An unlikely tale of a curious ‘outsider’ who found a place within
As an actress, storyliner and scriptwriter there was no scenario where I could picture myself studying at Tech Futures Lab - it turns out that my imagination was not big enough.
Even as a creative, pathways can be pretty linear: acting often leads to storylining and scriptwriting as family and children require less of a bohemian life and more of a fixed income.
I was one of the lucky ones managing to make a living as a freelance actress, and the benefit of that - besides eternal fulfillment and joy - was a trusted network of casting agents, directors, sound studios and creative agencies that called on me for voice work, scripts, story, promotional material, pitches and guest spots on shows. I was thoroughly enjoying the precarious balance of managing my passion and bank balance as I looked after my young family in South Africa.
Disruption for me came in the form of immigration.
We arrived in Auckland with no knowledge of the city, no family, no friends and no network, to make a safe home for our children.
There are countless stories to be told of the overwhelming kindness of strangers, the nurturing school communities that took my children under their wing and the gobsmacking beauty of New Zealand.
And then there is my story of trying to find sense and meaning in a world that no longer reflected who I am.
In the six years, I have been in New Zealand, I have been a school administrator, a Trust administrator, a Programme Development Manager, a Grants Writer and now a Storyteller and Content Creator. Through these six years, I have tried to find where this iteration of me fits, not only in the context of a new country but also in the context of my life.
On my 50th birthday, I started working at Tech Futures Lab - a milestone in more ways than one.
I knew almost nothing about tech, but I did know about humans and story, so we took a gamble on each other.
The first big project I was given to write about was The Postgraduate Certificate in Human Potential for the Digital Economy, then a new programme that began in February this year, and now starting its third iteration in November. When I heard the words, “find your place”, “team human in the digital age” and “tech for good”, I was instantly intrigued and signed up to be part of the first Cohort. I reckoned that if I could not find my actress identity in this country, I could maybe find my sense maker identity.
It is almost a year to the day since I joined Tech Futures Lab; I graduate in a month and I can tell you what I have gained from the course and from the Tech Futures Lab Community:
Through team projects, I have gained extensive insight, not only on how digitisation has affected business, but big businesses in New Zealand; how they are structured, their values, their innovation or lack of it, and the influence that they have on the country.
I have confidence in being part of conversations about AI, Blockchain, platforms, sustainability, indigenous methodology; and more than having conversations, I can speak knowledgeably on their individual impacts, their shortfalls and on our responsibility to make them sustainable and ethical.
I have met and bonded with fellow classmates who could not be more diverse, but whose opinions and feedback I will treasure forever.
I have been able to contextualise myself.
I am confident that I have something to offer, of value to myself and the greater society, both currently and in the future; and I know that while change is certain, my ability to make sense of it and respond accordingly has exponentially improved.
I have found a place where outsiders come to be part of something bigger; to learn, to find their place, to talk, even to disagree. Every single person, whether student, staff member or presenter, is intensely interesting, engaged and committed to something better.
Don't limit yourself - if you find yourself getting lost in online rabbit holes of obscure yet fascinating articles; if you wish you had someone to bounce ideas off; if you’re looking for a New Zealand lens on business; if you are missing the aha! Moments of discovery, if you’re wanting real, human professional and personal development, The Postgraduate Certificate in Human Potential for the Digital Economy at Tech Futures Lab is for you.