Jessica Brookes - alumna profile
After completing her law degree, Jessica headed to London to kick-start her career. Working for a corporate finance company, she experienced the highs and lows of listing companies on the stock exchange. Long hours at a desk and little time for her health gave Jessica the impetus to make a change.
Not afraid to take a risk, Jessica headed to Sydney and secured a role in brand strategy for an advertising agency. She progressed through the industry and worked on campaigns for numerous global clients. She thrived in a fun and creative environment where her talent was rewarded with the ultimate Adland accolade; a Cannes Lion for work she did on the Nike She Runs Campaign. Much of her success seems to be grounded in her dedication: "I put my trainers on, signed up for a half marathon and started having conversations with female runners to understand the culture around it". Jessica’s research engaged a vast community of women who joined a 10km night run to conquer their fear of running at night. Before making the conscious decision to work towards her own dreams, Jessica took stock of this as one of the proudest moments in her advertising career.
Trekking the Himalayas
Alongside a friend, Jessica spent two weeks trekking the Himalayas of Nepal for WWF to support fundraising for Tiger Conservation. Every aspect of this experience was pivotal in shaping Jessica’s next move. "It changed everything," she reflects. "I was so humbled by those giant mountains and the people living among them." When she got back to Sydney, Jessica decided to pack her bags again and fulfil her lifelong dream to travel. This adventure took her to a nunnery in Nepal, across the Atlantic as a chef, running a recycling campaign in India and supporting Tsunami Emergency relief in Japan. Though hugely varied and very much out of her comfort zone, the freedom of travel gave Jessica some much-needed space to reflect on her career and identify her true passions.
The Shanti Space
During a massage in Bali, Jessica found herself wondering, "what would I do if money was no object?" The response was "create a retreat business". Jessica took the brave decision to make her dream a reality and created The Shanti Space – a start-up enterprise that helps people create wellbeing in their lives through retreats and workshops while donating profits to organisations serving the greater good. Jessica taught herself the skills she needed to make The Shanti Space a reality, designing and creating her own website, creating a communications plan and building relationships with inspiring teachers and mentors across the world. Thankfully, being a hostess is something that always came naturally to her.
Laying the foundations at UWE Bristol
Jessica’s career path certainly highlights her incredible talent for identifying transferable skills and making use of these to follow her dreams. Although she doesn’t practice law now she credits her course with teaching her discipline, commitment and skills in communication. Alongside formal learning, being the Social Secretary for the Snowsports University Club, taught her about the importance of fun and friendship: "these friendships have survived the test of time, transcended distance and grounded me when things have got stormy".