1. Tell us a little about yourself?
I’m Jenn – marketing thought leader, social media strategist, podcaster, keynote speaker, Community creator, and change maker. Also a Mum of 3 almost grown up children, farmer’s wife living in the Riverina of NSW. My career started in law and then my best friend and I purchased a retail business (we sold that 7 years later) which led me down the path of wanting to share information with other small business owners to help them grow their businesses. I have a social media and marketing business – Social Media and Marketing Australia and I am also the founder of Buy From a Bush Business Facebook Group with over 306,000 members and co-founder of Spend With Us (www.spendwithus.com.au) an online marketplace for rural and regional small businesses.
2. Who are the women who have inspired you the most in your life?
Many many women have inspired me over my 46 years of life. I think my Mum inspires me more and more as I get older. I once thought of her as a housewife and farmer’s wife, but as I get older, hear more stories and think back over history, I see that she was really an entrepreneur and extremely innovative. I surround myself with amazing women. My besties Michelle and Jo, always inspire me. They also ground me, push me, challenge me and tell me when I’m being a bit much (mostly because of a bright shiny object taking my attention!). Amy Porterfield, world-renowned marketer, definitely inspired me to do what I am doing today and other influential women such as Brene Brown, also inspire me. I love having Brene’s quotes around my office! But to be honest, I’m more inspired by my friends and family, everyday people excelling at everyday activities than anyone else.
3. Why do you think it’s important to increase the number of women in business, particularly in leadership roles?
Women can be emotional creatures and I think the world needs more of that. The world needs to think about how decisions will affect people emotionally, mentally and in the future and I think women have an innate way of doing that. The world needs to embrace community and lead with compassion – these are two characteristics that I believe women excel at. In some ways, we look at men to be our leaders, and women to walk beside us rather than lead, which just happens to make great qualities in a leader – to be able to walk in their shoes and walk beside them with empathy. Emotion in the workplace has often been seen as a negative trait, but emotions such as compassion, gratitude, pride and encouragement nourishes our social relationships as social beings and therefore leads to more success and happiness. More success and happiness leads to more profitability and, for some, more accountability.
4. How would you describe your current thinking about diversity and inclusion?
I think the world is on it’s way. 2020 was a massive wake up call for so many and I’ll admit – me too. Thinking about how my small business, and the ones around me, can lead with more diversity and more inclusion is a piece of the business puzzle not many of us have lead with as change makers. Seeing the world around me change (and I live in Rural Australia – so possibly a bit sheltered to lots of the 2020 world changes), has me rethinking my influence and how I can become more inclusive, and give a platform to others who are teaching us to be more inclusive. Diversity and inclusion has a long way to go. I look at the behaviour of some sporting clubs and think “they need more female influence – then they wouldn’t act like that or say things like that – similarly with some political parties (or members of those parties) – they are lacking strong female leadership to show them how the other half of the world thinks, feels about x topic (the assumption that the world is 50% female 50% male! – or there abouts). Being more inclusive of diverse cultures, diverse genders and so forth can only help us become better humans. We live in a global society, thanks to the internet, but we don’t think like global citizens yet.
5. Would you like to tell us a bit more about your thoughts/ comments?
As a woman in small business, I have found so many amazing connections and collaborations from other woman small business owners. My experience whilst working in corporate (I started my working career in law) was vastly different. I never felt supported and there was no collaborations or connections (except for your equals at work) and often was overlooked and dismissed, I felt, as a young woman. I think this was my driving force to leave corporate and start my own business, and I am delighted that I did. I am thankful for every friend, colleague and collab partner who has helped me in my journey and I am delighted to be other people’s support network too. The corporate world has much to learn from small business and small business owners!