INTERVIEW WITH… Jane Stevenson, Business Development Director at Boomtown Integrated Strategic Brand Agency.

SEPTEMBER 10, 2014

Every woman probably has her own definition of success - but there are certain women who have achieved success in every sense of the word. One such woman is Jane Stevenson.

Born in Edinburgh, Scotland, in the UK, Jane has made her mark as a businesswoman, strategist, communications and executive coach locally. In 2001, she started Jane Stevenson & Associates, a successful Consulting and Project Management firm and is also a partner in two other businesses - Frankly Speaking, a local agency for professional speakers, and Treasure or Trash which re-sells quality pre-owned clothing at excellent prices.

Apart from the over 20 years spent in advertising, sales and marketing and recruitment industry, Jane also serves on the Board and is an EXCO member of the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber. In 2010, she made history as the first woman elected Deputy President at the Chamber.

Jane is a past Chairperson for the Businesswomen’s Association and served on its national Board for 6 years. She is a past Board member of St Dominic’s Priory, AIESEC (Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University) and Childline. In 2012, CEO magazine recognised her as SA's Most Influential Woman in Government and Business SME.

BLM: What is your typical day as Business Development Director at Boomtown like?

JS: I arrive at work around 7h15 and the first hour is heaven - quiet and calm. From 08h30 it’s one meeting to the next!

BLM: You have been there and done that, how hard or easy is it for women to succeed in today’s corporate world?

JS: I believe we have more opportunities today than ever before - we just have to grab them!   We need to take our place in boardrooms and stand confidently in that space. Don’t wait for opportunities to knock on your door - go find them, create them and grab them!

BLM: Do you think the public and private sectors – including your industry, are doing enough to create opportunities for more women to go high up the ladder?

JS: I do think there is a conscious appetite from business to create opportunities. Where I feel there is a gap is in understanding the various roles that women play. For example, an 8am - 6pm day may not suit a young mother - but that does not mean she is unable to deliver what is needed. Forget the gender aspect; I think we need to be more empowering and more flexible than the rigid mind-set of the past.

BLM: What is your advice to other women with regards to succeeding in business and in the workplace?

JS: Be intuitive. Be brave. Be authentic. Play to your strengths. Develop your EQ. Have a solid support system!