Old Collegian Jessie Jarvie, nee Emerson (2003-2005)

August 13, 2014 at 4:42 PM

Since returning to the workforce from maternity leave early in 2014, lawyer Jessie Jarvie has launched a new consultancy business, proposed a now operating childcare centre where she is employed and assisted in starting up the ‘Ladies in the Law’ forum series on behalf of the New Zealand Law Society. Recently featured in the National Business Review, the former first Head Girl is undoubtedly ‘walking the talk’ in her advocacy for returning mothers to the workforce and women in the workplace.

Jessie’s consultancy business, ‘Loulamere’ - named after her middle name, Louise and ‘mother’ in French – is a service that assists mums transitioning back into the workplace. The idea sprang from her own personal experience of looking into childcare options for her young son, George when going back to work four days a week as Legal Counsel at Orion Health. She says she found the process tricky and was surprised at the lack of information out there for working mums.

Through her research, Jessie compiled a database of information, namely advice, tips and tricks from other working mums and much loved products, and coached several of her acquaintences through the back-to-work transition using the model now used by Loulamere. The new consultancy service involves working closely with mum over three months, charting her personal and professional aspirations and compiling an ‘instruction manual’ for her, including a detailed transition plan and recommended childcare options to ease her back into the workplace. Jessie hopes she can help these women feel like successful mums and successful career women. As well as providing bespoke plans for each client, Loulamere works with corporate organisations to contribute to their workplace wellness programmes and to help them recruit and retain women with children.

Likewise, the onsite childcare centre for employees’ children at Orion Health stemmed from Jessie knowing that the best place for George when she returned to work was to be near her and, ideally in a childcare centre at her place of employment. This motivated Jessie to put a proposal forward to Orion Health management which was accepted and the centre, ‘Milky Way’ opened four months later and currently cares for 15 children.

Onsite childcare facilities are uncommon in New Zealand, and typically daytime visits are seen as disruptive to young children. However, Jessie says Milky Way is different to the traditional childcare model as it encourages parents to be able to come and go during the day. She says they anticipate that this will build a culture of resilience amongst the children and it feels like they are one step ahead of what will become a new childcare movement.

Source: The National Business Review, July 2014


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