CWW Kate SeseljaPhoto by: Tracy Lee PhotographyKate Seselja is a married mother of six who, for twelve dark years, struggled with a gambling addiction
to poker machines. Her recovery has sparked an unstoppable desire to make a difference in the lives of others struggling with addiction and disconnection.

The bulk of her energies have been thrown behind the project she gave birth to in October 2015,
called the HOPE Project.

The AWAKE Program is just one of the programs under the HOPE Project banner, and is an acronym for:

   A – Awareness

   W – What you need

   A – Authenticity

   K – Keep Eyes Forward

   E – Everyday Mindfulness

Kate works as a facilitator for Relationships Australia and has spoken at an exhausting number of events this year. Notably, she travelled to NZ for the International Gambling Conference and also travelled to the US to speak in her capacity as World Kindness Goodwill Ambassador. In October, she was named an ACT finalist in the Telstra Business Awards.

CWW Kate on stagePhoto by: Tracy Lee Photography

Kate appeared on the Canberra Wise Women (CWW) stage at our Launch in December 2015. She wowed our audience with her integrity, drive, and commitment for social change. Much gratitude to you, Kate, for sharing your very personal story of addiction with Canberra Wise Women and for taking the time to answer our questions.

CWW: What was it like to be a part of Canberra Wise Women?

“I was so honoured to be part of the very first Canberra Wise Women and have the opportunity to share my story and vision for The Hope Project, in such a professional yet intimate way. The interview style of Emma Grey created the tone of respect and compassion for my vulnerable words and created a safe place where people could engage fully in the power of the lived experience.”

CWW: Who are your biggest supporters?

“My biggest supporters are obviously my family and my friends, but many new supporters have come from the Canberra Wise Women community. Lisa LaMaitre, the Creator of Canberra Wise Women, has become not only one of my biggest supporters but a dear friend. I’m so grateful I have had so much help and support.”

CWW: What does “success” look like for you?

“Success’ is one of the words, like “Thrive” and “Self Care”, that I feel have been hijacked and exploited. It has been manipulated and marketed to mean that if you are not making millions then you are not successful. Success for me is about being connected to your passion and purpose.”

CWW: What keeps you energised and moving forward?

“I stay energised by living my life on purpose. I am present and intentional each and every day. I practise daily self care which includes early morning gym sessions, and scheduled quiet time to reflect on the previous day and process what has occurred, both good and bad. I also love listening to music and enjoy catching up with friends one-on-one.

Self care in regards to my family includes planning a disco night or board game night, as well as breaking from our usual routine like going to the park. Spending one-on-one time with each of my children is also vitally important to me.

I fiercely protect my mental health and well being. I’ve made a decision to look forward because I can see the incredible benefit my work is having on the community.”


Kristen Holzapfel for Canberra Wise Women
Kristen Holzapfel is a 39 year old Canberran who left her social work career in 2014 to begin her own pet-sitting business - Canberra's Friendly Petsitter. In February 2016, she released her first book, "Selfless: a social worker's own experience of trauma and recovery." Kristen was a Canberra Wise Woman in April 2016 and is now one of our feature writers.