Cohort Innovation Space Program Manager Janine McQueen’s passion for the planet has springboarded her from the Gold Coast Health and Knowledge Precinct to the world stage.
She presented earlier this year at the World Economic Forum HQ in Geneva, taking a bag of rubbish from Cohort on stage to make her point.
“I don’t think too many people can say they’ve willingly taken trash from their work and flown it 16,000km,” says Janine.
“I wasn’t even sure it was going to get through customs,” she laughs.
The 27-year-old trekked to Switzerland for the annual Global Shapers Summit, a youth-led World Economic Forum initiative focused on local measures to address local environmental and social issues.
She presented to delegates from more than 130 countries on waste management systems; the bag of Cohort rubbish was shown off to illustrate the journey some recyclables take from Australia for offshore processing.
“We don’t have the infrastructure to process certain waste here,” she says. “For another country to be responsible for our waste is crazy—our waste is our resource, our responsibility.”
A PRODUCT OF THE PRECINCT
While it was certainly Janine’s drive and acumen that took her to the world stage, the people and places of the Gold Coast Health and Knowledge Precinct helped her along the way.
Having earned a 2020 degree in Business and Digital Media from Griffith University with a focus on sustainability, she crossed the Precinct and landed her first graduate job as Community Manager at Cohort.
It was by the coffee machine that Cohort Innovation Space’s COO Ariana Margetts suggested Janine get involved with the Gold Coast Global Shapers Hub, an NFP charity that utilises the co-working space.
“If I hadn’t had coffee with her that day, I wouldn’t have gone to Geneva,” says Janine.
LOCAL MEASURES FOR LOCAL IMPACT
The Good Karma Project, the Gold Coast Global Shapers’ flagship program, is a drink container recycling initiative in partnership with RECAN that collects 10c per container to fund ecology camps, tree planting and lantana clearing in Austinville Valley.
While driving growth for the impact-led local Global Shapers, Janine also began a tandem journey to put her study of sustainable business processes into practice at Cohort Innovation Space.
She successfully pitched a waste separation plan including a worm farm, switched the co-working space to eco-friendly suppliers and strived for B Corp Certification, one of the world’s highest environmental and social impact standards.
Studying and working within GCHKP, Janine says, fostered her desire to make an environmental difference in the Gold Coast community.
“I have been presented so many incredible opportunities right here, like the Griffith BusinessPLUS Program, participating in the National Innovation Games in 2019 and becoming a Griffith Global Mobility Ambassador after studying abroad in Norway and Hong Kong.”
“There’s so much on offer here, I think everyone should be checking out what’s happening in the Precinct!”