Sarah Ladyman

Accountant, PPB Advisory2014 Sydney Fellowship

Sarah Ladyman Syd FP 2014 resized

Everything was impossible until someone did it. We need pioneers to show that you can act in a positive way to preserve true value.

What was the most valuable thing you got out of CSL?

I learnt that with my inner child beside me I can do anything I set my mind to and have fun along the way!

Why are you passionate about sustainability? What was the moment or event that made you decide to become a 'change maker' in your field?

I feel as though I fell into it a few years ago. Through a series of events I found myself helping to run a not for profit on campus (the University Food Co-op) whilst studying Commerce at the University of Sydney. It gave me an alternative business education. I saw first hand the impact different businesses can have on communities. I began to understand the origins of business, in that they were first started as mechanisms for organising the production of a resource required by society (be it food, clothing, shelter). I began to believe that business could be used as a tool to create change. Through the Food Co-op I then helped to start the first community garden at the University. Students had been asking for a plot to start a garden at the University for seven years. We were offered a rooftop by a faculty and "bypassed" the traditional system. The garden was approved, designed and planted within the year, and I had the opportunity to witness first hand not only what I was capable of as a leader, but also the amazing multiplier effect of working together in a community. From there I became involved in the regional and national community garden 'scenes'. For the first time I began to understand the importance of connecting with likeminded individuals and developing a sense that we are not alone. I'm passionate about sustainability because I have seen how connecting as a community (a very welcome byproduct of most sustainability initiatives) can make people happier, build connections and improve the resilience of society. I believe in teaching people skills to be more sustainable, and my particular sustainability 'niche' is food security. My passion for food security fills me up and gives me an inexlicable warm feeling. I love telling people about gardens, growing food, planting citrus trees and chickens. I love leaving the occasional freshly laid pristine white egg on a colleague's mousepad as a thank you gift. There is nothing better than a friend coming to me at work and excitedly telling me about their new worm farm/compost/herb garden which they got because I told them a story! A very welcome byproduct of all of this is that it makes me so much happier in my day to day life!

Why is leadership for sustainability important?

Everything was impossible until someone did it. We need pioneers to show that you can act in a positive way to preserve true value.

What do you plan to do next on your sustainability journey?

I plan on learning by observing in every area of my life. I am working in a field which is not necessarily 'sustainability focussed' in order to learn how the system works. I plan on completing my post graduate Acounting studies (CA) in the next two years. I would like to translate this knowledge into advice for not for profits and social business. I want to learn more about social business as I believe it could be one answer to the continuing question of how to make the current economic system more sustainable. I plan on helping to build more community gardens. I also plan on inspiring people to make incremental changes in their lives by telling stories about my own journey (by way of a blog). I have revisited my definition of 'success' and now see that if I have made one person's life happier, in the smallest, most incrememental way, whether it be by sharing my story or energy, then I have made the world more sustainable. Anything after that is a bonus.

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