The Do Lectures 2018

My oldest Do Lectures T shirt has 2008 on it. And I'm excited to have gotten to be invited to the tenth Do Lectures. I've volunteered at over 6 of the events, produced two of them in 2014 and 2015 at Campovida, USA and actually spoke in 2013 too about our 2,500 mile bike ride down the west coast of the states. 

Anyway... was great to be back and see many old faces who I love dearly. 

And in return for getting to be at the tenth anniversary? I massaged everyone - well it certainly felt like it had been everyone when Sunday night rolled around! 23 massages in a few days - I was so wiped out! But what a cool way to give back to the event that has been such a huge part of my life and created so many life changing moments. It makes me so full up and happy inside to be a part of The Do. 

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New beginnings

Started my new job last week with Common Seas full time in Bristol working with an amazing lady called Jo Royle. 

Jo Royle has over 15 years experience spearheading global marine programs and sailing ventures through identifying critical marine issues, aligning senior experts and engineering solutions to reduce human impact on the sea. She founded Common Seas to design out marine plastic pollution and to enable fully documented fisheries.

Jo led The Pew Charitable Trusts, Global Ocean Legacy campaign; securing the world’s largest fully protected marine reserve. A recognised ocean sailing skipper, she worked with a team to design and build the Plastiki - a 60-foot catamaran made out of 12,500 reclaimed plastic bottles, which she skippered across the Pacific, drawing global media attention to plastic pollution in the ocean. As well as working Nike, Hewlett-Packard, L'Oreal and Inmarsat, her work has been featured in the BBC, National Geographic, Vogue, Time and TEDx. Jo was awarded the Geddes Environmental Medal and holds a Master's degree in Environmental Science and Society from University College London. 

Common Seas gets out there to discover and explore challenges facing people and the sea. We spot the issues and align experts to engineer systems, products and policies that improve social and economic value, whilst creating a resilient ocean.

 Photo by  Das Sasha  on  Unsplash

Photo by Das Sasha on Unsplash

It has been an absolute pleasure to work alongside Alice on the Balsall Heath Cooks project as part of the We Are Balsall Heath Street Festival on 22 April 2018. Alice has this incredible ability to turn the most challenging of situations into fun, calm and ease. Her joyful personality and excellent communication skills helped her offer compassion and creativity during the ups and downs of working with the culturally diverse women and their understandable trepidation of launching their catering businesses publicly. Throughout, Alice worked very hard - sometimes late at night - to make sure everyone had what they needed when they needed it. I loved working with Alice especially her ‘can do’ attitude and creativity and look forward to working with her again.
— Dr Noha Nasser, Founding Director, MELA Social Enterprise and Organiser of the We Are Balsall Heath Street Festival.
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Take 5 - 10 minutes to share your thoughts around Ocean Literacy...

I'm also working with Wild Labs at the moment. In advance of two 2 day design sprints in London and Bristol to prototype some solutions to 'save our seas' we are gathering perspectives from people across the UK to discover what does Ocean Literacy mean to you... Please take a moment to complete the survey, it shouldn't take 5-10 minutes of your time and would be really important to us. Click the image below. 

Thanks!! 

Civic partners and all the acronyms

So you may have read in my CV and Work about my work with Civic. I've been there for two months now and am loving it and have learned so much. It's challenging, interesting work and I feel very humbled to be working with the international team all trying to make change 'cheaper, better and faster' - that's their mantra. 

We (Civic) built a digital platform to help people from around the world share their learnings and collaborate on models of social change.

We're testing it at the moment with a network of communities who are all working in disaster-affected areas - from the Syrian refugee situation in Jordan, the droughts of Northern Kenya, the slums of the Philippines to Bangladesh. In each of these countries is a wild and wilful team of folks who have set up innovation labs to help the local community develop their ideas, prototype solutions to whatever challenges they face and scale them up. We would like to see the labs uploading their process and methodology and the communities sharing what they have done and how they have done it all with the hope of replicating these models in other countries worldwide. 

They are called DEPP Innovation Labs (Acronym 1 - Disaster and Emergency Preparedness Program) which is a 3-year project with Start Network and CDAC Network (Acronym 2 - Communicating with Disaster Affected Communities) who are at the help. ThoughtWorks is the innovation partner and RIL (Acronym 3 - Response Innovation Lab) are also part of the process. Each lab has it's own partners too - from the IRC (Acronym 4- International Rescue Committee) to Adeso to Plan International. So there are many many partners and stakeholders to consider, plus the vast and diverse community themselves! It's quite mind boggling really!

My job has been to onboard the community, develop a content strategy, curate content that the labs will find helpful, and basically do whatever I can to help the platform to become a diverse place to source solutions from. 

Yesterday I was in London meeting with the team who are working on this project, and Start Network has their office at Save The Children -it was quite fascinating being in a space like that and getting to glimpse into that organisation as well. 

 

A timeline of the last year

This one most definitely goes down as the biggest year for me yet in terms of learnings, travel, relationships and work. I've been to Portugal, Cornwall and Devon, cycled to Edinburgh, cycled to Copenhagen (solo in Feb), completed Ironman Wales and the 90 mile Velothon in Cardiff, ran a 36 mile ultramarathon with my friend Zennor in Austria, moved house three times, worked with 5 different jobs, went back and forth to Pembrokeshire like a yo-yo and went to three beautiful weddings. My grandpa passed away last month, my friends have had babies and gotten pregnant and my sister got engaged. I've also been to gigs and concerts including Matthew and The Atlas, Michael McIntyre, Van Morrison and The White Buffalo, done courses in Photoshop, pottery, joined a choir, kickboxing and been to two different dance clubs - Afrodance fusion and a swing dance intensive course.

I've made a bit of a habit of reflecting on the year that's been on New Year's Eve. And this year was no different. 31.12.17. Fresh start tomorrow and 2018 brings plans for many more exciting adventures, more weddings, more triathlons, new work, exploring a side project, spending more weekends with friends and family plus I've signed up for a level 4 diploma in holistic massage too. 

I put my photoshop skills and memory to the test and took a trip down memory lane, this is the result! 


Moments that made my 2017, made by me on NYE 31.12.17 

that time I went to Bangalore for work

Two weeks into my new job working with Civic I found myself waking up in Indiranaga in the heart of the urban Indian sprawl Bangalore or Bengaluru. I was there for just 4 nights, there to listen to some amazing stories of work in the humanitarian sector - specifically around disaster and emergency provisions in The Phillipines, Kenya, Bangladesh and Jordan, but also to deliver a one hour session on who Civic are, what they do and how the digital platform our team has created will help them to better collaborate and share their models of positive social change so they can be replicated across the sector and beyond.

 

 

now working with Civic

They write about themselves:

Civic is a change accelerator. We bring together unlikely allies, people-powered ideas and shared assets to help make social change happen faster, cheaper, better in places around the world.. We're a fledgling, ambitious, start-up - more a movement than an organization. We are currently operating projects in Nepal, Afghanistan, Jordan, Turkey and the UK. And we actively partner with local and global operators to deliver our work.

They have a simple website civic.co to describe their work - check it out, it'll take you just 5 minutes to read. =  ) 

My role is the Digital Community Manager and I am working remotely from Bristol with the occasional trip to London doing 2.5 days a week. My role, as laid out by them is to: 

• Manage a growing and dynamic group of users on the Civic platform • Split focus on communities associated with partners/sponsors and organic users • Input into platform strategy with a focus on community growth and platform development

And it's going well. I'm now about one month into the new job and am learning lots. Apart from my digital work with Good For nothing, The Wild Network and TYF, plus building my site here, I'm fairly new to the digital space. That said my community management and development experience has spanned lots of different industry's - from retail at finisterre, hospitality at surf simply, community engagement and support through good for nothing, events at unreasonable and do lectures - so I'm excited to see how this physical community building will translate across to the digital space - likely to include many of the same values of building trust, being authentic, listening and communicating effectively and often, allowing a space that people can open up in an honest and helpful way... being kind, being generous, experimenting, rapid prototyping solutions, and embarking on a learning journey. 

Our users aren't on boarded yet but will be in the next few weeks, so I'm looking forward to working with that community to get them using the platform and helping us to make it better.

And as always, like most millennials, it's important to me to do work that matters. I am incredibly passionate about the work Civic are doing - essentially aligning with their belief that we can make positive change much faster if we work together, and in doing so share what we are learning along the way so others can benefit from what's been done before. They do that through their place-based work, their digital platforms including impact measurement, ecosystem mapping and this collaboration for innovation tool and capital. 

Providing I pass my 3 mont probation I'll still be there this time next year, so expect to hear more on the Civic stuff soon! 

 

I'm an Ironman (x 2)

Last Sunday was the toughest physical endurance challenge of my life. 

Two years ago I flew to sunny Mexico and competed in my first Ironman - on the island of Cozumel. It was 35 degrees, flat and windy. Shortly after I finished it, I decided I'd one day like to complete Ironman Wales in my home county of Pembrokeshire. So on a winters evening in January this year me and my best mate Jo signed up for the race. Along with my husband Ross and my little sister Jaz. The four of us didn't quite know what we had got ourselves in for but trained hard, with grit, tears, sweat and blood. This determination got us to the finish line last Sunday but not without a battle on our hands. 

The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears or the sea.
— Isak Dinesen

In classic Pembrokeshire style we were treated to a colourful forecast to say the least.

 

Throughout the day we experienced gusts of up to 40 mph from the WSW (head wind to Angle and tail wind to Narberth) an horizontal rain. There were oil spills and other challenges along the way - in the chaos of transition I left my swimming ear plugs in for the first 10 miles, on the 2nd loop of the 112 mile bike I got a flat tyre which I sorted but without co2 or a track pump didn't get the pressure above 50psi... and I threw down ibuprofen and paracetamol to ease the pain of my left IT band on the marathon.  Although I did my first Ultra in June, my self inflicted knee injury meant that for the 5 weeks leading up to Ironman I didn't run more than 7 miles. Not ideal in preparing for a marathon. 

They say if you finish between 11pm and midnight then you finish in heroes hour because you have been going the longest. Our race started at 7am and I crossed the finish line after 16 hours and 6 minutes... at 11:05pm which I guess makes me a hero??! Nice. I was pretty beat coming into the 'Athletes Village' and was treated to a 10 min sports massage which I could have enjoyed all night, a hot chocolate, a slice of pizza and a hug from Ross and eventually my sister too. 

Our fans lined the course in most villages we passed on the bike ride. Seeing familiar faces peppered between crowds of strangers all shouting "Go Alice Go, you got this, you're going to be an ironman, well done Alice, keep pushing Alice, nearly there Alice, one more lap Alice.... Alice Beese You Are An Ironman".... it was all super awesome. 

Why did I do it? You don't get many opportunities in life where you push yourself really, really hard. Most things come easy and you float along on the comfortable day to day hum drum of life. When you sign up for something like this all your free time goes into training - morning sessions in the pool, long days on the bike and short, medium and long runs - sometimes fast sometimes steady. You work so hard for something and then you test what your body can achieve - and if you let it, it will often do much more than you might ever have imagined possible. 

So much of the Ironman journey is a mental one - and 15% of the competitors didn't finish the race last Sunday, not surprising given it's the 10th toughest Ironman course in the world and the worst conditions they've seen in the 7 year history. Still I made it to the finish line with 55 minutes to spare before the midnight cut off and felt so proud to receive my medal - couldn't bear the weight of it though what with the rash on my neck from the swim and my weary legs. 

 

Mission2020

There are no passengers on planet earth. We are all crew
— Buckminster Fuller

This phrase has stuck with me since our Swarm event with Mission2020 last month. I have heard it before but this time it meant something different. 

I was hired by Swarm back in the spring to help re-launch The Wild Network and manage the relationship between Boston Tea Party and Good For Nothing as GFN embarked on a new chapter.

This Mission2020 thing kind of came out of know where. One minute I was casually looking for a venue to host 50 people for 48hours in mid July, the next I was calling caterers and before you know it I was writing up the schedule for the event onto big black boards in the entrance hall. 

 West Lexham Barn - our home for the two days. Plus accommodation in gorgeous barn conversion ensuitebedrooms, bell tents and tree houses.

West Lexham Barn - our home for the two days. Plus accommodation in gorgeous barn conversion ensuitebedrooms, bell tents and tree houses.

 West Lexham gardens, stunning walks with wild flowers, bees, trees, vegetable gardens, a river to swim in. The perfect place to open hearts and minds to what's possible. 

West Lexham gardens, stunning walks with wild flowers, bees, trees, vegetable gardens, a river to swim in. The perfect place to open hearts and minds to what's possible. 

This time those famous Bucky words above rang in my ears. I have been involved in event production in one way or another for the last ten years - sure it was all vastly different, some volunteering, some facilitation, some public speaking and some travel but the whole time I have felt a little on the side lines. I mean I am busy don't get me wrong. I bust my ass making sure the events run smoothly, attendees get a warm family style welcome, dinners are nourishing and warm the soul, as do my handwritten welcome notes or moments of recognition to those who are participating. I am not a passenger though. I am part of the crew and these events are something I helped to create. The concepts are proven. The tables set. The beds made. And this go round, I really stood tall and proud in the event I helped produce. 

Early in 2017 we embarked on an exciting collaboration with Mission2020 and Project Everyone with the goal of rapidly co-creating a new story around climate action.

The historic and legally binding Paris Agreement gave us a roadmap to address climate change by limiting future warming to below 2C while striving for 1.5C. This goal is deemed necessary to avoid incalculable risks to humanity, and it is feasible – but realistic only if we bend the curve of global emissions by 2020 at the latest: our climate turning point.
— swarm.gd

We need new stories, new tactics and new ways to shift hearts and minds, that a more beautiful world is possible.

That was what our 48hour swarm in Norfolk in July was all about. 

You can read more from two Matteo Menapace and Owen Thomas who are two designers who wrote their own write ups about the event as well. 

 #onamission #mission2020 #swarm #weareallcrew

#onamission #mission2020 #swarm #weareallcrew