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Sincere connections through work

by Ann Bolch on November 8, 2012

in Career,Work Life,Work Life Balance

How often do we hear about people’s desire for a solid fit between personal values and work activities?

We spend hours (and hours) working so it’s essential to connect with the people around us. It’s more than being pleasant and it’s not networking (though these are important), it’s about creating and maintaining sincere connections through work.

Here’s an example.

When I told David my plan for a month in the Solomon Islands, he urged me to look up Tetepare. Almost straight away I booked my husband and me in for a week.

Not just a remote tropical island in the south-west Pacific, Tetepare landholders have been sorely tempted by, yet resisted, the powerful offers of Asian timber companies to log their big trees for quick and vast sums the likes of which these villagers have never seen. All around them local, national and international neighbours have not shown so much foresight or courage.

I was impressed by Tetepare’s genuine efforts at small-scale sustainable development to enhance the conservation of the island and wellbeing of the descendants. So I sourced some raincoats to take as gifts.* Seeing the local commitment and international support for the preservation of Tetepare’s rich diversity, Snowgum was only too happy to donate.

Our experience of Tetepare set the standard for the rest of our Solomons stay. The solar-powered lodge is on a breezy point surrounded by a clichéd-blue lagoon and shaded by thrumming rainforest. At night the air is alive with frogs and the ground scrapes with hermit crabs.

David knew about Tetepare through his writing for Gayle Hardie, co-founder of the Global Leadership Foundation. They run weeklong leadership programs on Tetepare that combine the knowledge, skills and experience of local people and participants.

Gayle says, ‘Time on the island with the Tetepare descendants encourages people to be present. The days are full and physical and dictated by the weather, tides and environment. People have to pay attention to what’s going on, watch how the conditions affect plans and how they react. We encourage them to integrate this understanding into their everyday lives.’

Gayle was introduced to Tetepare by John Read, who has written a frank and compelling book about his involvement in saving the last wild island. Gayle met John when she volunteered with Earthwatch at John’s ‘animals project’ for Western Mining in Roxby Downs.

Our connection with Global Leadership Foundation runs deeper than just ‘client-supplier’. This and other sincere connections ensure we’re living and working our values.


* The Tetepare website suggests gifts that guests may bring, which includes raincoats.

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