5 Things We Need To Do To Close The Gender Wage Gap, with Jasmine Gercke PhD and Candice Georgiadis

Candice Georgiadis
Nov 6 · 18 min read

The fact remains that women are less likely to ask for higher salaries due to underlying stigmas that they will produce less outcome due to family obligations. With my son in a daycare service, I continued to work overtime, as I felt the pressure to compete with my male colleagues and also had obligations to pay for the household needs.

As part of my series about “the five things we need to do to close the gender wage gap” I had the pleasure of interviewing Jasmine Gercke PhD, President of Jazz Consulting, aka Dr. Jazz. Dr. jazz is a serial entrepreneur, author and yogi, and the creator of Jazz Yoga and a passionate advocate of healthy body and mindfulness practices. This spiritual advisor represents the world with her diverse reach from classrooms to boardrooms, with a skill set that ranges from social entrepreneurship, to alternative medicine and technology. She stands for humanity’s transformation, from stressful surviving into mindful thriving, by merging Western knowledge of medicine with Eastern wisdom through her work. Born in Wimbledon, UK, educated in Wiesbaden, Germany, and currently based in Canada, she completed her postgraduate studies in International Business at the Manchester Business School and now represents the world through Thought Leadership. Her Jazz Yoga Therapy Method is based in neuroscience, positive psychology, and mindfulness combined with sound healing music at 432hertz and is the first-ever method to combine yoga with music in this cellular healing revolution. Dr. Jazz shares her story and wisdom through her speaking events “ Your Breath is your Lifeline”, “Bounce Back”, “How to be a human in the bionic world of Artificial Intelligence”, and is currently promoting her upcoming book Billionaire Yogi — Health I$ Wealth in an effort to bring Peace and Joy to the world.


Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us the “backstory” that brought you to this career path?

Absolutely. Do you ever remember having that ‘aha’ moment, where you question your entire life choices you took to this present moment and you ask yourself: “What now?” Well, I had that moment in 2007. I was supposed to be happily married, with a beautiful young child, and a promising career at Ernst & Young. I was the owner of a home, a car, I had disposable income and yet my perfect life was shattered into pieces in a glimpse of an eye. When that dreamstate fell apart, I awakened and realised I was not contributing enough to society. Unfulfilled with the choices I had made thus far, I decided to make a drastic change. Transformation is a journey within.

What enables me to find strength in moments of hardship is the light at the end of the tunnel. The shift was triggered by a diagnosis of major depression, which was primarily caused by my environment at the time. This was my permission to look inwards for answers and led me on a journey of trusting myself more. The first step of taking my power back was following my dream. I became a certified Yoga Teacher, which empowered me to resign from my job as a Resource Manager for Eastern Canada and this process inevitably led me to build a yoga school to serve my community. Change is brought about by this inner transformation. I was fighting for government aid to feed my young son during the legal process of my divorce. I felt the financial pressure and I was backed into a corner. I was a victim of societal boundaries, stuck in a grey zone. This is the paradox of being educated in a world where the system fails. However, giving up was never an option. After several months of struggling, I applied for a grant for young entrepreneurs which helped me birth my first Jazz Yoga School and fulfilled my dream to serve our community. In order to make a change in your wellbeing you must become your own hero, and this was my first attempt at it.

Accountability is key in business and in your personal growth. It is important for me to share that this was only a stepping stone to my true calling as a Keynote Speaker and Thought Leader. Through my speaking, I am able to tackle topics such as Artificial Intelligence and its power to support the advancement of healthcare in third world countries, which allows me to stay connected with the revolutionary innovation that we are witnessing. This transition did not happen overnight. It was a 10-year process combined with the constant awareness of changing my story. I now live to empower women and youth and shed light on the struggles we live on a daily basis in oirder to drive change through the power of education.

The beauty about my backstory is, that its darkness has led me directly to the light and to the path of Sustainable Development Goals initiatives by the United Nations. This innitiative will continue to guide my future, as I serve humanity; and this time with my head on my shoulders and definitely in the front line. My story is a constant reminder that we must surrender to the power of love. Your life can change in an instant. Never forget the power of your dreams. Whilst the shift was triggered by loss, it also activated a deep trust in my Self, which continues to drive me to always offer my best, to inspire and educate and spare the suffering of our fellow brothers and sisters.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began this career?

This is a good question. There are so many stories and each one has impacted my life. I must say that every day and every human interaction brings about fascinating learning experiences in this career path. The reason I chose to be a voice for Women in Business, is that I am a woman of mixed race, who has experienced life as a single mother, working in the corporate environment in a mostly male dominated world having to fight for recognition. I know what it feels like to be paid less than a man working in the same role and to be rejected from boardroom meetings because of my sex. I have been mentally abused in my personal life and I have found my own power through positive psychology. Whilst it taught me resilience, it also motivates me to be a change agent.

Through entrepreneurship, I have been able to learn how to thrive as a team and use each others’ strengths to succeed. As a humanitarian, I proudly stand by the choice of love and compassion over money and power. This means using my skill set and faith to shine in a world that has lost its way and prefers to discriminate rather than appreciate.

I ask you to go deeper and find peace and joy in your journey by celebrating humans and their impeccable flaws, as this is what makes us all unique and irreplaceable in business and on this planet. The most beautiful part is the encountering of amazing humans on a daily basis. My journey as a spiritual advisor has taught me so much about my Self, as we lift others and we find our own success. This is a time where we must stand strong together and rise. It is time.

Recently, I was part of an amazing initiative to support non-profit organisations in South Africa to honor the incredible humans making a difference in this world on a daily basis. One person can truly change the world through the power of love. One local farmer has been working without running water on site for nearly 30 years. On the flipside we have used so much water that we are threatened to run out of it in this very lifetime. These stories have changed my perspective and we must continue to work towards the #ActNow initiative by the United Nations to bring awareness to the current issues we are facing as humanity.

Can you share a story about the funniest or most interesting mistake you made when you were first starting?

I would not characterize any of my mistakes as funny, however the word interesting does capture the experience of it all. Growth can manifest itself in many categories and in my case, the sacrifice symbolised with the time I fell on my head. Overworked and underpaid, I had lost my way as an entrepreneur and I did not see the fall coming. The key to a successful entrepreneur is self-care and whilst I was working in the Wellness industry, I was taking on way too much for one person and I had a huge lesson to learn in delegating work, or the lack of my skill at the time.

One night after working late, I lost consciousness and must have fallen head first onto the wooden floors of my apartment, as I found myself flat on the floor when I awoke. The egg size bump on my forehead was a clear indicator that I was hurt and with no memory of what had happened, I somehow managed to get to the Emergency. This fall was a wake up call. The long recovery back to mySelf affected my business and my personal life and I suffered tremendously.

Whilst this was a hard lesson to learn, it was also the opening door to my transformation. It allowed me to go deeper into my own value system and reinvent myself. My own growth into the digital world of Artificial Intelligence in the Healthcare sector flourished from this freak accident. A friend of mine captured it beautifully when he told me: “Falling on your head might have been the best thing that ever happened in your life.”

I was running a successful Yoga business into my fourth year of survival, which is seen as having made it if we look at it from a statistical point of view in the start-up world, but the truth is, that the market was changing and the digital world was emerging faster than imaginable. I felt the need to reach more people without continuously burning out in this fast paced and competitive society. The lesson was clear to me in the process of recovery: work smarter, not harder.

In business we can underestimate the projections and timeline of a project, which can be detrimental. In my case, I expected to be running the same yoga school for at least 15 years when I signed my original lease. At the time, I was not aware of my journey to come: a series of failures and accidents to experience. My frontal lobe concussion was followed by a minor car accident in the same year damaging my thoracic spine, which led to another physical transformation and refinement of my yogic path. The recovery of both the concussion and spine injury aligned with my decision to implement an exit strategy for my business at the time and bring the Jazz Yoga brand global by training digitally and travelling the world as a Speaker. This has directly led me to my current adventurous life as a Bourgois Gipsy, a life filled with humanitarian work and entrepreneurship. This blessing to coach in both a business environment and online is allowing flexibility in my life in a world filled with boundaries.

The fact of the matter is that I will likely be educated in the field of Healthcare all my life and that innovation is key in the path of success and change is inevitable. That I guess, must be the humour in it and the “funny part” you are referring to, as I can now laugh at the falls and obstacles when I share my story on stage.

Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

The most important takeaway from this experience was learning how to prepare my business exit strategy and in my life as an entrepreneur it allowed me to reinvent myself as a Thought Leader and Global Speaker by implementing a strategic plan. Over the period of one year I rebranded which has offered me an opportunity to sell the ownership of my business to another company or investor in the future. The exit strategy for Jazz Yoga School allowed me to liquidate my stake in the business and relaunch Jazz Yoga Ayurveda as a global brand. With the help of the national community TV project, aired in Canada and with the assistance of global ambassadors we have successfully relaunched. I have learned that it is never too late to claim back your brand and stand apart from the competition.

The learning process is ongoing, but the understanding that we cannot do it alone has become a key in the succession of achieving milestones in the bigger vision of my dream. The transition was a process of transformation that can be summarised in several layers of understanding life. The lesson of resilience in life has only confirmed my vision for this world and allowed me to self-express my authenticity and staying true to my calling, which is to serve this world and my family.

This expansiveness of my heart has taught me to live in the present moment and treasure every moment and as my son so bravely says to me: “Live your best life Mom”. This profound learning that we are all interconnected and have our own personal truth to live by, is manifested in joy and thriving in a world that is changing and filled with beautiful souls that understand the power of love. There is a lesson in every step of our path. This experience was a reminder that we can never fail, as life is designed as our teacher.

Ok let’s jump to the main focus of our interview. Even in 2019, women still earn about 80 cents for every dollar a man makes. Can you explain three of the main factors that are causing the wage gap?

The wage gap between genders refers to the difference in pay between male and female and whilst John F. Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act in 1963 and made it illegal to pay men and women working in the same place different salaries for similar work, we are still recording statistics where women make $0.79 for each dollar compared to our male equivalent according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Whilst one can argue that our statistics are not completely accurate, we have identified three main factors that continue to cause this wage gap in our society: Legal, Collective and voluntary.

To clarify, these factors which include occupational segregation, bias against working mothers and direct remuneration discrimation, are causing a trivial divide when it comes to lack of fairness in pay. We must commit to dig a little deeper and understand how we can support the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) which include Gender Equality as the fifth most prioritised amongst the 17 goals in the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda. Our mission is, to achieve equal access for primary education amongst all children and to eliminnate practices such as discrimination against race, sex, gender and mutuation?

Persistently, we acknowledge the gender pay gap in less developed countries, however there are still preserving?

Issues around the globe. Whilst we find comfort in the reports by the Centre for Global Development that states: “It often gets worse before it can get better”, there is no excuse for this old way of thinking, allowing inequality? We must achieve gender equality and empower women and girls to create a new world of inclusiveness and fairness.

Can you share with our readers what your work is doing to help close the gender wage gap?

As an Entrepreneur and CEO of our Canadian Consulting company, I am upscaling myself as a Woman in Business which will directly impact the gender pay gap. I continue to educate myself so I can inspire other women to become their own boss and leader. My reason for inspiring and building confidence in women is to encourage other women leaders to step up and to ensure our global economic growth and wellbeing.

One of the reasons we are still facing issues of gender inequality is, that we only have around 20% of women in political leadership roles and even less in technology related roles, which causes the economy to suffer as a whole. We need to focus on including more talented women in the AI, Politics and Leadership to accelerate the process of closing the gender pay gap.

Our consulting services to businesses include training and development in measuring the gender pay gap. We are aware, that calculating the statistics, is the first step towards closing the gender parity. We are continuously learning new methodologies of business to allow for improvement in reducing the time it will take to close the gap. Through our non-profit organisation (www.risenheaven.org), we aim to offer sponsorship to talented children, young adults and women, specifically to the less privileged allowing them to access financial support and creating opportunities for more women leaders across all verticals of business to succeed. This initiative is in alignment with the UN SDGs 2030 goals to close the gender pay gap.

Can you recommend 5 things that need to be done on a broader societal level to close the gender wage gap. Please share a story or an example for each.

According to the Centre for Global Development women are more educated today than in any point of history. I think there are five reasons that stand out when we evaluate the core issues of the gender pay gap and allow ourselves to seek deeper knowledge inside to resolve these discrepancies in our society.

Taken from the initiatives of the United Nations’ 17 SDG Goals, I believe that, if we as a nation, focus on no poverty, zero hunger, good health and wellbeing, quality education, gender equality and last, but carrying the whole, partnerships for these goals, we have an opportunity to drive change on the societal level.

I am implicated in many charitable organisations with regards to education in the East and what appears to be one of the main drawbacks is that many women are not allowed to go to school at all, or have duties in the home which hinder the process of education further. The women that have the opportunity to pursue their studies end up marrying and still fall into the tradition of staying at home with the family. All these predetermined factors cause the occupational segregation and embody quality education and gender equality as mentioned in our solutions to drive change as a collective.

Whilst education increases women’s earnings, it has not had the effect we hoped for in terms of equal pay and justice. When I completed my postgraduate studies in 2001, I was hired in a low paid entry level position, which was on average $8000 less than my male peers. This trend continued even once I applied my acquired negotiation skills. I jumped ship to another corporate superpower and while my income increased I was never able to share the same playing field as my male colleagues in relation to our compensation. Over the course of a decade, this has affected my standard of living and that of my family.

This leads us to another reason for gender pay inequality — transparency of remuneration. If we as a collective teach women to respect themselves and empower them to ask for their value when taking on new opportunities, we will no doubt come one step closer to our dreams and find equality of human rights for all. This addresses Health and wellbeing at the same time, as it builds confidence and allows for financial stability to afford to take care of your health.

One solution that has been implemented is maternity leave for both genders. Whilst this allows for women to be more present in their careers, as they take a shorter leave, it also offers the opportunity for men to spend time with their newborn. This is seen as a solution to our gender pay gap, but it also raises the question of gender equality. It is scientifically proven that women need to spend more time to connect to their newborn, breastfeeding and allowing for the child to bond right after childbirth, whilst men tend to connect more after the child’s first birthday. Whilst this solution appears to be politically correct, is this not more advantageous for the man yet again?

Women need the time after childbirth to recover and the brain is often affected, due to postpartum and new responsibility and worry for the newborn. Separation anxiety can cause a lack of productivity and performance at work and the pressure can lead to “burnout”, which I experienced first hand. With the lack of support at home and the need to travel for my position, the walls closed in on me and I eventually had to take a partially-paid leave after the birth of my son. This strained me financially and slowed down my career path. All this was leading up to my divorce, and as a single mother, I was challenged further in becoming financially stable. Are we addressing the underlying issue of hunger and health and wellbeing, when we only partially pay for a leave of absence caused by mental health issues?

The Paycheck Fairness Act essentially works to close loopholes in the landmark Equal Pay Act of 1963 beforementioned in this interview, and it will lead us to move forward in our mission to be fair in all that is gender related discrimination. Transparency of pay also falls into this category and in my personal experience this is how I first found out I was being underpaid as a Woman in 2003 at my banking job. Comparing my income to my male peers, I learnt that I had the same experience, was delivering on my tasks and was remunerated less than my supposedly equal colleagues. I decided to educate myself on how to negotiate fair pay. I learnt to ask for a range of pay when applying for a new position.

The fact remains that women are less likely to ask for higher salaries due to underlying stigmas that they will produce less outcome due to family obligations. With my son in a daycare service, I continued to work overtime, as I felt the pressure to compete with my male colleagues and also had obligations to pay for the household needs.

I also compromised myself when it came to asking for raises and evaluating my performance and I self sabotaged, as I felt guilty for taking leave for family emergencies and obligations.

During my maternity leave, a colleague was hired to replace me, and he remained as a permanent position upon my return to work which basically made my position obsolete. This was the final straw for me. I decided to empower myself and take matters into my own hands. I embraced the entrepreneur in me. I was now my own boss and only I was responsible and accountable for my advancement in my career.

There are no boundaries in this life. When I hire my team I ensure to pay men and women equally and according to their experience and deliverables. We have a responsibility to offer equal opportunities to all humans, no matter what the gender or race.

A recent experience I had in South Africa with a local safe house that provides a transition home for newborns and abandoned children, took my breath away. There are newborn children left in gutters and at hospitals without documentation, often HIV positive, neglected, born addicted and premature. This dire situation is affecting the entire societal structure. Unless we place these children in stable homes and allow for inter-racial educational opportunity, we will not see change. We must strive to facilitate adoptions across borders to offer these children an opportunity at a privileged life without hunger and poverty, so they can return to their roots with an open mind and new mindset to add value to society.

It begins with each life we save. Education is the solution and government policies must support this need for evolution. Racial discrimination and sexual abuse are still amongst the most life threatening amongst the societal issues and we have the power to drive change as a collective.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)

The movement I represent is to inspire the most amount of people through Jazz Yoga by applying mindfulness meditation across the world with jazz music tuned at 432hz which is the heart vibration in line with the earth’s vibration and will allow for transformational change on a cellular level. This is a Global movement that will allow the corporate world to apply tools to reduce stress and in effect reduce loss of the bottom line and allow for healthy humans in the workforce.

This can be introduced as an immersive experience with the newest technology which permits us to offer every employee an opportunity to take charge of their health. Health is Wealth for every business and the individual. If we awaken and self-realise and elevate our thinking as human beings, we can tackle some of these concerns we have for our society. Mindfulness is the key to mental health and will lead us one step further towards peace on earth.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

It is never too late to rewrite your story and it is not what you do outwardly, but the presence you bring to the action.

This understanding has allowed me to rewrite my story to become a thrivor in my own life. For the most part, I was standing in my own way. One day I decided to take the leap and follow my heart. Society tends to label and categorise us, and is usually based on stories of your past. If we allow this to influence our decision making instead of listening to our own heart, we will forever be trapped in the rat race of old thinking. When I decided to become a humanitarian and fully commit to my calling, the legal system failed me, and as a mother, I had to surrender and give up custody of my child to protect him. In the process I was humiliated and called crazy for my life choice to serve humanity. The irony of the story is that my own child understands what the legal system ignores, which is the fact that love is more powerful than money.

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this, especially if we tag them. :-)

It would be my honor to meet Oprah and share with her the vision to make this world a better place by serving humanity through love and joy and the power of Jazz Yoga Mindfulness Meditation.

This was really meaningful! Thank you so much for your time.

Authority Magazine

Leadership Lessons from Authorities in Business, Film, Sports and Tech. Authority Mag is devoted primarily to sharing interesting feature interviews of people who are authorities in their industry. We use interviews to draw out stories that are both empowering and actionable.

Candice Georgiadis

Written by

Candice Georgiadis is an active mother of three as well as a designer, founder, social media expert, and philanthropist.

Authority Magazine

Leadership Lessons from Authorities in Business, Film, Sports and Tech. Authority Mag is devoted primarily to sharing interesting feature interviews of people who are authorities in their industry. We use interviews to draw out stories that are both empowering and actionable.

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