As far as Supernovas go, Anne-Marie Elias is quite simply a powerhouse of passion, when it comes to connecting Australia’s brightest minds and forming a community based movement with one intention. To solve problems for vulnerable groups, through creating innovative responses to the challenges these people face every single day.
As the Founder of The Collective NSW, Anne-Marie connects business, community, government and academia. This Supernova burns brightly, understanding that two brains (or 2000) are better than one. Through disruptive thinking and a collaborative approach the Collective drive and deliver social impact initiatives that genuinely change lives.
Once again, I am feeling blessed by the stars in my life. Every day Anne Marie deals with creating solutions to deal with the saddest of circumstances, yet her wisdom, energy and charisma leave you smiling form ear to ear. Put simply this go getter is just freaking cool!
@ChiefDisrupter You rock our universe here at Supernova Land and thanks for spending some time dancing in stardust with us at Confessions. I am feeling very honoured to have you join The Supernova Tribe.
As a WORLD CHANGER in raising awareness and taking action on social issues, you have obviously been driven by a sense of purpose and passion in your life. How did you discover your ‘WHY’ and once you found the star you were aiming for, how did you execute your dreams?
I realised from personal experience that we are resilient beyond what we think is possible, despite life shattering experiences we can transform and channel these experiences to change lives. I have been the fiercest advocate for those that can’t speak for themselves because I was silent about my own trauma. I devoted my entire working and voluntary life to doing something, being the change that our community desperately needed. I used my rage to fuel courage and tenacity and to defend the defenceless and to write so many wrongs that I could see.
For some reason I could see clearly the gaps and deficits in social change and I had the courage to speak up and say that certain things were not OK – not good enough. As I got older it became easier to fight for what I believed in without compromise – the last 5 years have been very difficult and rewarding – people you work for don’t always like the truth so you get prepared to be in trouble a lot.
A year ago the ante was upped for me with my daughter losing two friends within a week of each other in Dec 2013– two beautiful young people aged 17 dies – one of suicide and one from an aneurysm and things ramped up for me, while always a disruptor and always a change agent – I kept thinking that my calling/vocation/purpose was to get shit done and I stopped apologising and being diplomatic – I can see what needs to be done and I won’t let anything stop me.
My motto – get on board or get out of my way. I got sick of trying to convince government to do things differently so I decided to create opportunities for innovation by working with corporates, community, NGOs and government to innovate responses to social disadvantage. Really its only now through being a speaker that I realised I have an important message to share – we absolutely have to disrupt the status quo in every field and discipline in order to see things differently and find solutions to the most seemingly intractable problems.
Some speak of luck. In pursuing your passion do you feel that you have been guided by luck (fate,synchronicity,providence), or was your success as simple as setting a goal and executing?
I believe in synchronicity– I have been incredibly lucky to have met people that have led me to many parallel universes. Politics – Government – NGOs – Academia – Technology – Design Innovation. I have also met many disadvantaged people – people with disabilities, people who have experienced mental health, DV, abuse, carers.
I believe in fate because I am the sum of my traits and experiences – I am grateful for every aspect of my life – even the hurts, the scars and the trauma shaped me, made me choose to be resilient, to be a fighter and more importantly to defend and advocate for others. It’s like every single job I have had has led me to now – Ive been very lucky to work in disadvantage for 20 +years.
I very much feel I am guided by spirit – that might sound crazy but I am full of ideas and half the time in areas I know nothing about. Aboriginal people that I am working with believe I am being guided by spirit. I feel I am aligned to a higher source who guides me – and amazing things happen – I meet people aligned to the cause in café’s, through friends, and colleagues that can facilitate the ideas. Whatever it is – it feels that what I am doing is the right path, it is supported and I get shit done as a result.
My success is my passion and commitment – people get that and want to be a part of it.
This ‘Project’ (Confessions of A Supernova) is very much about embracing a purpose greater than our individual identity. Do you feel that your ‘purpose’ in life was something you were born with, or is purpose created by life experience alone?
I think my purpose has been building up to now – I think I spent many years experiencing an understanding disadvantage, seeing the limitations of government, politics, NGOs to transform lives. I got mad every time I saw waste, stupidity, carelessness etc These experiences have shaped me.
It is the sharing of stories that creates change in the world. What moment in your life, made you passionate about raising awareness of disrupting the status quo for social change?
I think I have been passionate about this since I realised I could be an advocate – I was 16 – I had the ability to speak and be heard, I was articulate and passionate and could at least make people think! So I worked behind the scenes trying to change things from within NGOs, Politics, Government but I never allowed myself to spread a message about the change needed. That happened in Dec 2013 – an epiphany – that while I am alive I had to ramp things up, shake things up because it was not ok that people were living in such disadvantage while hundreds of billions of dollars were not breaking disadvantage at all.
You can make one wish upon a STAR to enable world change. What is your wish, and why?
That every person realises we can make this world a better place, that we have enough and we can do better, that not one child needs to go hungry, that no family needs to be homeless, that poverty and abuse can be greatly reduced. That we can innovate the way we treat these problems by collaborating.
We all have someone in our life that has ignited a spark in the soul. Who is that person in your life, and what was the one thing that person told you, or you heard them say that changed your life?
I guess it was the teachers in Yr 10 saying I wouldn’t go to Uni – that I would be better off leaving school. It was like – Nooooooo – you don’t know me and what I am capable of – I just can’t learn by rote – I’m bored. This changed my mindset – I never again accepted YOU CANT and learnt crafty and creative ways to work around things.
The young man who passed away from an aneurysm – Jordan – I believe gave me the courage – his loss gave me a sense of urgency to do more and be more fearless to get things done.
Check out Anne Marie at TedX Ultimo!
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In the meantime, Keep shining bright!