When the opportunity arose to lead āluān company I had an 18 month old daughter and a 5 year old son and I had been out of my career for several years. It wasn’t easy stepping back into work, let alone a start-up business that needs a similar depth of love, care and attention as my young children.
It is not an easy time but it hones your intuition and you can only be authentic — there is no time for facades. Āluān is building new and replicable ways of doing thing in order to heal our planet. One day this will be the new norm – actually it will be even better than we can possibly imagine where a healthy business goes hand in hand with a healthy planet. But, for now we have work to do.
I grew up inspired by Annita Roddick of the BodyShop and Nelson Mandela – I had this insatiable appetite to read books about them. I went to law school which I loved & achieved a first class honours degree. When my classmates received bottles of Moet from law firms as a congratulations for their summer clerkship I knew I needed to search a little wider. I took a semester off University and spent a 6 months in Sabah, Malaysia, on a youth development programme. I remember being in the Imbak Canyon for my 21st birthday and being sung happy birthday on a morning radio call in the depths of the rainforest. After time on the programme I travelled through Sabah, Brunei, and Sarawak on my own. It was a strange experience. A bit lonely and surreal. I remember a 12 hour bus ride through Sarawak and only seeing charred earth and budding palm oil seedlings in the ground.
This had an impact. I finished off university on an exchange programme to Singapore which led to Aceh, Indonesia. A wild place orangutans, tigers, rhinos and elephants still co-exist. And where turtles nest every night of the year. And which was just emerging from an unprecedented natural disaster and 30 year civil conflict. For 10 years, starting in Aceh and ending up in tropical forests globally from Liberia and Mozambique to Ecuador and Peru – I had the opportunity to delve into conservation and sustainability and the opportunity to work on everything from mapping land and resource rights with indigenous peoples to supporting the Governor of Aceh with the world’s first carbon agreement with Meryl Lynch.
I have always been a hard worker. I’m not sure where that drive comes from, but I have a burning flame inside. There is so much that we can do to create the world that we want to live in. It is a time on earth to build a new way of living and being. Lucy represents one of those exceptional opportunities to me.
Artist: Sabina Kencana, from Indonesia