If you live in Austin, Texas, whether you heard her name or not, you probably got wind of the work of 28-year-old Jane Claire Hervey.
Through the Boss Babes ATX nonprofit and Group Work creative studio, which she founded and ran, Hervey has pushed the creative and entrepreneurial community in Austin and beyond to think differently about who gets funding, tools, and opportunity. With well-known partners such as Doc Martens, OkCupid, Red Bull, Titos Wodka and the University of Texas, she is redesigning the industry landscape.
“I’m just trying to figure out how things can work for people who normally don’t focus on designing entrepreneurial and creative spaces,” explained Hervey. “In my eyes it’s a design problem.”
After graduating from the University of Texas with a degree in Journalism in 2014, Hervey spent the first few years of her career in communications and marketing at media startup Neon Cantina and boutique design agency In-House International. Through these experiences – some of which required participation in projects that she disapproved of or did not support – Hervey sharpened her focus and increased her commitment to the values that guide her work today: inclusion and collaboration.
Out of the desire to live up to these values, Hervey founded Boss Babes ATX in 2015 with the aim of bringing together women and non-binary entrepreneurs, creatives and community organizers. Through Group Work, which was founded in 2017, Hervey takes on clients for branding, creative and event curation on a project-by-project basis in her free time. The name of the studio, Group Work, speaks for Hervey’s philosophy of integrative, value-based collaboration.
“I like to challenge this concept of a target market,” said Hervey. For every project, she asks, “Who is this excluding and why are they being excluded?” With this guiding principle, Boss Babes ATX was also able to work with its partners to expand funding opportunities and connections to communities that were not previously employed.
She admits that digging into exclusion systems can create problems that are difficult to look at. “A lot of these things are rooted in sexism or racism or other discriminatory belief systems that we are not always aware of,” Hervey said.
Early in her career, Hervey said that often she didn’t trust her instincts and instead avoided the conflict or gray area he faced.
“You have to be able – at least – to trust yourself,” she said. “You have to trust your feelings; you have to trust your reading; you have to trust your lived experience. “
Focusing on the gray areas led Hervey to the harder, yet more rewarding work she now does in both the nonprofit and creative studio. Confidence in her vision has enabled her to engage in “group work” and build effective projects.
How she got the gig
Hervey created these gigs himself and founded Boss Babes ATX in 2015 and Group Work in 2017.
“I’m not going to be working with someone who doesn’t have written values,” said Hervey.