What excites you about our partnership?
I had been really inspired by GigSuper’s marketing approach and I liked the authenticity and passion I could see for what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. I said from the beginning that we will attract the right people and this partnership has given me a lot of faith in both our missions.
The second part though is super. My Belles roll their eyes because I rant about super. I'm involved with the Salvation Army and the statistics around women in poverty later in life are scary, because women tend to not look after their super. I've not known how to incorporate it more into Belle until we’ve gotten together and now it’s just working.
Do you believe that women can “have it all”?
We all have different capacities, so “all” means something different for each of us. My version of having it all, is not the same as your version and vice versa. Some women have a really high capacity for staying home with kids and loving them stupid. That’s what’s right for them and their family. Other women have a high capacity for work, some women have a low capacity for emotions, other women have high capacity for stress. We are all different.
However, women for whatever reason, get stuck in this box where to be a “good” mother equals time, equals cookies, equals steaming organic vegetables into brownies ( yes, I did all of those things and it didn't make me feel good). Just as much as working mothers get shamed, stay at home mothers get equally shamed, both are wrong and bad. That’s what The Belle Evolution is about, what I'm about; the fact that you define what is right for you in whatever capacity that is, as a mother, woman, business owner and so on. .
For me personally, “having it all” is about the juggle and deciding which of the balls you are juggling are glass and under no circumstances can be dropped and which balls are rubber and can be dropped here and there. It’s deciding what’s important to you.
What is one piece of practical advice you would give to someone who might be apprehensive about attending networking events?
I'm an extrovert, a room full of strangers is my favorite thing, but it’s also really intimidating at times. I would encourage you to look to the great entrepreneurs of our time. At some point collaboration has been a key to their success. And it is the key to success, hands down. Having other people who can teach you what they learnt from their mistakes without you having to go through it, or ways that you can level up or even just meeting people who just ‘get it’.
I would say you have nothing to lose if you go to a networking event and have a horrible time. You leave no worse off. But if you find an event that is ‘your people’, you will not regret it.
What’s your vision for Belle? Are there any big, juicy plans in the works?
To have events in every state. Our next destinations are the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast. I have a real passion to go to the forgotten places, regional areas where events aren’t going. Belle Academy will continue as long as there is a need and as long as people within the community want to keep collaborating. I’d also like to do an awards event one day, but Belle style: differently.
And now just some quick fire questions to get to know you Jess - your fave type of cheese?
Choose one! It would be easier to choose a favourite child! It would have to be a truffle brie you can find at Costco. So good.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to work at KFC!
Favourite motivation quote/saying?
‘When you think you've been buried, you've actually been planted’. The greatest things in my life have come from the heaviest and the hardest times. I know when I'm feeling really crap it's my opportunity to bloom. ‘Stop fighting for a seat at the man's table. Get busy building your own’’ is a new favorite that I heard recently as well.
Your perfect morning?
I get up really early. I'm up at 4:15am most mornings. I make an iced coffee and I take a few minutes to just clear my head. I'm a productivity nerd, so I make my to-do list and I smash out a couple of hours of work before the rest of the world is functioning.
Currently reading or currently listening to?
I am currently finishing Julia Guillard’s book. It's a hard read, it’s been a really difficult one to get through, but I'm enjoying it. I'm also reading again a book called Present Over Perfect, which is about a woman who is addicted to productivity. It's a reminder to check myself.
Who would be your dream dinner date (living or deceased)?
Michelle Obama. For me she epitomizes not just intelligence and power but how being kind can radiate. I think that she deals with conflict and controversy with such grace and kindness and I admire that so much. As a lady raising coloured children, especially daughters, her thoughts on race and inclusiveness are unique and inspiring to me. She's a special, special human.
Do you believe in star signs?
No, not at all, not even a little. I wouldn’t even know my own kid’s star signs.
3 words your husband would use to describe you?
Bossy, loud, and probably busy.
What’s the last song you sang along to?
This morning it was a Peppa Pig song. Peppa Pig with my two year old sounding like he's choking instead of snoring. It's a good time.
Island holiday or a trip to the snow?
Island! The beach is somewhere really important to our family. We love spending time there.