changemaker-multicolor-June2014I’m excited to announce Sydney-based mover-n-shaker Natasha Akib as the Activate28 Changemaker of the Month for June.

This is a woman who keeps popping up in my cybersphere! Everywhere I look, there’s Natasha … back-by-popular-demand speaker at the Vivid Sydney event, fastBreak Save the World … guest-speaker about crowdfunding at WeCo … hosting the SocEnt Hangouts that I was on the panel for recently … writing the email newsletter for StartSomeGood that arrives in my inbox each Friday.

And that’s all in the past couple of weeks!

Natasha wears multiple hats and has her finger in many social-innovation pies. She is highly involved in the Australian social entrepreneur crowdfunding scene, and is a deserving winner of Changemaker of the Month. Here is my interview with her:

1. What is your role as changemaker? What are you involved in?

I’m the Community Builder at StartSomeGood.com – the crowdfunding platform for social change projects – and at Digital Storytellers – a digital communications agency telling stories of social change.

I focus on supporting those who are out there changing the world so that they can have bigger and better impact!

2. What change are you hoping to make in the world?

I hope to be able to create a world where everyone is inspired to, and has the ability, to create positive social change, whether it be through small actions everyday or larger structural change!

3. What prompted you to get involved with StartSomeGood and Digital Storytellers?

Natasha (left) with some of the StartSomeGood team.

Natasha (left) with some of the StartSomeGood team.

I first found out about StartSomeGood when I was involved in a social change film festival and needed to raise some funds for part of the program. I ended up running a crowdfunding campaign and saw how valuable a platform it was for social impact work. A couple of months later, Tom [Dawkins, the co-founder of StartSomeGood] asked me to join the team and I jumped at the chance to support even more changemakers!

As former Social Enterprise writer at Vibewire.org, I interviewed  lot of changemakers who were doing fantastic work and had incredible stories but who lacked the skills to tell these stories. This bothered me as I knew that if they were able to communicate the impact of their work, they would be more able to rally support from the public, from key decision makers, from investors and from the government.

So I became more and more involved in figuring out ways to tell stories of social change. One of the most effective ways of doing this is through film! I was attracted to Digital Storytellers, not only because of the team’s passion for social change, but also because of the brilliance of their film and storytelling. I absolutely loved their work and volunteered on shoots until they let me become part of the team!

4. What successes have you seen so far?

Another personal highlight: Filming an interview with Sandy Blackburn Wright and Sir Richard Cohen - the father of social investment!

Another personal highlight: Natasha, who is behind the camera, is filming an interview with Sandy Blackburn Wright and Sir Richard Cohen – the father of social investment.

1. One of my favourite stories is that of Rami Mandow – founder of Community Brave Foundation who is doing amazing work to eradicate Online Bullying, Homophobia, Transphobia and Youth Suicide. I met Rami when he was just about to kick things of with the Community Brave Foundation. In fact, at the time I interviewed him, it didn’t even have a name! I ran a story about Rami on Vibewire.org and it got an overwhelming response. Rami had an extremely inspiring story for a worthy cause so it was an honour to be able to tell it!

2. At StartSomeGood, we often work with changemakers who come to us with nothing more than an idea and a deep passion to make it happen. Through crowdfunding, we can help both large established organisations, such as the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre who recently raised $153,000 to start up the Food Justice Truck and deliver affordable and healthy food to asylum seekers, right through to startup changemakers who simply need to raise a couple of thousand dollars to get the resources together for their programs.

3. On a personal level, making it to the final 5 of the MTV Movement search for a Millennial Leader was pretty thrilling! It was quite uplifting to know that there are people out there who resonate with the work that I do and it was also quite bizarre having an advertisement on televisions across Australia!

5. What are some challenges you face?

  • Working in an online team is a HUGE challenge for me as I think I’m naturally a social person and enjoy the energy of working alongside other passionate people.
  • Finding the time to invest in continual learning and skills development is difficult when you are so consumed by doing! But it is also SO necessary!
  • Work/Play balance. I really do love my work and it’s easy to get consumed by it and forget to step away from it. But before trying to save the world I think it’s also important to remember to be there for those who are in YOUR world!

donate28-blueAs you know, Natasha, as Changemaker of the Month, you get three things:

a) A chance to plug your work
b) Training or coaching on a topic of your choice, like time management, inbox fitness, self-care or decision-making skills

c) Donate28 $$$ to spend on self-care or celebration

6. So, what would you like to promote?

StartSomeGood – the crowdfunding platform for social impact.  You can find us here: startsomegood.com

7. What training/support would you like?

Decision-making skills! Working on so many projects, there are always lots of decisions and prioritising to be done and it’s easy to get lost deliberating over these!

8. And finally, what do you plan to spend your Donate28 money on?

Acupuncture. After being completely freaked out by the idea of it, I’ve come to be a HUGE advocate for acupuncture!

I used to suffer quite badly from stomach problems, which seemed to be caused by a combination of stress and gluten reaction. Acupuncture has really helped address both the stress and the reaction! My lovely aunty has also recently finished up her accreditation as an acupuncturist and I’ve been going to her to get treatment. She’s doing awesome so it would be great to be able to support her while also getting help for myself.

 

Feeling inspired? Take action!

Follow Natasha on Twitter: @startsomegood or @natashaakib

Learn more about Donate28 (and how you can contribute to Natasha’s acupuncture!)

Scroll down to leave a comment. What impressed you most about Natasha’s interview?