Sista Stories from Inspiring Women

International Women’s Day provides a wonderful opportunity for us to celebrate the women in our community. We are always amazed at everyone’s achievements and stories, so we have shared 8 with you below. 

Rochelle Thorpe at Sista Fitness

Rochelle Thorpe

Marathon Runner

If you asked me when I was in primary school or high school, what do you want to be when you grow up? My answer was, I wanted to be a World Champion/ Olympian. In 2015 I ran my first ever marathon in Melbourne. My goal was to finish in under 3 hours. Fast forward to 2019 I am competing in Japan at the Shizuoka Marathon, which I won and most importantly ran an Australian World championship “A” qualifier. In 2019 I represented Australia for the first time in the IAAF athletics world championships where I finished 35th in the world out of 70 starts. My marathon personal best sits at 2:34:45 over 42.2kms. My 2024 goal is to run the London marathon and get myself back to where I was before Covid.

A woman that inspires you?

Lisa Weightman, 4 x Olympian and Commonwealth games medalist. At 45 years of age Lisa still proves that age is only a number and that you can set your mind to anything. I hope at her age I will still be running as well as I am now.

Advice to our sistas?

Be Brave, do you and dream big. Your goal is yours and it's up to you to get it.

Shayma Taher at Sista Fitness

Shayma Taher

Mum of two, fitness advocate

I’m not going to lie and say I’m always confident in my body, but I’ve learned to love myself over the years. Sometimes it’s hard to accept the changes, but I always remind myself that this body gave birth to two healthy boys. Between the ages of 15-19 I was scared to eat, severely underweight, and I thought staying thin was the only way to feel beautiful. After getting out of that mindset I have gained curves that I love – yes some days are hard, but most are great! This new mindset allows me to keep training during Ramadan. I tell women at the gym to stick to low intensity workouts while fasting, and not to stop completely because it’s hard to start again after a month break. Even if you come 2-3 times a week for 30min, it’s a great feeling knowing we’re taking care of our body and our mind.

A woman that inspires you?

We have such a beautiful community of women that come to the gym to better themselves and I feel like we all inspire one another to work had and feel great!

Advice to our sistas?

It’s not about how heavy the weights are or the number of reps, but about posture and technique. One last thing, learn to love the body you’re in and it will love you back.

Keoni Bassett at Sista Fitness

Keoni Bassett

Medicine Student

Being a doctor has been my goal since I was 8 years old living in the Pilbara. Since then, I have moved across the country back and forth 3 times and it still stayed the same!

It has involved a lot of dedication and sacrifices but I am so appreciative that my hard work and resilience has resulted in being accepted into medicine.

A woman that inspires you?

Honestly all the women around me inspire me! I am surrounded by women who work hard for themselves and their families and any woman that is working to better herself is someone that helps me stay on my own path of growth.

Advice to our sistas?

Routine is key! Trying to balance full time study, work, a social life and the gym is difficult, but making time for the things you enjoy is so important to try not to burn out and still make the most of a busy life.

Denise Kiff at Sista Fitness

Denise Kiff

Advocate for Breast Cancer Awareness

I was a nurse for 40 years and have been very fortunate to recently retire after an amazing career. I was a Specialist Breast Care Nurse working for the health sector as well as not for profit organisations Breast Cancer Care Western Australia And the McGrath Foundation. I have been very privileged to have supported many families through their breast cancer journey. Advocating for early detection of this disease is my passion which leads to better overall outcomes.

A woman that inspires you?

A person that I admire very much is the late Jane McGrath who founded the McGrath foundation to ensure all Australians have the opportunity to be supported by a breast care nurse through their Breast Cancer Journey. My claim to fame was meeting Glenn McGrath in person and receiving a signed cap. What a beautiful man.

Advice to our sistas?

Breast awareness is of great importance and this is promoted by self breast examination monthly and if you notice any change to see your GP promptly. Most breast changes are not concerning but it’s important changes are checked. These changes include redness or skin rash, lumps, thickness or puckering/ dimpling of the skin, nipple discharge or constant pain in the breast or armpit. Regular two yearly mammography from the age of 40 is offered free through Breastscreen WA by calling freecall 132050.

Noura Buck at Sista Fitness

Noura Buck


Becoming a lawyer was a lifelong dream for me. This passion stayed with me throughout my adolescence and served as the driving force behind my academic pursuits. Throughout my career, I continued to expand my expertise in various legal domains. I frequently presented at conferences and published articles that explored complex legal issues. The law has not only given me a fulfilling career, but it has also allowed me to serve as a catalyst for change and make a meaningful difference in society.

A woman that inspires you?

Angelina Jolie, a renowned actress, filmmaker, and humanitarian, has inspired people around the world for various reasons. Her commitment to humanitarian causes, gender equality, and personal growth has left an indelible mark on the world.

Advice to our sistas?

Believe in Yourself: Have faith in your abilities, dreams, and aspirations. Embrace your individuality, support your fellow women, and keep working towards a future where equality and opportunity are available to everyone.

Leoni Campbell at Sista Fitness

Leoni Campbell

Completing a 154km hike June!

I had a wonderful childhood growing up with my siblings and family up on a sheep station near Wiluna, which is about 900km from Perth. We all went to boarding school in our high school years, and separation from family was often difficult. I was the first in my immediate family to complete tertiary studies when I graduated from Curtin University in 1991 with a Social Work degree. I retired in 2018. I love hiking, and am planning to hike the North West Highland Way in Scotland in June with a friend. We hope to finish the 154km walk in 10 days. I have hiked in Tasmania, New Zealand, India and Peru.

A woman that inspires you?

My grandmother has inspired me. She came from Tasmania in her late teens to seek work in Wiluna in the 1890’s. In 1902 they were the first couple to marry in Wiluna. They were pioneers, and established the first bakery in that town. Grandpa had a gold mine, an my grandmother looked after their four young children. They then established the sheep station in 1923. They left a legacy that nothing is achieved without hard work.

Advice to our sistas?

If you can, don’t miss an opportunity to do something you are passionate about no matter what age you are.

Paige Jones at Sista Fitness

Paige Jones

Mum of three, fitness advocate

My fitness journey originally started just over 10 years ago at the age of 18. At that point of time I officially weighed in at my heaviest weight I have ever been in my life! It was at that very moment I knew I needed to make a change! Since then health & fitness has always been a very important part of my life! In the last 10 years I’ve birthed 3 beautiful babies and have lost 30kgs since the age of 18!

A woman that inspires you?

I have been blessed to have so many inspiring women in my life whilst growing up who I look up to. Hearing life stories/advice/raw experiences from those around me who I can relate too truely inspire me most!

Advice to our sistas?

Please don’t give up, be kind to your self and never compare your self to anyone else! Everyone’s fitness journey is so different. You got this girl!

Maggie Carroll at Sista Fitness

Maggie Carroll

Founder of Sista Fitness

Brought up in a sport’s mad family, always active, going somewhere and doing something! I wanted to stay active and enjoy it, so I joined a gym. Then I joined another gym and another gym and another gym…you get the gist, I couldn’t find a gym that I felt comfortable in. The final straw was when I went to use a toilet in a gym and I walked in to see the toilet seat up! That was my “Aha” moment and I knew what I had to do! This is what brought Sista Fitness to life because I knew if this is how I felt then there would be lots of other people who would want to join me! Sista Fitness is my everything, Community, Connection and Kindness, it fills my cup, and I am so grateful to live this every day surround by a team of remarkable women and the amazing, courageous and kind members of Sista Fitness.

A woman that inspires you?

I can honestly say every woman at Sista inspires me! We all have our own challenges, and some days are better than others, but no matter what I know that these incredible women are here for each other and will continue to support and encourage each other.

Advice to our sistas?

I have three!

  1. Make yourself a priority because no one else will! Be selfish you will be a better person for it! Don’t let other people make you feel guilty for making yourself a priority.
  2. Have a positive mindset. Block out the negative internal talk and focus on how you know you will feel once you have done the workout! Some of the things I know I personally feel are, energised, relaxed, less stressed, happy, mentally clear, strong, ready to take on anything… See, why wouldn’t you go!?
  3. Whatever exercise you choose to do, you need to enjoy it because it means you are far more like to stick with it and be Consistent; Consistency Creates Change. There is no point in doing exercise that you don’t enjoy! Choose exercise that you can see yourself doing for a long time, not just a couple of weeks. If you have been to the gym on and off again its likely you haven’t found the right exercise for you. I recommend trying everything, classes, personal training, follow a gym program. You are a member of a gym with amazing facilities, classes, and trainers so I can promise there is something there for everyone you just need to take the time to find it 😊 And if are struggling, you can always talk to one of our team of superstars to help you find your thing!