Being a successful young businesswoman places Elise Jione in a unique position to encourage likeminded women to pursue their chosen careers.
It was a volunteering trip to Fiji that placed the 33-year-old general manager of the Thompson Institute on the path that led to where she is today.
Buderim born and bred, the single mother was named the Sunshine Coast Business Women’s Network’s (SCBWN) 2021 Young Business Woman of the Year.
Completing a bachelor in business management and commerce, after university Ms Jione began steering towards the world of accounting before a stint volunteering with the Fiji Red Cross left her feeling she had more to give.
“In that time I really thought, I’ve got more to offer in making a difference in people’s lives, so when I came back from Fiji I started working more in that research space. A lot of people do a commerce degree and end up in corporate services or public practice or one of the big fours, but for me to be working in a regional setting in my hometown, I am very privileged.”
Through her role at health and neuroscience organisation Thompson Institute, Ms Jione helps support continued growth and research for a range of mental health conditions.
“My role is around providing guidance and directions for growing programs and one thing I am really passionate about is substantiality – so how do we keep these valuable programs in our community for a long period of time.
“I support others to deliver their programs across a number of topics including youth mental health, suicide prevention, ageing and dementia and PTSD.”
After a challenging two years, Ms Jione says the biggest step is to take action in improving mental health support in the community. “Awareness has to go hand in hand with action.
“When I speak with business leaders it’s about what can they do for the employees or how can they implement more action-focused mental health initiatives into their workplaces.
“The effects of COVID are going to be long lasting and we have an opportunity now to really embed mental health and wellbeing in organisations, as you would first aid.”
Ms Jione says she hopes her story will inspire other young women. “You might do a job in a traditional sense, but there are so many career options that can really bring out your passions and potentials.
“With my career, there was a point in time when I decided to use my professional skills for purpose and where I am is a perfect fit in terms of my personal values and the values of the Thompson Institute.
Ms Jione says the SCBWN gives young women a chance to meet other professionals on the Coast.
“It’s really important that as women in business we are empowering women.
“I’m really passionate about opening doors for other women. Through networking comes opportunity. My first graduate job was through networking and I really saw the value in that, so for me to be able to then be a role model to the young women in business is something I see as my role now having this award.”
The SCBWN is driven by a strong purpose – to empower and celebrate women to achieve in business. My Weekly Preview is a proud supporter of the organisation, and women in business. Visit scbwn.org.au