Because we design other people’s products for them, we get to meet a lot of people who want success. There is nothing wrong with that. Some want to Make a Difference and are pursuing a cause they are passionate about. And I get the most satisfaction from helping them to succeed at doing that.
At the most recent Casey Cardinia Business Group breakfast session I had the chance to hear Stephanie Alexander share her journey. And it was an inspiring reminder that passion does indeed Make a Difference.
Stephanie grew up in a family that believed in the value of education, discussed topics of interest, and ate home cooked food. Her Mum not only liked to cook tasty meals but was also interested in the meaning of food and its social context.
Following her graduation she travelled to Europe and in France discovered a love of food that has stayed with her for the rest of her life.
Although her first commercial efforts weren’t successful, she persevered and was able to use her systematic organisational skills developed in teaching and library work to run a successful restaurant. She also discovered a passion for educating people about food, cooking with confidence and enjoying the taste and texture of well cooked, fresh, seasonal produce. This led to writing books and developing the Kitchen Garden Foundation program to teach primary school children the benefits and joy of growing fresh vegetables and cooking them.
The success of the books bankrolled some of the other activities and their success attracted philanthropic investment as well as government grants.
She didn’t start with the intent of being a leader. It was her desire to influence people’s view of food and their choice of what to eat that led to it as an emerging position and allowed her to make the difference she has been able to make.
Influencing the coming generations and how they perceive food will affect many modern issues including climate change and obesity. Stephanie believes that obesity is not solved by calorie management and powdered food. She believes it will be easier to overcome once we rediscover the joy of growing and cooking great produce as an alternative to convenient food that really doesn’t have the same taste, texture and quality of nourishment.
The Cook’s Companion was intended as a complete education in produce, cooking and having confidence in being able to do that. And it has been a huge success in helping to achieve just that. It wasn’t written to make money. It was written to help people. That it had also been a commercial success shows the value of doing something good to help others and doing it very well.
Her story parallels many others I am familiar with. And they all seem to share the some common characteristics:
- trying to do something to Make a Difference, not just to make money
- having to push through initial failures and learn from them
- building a team around you and energising them with your passion
- having a message big enough to capture the attention of the world around you
In my case, it is making it possible for Australian Electronics Manufacturers to be both locally and globally competitive.
In the case of Stephanie Alexander, it is awakening the value of good food grown and prepared well to an upcoming generation who are mostly being fed the message of convenience.
Last night I broke out our copy of The Cook’s Companion and thoroughly enjoyed preparing a good meal.
Successful Endeavours specialise in Electronics Design and Embedded Software Development, focusing on products that are intended to be Made In Australia. Ray Keefe has developed market leading electronics products in Australia for more than 30 years. This post is Copyright © 2016 Successful Endeavours Pty Ltd.