!”
Words of wisdom... “I love this quote from Gandhi: ‘Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony.’ I think this has shaped the way we approach everything at Canva—each team is aligned and motivated to make the world a better place.”
The ultimate woman of style... “My mum is an incredibly amazing person. She believed relentlessly in my brothers and me, supporting us as we followed unconventional paths.”