What's your favourite SDG...?
Do you know what the Sustainable Development Goals are? Well, Bridget Williams can fill you in and let you know how she is trying to solve some of the worlds biggest problems through creativity! Bridget is an inspiring young Christchurch woman making a difference, so we are excited to start off our 2020 interviews with her!
How do you explain what you do to strangers?
I lead a social enterprise called Bead and Proceed. Essentially I run sustainability and creativity workshops to help solve some of the worlds biggest problems. I work with corporates, schools, organisations, charities… anybody who wants to BEAD the change they want to see in the world.
Where did you grow up and what was it like?
I’m a 5th generation Cantabrian and grew up in a very feminist household but at the time I didn’t realise it. I’m a twin, one of three sisters, have 18 female first cousins and went to an all girls High School so I always had the belief that wāhine could do anything. My childhood was filled with camping and ski trips, which fueled my love for nature and I was surrounded by creativity from my mum and humble hustle from my dad.
Bridget as a young girl.
What does a normal day look like for you?
I start my day by planning it while drinking strong coffee then I’ll try to ‘eat the frog’ and get the tough tasks out of the way first. I’ll also try and get my social media posts done in the morning - I like to live by the philosophy ‘create before you consume’. In the middle of the day, I’ll respond to emails and reach out to businesses or potential clients who may be interested in a Bead and Proceed Epic Workshop. As a business owner, you get out what you put in and you have to constantly be hustling for your next job. In my afternoons, I’ll either be running workshops or posting away Bead and Proceed Kits or attending community board meetings. In the late afternoon, I try to go for a run or I’ll be practicing an 80s aerobic routine with my twin sister, Hannah. We recently started Retro Gym Club - an 80s inspired aerobic workout class! I’ll end my day by journaling and reflecting on the day.
When you were 15 what did you think you would be doing now?
I thought I would be a lawyer (and I was for about three years).
Bridget and her twin sister Hannah.
Can you explain what Bead & Proceed is all about?
Bead and Proceed exists to raise awareness about the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals and to inspire action towards them through creativity. We do this by bringing people together to each make a 5 beaded necklace/keyring/bracelet that represents the top 5 SDGs they want to work on. While people paint, they open up and discuss why they chose their top 5 SDGs and come up with creative solutions to achieve them. People can either buy a Bead and Proceed Kit online so they can run their own workshop with 6 others or you can hire me out to facilitate an extra special workshop - these are called Bead and Proceed Epics! For every Bead and Proceed Kit purchased, we donated another Kit to a low decile school or deserving community organisation.
What are SDGs?
The SDGs is an organised framework for global cooperation on sustainable development for the period of 15 years. Essentially, the SDGs are 17 goals that address the biggest issues in today’s society from climate action to gender equality to health and well-being to life on land and in our waters. All UN member states (including New Zealand) have adopted the SDGs and we have until 2030 to achieve them. It’s the largest globally recognised framework for sustainability too!
What are your top 5 SDGs and why?
Mine are reduced inequalities (SDG 10), sustainable consumption and production (SDG 12), sustainable cities and communities (SDG 11), peace, justice and strong institutions (SDG 16) and partnerships for the goals (SDG 17). I believe SDG 10 is key to ensuring sustainability as we must work on ourselves to remove how we unfairly discriminate against each other otherwise, we are doomed to create unequal solutions to solve the goals - I see this as a deep rooted issue in humanity and if we achieved this goal it would have a positive effect on many other SDGs. SDG 16 is about having the political structures and ‘glue’ in place to ensure the positive and sustainable change lasts! I have a strong connection to SDG 11 and 12 as I’ve always cared deeply for my community and city (being an elected community board member) and strive to live as sustainably as possible, as what we purchase is a vote for how we want to live our world and how we want it to be. Finally, SDG 17 is fundamental to achieving the SDGs. This is about raising awareness for the goals, connecting and collaborating to make a lasting impact and SDG 17 is core to Bead and Proceed!
Bridget and Helen Clark!!
What is something you think people don’t know about you?
While I’m a self-professed SDG nerd, I’m also a BIG nerd about the ancient Greeks. I did an LLB and BA and my majors were political science and classics. The ancient Greeks were incredibly advanced and I admire their constant learning ethic and desire for knowledge and purpose in life. Stoicism is my jam right now!
Who influences you?
I’m influenced by do-ers and creators. Those who have an idea, a business, a story to tell and are brave enough to share it with the world. It’s amazing socialpreneurs like Brianne West who have built the amazing Ethique Empire, or Rachel Hollis who is this spark of energy and positivity, challenging women to go for their dreams. But I’m also influenced by nature - right now ‘sunshine’ has been my theme for 2019 and has served as a helpful metaphor for helping me understand the journey I’ve been on this year. For example, we all have a sun inside of us, a fiery ball of passion and when we let that grow and radiate, it warms others - it’s about photosynthesising goodness! See - so many sun metaphors!
What does beauty mean to you?
To witness something or someone in unapologetic, full and authentic strength!
Thank you so much, Bridget! You are an inspiration and we loved hearing a little insight into your life xx
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