Rosie Thomas - CEO of PROJECT ROCKIT
Money management might be a man’s world. Gender stereotypes may inform ideas that men are good at managing their money, while women are frivolous ‘shopoholics’, with credit card debts fuelled by shoes & cosmos.
To question this tired stereotype and celebrate International Women’s Day, we’re sharing the economic journeys and lessons learnt from five inspiring women.
Today we spoke with Rosie Thomas - check out her incredible journey and tips below.
Tell us a bit about yourself!
My name is Rosie and I’m co-founder and co-CEO of PROJECT ROCKIT, Australia’s youth-driven movement against bullying, hate and prejudice. My sister and I started PROJECT ROCKIT fresh out of high school because we saw how much bullying was robbing our peers of their opportunity. We decided to do something about it. Since then, PROJECT ROCKIT has reached hundreds of thousands of young people in our face-to-face and online workshops. I’m really relentless about creating a world where kindness and respect thrive over bullying, hate and prejudice and everyone is free to be themselves. I’m also a massive 90’s hip-hop fan and have named my cat (also my BFF), Biggie Smalls - after the massive east coast rapper!
How did you get to where you are now, and did you face any challenges on this journey?
Despite what I learnt in school, success isn’t linear. I had no idea that I could essentially invent my own career. At the time, this meant breaking the mould and creating something that didn’t exist before. I was frequently told that my idea was lofty or wild or would never happen and it was sometimes hard to quiet those voices and listen to my own. Plenty of times things went wrong, but plenty of times (and more often then not), things went right! I learnt there is no single path to achieving your goals. The day I realised this, was the day failure became less scary. Leading social innovation or positive change means you are creating new paths, not following old ones. Being out there at the helm of it with no map to follow can be scary. But truly great things are not born from our comfort zones. It’s simple but powerful to remember that if the path you’re on leads to failure, you can simply create a new one. With every new path, you’re stronger, wiser and even more determined. That’s true pioneering at its best.
Where did you learn what you know about finance and managing money? Are there resources you use for support?
I learnt about finance and managing money when I launched my business. It’s kind of ridiculous that it took me this long but weirdly, we were never taught this stuff at school. At first it was really hard because I was less confident and constantly doubting myself and what I knew. The biggest barrier I faced was overcoming the stereotype that young women don’t know anything about money or managing finances. Smashing this completely backwards stereotype meant I could take the pressure off myself and open my mind to learn the how (budgets, accounting, tax). As a social enterprise (a business designed to benefit the community in a financially sustainable way), money is a super important reality in making sure we can achieve positive impact for years and years to come. Plus, understanding finances and mindfully managing income means that you have the economic engine to achieve you visions in life - Start that business, travel around the world, donate money to the causes that mean the most to you.
If you could give your younger self some financial advice, what would be your top 3 tips?
-Profit is not a dirty word in the social change space! As a social business it’s important that while creating change, you also think and act for profit. This will mean you can succeed by investing your profits back into scaling and amplifying your positive impact
-Some of the business admin and finance stuff can be boring but it is important that you understand the basics (why, how, what) before you outsource it for someone else to do
-Anna Lappe said, “Every time you spend money, you're casting a vote for the kind of world you want” - This is so true! Vote with your wallet by making ethical purchases that positively impact people and the planet. This means you will sometimes have to do you research before clicking ‘PAY’.
Love Rosie's work at PROJECT ROCKIT? Next week they're launching Season 2 of PROJECT ROCKIT TV - their web series that’s powered by their mates at Google. Developed by young people, for young people and even starring young people, PRTV talks about the tough stuff that you don’t get to talk about at school. Powered by YouTube, each episode is informative, sassy, provides socially credible tools and creates real talk around important topics, like, ‘Nudes: What if I get hassled for photos I don’t want to send?’ and ‘Cultural Diversity: How can I celebrate my friends?’ You can watch the trailer here: https://goo.gl/cTvKCD
This series does not provide personal financial product advice. The advice present in these articles has been prepared without taking into account your personal objectives, financial situations or needs.
Before acting on any of these recommendations, you should consider their appropriateness to your specific investment objectives, financial situation and needs. If you are uncertain as to what your objectives and needs are, you should contact a financial adviser who is licensed to provide you with personal financial product advice.