5 mins with… Melissa Jenner – Founder, START Now

3 years ago by

Melissa Jenner, founder of START Now a human innovation company which focuses on helping people and businesses forge meaningful, purposeful and sustainable careers will be running a workshop with Design Assembly on how to apply the toolbox of design to create multiple possible futures for yourself.

Ahead of Melissa’s workshop we caught up with her to learn more about the work that she does and what participants can expect from this workshop.

Wednesday 16th October 2019
6pm – 8pm
Studio One Toi Tū (Room 6)

(Not a DA Friend? Details on how to sign up can be found here).

What drives you to do what you do?

Work is such a big part of our lives, and something that we invest so little time in ‘designing’.  We spend more time designing our wardrobes and our holidays – that how we want to spend our time at work.  So many of us just get ‘stuck’ in the ‘doing’ and then find that the 1/3 of our life we are spending at work, is not fulfilling any grand plan, bringing us meaning, or joy.  I’m passionate about helping people ensure that work is a positive contributor to their lives, as I’ve seen the impact that work has on your personal life – when it goes well, and not.

What are you passionate about outside of your work?

I collect books and am an avid reader and researcher – all my books are non-fiction and I travel the world collecting rare and interesting reads!  I’m also passionate about travelling – not for frivolity – shopping, cocktails and beach parties (although those are all fun!) – but to expand my mind and explore / experience new cultures and learn about different communities, mind-sets, and history.  And lastly I’m becoming more passionate and interested in Stoicism – an ancient philosophy that follows the belief that setbacks and challenges are simply tests of character and thinking of them as such can dramatically change our emotional response to the disruption of everyday life.

What inspired you to start your own business?

I have a rock on my desk that I have had for over 10 years – it has engraved into it it “if not now, when?”  I looked at that rock for 10 years thinking about starting my own business….and then ‘now’ turned up one day.  I was working in a job having just returned to NZ from London post the global GFC.  I thought it was my dream job / dream team – it turned out to be something quite different to that.  A huge lesson for me in working in an organisation with mis-alignment of values.  I ‘fired’ myself from this false reality and realised, that now had come.  It was my time to create my own reality and use my talents freely and independently to do the work I wanted to do.  My business has grown organically – I’m not a believer in plans especially not business plans – I’ve prototyped my way into my current reality and its a fluid journey of continuous learning.

What is a key piece of advice you have learnt in your career so far?

You are able to cope with so much more than you can ever imagine – be brave, face challenges, take the lesson.

What can participants expect from your “Design your Life – how to apply the toolbox of design to creating a new lifestyle” workshop?

It will be a lively, interactive, conversation!  I am going to share some stories and some tools with those who attend, about how to apply human centred design (design thinking) to you most valuable asset -your career.  And people will get a chance to start ‘playing’ with the tools – having a go and learning together.  No-one is in a job forever and we all have dreams, and want to have more impact and be as creative as we can in life – this is a great opportunity to come and start imaging what else you can do with this one precious life and your enormous gifts.



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