Rachel is one of the dynamic people I've ever met. Not only is she an amazing operator and great business mind - strategic, entrepreneurial, well connected, and proactive - she's been my personal cheerleader this year, which I'm SO grateful for. Rachel is more committed to personal and professional development than anyone I've ever met, and she has taught me so much about myself, exploring my own potential and working to remove the limitations I place on myself. She is so incredibly herself that spending time with her is always inspiring and enlightening, and every time we catch up I learn something new about myself or the world. And just quietly, I reckon she's destined for big things in 2015 and beyond. Watch this space.
I first met Dave when he was the facilitator of the Centre for Sustainability Leadership Fellowship Program I took part in, way back in 2011, and he became a colleague when I joined their team in 2013. Dave is one of those wonderful people who thinks a great deal about what's important and cares a great deal about good people doing good things, and these traits makes him undoubtably the best coworker I've ever had. The valuable lesson I learned from Dave during the time I spent with him in 2014 is the importance of playfulness in a life that is always pressurised, often serious, sometimes tragic. Dave lives and breathes this in his work and creative pursuits, and he's a wonderful human for it.
I'm so glad to have been introduced to Tammi by my friend Kate so many years ago. Though we've been digital friends for a while now, it was only this year that we met in person. Tammi is a passionate and articulate advocate for food ethics and regenerative agriculture. Her and her husband farm ethical pork at Jonai Farms in Egantown, near Daylesford, and will soon be our down-the-road neighbours when we officially shift to Curracloe Farm. I've heard her speak on food and what can be done by growers and consumers to create a more fair food system, and she blew my tiny mind. This is a woman who absolutely knows her stuff, is also a walking manifestation of her beliefs, and is using her knowledge to bring others along with her. Plus, her pork is damn delicious.
Lani was one of those people who seemed to be perpetually popping up on my radar for 2 or so years before we finally connected in person, and it was probably the best first friend date I've ever had. Lani is a phenomenal photographer and story teller. Her body of work kind of speaks for itself, but I was especially entranced by her documentary film/photography project And Holland Has Tulips that was released into the world this year. We spoke (very excitedly) about all things story telling, ethics, creating, and I hope we'll keep talking about it for a long time to come. And fingers crossed we'll get a chance to flex our story telling muscles on a shared project one day soon...
Brian is an elusive creature on the other side of the world I know from the internet, and his creation Uncommon has been one of my ongoing digital pleasures over the past few years. Grounded in Slow Web principles (which is quickly becoming a movement), the platform is a rare opportunity for genuine connection with others all over the globe. My most regular contact point is with Uncommon's beautifully considered, thoughtful and intimate newsletters, and Brian's knack for perspective and gentle collective introspection, delicate curation and inherent patience has been an absolute delight, and it has been a timely reminder of my need to slow down in many areas of my life.
It was an absolutely pleasure to have Ben and Laura in my life this year. I was introduced to this dynamic duo by Rachel Service who told me "they just get it" and she was absolutely right. With a really interesting mix of creative disciplines under their belts (dance, graphic design, fashion and costume, illustration, fine art) these two totally embody "multidisciplinary" and really know "collaboration". These two totally get my obsession with creative process, and my belief that the process is the outcome. They're working on a bunch of awesome stuff and I have no doubt whatsoever we'll see more awesome stuff from them in the new year. Can't wait to see what it looks like.
Alberto the Taxi Driver
Alberto was exactly the kind of person you want to meet when you arrive in Havana without any money, cards, or way to get around. After I accidentally left our wallet on a plane to Cuba, we had almost resigned ourselves to sleeping in the airport until we could figure out a way to access some cash. Alberto was good enough to take us to our home-stay, saying "we look after each other in Cuba". He and his unbelievable 54 Cadillac (with retrofitted air conditioning) also drove us to and from the Embassy so we could rectify our money situation, and took us back to the airport on our way home - all on trust. Alberto (and our Cuba trip in general) restored my faith in humanity.
Mademoiselle Carroll is my former dance floor partner in crime and an all round wonderful woman. When she lived in Melbourne in my early twenties we were inseparable, and somehow we've managed to continue a version of that now that she's back in her native Toronto. In our first visit there this year she absolutely turned it on - showing off her city and giving us the royal treatment. I can't even describe what a magical thing it is to final be able to spend time with your best friend after a long separation, and how wonderful a thing it is to have such a great friendship persist despite significant geographical barriers. So very grateful to have her in my life, even if mostly via Skype.
This year we've travelled together, embarked on our biggest official shared project and set (very ambitious, but very very exciting) new goals. I remember when I first met Marcus it struck me how proud he was of his family and his background, and how absolutely unapologetically comfortable he seemed in his own skin, and after more than 7 years these are traits I still find incredibly compelling in him every day. His work ethic, self belief, practicality and compassion are things I'm so grateful to have in my corner. Can't wait to see what 2015 has in store for us.