In late February we said farewell to Julie Fairfield our Strategic Communications Manager. Julie has been with the team for five years working alongside us and our partners to capture, curate and share the stories of our mahi. We will miss her ability to make complex things easy to understand, and passion for amplifying the voices and experiences of people in our communities to those who need to hear it, in order to create change.

Julie shared with us some of her reflections on all the learnings and wonderful experiences she has had during her time with us.

Listen to connect and then understand
Really listening is an artform and something that takes time, energy and focus. Through learning more about mihimihi and empathy practices in social innovation I’ve learnt that really listening is an investment in creating connections and that over time those strong connections inform meaningful mahi that leads to great stories of impact.

Language as a gateway to understanding
I’ve always been a proud word nerd but it wasn’t until I was supported to start my journey to learn Te Reo Māori that I realised how language can deepen our understanding. It has brought a greater focus on the words that I choose and an appreciation of the power of words in creating a movement. It is so refreshing to be focused on strengths based language that recognises and celebrates opportunities and the potential we all have to describe the new realities we need and want.

The journey is as important as the destination
It took me a while to learn that the story of the journey, the ups, downs, learnings and insights was just as important as the story of an outcome. Sharing the progessive wins and failures along the way is more relatable and useful for not just those directly involved but anyone wanting to create a movement for change.

My final reflection is one that is influenced by the unique moment in time we find ourselves in. It can feel like we are being pulled in many different directions and that as a society, we are more divided over issues and priorities than ever before. I believe that regardless of our position on the topic of the day, we always have more in common than we think. If we really listen to each other we will find the common ground we need to work collectively towards a future where everyone has what they need to flourish.

We wish Julie and her whānau all the best for the new journey and we are sure our paths will continue to meet. Kei ōu ringaringa te ao Julie – the world is yours.