Meet CQUni alumnus Jade Collins

Jade Collins is an innovator and gender-equality advocate and has recently been awarded CQUniversity’s 2019 Alumnus of the Year – Social Impact. She’s the co-creator of Femeconomy, which mobilises the female economy, empowering consumers to buy from brands that are gender-diverse.

We talked to Jade about how she got to this point in her career and her thoughts on this year’s International Women’s Day theme #BalanceforBetter.

As a child what were your career dreams?

I wanted to be a lawyer for a long time during my teens. I’ve always had a strong sense of justice and loved reading and language.

How did these change over the years? And how did you go about achieving these?

I did two lots of high school work experience in law firms, and quickly realised that the day-to-day reality of legal work was far removed from the courtroom glamour portrayed in one of my favourite television shows LA Law!

My high school ran a careers evening in partnership with CQUni during Year 12, and I learned about a relatively new field called Human Resources Management (HRM). The combination of business and people were inherently appealing, and I decided to study a double degree, with a Bachelor of Business / Bachelor of Arts, so that I could major in HRM on the business side and study psychology subjects from the Arts degree.

How has your education, including your time at CQUni, enabled you to reach your career goals?

I have to thank my parents for supporting my school education. This family support and encouragement to achieve academically meant that I graduated high school with excellent results.

The combination of HR and psychology offered through my CQUni undergraduate degree meant that I was able to combine my business knowledge with a deep understanding of what motivated people. This was the start of my interest in leadership.

Five years into my career in HR, I started an MBA through distance education through CQUni. This enabled me to practically apply what I was learning directly in my work. Because I was working in the resources sector, and moving across Australia frequently to progress my career (11 times over 14 years!), the flexibility of the study model was critical. I completed my final MBA exam when I was nine months pregnant with my daughter, and returned from parental leave into a promotion.

Explain your role at Femeconomy?

I am a Director of Femeconomy, and own the business jointly with my Co-Founder Alanna Bastin-Byrne. We started Femeconomy to advance gender equality using the purse power of women, who make 85 per cent of purchase decisions. promotes businesses that have at least 30 per cent women on the board of directors or are 50 per cent female owned. More women at the top of the career ladder will help to solve gender equality issues including the gender pay and superannuation gap; expanding career choices for women and girls; changing society’s view of gender roles in caring and household work; and normalizing the role of women as leaders of industry.

My role encompasses strategy and governance, stakeholder engagement, business management and reporting, content production (interviewing amazing business women) and advocating for more women in leadership across industry.

This year’s theme for International Women’s Day is #BalanceforBetter. How do you think we can create a more gender-balanced world?

  • By having targets and quotas in place for achieving gender balance across industry and government. Research shows that gender-balanced leadership results in greater profitability, productivity, customer and employee satisfaction as well as better risk management and less fraud.
  • By understanding that gender equality benefits men as well as women. Four out of five new fathers say they want to work flexibly to care for their children, but few have this opportunity as our work structures are currently based on the male breadwinner model.
  • Companies can incorporate gender diversity in their supplier criteria for corporate purchases.
  • As individuals, we can all create better balance by checking for our top five brands and use our purchasing power to support brands that have at least 30 per cent women in leadership.
  • Finally, if you observe something that undermines progress towards gender equality, call it out. Don’t be a bystander.
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