WOMENSPIRATION Series : Jade McKenzie
Welcome to my WOMENSPIRATION series!
I started this series to find out the real insights and secrets from inspirational women who are leading in their lives, careers or businesses.
In this interview meet Jade McKenzie from Event Head!
Jade is an event professional for heart-centered entrepreneurs and business owners who run workshops and events as part of their business model.
Through her professional services, rock steady support and behind the scenes blog posts, she’s here to help you step into your spotlight and shine!
Clients include the Beautiful You Coaching Academy, the Blogcademy, Gala Darling, ‘Lucky Bitch’ Denise Duffield-Thomas, Kathryn Hocking, Jane Copeland, The Wellbeing Web, Victoria Gibson and Earth Events.
I first met Jade when I studied with the Beautiful You Coaching Academy as she is a trainer for the course. I then went on to sign her up as my business coach which was an amazing and expanding experience for me... this lady knows her stuff! Not only is she incredibly clever, but she is also one of the most lovely and warm hearted women you will ever meet!
Over the last decade, her work has been enjoyed by thousands of people across Australia and internationally, and has been featured in The Herald Sun, The Age, MX, Channel’s 7, 9, 10 and The ABC, The Circle, The 7PM Project Metro Whip Around, Nova FM, Mix 101.1, Kara’s Party Ideas, Pop Sugar Moms, Mum’s Lounge, Inspired Coach, Clever Mamma, ROOOAR Magazine and more.
Jade’s services include event planning and management, virtual event assistance, events and business coaching and mentoring.
Read on to find out how she moved from the corporate world into entrepreneurship, what she has learnt from every job she's had, the bravest career decision Jade had to make, and the 3 things she can't live without...
Describe your career journey and how you decided to do what you are doing now?
My career journey has been very varied. After high school I had no idea what I wanted to do, I just knew that I wasn’t really interested in getting a degree (although I did study psychology for 6 months because that’s what I thought I had to do!) or pursuing anything in particular except helping people somehow. I was really stumped! So I started working in the nursing home that my mother worked at and I loved being around people, helping the oldies and being a part of their day. I quit uni to work there as much as I could and I loved it.
After a while though, I knew I needed to move on so at 19 I got a traineeship in a suburban accounting firm and pretty much worked my way from the bottom up, constantly changing positions and uplevelling my skills because I just couldn’t sit still in one job for too long and was always drawn to learning more and doing more.
After 6 or 7 years there, I knew I had outgrown the roles and I felt the need to explore working in the city or with bigger businesses. I quit and moved into another finance role (which I absolutely hated) so I left that when I found work with a new superannuation company with an entrepreneurial flair.
From there I worked with entrepreneurs and venture capital but found it just wasn’t for me. Working with men in finance showed me that it’s hard to be taken seriously or to even get the opportunities you would like, especially when you look like a 16 year old girl! It was all very cutthroat too, with so many crazy ego based antics that I just knew I didn’t want to be there anymore.
Throughout all of this, I had always been working a second job, first in the nursing home, then in various not for profit organisations. I knew that I wanted to be able to help people in a big picture way and so I applied for a grant to become the first paid staff member of a charity I was a volunteer for.
I ended up winning the grant and become the General Manager, building up the charity into a national organization with beautiful programs and events with a solid community and many amazing fundraising events.
2 years later I became pregnant and I knew that once I went on maternity leave that I wouldn’t be back. I knew that at 30 it was my time to take all my business development skills and everything that I had been giving to everyone else and using them to build my own future – so I did!
I didn’t know what my business was going to be or what I was going to do, but when Cerise was about three months old I knew that I wanted to center my whole business around connection and in person experiences and Event Head was born.
When did you know that you were on the right career path?
I’m the type of person who just seems to fall into things! I don’t always have a plan of action other than, wow I’d love to do that, then going for it. So with every job or career move I’ve made, I’ve always felt like I was on the right track towards something - but I didn’t always know what that something was.
In hindsight, all of my roles led me here to having my own business and all of those skills that I learnt along the way have helped me create a beautiful business that is continually growing.
There was always something within me that said it is great here in this job for the moment, but I know I’m not going to be in it forever.
What strengths or lessons have you gained from your previous roles?
Where do I even begin?! I have gained SO much from previous roles, everything from dealing with different types of personalities, to how to create a business in integrity, to how to keep track of finances, to how to take calculated risk and more.
And the strengths I gained are definitely within business development and the creation of products and services that can be turned into a viable income stream.
I credit everything I know and am skilled at to my time as an employee. When I finished school at 17 I didn’t know anything. I was ‘street’ smart, not ‘book’ smart and all of my best learnings have always been hands on. I am grateful to the employers who allowed me the autonomy to explore all of these things – or maybe they didn’t have a choice!
What has been the bravest career decision you have had to make?
Leaving. Leaving a job is always a hard decision to make and the longer you’ve been in it, the harder it is to go. There is so much weight attached to the outcome and it is always scary to leave what you know. But when I make that decision, then that is that and it’s done. Scary or not, it has to be done and I’ve never once regretted it.
What has been your proudest moment?
I think my proudest moments are the ones where I have just gone and did it. Whatever ‘it’ was, be it leaving a job, taking a leap, starting my business, making hard decisions or changing things that didn’t feel right, I do look back at those moments and thank my lucky stars that I just went for it.
It’s rarely easy, but it’s always right.
Who inspires you and why?
I am constantly inspired by many different people, for many different reasons. I think when you look around, it is easy to find people doing incredible things, whether it’s being innovative, disrupting whole industries, making steps towards positive global change and more.
And sometimes, it’s not even the big things that are the best. Small acts of kindness that are shared within communities and strangers never fails to make my heart swell.
What 3 things can't you live without and why?
Cerise and my husband for obvious reasons – I have nothing without them in my life, they are my everything!
My laptop – My whole business is on my laptop and I think I spend more time with my laptop than I do with anything else. It’s crazy to think that back in the day your whole business was inside an office building but now everything is in this one piece of technology!
My support crew – My gorgeous friends who are always there for me, who support me endlessly and who I turn to in times of celebration and despair. I love them all to pieces.
How do you balance life and work?
I don’t ha! The scales are always tipped at different angles but I do have ebb and flow. Some periods of time are super hectic and I don’t have time cook or clean or do my laundry. Other times I can take it slower and watch movies with Cerise on the couch.
What I’ve learnt to do is to pre-empt these periods of time and prepare for it as best I can. Organic and pre-prepared meals delivered to the house are a godsend, cold pressed bottled juices from the local are my favourite, telling my husband what is coming up and how it’s going to affect the household and having my mum come and help out with the house once a week helps us keep things going.
The early years of any business are always crazy and you have to be conscious about how you spend your time, whether it’s at work or at home. When I’m unplugged, I prefer to spend my time with my family doing something fun rather than worrying about grocery shopping, cooking or cleaning so I’d rather outsource that stuff first and focus on the things I love doing. That’s probably the best balance I’ll ever have !
What do you wish you could tell your youngest career self?
That this is all one big adventure that will lead you somewhere you can’t even imagine yet. Soak everything up, enjoy the ride and stay brave – it will all work out.
You can find out more about Jade and her services at www.eventhead.com.au