This Guy Did Not Want The Fame Of Being The First Man On The Moon

September 2015, Newcastle: On the 21st August of this year, Rethink Financial Group (Rethink) hosted their first public event, Passionate People With Purpose.


The event was held over an intimate lunch at the Surfhouse and the format was two one-on-one interviews that delved into the lives of two successful passionate women that have created their careers in the ordinarily traditional world of financial services. However, both ladies Cassandra Kavanagh, Little Big Boss of Rethink and Vanessa Stoykov, CEO of evolution media group, have chosen to create their businesses to be anything but traditional. Across the two interviews the audience got to hear each speaker’s unique and inspiring journeys which covered milestones from complete mindset shifts to interviewing Neil Armstrong.


The event began with Cassandra sharing her story about starting her original financial planning business with her husband Dustin Kavanagh at the age of 25. Very early on in the business Cassandra learnt what it’s like to work as a copreneur couple. During her interview she provided the audience with some key insights and learnings on how to manage a husband and wife copreneur business. “We developed a mutual respect for each other’s strengths. Dustin is good at numbers and I’m creative, but also good at organisation” Cassandra told the room of passionate guests. She advises to get clear on what your and your partner’s strengths are and each play to those.


At one stage during the interview Cassandra opened up and shared how only a few years ago she felt that to be able to work doing something she was personally passionate about, that she would have to leave the business that she helped build. It was at this time she enrolled in a course by Tara Mohr called Playing Big (


This was a pivotal moment for Cassandra when she learnt that she didn’t actually need to leave the business, “all I needed to do was to change my mindset around what I was doing in the business” and from there Cassandra introduced some of the things she is personally passionate about into Rethink: a holistic business community that offers multiple life changing services to clients, daily meditation for the Rethink team, a healthy café with affordable lunches for the Rethink team, personal development life coaching for the team and she encourages the team, clients and people in her life to find their triggers (the things they’re passionate about).


Key quotes and learnings from Cassandra:

  • When asked to expand on one of her renowned quotes: You can find your place in the world without having to go to Uni, Cassandra explained “People need to forge their own paths and let go of the attachment to what your career or life might look like and you can have the freedom to move easily and pivot between what you do and love”.

  • If you currently work as one part of a copreneur business or are considering it “Know your strengths and get clear on what they are and play to those”.

As soon as Vanessa took the stage and started sharing her story as a child growing up in Gunnedah with devoted parents including her father who immigrated from Serbia and enforced she was a winner before she’d even started anything, then studying at the University of Canberra with a list of geniuses’ like Will Anderson and Adam Harvey (Peter Harvey’s son), it was clear to the captivated audience that she was destined to have achieved amazing things and with stories to match.


After a few different roles in financial services, Vanessa felt her creative desire wanting to be stimulated and decided to start her own business, evolution media group, at the age of 26. With $14,000 to fund the business she took $10,000 and invested it in a launch party with smoke machines and complementing purple brand colour lights.


Fast track several years and evolution media group has created numerous reality finance television shows, one of those being The Bottom Line, on network 9, which produced the most substantive interview with commander Neil Armstrong before he died. Vanessa shared with intrigued guests that “to be brutally honest he (Neil Armstrong) was a regular guy, not looking for fame. He was quite pragmatic, he was an engineer”. 


Vanessa described her interpretation of Neil as “this guy did not want the fame of being the first man on the moon, he was just doing his job”. However, as Vanessa reflected on her experience with Neil Armstrong you could see and hear her recognise the historic significance of what she had been a part. When she spoke about the moment when they showed Neil Armstrong footage of President Kennedy talking about the moon landing and watched him almost tear up as he watched the footage, Vanessa described this event as “a moment in human history”.


Guests received a very unique opportunity where Vanessa took them on a journey introducing the wealth of inspiring, successful and world changing people that she has met, from Lindy Chamberlain, Gabi Hollows, Lord Jeffrey Archer to Curtis Stone. As Vanessa introduced some the outstanding people that she’s interviewed from the program, she gave the audience her exclusive experience and personal learnings from each of those meetings. Vanessa’s favourite interview to-date is Bryce Courtney. “This guy just reeks passion” Vanessa expressed.


Key quotes and learnings from Vanessa:

  • One of Vanessa’s greatest learnings came from an interview she did with Lord Jeffrey Archer. One of the pieces of wisdom Lord Archer shared which touched Vanessa was “energy is the gift that people have and if you have energy you have a duty to share it with others”.

  • “Neil Armstrong was a really pragmatic man, he was just doing his job and happened to be the one that drew the straw to go out first”.

  • “I think curiosity is a really important characteristic and we’re not encouraged to be curious anymore”.

  • “I’ve never really suspected that things wouldn’t work out”.

  • “It’s so liberating growing up in the country, because anything is possible, it allows you to have big dreams”.

About: Cassandra Kavanagh

At the age of 24 Cassandra (Cass) co-founded an IT business and then began her Rethink journey at 25 when she started her financial planning business with her husband Dustin.


About 12 months ago Cass lovingly came steam rolling into the position of CEO at Rethink, or as she affectionately refers to her title ‘Little Big Boss’. From there we’ve seen Rethink successfully introduce a legal division, an accounting division and probably one of the best new integrations has been addition of a personal coaching overlay to the ordinarily traditional services of financial planning, law and accounting.


She recently featured in:

  • Hunter Headline Leaders

  • Newcastle Herald Home and Garden

  • Cool People Doing Cool Things

Cass’s mission is to inspire and support change in people’s lives. She often says, ‘I just want people to be able to experience what I experience.’ One of her favourite quotes is ‘as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same’ by Marianne Williamson.


About: Vanessa Stoykov

Meet Vanessa Stoykov, CEO of evolution media and co-creator and presenter of the TV series The Bottom Line – which produced the most substantive interview with Commander Neil Armstrong before he died. Vanessa has also met and interviewed everyone from Lindy Chamberlain, David Gonsksi, Lorna Jane, Heston Blumenthal, Cathy Freeman and this once in a lifetime list just goes on…

Vanessa founded evolution media group at the age of 26. She is the creator of No More Practice – now one of the largest sources of multi-platform education in the finance industry. She is also the co-creator of award-winning TV show, The Bottom Line.


Vanessa has been featured on the cover of numerous magazines, including Investor Weekly and Women’s Money. With more than 20 years’ experience in the finance sector she is a regular keynote speaker and commentator on the principles of entertaining and inspiring wealth education.

Vanessa’s mission is to positively impact people by increasing their knowledge base and decision making ability around leadership, finance and business principles.


About: Rethink Financial Group

Rethink Financial Group’s honest and holistic approach creates deep, long lasting connections with their clients, helping them to create their most magnificent life.


Whether you’re looking to change the world or want more time to spend with your family; we believe it is our purpose to support you to live a life that you love, that you are truly passionate about and one that embraces everything that is important to you.


Through our holistic professional, financial and lifestyle services we can support you, your family and your business to have the security, growth, wealth, well-being and self-fulfilment you deserve to be able to freely live your most magnificent life.

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