Following in her mother’s footsteps, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander lawyer Jayde Geia believes it’s her responsibility to help improve the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
The Griffith Law School graduate, whose family comes from Yarrabah in Cairns and Moa Island in the Torres Strait, distinctly remembers the times she sat in on her mother’s law lectures as a young girl.
“I saw how studying law at Griffith empowered my mum who was a single parent. She inspired me to go to university because against all odds, my mum graduated with top marks and became a barrister where she is able to make real changes,’’ she said.
“I also decided to study law because I’m interested in social justice and the wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.”
Graduating from Griffith University in 2010, Jayde’s burgeoning career has seen her work at Allens Linklaters, the Queensland Investment Corporation and as a Judge’s associate in Cairns. More recently, she has obtained a position as a senior consultant with Ernst and Young in Canberra.
As well as her day job, she also volunteers on five different advisory boards – AFL Queensland Diversity Board, the Queensland Multicultural Council, First Nations Foundation (helping to improve financial literacy for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people), the Smith Family and the Queensland Law Society Reconciliation Action Group.
“Being on these boards is a privilege and I really enjoy helping others. It doesn’t feel like work,’’ she said.
If that isn’t enough, Jayde was also accepted into postgraduate study at New York University after visiting the university as part of the 2016 Aurora Indigenous Scholars International Study Tour.
“I decided not to accept the place in New York because of my commitments in Australia and feel that the opportunity at Ernst and Young will allow me to make real changes in the communities, however the Tour was an invaluable experience and I would highly recommend it to other students,’’ she said.
As well as NYU, Jayde visited Harvard, Stanford, Colombia, Berkeley, Cambridge and Oxford during the six-week tour.
“It gave me the confidence to know that I could apply and be accepted into the prestigious universities”
Jayde credits her success to Griffith’s GUMURRII Student Support Unit, without which she says she would have struggled.
“I wouldn’t have made it through my studies without the support of GUMURRII. I’m so proud to be a Griffith graduate.”