AS SOON as the first curse spilled from Karla Way-McPhail's empress red lips, the all-female audience sat on the edge of their seats and stayed there until the end.
The Coaltrain CEO held the audience at the International Women's Day dinner at Keppel Bay Sailing Club captive as she shared her story about taking the family business from kitchen bench to a multi-million dollar concern.
She talked about raising her family in a small mining town and later moving to the Coast and embracing success.
Claiming the most important lesson in life she learnt was to like herself, Karla admitted to being very comfortable with swearing.
"Integrity, kindness and generosity of spirit and the ability to laugh at yourself are the most important traits," Karla said.
"Nobody should define you, and they should let you be the best you can be."
Agreeing you don't get anywhere without hard work, the other guest speaker for the evening was magistrate Annette Hennessy.
Annette worked three jobs to put herself through university before a career in family court.
Taking up her post in Rockhampton Magistrates Court eight years ago, Annette has been instrumental in introducing programs for victims and offenders in domestic violence.
These programs have now been adopted statewide.
"Security really means something in quite a substantial way and offenders are held accountable and have to face their behaviour," she said.
Fired up by such compelling and powerful speakers the ladies let their hair down and the evening wrapped up with a charity auction to raise funds for Girls' Time Out.