Meet The Team
Founder, Director and CEO
Jane Holmes is the founder and CEO of Support the Girls Australia.
Jane is a Mother. Widow. Survivor. Inspiration.
Jane’s mission to help disadvantaged women reclaim their sense of self-worth is deeply personal as she has walked in their shoes on many fronts. Jane is a very private but headstrong person who is determined to bring change in her calm unassuming way. Jane is the epitome of resilience. This is a skill she has fine tuned through her life’s journey. She brings an energy and passion that is formidable.
Widowed to suicide at 39, she was left to raise three children on her own. She had no support system at all being in a new country and did not qualify for social benefits. Jane reinvented herself and changed her career path to provide for her children.
In 2015 Jane was forced to give up a successful career and financial security to have her ankle reconstructed for a second time after walking on it broken for seven years. It took a huge toll and the financial impact was unthinkable. In Jane’s words, “When my husband committed suicide, I had no idea how I was going to survive. I lived with the constant fear and anxiety of my children losing the roof from over their heads. Having to give up my career to save my foot I had to go through all the same fears.” Jane had been advised that she would only need six months off work for the recovery time, but it took 11 months before she could even walk. During this time period Jane had no income, but thankfully her children were adults and able to assist and contribute to the bills and their home. Jane says if it was not for them the situation would have been dire and they could have been facing homelessness. She says it only takes one major crisis for people to suddenly find themselves in financial instability and hence looking down the barrel of homelessness. Since starting Support The Girls Australia Jane has also dealt with a third journey with cancer. But as she says, she does not give it any energy or thought and just lives her life one day at a time.
One of the key areas that Jane is committed to is educating people on the reality of disenfranchised women. Jane says the situations she has found herself in are prime examples. She says “If people meet me, they assume I am financially secure and well educated. I had a privileged upbringing and the best education, but it is not a guarantee that you will not face financial hardship. There are a lot of women like me who are in strong financial positions who suddenly lose it all, whether divorce, domestic situations, loss of a spouse etc and most of these women are too proud to shout out for help. Society sees us as being comfortable and having it all together. This can more often or not be so far from the truth and it is important to give these women a safe environment to get help and support without judgement.”
Jane brings a strong corporate background to Support The Girls Australia as well as her years of experience as a crisis counsellor with Victim Support in New Zealand. Jane was instrumental in writing some of the policies for Victim Support and understands the need for processes and strong governance. These two strengths mean that Support The Girls Australia has a sound business structure and a person that has experienced the worst case scenarios of what people can experience and hence Jane has the understanding, resilience and empathy to be able to handle and deal with any situation. Jane says to build a strong foundation to ensure an organisation is successful requires a good sound business practice, and this is what she brings to the table. Jane says a non for profit has the exact same processes and infrastructure as a profit business. The only difference is non for profits do not have a product that they can sell to raise revenue so they have to work even harder to cover the same expenses a revenue run business would have.
In between managing Support The Girls Australia Jane facilitates face to face support for families bereft of a loved one to suicide in her capacity as a suicide counsellor. She also lectures in PTSD.
Jane has always been involved in community work from a young girl. Something her father installed in her.
She has sat on numerous committees and boards. Jane is a private person and spends her rare spare time reading and investing any spare time with her grandson. She loves reading and music is her sanity.