After being inspired by Femeconomy's work, we took the time to catch up with one of the masterminds behind their success. Jade Collins, founder of Femeconomy and Rockhampton Girls Grammar Alumni (Class '94) is a strong woman who is driven to make a change in our society. Her passion for women in leadership was birthed during her Girls Grammar days and it was great to chat to her and reminisce about her schooling days and the journey she took to get to where she is today.
Jade Collins, formerly Jade Bastin-Byrne, was born and bred in Rockhampton and became a student at the Rockhampton Girls Grammar School in grade 6. She followed in the footsteps of her mother Vicki and aunt Pam who also completed their schooling at Rockhampton Girls Grammar.
For Jade, she thoroughly enjoyed her time at Girls Grammar and the all-girls environment on offer.
“I think the all-girls environment and the focus on being ambitious and doing your best has really helped me in my life and my career,” she stated.
The opportunities that Girls Grammar offers their students whilst providing a comforting, friendly and enriched school environment is one of the many reasons Jade believes her schooling years were so memorable and a great stepping stone for life outside of school.
“I really enjoyed all the opportunities Girls Grammar provided me. The range of subjects on offer and the extra curricular activities like music and speech and drama were what I really enjoyed,” stated Jade.
Jade was an academic student who loved a challenge and her teachers were always there to make sure she was doing her best.
“I think the teachers at Girls Grammar really need to be recognised and celebrated for the great work they do. I was very fortunate to have fantastic teachers during my schooling at Girls Grammar and they really made a difference to me personally. The teaching staff really cared about our results and for us individually. I certainly appreciated all of the extra effort that they put in.”
“I think that all the teachers were great role models of leadership and they really did encourage us to do our best. If they ever felt that we had more to give, they would absolutely push us to give that bit more. This is one of my greatest memories of my teachers because I always knew I had that bit more to give but just needed someone to push me and for that, I am forever grateful for their dedication in ensuring I achieved the best possible results that everyone knew I was capable of.”
During her time at Girls Grammar, Jade made some life long friends and still to this day, she keeps in regular contact with the girls, especially, her two best friends, Ainsley and Megan who she has been friends with since they were 13. Jade, Ainsley and Megan took the trip of a lifetime last year to celebrate their 40th birthdays in New York City where they visited all the tourist attractions and even posed for a photo with the ‘Fearless Girl Statue’ on Wall Street. Trips away together as a group of school friends are a regular occurrence for Jade.
“I have actually just come back from a girls weekend away with my two best friends,” said Jade.
Jade says, “I think what Girls Grammar also instilled in me was an understanding and a belief that women can do anything they want to and they have the ability to create the life they want to live.”
“For me, that meant that I have always been ambitious.”
After completing her schooling, Jade went on to study a double degree at university and then further complete an MBA. She says that her time at Girls Grammar has made her very focused in achieving fantastic results and this has allowed her to climb the corporate ladder very quickly.
After over 19 years working in human resources across the mining and resources industry which saw Jade reside in many different towns and cities across Australia, she decided to relocate back to Brisbane to pursue her passion.
“I had the idea for Femeconomy because one of my frustrations is that there aren’t enough women leaders in business and in our community.
So when I read that women make 85% of purchase decisions, I thought that was a very powerful economic lever that we could use to create change and to advance gender equality much faster.”
Femeconomy was launched by Jade and her sister-in-law, Alanna, in September 2016 and since then they have made a significant impact. They already have an extensive list of achievements to their name.
“I was a finalist in the Telstra Business Women’s Awards last year and we were named as one of 80 Women2Watch in Business Disruption Honorees in Australia, US, Europe and Canada. We were also Merit Award winners in the Tech Diversity Awards and the iAward Community Services Market Winner in 2017, and Finalists for Cosmopolitan Women of the Year Entrepreneur category. And the list goes on.”
Jade says that since September 2016, they have built their audience to consistently reach 300,000 people each month via their digital channels. This is a fabulous achievement and really demonstrates how powerful women can be when given the right opportunities.
Femeconomy focuses on providing more opportunities for women to become leaders.
“We think that if women start channeling their collective purchasing power towards brands that have women in leadership, we will impact bottom lines, leading to more women in leadership positions,” said Jade.
Jade believes that her schooling background and the values instilled in her during her time at Girls Grammar have helped her develop a passion for women to be seen as equals. She says women are just as powerful as men and should be given the same opportunities to be successful in business.
Jade is a true inspiration to girls and women all over the world. She has chosen to take what she is passionate about and use that to make a difference. She believes that her time at Girls Grammar really impacted the way she chose to live her life and is grateful that she was given the opportunity to attend the Rockhampton Girls Grammar School.
“My success is a true testament to the values and beliefs that were instilled in me during my schooling years and for that I would like to thank and congratulate all of the teachers, students and staff at Girls Grammar for getting me to where I am today.”