When Bianca Schwartpaul, the 319th person I’ve met on my quest to have lunch with 500 strangers, travelled from her native Germany to Australia for a working holiday, her parents had just one instruction: don’t meet a man.

A month after arriving, Bianca met a man. That was a decade ago. They’re still together and Bianca is now an Australian citizen.

Sorry, mum and dad.

Bianca founded a virtual assistant business, B Thriven, in 2019. It was a logical fit for Bianca, who’s a methodical person, and who had previously held administrative and project management roles during her corporate career.

Something that really impressed me about Bianca is her hunger for growth, in both a personal and business capacity. Bianca wants B Thriven – which currently has three subcontractors – to continue expanding. To do that, Bianca knows she needs to become a better version of herself, which is why she invests time and money in networking and training. Personal growth and business growth go hand in hand.

Another thing that impressed me about Bianca is her excellent people skills. She’s a very good conversationalist and quickly made me feel at ease. Even though I’ve now had several hundred lunches, it still feels comforting to spend time with someone who is so warm.