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Femeconomy Director Jade Collins’ Occasional Address to CQUniversity Graduates

Femeconomy Director and 2019 CQUniversity Alumnus of the Year (Social Impact)Jade Collins (BArts/BBus 1999, MBusAdmin 2008) presented the Occasional Address at the Rockhampton Graduation Ceremony on 6 December 2019. 

Good morning Chancellor, Ladies and Gentlemen.

Firstly to all of the graduates, congratulations on achieving a significant milestone in your life and career journeys. Today is the culmination of years of dedicated effort.

So, what lies beyond this point? A world of work that is now described as VUCA – Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous. Long gone is the traditional job for life. On average, people now transition through 3 job changes each decade, and 5 to 7 career changes over the course of their lives.

The only constant is change.

In my own career, I relocated geographically 11 times in 14 years. I had a new job every 18 months. I’m currently on my second career change, having moved from a corporate career in Human Resources to starting my own business – Femeconomy – and I’m in the midst of chasing my third, and starting to take on Board Directorships.

So, how do you navigate this ongoing, unstoppable change? How can you adapt, thrive and succeed?

Be a changemaker.

This is what you all become as you contribute across your career and community.

There are 5 x C’s to being a changemaker:

  • Curiosity
  • Courage
  • Communication
  • Connection
  • Continuous Learning
Jade Collins accepting her 2019 Alumni Award from Chancellor John Abbott.


“The power to question is the basis of all human progress”

Indira Gandhi

The opportunity to make the world better lies in front of each of us, every day. It doesn’t need to be in big ways. All our small actions cumulatively count.

If you are curious, you will make mistakes. Embrace them, and set out to make more, by taking more action and being more curious. The only bad mistake, or question, is one you don’t learn from.


Once you find your purpose, and the change you want to be in the world, you will believe that the change you are trying to make is bigger and more important than you as an individual.

You will also be confronted with ethical and moral dilemmas throughout the course of your professional life, maybe even daily, depending on your chosen field.

If you have been following the Royal Commissions into the Banking and Aged Care sectors, you’ll understand that as a community we are increasingly holding institutions to higher ethical standards. But institutions are made up of people.

Basing your courage on a solid foundation of integrity, and knowing what your personal values are, will hold you in excellent stead for leadership of yourself and others through difficult situations.


Being able to confidently communicate your ideas and messages often comes down to preparation, practice and research. Communication is a skill like any other, but it is critical to be well informed.

Also, believing that you have something of value to share is so important.

“It took me quite a long time to develop a voice, and now that I have it, I am not going to be silent.”

Madeleine Albright

We are all here for a reason. Our diversity of thought, experience and perspective is valuable. Rest in the knowledge that we all have something unique and remarkable to contribute to the world.


Ever heard the saying, ‘it’s not what you know, it’s who you know’? Well, this does play out in work and life.

We all have a human need to connect and to belong. We are herd animals, right?

However, at work and in life, there is this phenomenon called networking. It’s massive. There are industries devoted to fostering it. People invest thousands into it every year.

In order to progress through your career, you’ll need to master the subtle art of networking. I urge you to sooner rather than later discover that it’s your genuine self that you should bring to these situations, and that every connection you make is important. Connecting human to human, in an inclusive and sincere way, is far more effective than shrouding your own identity in your company brand or job title.

This is how you will find your tribe, your supporters, your mentors, and your sponsors. Those who believe in you, who will advise you, and create opportunities for you.

Continuous Learning

I firmly believe in the power of reinvention. Transitioning your job, and your career, and being change ready requires continuous learning and personal and professional development.

Your education should never stop.

“Education is for improving the lives of others and for leaving your community and world better than you found it.”

Marian Wright Edelman

Please. Go and do that.


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Posted by Jade Collins - Femeconomy Director

Jade Collins has 20 years’ global experience in corporate executive Human Resources and management consulting roles in the Mining, Energy and Aerospace industries, leading large scale, complex multi-million-dollar change management programs. Jade finds the combination of her HR, Psychology and MBA qualifications and her leadership experience is invaluable for increasing gender equality in leadership across industries. Jade was a member of the Queensland Government's Strategic Advisory Group for the Toward Gender Parity: Women on Boards Initiative and the 2019 CQU Alumni of the Year for Social Impact for her work with Femeconomy.