It’s been almost two years since Anne-Marie Elias was named the 2017 Agenda Setter at the Women’s Agenda Leadership Awards, for her work bringing people together to come up with solutions to social disadvantage.
Elias has spent 30 years in strategic roles within ministerial, government and NGO positions, and been an advisor and consultant to leaders in the public and private sector. Her work empowers disadvantaged communities, focussing on refugees, homelessness, disability and poverty.
She believes one of the best things people can do in their everyday lives to achieve change is to volunteer their time, including by mentoring someone.
We catch up with the ‘chief disruptor’.
Who are you and what do you do?
I’m the Chief Disrupter and I am a catalyst for change – I work on bringing about change.
What have you been up to since the Women’s Agenda Leadership Awards?
So much – I’ve been lucky to launch the first wellbeing social impact accelerator – unboxd.org.au to help startups in the care sector validate and scale.
What’s something you’re working on that you’re excited about?
Being able to progress from hackathons; I’m a huge fan but I kept thinking how do we help these startups scale beyond a hackathon. Building a space for startups to work with not for profits to solve their problems is just amazing.
Tell us a bit about the hackathons you run.
At Vibewire we run social impact hackathons – so we work on social problems that are pressing or important – in the last year we have done hackathons on homelessness, financial inclusion, mental health, family and domestic violence and health – we tackle the problems that affect young people especially.
What can people do in the everyday to help social change?
It’s always up to us. Despite the efforts of charities and governments there is so much we can do – I think a really good focus is on time – offer your time to help. Mentoring someone is so valuable; a young person, a woman rebuilding her life, or an old person in care – they all need time and attention and companionship.
Where do you want to see your career in five years?
In 5 years I hope I can be part of seeing innovation hubs in each community – collaborative spaces where NGOs, government, business, academia and startups can solve local problems one place at a time.
Who’s a woman you really admire right now?
Nancy Cato on Twitter – I love her directness, wit and tenacity and resilience, I’m sad she has lost her eyesight and hearing and she is unable to communicate ☹ except via her doctor, who kindly tweets for her from time to time.
Read more on Anne-Marie Elias here.