Jade Collins & Alanna Bastin-Byrne #SheInspires

June 21, 2017

Jade and Alanna, could you please tell us when you began your business?

Jade: I was in a Melbourne Taxi for a work trip and read the statistic that women make over 85% of purchase decisions. Working in HR leadership for global organisations, I’d spent my career advancing gender equality from within businesses. Reading that stat was my aha moment. I became obsessed with this huge economic lever women have that could be used to advance gender equality if they bought from companies with female leaders. Alanna who is my sister-in-law has an international marketing background, so I spoke to her about joining me and we both quit paid work in March 2016 to develop Femeconomy.

When and where did you meet?

Alanna: About 15 years ago when I hooked up with my roommate who is Jade’s brother.  I probably met Jade before this but my most distinct early memory of Jade is the day after her brother and I became an item and he took me for breakfast at Jade’s house. I am pretty sure he was seeking Jade’s stamp of approval!

Are you both married with children? Could you give details?

Jade: I have been married for 13 years and we have a 10-year- old daughter.

Alanna: I have been married for 5 years and we have a five-year- old daughter and a two- year-old son.

What drives you? To make a better world for our daughters.

Since launching your business can you indicate how it has been received?

Jade: I am constantly stunned how easily doors have opened. We’ve met with many key stakeholders working in the gender equality space like the Australian Institute of Company Directors, the Workplace Gender Equality Agency, Male Champions of Change and the Sex Discrimination Commissioner. In terms of our community, we know through generating consumer activism they’re addressing gender equality issues at home and work because they feel empowered. People have told us they have asked their husband to share the care, requested a pay rise at work or told a colleague to no longer call them girl.

Alanna: People always ask what about men. Our view is that gender equality helps both sexes because companies are more profitable with female leaders, which means more opportunities for everyone. Female leaders mean more work flexibility which helps men and women. And closing the gender and superannuation gap helps everyone in the family, not just the female. Mobilising the female economy is one way of progressing gender equality, which benefits everyone.

Do you work from home?

Yes.

How do you make your money?

Subscriptions, advertising and affiliate marketing.

What has been your biggest achievement so far?

When we launched our site at the end of September 2016 we had a reach of about 2000. Last month we had a reach of over 130,000. Femeconomy is creating groundswell which needs to keep building along with engagement.

Do you believe women make better bosses and if so, why? 

I think great leaders genuinely and actively show care for their employees, and you need to get to know people in order to do this. Empathy is key. I don’t believe it’s a gendered trait.

Which person inspires you the most? 

Alanna: So many people but I always come back to my Nana, Rita Moran. Nana was hard-working, funny and loved her family with gusto.

Jade: My grandmother Anne was my role model and inspiration. She was a successful female retail entrepreneur with a razor-sharp intellect, a community builder, loved travel, family and filled every room she was ever in with boundless life, laughter and love.

What has been a life changing moment?

Alanna: Being on an upward career trajectory in Brisbane and then having to start over in London and prove myself again. I also realised I wanted to enjoy every one of life’s adventures with Jade’s brother.

Jade: Having my daughter. The whole world tilted on its axis and my priorities shifted irrevocably.

What has been the best piece of advice you have ever been given and by whom?

On Femeconomy we interviewed Commonwealth Bank Non-Executive Director,

Wendy Stops who said, “Being authentic and open and honest in your dealings will serve you well.”

What is the key to your happiness?

Alanna: Making good choices about where I want to live, what type of life I want to have with my family and friends, and doing a job I love that is making a difference to others’ lives. It has taken hard work to make this happen, but that is part of creating happiness, you feel like you’ve earned it.

Jade: My family, friends and continuously being inspired by challenging, meaningful work, travel and meeting new and wonderful people.

Where is your favourite place to long lunch with friends in Brisbane?

Alanna: I don’t think I’ve had a long lunch in Brisbane since having children! But, one of my favourite places to long dinner is Longtime. Delicious!

Jade: My home. Il Centro and Riverbar are always lovely, or a picnic in New Farm Park is welcome in summertime.

Summarise Brisbane in 3 words.

Burgeoning, friendly, familiar

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