Jami Klisaris is the first youngest female to be Mayor, City of Stonnington. At 24 years of age, this #GirlBoss knows how to look after her Stonnington community. Passionate, proud and will serve in the role for 12 months.
Her day-to-day schedule is nothing but boring, with weekly events, attending council meetings and more. Her community comes first, but like all of us after 5, she loves to flick through fashion magazines, and keep up with the trends, Jami has a superb taste in fashion! I first noticed this at MSFW during a high tea fashion event. As she watched the runway her dainty black Louis Vuitton bag hung at the back of her chair.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Jami recently. As I walked into her office, I quickly glanced down and noticed her Gucci heeled loafers, I knew from that moment that Jami wasn't your typical Mayor, she is a Mayor with a fashion savvy flare.
What made you want to become a Mayor?
My father was my inspiration, he started council in his early thirties. Currently, he is currently a councillor at Monash since 2000. He's been Mayor three times, and the last time was in 2015.
I grew up being surrounded by this influence and being involved in his campaigns. I'd do handouts for him, be involved in campaign work and of course family photos during the campaigns. So I always knew what it was when I was growing up, and I was always interested in it. My brother and sister weren't at all! I've also always enjoyed public speaking, I did a lot of debating at school and loved all of that.
And when did you first decide to put your name down to become a councillor?
When I finished my VCE I did a year of University, I then deferred and worked full time for my parents. During 2012, an election was coming up and my dad said: "You should just put your name down, and we'll do a big campaign and see what happens!" I was 19 then, and we did it! I didn't expect anything, but I worked so hard for it.
When I wasn't working I was emailing, putting my face out there, door knocking, talking to people. I didn't have any expectations, it was just a great experience campaigning. And then I was successful! I got through.
So, wait how does it all work?
I first started as a councillor, there's nine of us that get elected and every year we choose a mayor. And I won the election in October! They voted for me.
What's it like to be the youngest Mayor in history for Stonnington?
It's cool! I was nervous at the start, I had a few thoughts like "will I be taken seriously?" "How will people react to me?" And I swear the last few months I haven't had one negative experience about my age!
I get recognised when I'm down at the park or chapel street, but it's positive comments, like "Oh I love that you're doing this" or "I saw you in the paper" I'm treated respectfully as someone of any age. I also get asked to talk on panels, and I do get taken very seriously and I'm glad that times have changed, age is just a number.
Do you eventually want to become a politician?
No, when I was 20-21 years of age I did, but my priorities have changed and I want to go back and finish my law degree. I want to have a career and do council part time. I love the sense of community, how close we are to people rather than a state politician.
How do you stay passionate and motivated?
There are definitely days where I just think I still have half a year of doing this, it can really tire you out. We've recently had some tough issues at the moment that are impacting me. It can be hard to deal with some days, and you just want to block it out. It's not like that all the time, I knew that it would come with the job and the nature of it.
I just stay focused and remember all the good things that we're doing, and we do a lot of amazing and positive things throughout the community. When you get great feedback from an event we've held or a new park we've built, it's positive and encouraging. I then look back at this and think yes, there's some tough stuff going on, but there's so much more that is super positive and great. That's what I really love doing and focusing on, it's that aspect of it that keeps me motivate and passionate throughout.
What is your favourite moment so far being Mayor?
Citizenship ceremonies! It's when we make people Australian citizens, we have 6 a year every 2 months. We recently just had one last week, it was my third one. They have to take the oath in front of me, I hand them their certificate the whole process is so beautiful to be part of. We get about 250 in the town hall who are their family and friends cheering them on. We have a band, a singer who sings Australian songs, it was gorgeous and it is one the best things we get to do as Mayor.
Advice for young aspiring women who want to become a Mayor?
Oh, that's a toughie... what would I say to someone. There's a lot out there, and we've got the highest percentage of female Mayors this year than Victoria's ever had, it's over 35% which is amazing! It's really encouraging.
My advice is being persistent. Before the last election, I didn't think I'd be elected. Don't get discouraged if you don't get something the first time. You have to have that positive attitude it's not the be all or end all, you just have to keep at it. You have to do the hard yards first, build key relationships and don't be in a rush. It's taken me four years to get to this point. Take your time it pays off, but put in effort you'll get rewarded for it
Now let's talk fashion! I spotted your cute LV bag during the high tea, so I know you're a young fashion savvy girl like all of us when you finish work after 5!
Who's your favourite brand at the moment?
Well... I saw so many beautiful things during VAMFF, but it's definitely Gucci at the moment, it's timeless the quality is amazing. Gucci for me is number one for me at the moment.
Where do you love to shop?
It's definitely highstreet Malvern! There's so many fabulous brands down there to shop at. There is so there for women, it's high end quality outfits and the store layouts are fantastic.
Let's discuss work wear, you're mostly wearing suits at work, tell us about your favourite brands?
I bought my first suit from Review and Cue four and half years ago and still wear it. I recently bought a Goodwin Charlie suit just last year when I was re-elected, the quality is amazing
Your recent favourite purchase?
My Gucci shoes! I just think I can wear them to work, casually everywhere and anywhere. These loafers are just amazing.
Thank you, Jami, for your time and telling us about your amazing story being a #GIRLBOSS