Interviews

Interview: Sydney Local, Annie Le Cavalier

Name: Annie Le Cavalier

Website: www.vibewire.org

Twitter handle: @annielecavalier

Works at: Executive Director, Vibewire

What is the mission of Vibewire?

Vibewire is a dynamic non-profit organisation that exists to ensure that young people are included (and able to participate) in conversations that matter. We do this by providing platforms, opportunities and events for emerging voices to express themselves on the big questions of our times.

Who do you think is doing cool stuff in our industries?

I think Social Leadership Australia (the people behind the Sydney Leadership Program) is transforming the way we think about leadership and our individual capacity to change the world from whichever viewpoint we’re standing. They run some really innovative programs (including some desert leadership programs), which I believe, will revolutionise our organisations and institutions of the future. I also the work of Digital Sydney, Creative Industries Innovation Centre (CIIC), School for Social Entrepreneurs, TACSI, ASIX, the Centre for Social Impact, and Social Innovation Sydney.

I’ve also recently come across Districts of Creativity, which unites 14 of the most creative and innovative regions from around the world to foster the exchange of best practices and experiences in business, culture and education.

Where do you get your information from?

I’m not a massive tweeter, but I do follow heaps of people that feed most of the info I need.
I read StartupDaily regularly, which is a useful source of compiled readings relating to growing your business. I’m a loyal subscriber of Stanford Social Innovation Review and keep an eye on Social Innovation Exchange. I’m also very lucky to have such a savvy president on our board – Gavin Heaton from servantofchaos.com is a fountain of knowledge – always connecting me to relevant and interesting new concepts, people and info.

What was your first job?

My mother was a hairdresser so I grew up in hair salons washing and sweeping up hair. However, my first real and meaningful job was being an educator, working with marginalised young people in Montreal’s inner city for about five years before coming to Sydney – using available resources to get the kids interested in their own learning. I soon realised what amazing and transformative potential filmmaking and media could play to empower these kids to have a voice and realise their potential.

What’s the hardest challenge you’ve had to face work-wise?

The hardest challenge has been rebuilding an organisation that was on the brink of collapse from the ground up, one day at a time, and often without having any idea what the next step should be. I’ve been working at this for three years now and there’s still a lot of work to do. I’ve had to surround myself with incredible mentors who have been instrumental in helping me navigate through the series of challenges that keep coming up.

What is the one issue are you most passionate about?

I’m deeply affected by all forms of injustice, discrimination and inequality. I want to live in a world where we can all be given a fair chance at demonstrating our unique brilliance and contributing meaningfully to society.

What are your thoughts on the current Australian coworking scene?

Vibewire’s been running a Hub/cowork space since 2003. We were among the first, but we have seen a huge rise in a few short years. Coworking was a foreign concept up here in Australia until three to four years ago. Melbourne now leads the way, with just under 10 coworking spaces. There’s currently only a handful here in Sydney, but we are catching up fast, with four (branded) coworking spaces opening their doors since the beginning of 2010. The organic collaboration and knowledge sharing that emerges in cowork spaces has proved to be the biggest advantage. It would be great to start a Yammer network amongst us all so we can share ideas and resources… any takers?

What are some cool upcoming events at Vibewire?

Vibewire is just about to unveil a brand new website in the next month. We will be holding a launch party as part of Surry Hills Late Night Library on 9 February. We will also be hosting an Art Auction on 15 March showcasing Australia’s best new emerging artists. And of course our flagship monthly breakfast innovation series, fastBREAK will resume in February 2012, on the last Friday of each month. We also run a monthly entrepreneurs meetup in our Hub and a monthly cowork Jelly day where we invite people to come try out our Hub!

Ed note: Vibewire is located at 525 Harris Street in Ultimo, Sydney. We’ve also created a guide listing other coworking spaces in Australia here.

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