• UO Interviews: Jane Claire Hervey of #bossbabesATX

    Jane Claire Hervey is one of those people that you meet and don't forget. As the founder of #bossbabesATX, a nonprofit event production agency and collective that's hosted an assortment of smart pop-up events for self-identifying women in the creative industries and arts, Hervey has made a strong name for herself in the Austin community and beyond. 
    Get a sneak peak in to Jane's story below and make sure to stop by Space 24 Twenty this upcoming Friday to see her speak in person as part of CreativeMornings Austin breakfast lecture series. More info here
    Photos by Katherine Squier

    Tell us a bit about yourself… how did you end up in Austin?
    I grew up in South Texas — a little town called Rio Hondo. I've always been a performer and a writer so I moved to Austin when I was 18 to pursue music and study journalism at UT Austin. My interests were sort of all over the place in college; I revitalized a student magazine called ORANGE, became a social rights activist, spent a lot of time writing critical essays about gender and reporting ethics, had an accelerating viral marketing and project management portfolio and was performing once a week at local bars. I graduated with honors in Journalism in 2014 and decided to stay in Austin as a means to better narrow in on my interests (I don't think I have yet).

    How did the idea for #bossbabesATX initially develop? Did it become what you expected it to be?
    #bossbabesATX started with one meet-up. I was frustrated (and I still am) about covert sexism in my industry AND the tight-lipped way my friends and I discussed our work grievances. To be honest, when I first began #bossbabesATX, feminism as a movement was very much an intellectual concept I didn't feel good enough for (or perhaps didn't feel I had access to in Texas). I didn't realize, at the time, that #bossbabesATX was going to manifest as a space for that. At the first meet, I expected 20 friends and 300 people came; that's our narrative in a nutshell. The last two years have been an adjustment to this growth and a hard fight to continue doing what we set out to do - promote and support women in creative industry, while fostering an environment that sustains community building and collaboration. I'm grateful every day.

    What’s been your most cherished event or moment so far and why? 
    We threw a party on Jan. 20 this year called State of the Uterus; it was our own inauguration ceremony for reproductive rights and a renewed commitment to activism. We had everything from a sage cleansing to a Studio 54 dance hour, AND we raised $6500 for some of our favorite organizations. It was amazing to look out at a crowd of happy people on what was, for me, a really tough day in our political climate.

    How do you define feminism, in a nutshell?
    I'm an intersectional feminist, meaning feminism (which is the belief in AND movement toward equality between men and women) sits at the intersection of many issues, some involving gender, others involving race, socioeconomics, culture, etc. Thus, my applied feminism is broad. I push myself to understand the structure of our society and then manipulate that society to better work for all. So I see Feminism as a culture shift away from patriarchal systems. Feminism as an examination of police brutality. Feminism as sexual liberation. Feminism as equal pay for equal work. You see what I mean.

    2017 has been a whirlwind so far… what are a few top line goals for you personally and the organization this year and beyond?  
    My personal goals are to read more lit and read my social media feeds less. I've also taken a position at design firm In-House International as the head of projects and marketing, so I'm invested in refining my eye for design, too. Organizational goals at #bossbabesATX are... much more complicated. I'm working toward some big girl panties shit this year, like balanced budgets, procured office and event space, my first full-time hire, etc.

    We're sure there are many, but if you had to choose three females who have helped shape who you are today for one reason or another, who would you pick?
    My mom was a zookeeper when I was a child; she taught me to be a nerd, to understand an ecosystem and ultimately how to be alone. 

    Gloria Steinem was my first introduction to feminism; her Playboy stunt taught me to take risks and deal with the consequences later. 

    The third is Jessica Williams; as a comedian/social activist/career woman, I think she has achieved a life for herself that has thrust beyond any narrative. She is Jessica Williams and she is her own person... and that individuality and reluctance to conform comforts me everyday.

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