Nancy Bugeja

When I was asked to contribute to Word—Form on the topic, Fear, I responded eagerly with a yes adding, “You know I’m fearless right?” 

It was only a few years ago when fear so powerful stopped me in my tracks. I lost my way for a while. I lost motivation which led to inaction, breeding more fear. It was a painful cycle.

The experience turned out to be one of my greatest life lessons, a gift.

I learned very quickly that integrity is perhaps one of the most important qualities in a leader; that heart can guide us to places our practical minds cannot; and the optimism I naturally possessed - lost for a short while - was a way of taking care of my heart.

I became fearless.

I have three children. 

With my family, I’m living the lockdown life like a pro here in Melbourne, Australia. School- agency- home-life all under the one roof. My third child was born in lockdown, a month early, only a couple of weeks after I transitioned my team from the studio to remote working when COVID hit.

There was a lot think about, a lot to fear.

Week 3 in ISO I wrote my first letter to my team — my solution to addressing these fears. It was early April 2020. I opened that letter with a note highlighting the previous week’s achievements and priorities to take us forward during such an uncertain time. Every week, I’d write a new letter where I would announce new initiatives, and break news of lost accounts. I’d even open up about my own feelings promoting transparency and vulnerability. The letters are honest and true, and would often open up conversations between us all. These conversations alone would disperse any fear amongst the team.

Until this day, week 27, I continue to write these letters — to the team, to myself, to my children, to my partner. These letters have somewhat become a journal of this era. The letters provide that update on where I’m at and what I’m thinking written with genuine optimism and presence.

Did fear stop me this time? Absolutely not.

And as a result, my children feel safe. As for my team and I — we have never been so well connected and accessible both technically and spiritually. Our values system we work to each day have continued to guide our direction through camaraderie, respect, curiosity, good organisation and mindfulness. There’s little fear.

Once upon a time, I had lost my way, not because of what I feared but how I chose to deal with it. Today I live every day with integrity, heart and optimism. I use letters to challenge my fears.

An excerpt from Week 18:

“So here we are, still pumping, connected and engaged more than 4 months of WFH. Smashing through the challenges of lockdown and 24 years in business. I continue to be amazed by your resilience – or should I say ours? As a team we have really pulled together.

Upon reflection, the last couple of weeks have been big! As they say, where energy goes, energy flows. One of my focuses has been ensuring we remain visible as the lack of networking opportunities could pose a problem for our future. That said, I have never met with so many people before in one week. The momentum is great which I intend to keep feeding.

I will leave you all with a quote I am inspired by, daily: "Don't ever make decisions based on fear. Make decisions based on hope and possibility. Make decisions based on what should happen, not what shouldn't." Michelle Obama

Stay safe and well.


Nancy Bugeja
HM Group

Nancy Bugeja is the co-founder and Managing Director of HM Group.


HM Group brings together three brands: HM, a full-service boutique design agency dedicated to meaningful strategic design; fluoro, a platform for remarkable people in design; and wrapped, a collection of bespoke wrapping.From first establishing HM. 24 years ago, Nancy has always believed that design is everything – it is an integral part of life. It helps guide people, communicate messages and can offer a solution to even the most complex issue.

As a creative Managing Director/Editor, Nancy is a constant innovator, continually exploring the ways in which her work is applicable to new methods of communication and how, as a business, they can service a diverse client base to the very best of their abilities.

As a leader, Nancy cultivates a culture that fosters creative collaborations, to execute meaningful work that is both progressive and relevant to their clients and the broader industry.

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