Jemma Martin, 32 from Adelaide is ambitious, driven and the founder of Her Future Moves, a platform for accessible and affordable professional development for women.
Jemma admits to hating cooking, spending way too much money on brunch and is one to ask a lot of questions.
“I’m the girl in the self-help isle at the bookshop who’s always asking her friends about their jobs and career dreams,” says Jemma.
Up and Coming in Australia spoke to Jemma about her business, what inspires her, what drives her and what her future hopes and dreams are.
In an open and honest Q&A, Jemma shares candidly the challenges she has faced with quitting her fulltime job and pouring her heart in to Her Future Moves.
Who are you and what do you do?
I’m Jemma! I’m 32 years old and I live in Adelaide.
I recently founded Her Future Moves, a platform for accessible and affordable professional development for women.
If you’re wondering what this actually means, good question, it changes every day! Today I filmed and edited a video to share with the Her Future Moves community. Last week I was in Sydney sharing professional career tips with a room full of women and speaking at a panel event on Personal Branding. Tomorrow I’m writing a blog and meeting with a potential collaborator for a future HFM event.
My activities are dependent on what seems to be the best fit for the purpose of Her Future Moves; and as it’s still very early days, this changes all the time!
Tell us what drove you to start up Her Future Moves and what is it all about?
When I was in my late 20s I was worried about my professional future. I felt like everyone else had it figured out and suddenly, I was almost 30 and had nothing to show for it, no grand plans or degree to fall back on. I felt stupid around business-people because I never knew what they were talking about. I didn’t know where to go to find tips, answer and support. All the professional courses I found were way too expensive and happened during business hours, so I couldn’t go anyway.
“I vowed that one day I would create a space for women to learn and upskill themselves. An option that didn’t cost an arm or a leg and could be delivered in an accessible way, outside of 9-5 hours.” – Jemma Martin, Her Future Moves
Her Future Moves is still unfolding, even to me! I started HFM in March and yes, it’s grown, but the purpose has not changed at all. Essentially, HFM exists to be a safe place for women to take ownership or their professional direction. A place to learn, explore and dream without feeling stupid for not knowing all the answers.
How this is achieved is an ongoing process, as HFM is still very much in testing/trialling stages. So far HFM has trialled one-on-one sessions, online group sessions, events (panels, workshops, info sessions, speakers), live videos, scheduled videos, blogs, collaborations etc. HFM also has two Facebook communities (one for Career Discussions and one for Entrepreneurs).
It’s definitely still evolving as I try new things and learn what works. A couple days ago I uploaded the videos I was posting to the private FB group and started a Her Future Moves YouTube channel! This way the content is even more inclusive and accessible for anyone to see. This is an example of how I am trialling new ways to help the community get support in a way that suits them.
How long has Her Future Moves been around for?
I founded Her Future Moves in March 2018, kind of by accident! I created the group on MeetUp.com one night. At the time I was working fulltime and studying part-time at uni. Within a month, I was flat out with queries and I had to either shut it down or re-prioritise my life.
I wanted to explore HFM more but didn’t want to stop studying my degree. After discussions with my husband, we decided the right thing to do was for me to leave my fulltime job and focus on HFM fulltime.
I think of this as taking time out of my career to dedicate to HFM, to explore how it can be sustainable and make a long-term difference to the world. Even though the decision to leave my job was an easy one, I struggled greatly with the identity associated with leaving paid work for something that is still very much in the start-up phase.
I made a video about this decision and shared it with the HFM community (this video is now on YouTube). The feedback and support was amazing! The comments from the HFM ladies suggested that this struggle is similar to how many women feel when they take time out from their career to have a baby. Not being a mother myself, this was great insight! Since then, HFM mothers have shared with me their feelings of how my journey with HFM is like theirs with Maternity Leave. Yes, they are very different experiences, but both involve identity shifts based on personal values.
What have your learnings been so far from starting up your own business?
I’m going to try and steer clear from the obvious s*** people say (‘be resilient’ and ‘fail fast’) and go in with something different. So here goes:
- People will feel uncomfortable when you are trying something new. It challenges their own way of seeing things. Don’t let this get you down!
- Starting a business costs more money than you think it will but requires less know-how than you think it will. You just start. You don’t need a degree or societal approval; but you do need grit, a support network and to take your mental health seriously.
- Nobody knows exactly what they’re doing. If they say they do, they are likely trying to sell you something.
What do you love most about your job? What are the challenges?
I love the feedback I get from women who say Her Future Moves has positively impacted their life and career direction.
“Knowing that I’m helping women upskill themselves and take ownership of what they want is the best feeling in the world. It’s literally what gets me up in the morning!” – Jemma Martin, Her Future Moves
The challenges are aplenty! In fact, I speak a lot about these in my HFM Entrepreneur Facebook Group.
I post videos on the learning and challenges of the entrepreneurial journey because there’s so much out there that glamorises starting a business, but it’s ‘effing hard!
What inspires and drives you?
I’ve always had a bias towards action. I’m the crazy girl taking on too many projects, with fifty tabs open in my browser. But I thrive this way.
When I really need a kick up the butt, I imagine that I’m speaking with my future self. If future Jemma is happy, then I’m on the right path, if future Jemma is not in a place I want to be, I change my actions to align towards a new trajectory.
There’s nothing scarier than seeing a crappy vision of yourself in 5, 10 or 20 years’ time and knowing if you did something differently now, you could be in a better place later.
Who do you look up to and admire?
Ellen DeGeneres for her humour and kindness. She sees the world in a positive light and does what she can do to make it better.
Elon Musk for his determination and resilience. He doesn’t let perceived failure stop him from going after his goals.
My parents, husband and brothers; they all have qualities I wish I had. I’m lucky because when I want their input I can simply pick up the phone and hear their perspectives.
Meryl Streep – because not only is she insanely talented, she is always pushing herself to try new roles, gain new skills and create better content.
What are your future hopes and dreams?
“My dream is that Her Future Moves will make a sustainable impact to the wider community, so that professional development isn’t just for the rich, lucky or people who are upskilled through their workplace.” – Jemma Martin, Her Future Moves
I’d love to look back and see many women in better careers and professional positions because of the support they received through HFM.
I would also love to write a bestselling life-changing book! Saying this out loud is scary, but to write a book that changed someone’s life – that is a gorgeous dream!
What do you do in your free time? (hobbies etc)
I love going out to brunch at new cafes, hiking, and travelling. When I need to turn my brain off, I’m hitting the gym or watching Netflix (these days it’s House of Cards or Dynasty!).
I truly am a self-development junkie. I love reading books, watching TED Talks and listening to podcasts.
I’m studying my Masters in Business Administration (MBA) so I do love constantly learning and see upskilling myself as a hobby.
I would discuss workplace culture, team dynamics or the influence of AI technology over The Bachelorette any day.
Thank you so much for your time talking to UCIA, Jemma! How can we reach you in the world wide web?
HFM Instagram: @HerFutureMoves