I guess it is about time I introduced fellow members of SOG.
I had been thinking about engaging in some sort of project for a long time and discussing it with anyone who maybe thought along the same lines. Vanessa, her fiance Nick, and their dog, Ricky Bobby had been regular customers in The Final Step (now a social enterprise for all those who don’t know) since the early days of the cafe. I had discussed my thoughts with Vanessa and she was the first one to say “hey, I like the sound of this, why don’t we go out for dinner and discuss your idea”. So that is where it all started. The two of us started throwing around ideas and over a period of several months we sculpted the project into something more workable. I think it started with “let’s start a project to help some people”. It has come a long way from there!
Vanessa has many years experience in financial markets. She was the director of Westpac Equities Business in Victoria. She has a Bachelor of Business degree and is on the verge of completing her Masters in Business Administration. Vanessa is a beautiful, friendly and kind hearted person. She is also a gun at negotiating, so has been very effective in the process of engaging with people and businesses to help our cause. I have her to thank for getting this ball that is SOG rolling! Without her encouragement and belief I would still be just thinking about it.
I met Leanne and her partner Scott in The Final Step (now a social enterprise for all those who don’t know). They moved into South Yarra because they wanted to be close to the cafe. I guess The Final Step had an impact on them! We almost instantly became friends because they are such nice, friendly, happy people. It was very handy because they lived so close and were very good cooks, so I often found myself at their house for dinner and deep discussion. Leanne offered insight and great advice so it was inevitable that she became a member of SOG. So before long, that’s what happened. Scott has a masters in Latin American history so has been extremely helpful with the background of Argentina! He is now SOG’s Latin American history advisor.
Leanne is a Manager within PWC’s Management Consulting division. She works in the area of Enterprise Performance Management and specialises in sustainable change management. She has extensive experience with multinational organisations and holds a Bachelor of Business (Accounting) from Monash University. Leanne is an absolute machine when it comes to a planning session. If we need to make a plan, before I can even blink she has plotted out a detailed timeline, complete with actions and outcomes, that ranges 3 meters across the living room wall. She is efficient to say the least! Leanne is very smart and I like having her around too because she always has a smile on her face!
At a friend’s Vince’s opening night of his cafe “Puck” in South Melbourne, I met Jason. Funnily enough, Jason is actually co-owner of this cafe. I remember having a discussion with him that night about SOG. He showed immediate interest and said we should catch up for a coffee to discuss. The rest is history.
Jason has broad finance experience at senior levels across both commerce and industry. He has worked in public practice, ASX-listed, family office and private business operations. He has gained exposure to all facets of business as an employee and external consultant to a key decision-maker holding vested interests as shareholder and director. Jason is currently involved in a number of projects and consults to a wide range of businesses through del Mundo Pty Ltd. He is a multi-talented man who does The Final Step’s financial books without charge. He has been integral in the decision making process in regards to legalities and logistics when setting up SOG and changing the structure of The Final Step. For a busy man he has been so generous with time and knowledge in getting SOG functioning! I salute this man!
If you have been following this blog then you would have already learned a little bit of Valeria. She and I will be engaging in the Food for Thought program in the La Fe slum. We met in Spain when I applied for an apartment and Valeria was one of two Argentinians of which I lived with for several months. Valeria and I spent many an hour communicating with my broken Spanish and her broken English in our apartment in Spain. Great long discussions of very simple ideas took place because of our obvious language barriers. I think through this a bond was formed. We are starting in Buenos Aires because this is where Valeria is from. She has many contacts and great knowledge of the area. The moment I first proposed the idea of helping people to Valeria, she was in!
Valeria has a Degree in Marketing and is currently finishing her Cultural Management degree in Buenos Aires. In Spain she created theatre productions and wrote documentary scripts for the artistic arm of the Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo Association. She has also worked with SODEPAZ NGO and travelled through South America creating a documentary based on the human rights of women. Valeria is currently managing logistics for SOG in Buenos Aires. She has a passion for life and has a very big, warm heart! Valeria was made for this type of work. She is very thorough in all that she does and works through all processes systematically. She loves children and is the key to SOG’s functioning in South America.
So there you have it, and that makes five of us. You can obviously see that without any of these amazing people, SOG wouldn’t exist! Each of them are as important as the other in keeping the beast that is SOG alive!
SOG’s launch party and fundraiser is on the 19th of September. The next few weeks are going to be interesting leading up to the event. Leigh, our event coordinator, is all over the event so no worries there. All we have to do is sell all the tickets and make sure that all contributors are recognised. Looking forward to a ripping night though!
Right, be back soon.