Will we ever grow up?

“What’s my raison d’être? I’ve got several, as I think we all do.” – Genevieve Sovereign, Slow School Community Manager

What will I be when I grow up?

As kids, we’re encouraged to ask this of ourselves all the time. What do I want to become? How am I going to make the world better? Once I’ve got the power and freedom of being an adult, what am I going to do with it all? We think about the myriad ways we’ll define and fulfill our life’s purpose – whatever that happens to be this week.

I celebrated my birthday a few days ago. (Thanks again to all you wonderful folks in Slow School’s community on Facebook for the warm wishes!) It was a day of intensive housekeeping, literally and figuratively. Working away at the clutter of my cosy little apartment, I attempted to untangle the jumbled balls of yarn scattered around my head.

Involvement with Slow School has given me a heck of a lot to think about this year – particularly around what I’m doing and why I’m here. Programs and dinners about finding purpose and harnessing happiness have made this mid-30s self of mine wonder: What would my younger selves say about it all?

The university graduate – shiny new engineering Iron Ring gleaming on my working hand, a reminder of my ongoing responsibilities – would want to help ensure the world is healing faster than humanity is injuring it.

The highschool senior would demand I exercise the astronomically great luck and gifts at my disposal – ample resources, health, intelligence, connections and dashing good looks – to make a solid impact wherever I decide to land my punches.

The primary schooler would be exasperated that this silly old woman hasn’t become an internationally sought-after assassin and spy, dedicated to bringing down evil multinational conspirators and their foul henchmen. (She and I will talk later.)

Coming out the other end of that day-long stock take, I still didn’t have a solid answer around my purpose – although I’m also pretty sure there isn’t just one. What’s my raison d’être? I’ve got several, as I think we all do. Being part of Slow School’s incredible community is definitely one of mine, which I’m deeply grateful for.

And perhaps a key to happiness is the chance to discover and rediscover a purpose for ourselves, every day of our lives. At least, that’s my answer this year. What’s yours?

Genevieve Sovereign
Community Manager – The Slow School of Business


Finding a more truthful me

Suddenly the message became clearer, and the true purpose of who I am and why I am this person today, surfaced.” – Talk on Purpose participant Geraldine Coy

The following guest blog was kindly provided by Geraldine Coy and is entitled Finding a more truthful me

Two weeks ago, I attended a Talk on Purpose program, run by Slow School. It has taken awhile to recover from the shock of a highly up close and personal examination of self – exhausting on every level. Initially, I had thought that I would simply be building a presentation which would serve as a marketing tool for my business. The four day program began with our initial drafts of prepared work which, I have to admit, I thought was OK. I was expecting a bit of polishing and perhaps a punchier result.

I have stood on many stages in my life and delivered fairly good and spontaneous presentations on my professional subject matters, and I have never been afraid to engage deeply with groups that I am facilitating in their growth. I also know that I die as a speaker when scripted closely, as I have always believed that I am much more interesting when naturally relaxed in presentation.

The challenge for me in entering Slow School’s four day Talk on Purpose program was that I would have to condense a heap of critical information into a three minute presentation. It sounds pretty easy but believe me, it was the hardest thing I have done in a long time!

At the end of day two, I found the 25th redraft of my topic completely useless and realised that I must go back to the drawing board and start from scratch. Why? Because my peers, with whom I had been travelling an equally difficult road, and the extraordinary facilitators (there are five of them devoted to the group of 11) pointed out to me that I was not credible. Quite incredible! They commented, with love and care, that they could not see the real me in a presentation lacking passion and warmth and, worst of all, truth!

They asked a simple question… “What was the trigger for your belief that everyone should relentlessly pursue the Truth?” Instantaneously up came a memory which caused a huge emotional reaction from me, and I was reduced to a wreck. It was the story I ended up telling. Suddenly the message became clearer, and the true purpose of who I am and why I am this person today, surfaced.

That’s the truth telling of Slow School, and its values of collaborative working relationships. Gently nudging us all along with dignity and respect, this amazing group of people – facilitators and fellow collegians – with huge support, got us all across the finish line feeling quite proud to be out there in a very different way from what we started out with.

I grew personally and we grew as a group together. It was a fabulous investment in self, providing clarity of purpose. Well done, Slow Schoolers!

About Geraldine Coy

Truth activist, author of Brave Truth the book, developer of Brave Truth the board game, and Managing Partner at Red Tin Shed, Geraldine Coy is passionate about developing authentic leadership with the capability to drive focused outcomes. She brings energy and fortitude to individuals and teams and through her own life journey, compassion and a deep understanding of values in practice.

The Brave Truth experience is a game-changing opportunity for teams to rapidly develop their relationships in trust, so that they grow to become a High Performance team. A Team, Leadership, Diversity and Culture Change initiative, Brave Truth ensures maximum participation of individuals as they undergo discovery of unconscious bias, beliefs and personal perceptual frameworks, in a safe, non-judgmental environment. Team players find mutuality in trust and respect as they grow their understanding of their similarities, as opposed to a more traditional focus on differences. This is truth and trust which is portable back to the workplace, and cascaded through genuine and good leadership.


Burning Slowly

Reflections from Burning Seed 2015
by Genevieve Sovereign, Slow School Community Manager

Yellow-grey dust clouds billow up and out into the gathering dusk. All across Red Earth City hundreds of feet tattoo their dancing, running, skipping farewell to a plummeting sun. Bass lines from dozens of theme camps manage somehow to complement rather than compete, harmonised by layers of laughter and questionably keyed karaoke. We’re all in this. Together.

Final traces of sunlight rebound from shiny thing to shiny thing – sweat beading a dancer’s arm, metalwork pieces near the Third Aid Station, waves rippling gently between rushes in the festival ground’s central pond.

There’s no trading here, proclaims the informational booklet for Burning Seed 2015, no bartering. Only gifting. Vending is strictly prohibited, as is the display or distribution of promotional material. Anyone caught flashing a brand will be severely frowned upon and asked to cover up. These are the only indecent exposure rules in effect at this event dedicated entirely to radical self-expression.

LEDs in every electric rainbow shade adorn crowd and artwork alike, dispelling the darkness as twilight deepens. A parade of fire dancers twirl time forward for us, to the long-awaited moment of ignition.

Radical economics, hey? Conceptual prefix for ideas so far outside business-as-usual that modern parlance otherwise struggles to make accessible. Like “quantum theory” or “the pursuit of enlightenment” – frequently exercised placeholders for thoughts “other people understand better than I do.”

Gifting is the only form of transaction permitted here. “You to me” and “me to you” are subsumed by “us within the here and now.” No further expectation. No onus. How radical.

The moment arrives. Flares burst suddenly from a multistory wooden effigy’s gaze, downturned at the model world held captive in its grasp. Beneath its feet, a great blaze erupts and begins slowly to climb. Creeping up the support beams, flame works its inexorable alchemy.

We, each and all, bring the gift of ourselves to this world. Our talents. Our striving. Our learnings and perspectives. Our choices.

Smoke billows up and out into the night, embers dancing briefly overhead among the stars. Fire consumes the effigy, crawling up its arms to engulf the model world it embraces.

In the crowd, we contribute ourselves to the here and now. Our presence and understanding pass between us – strangers who really aren’t strangers after all. Together we watch a blaze in this dusty Australian landscape that’s awakening seeds too-long dormant.




Genevieve Sovereign
Community Manager – The Slow School of Business




Love as a way of life… and business

Love lessons from the character of Atticus Finch,
via Slow School Founder Carolyn Tate

I’ve just come to the end of that most exquisite 1962 movie, To Kill a Mocking Bird. The film is based on Harper Lee’s book and stars Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch, a lawyer and widowed father of two young children – Scout and Jem.

What makes this story so powerful for me, is Atticus. He is a man full to the brim with love. He exudes it in the way he fathers his children and in the way he defends an innocent black man wrongly accused of rape in a small racist town in Alabama.

He displays the seven characteristics of a loving person (according to Gary Chapman’s book Love as a way of life): kindness, patience, forgiveness, courtesy, humility, generosity, and honesty. He exudes these traits in every interaction, with every person. Love is his way of life.

I’m now left pondering how we’ve exhibited love at Slow School, and what more we can do to bring love to our community and to the business world. Your ideas are welcome!

I’m also reminded of the 50 beautiful graduates of our Talk on Purpose program, and what has made this course so magic.

I believe the answer is LOVE. It’s in the way our facilitators provide a safe container for people to tap into their ‘why’ and the stories that are waiting to be dug up like diamonds under layers and layers of coal.

It’s in the way we all become both teachers and students, learning so much from each other. It’s in the way we sit with each other when tears erupt and fears arise. It’s in the way our audience responds to our talks with appreciation and admiration at our courage.

We see love in stories like Elizabeth Sigston’s (Cancer: Beyond the Cure), Robert Davis’ (How Mickey Mouse Changed My Life) and Roger McDonald’s (For Better or Verse).

If you want to open to love as a way of life and business join us at our Talk on Purpose Program in February.

I do believe we can all be like Atticus. We can make love a way of life… and a way of business.

With love,

Carolyn Signature




Carolyn Tate
Founder, The Slow School of Business



The Art of Bus Dodging

Slow School is all of us, after all – you, me, and everyone else near and far who wants to join us in creating a community where we’re all teachers and we’re all students.
Genevieve Sovereign, Slow School Community Manager

Slow School, WAIT! Watch out for that bus.

Phew, that was close. We were starting to get ahead of ourselves there and almost lost track of being present – in the here and now, with you, our community. Let me slow down and explain.

Many of you will have met me already. For those who haven’t, my name is Genevieve Sovereign and I’m Slow School’s Community Manager. I’ve been the monkey behind the typewriter for a lot of Slow School’s communications over the past year – including this newsletter, portions of our website, and assorted eyeball stampings on social media. I suspect I may also be referred to as some sort of editing fascist by our wonderful team of facilitators, who’ve enjoyed the dubious pleasure of my tendency to “polish” any grouping of alphanumeric characters my gaze encounters. Occupational hazard.

Now back to that bus. We got a bit disoriented, you see, dazed by the hustle and bustle of modern business life. We began crossing roads we weren’t ready to yet, and somewhere along the way we lost sight of our tour group. Our enthusiasm to see everything, to do everything, and to talk to everyone led us further than we meant to travel – from you, our community.

That’s why we’re taking stock, slowing down and consciously bringing our focus back into making Slow School a PEOPLE POWERED initiative as we plan for the coming year. Slow School is all of us, after all – you, me, and everyone else near and far who wants to join us in creating a community where we’re all teachers and we’re all students. A community of friends who build purpose-driven and prosperous businesses that make the world a better place.

We can and will do it – and it’ll be best done together. Let’s go, journeyers!




Genevieve Sovereign
Community Manager – The Slow School of Business


Graduation night

Need some ‘inspiraction’?

Inspiraction [noun]: An emotionally and/or spiritually inspired idea that compels one to take action without delay. Otherwise known as ‘inspired action’.

There’s no lack of inspiration in the world today and there’s no lack of action. Inspiration without action however, is nothing. And action without inspiration, at its worst, can be deadly.

That’s why the world urgently needs more people functioning in a state of ‘inspiraction’.

Inspiraction comes to you while hiking in nature, in meditation or while practicing deep listening with others. It erupts from your belly, springs into your heart and becomes a thought that turns into a string of deeds resulting in something real and meaningful. When you operate from ‘inspired action’ you just have work to do.

Just 10 months ago I was walking around my local park when the inspiraction for Talk on Purpose took a hold of me. The idea was stimulated by my love of TED talks and my passion to help others share their purpose and their story.

This inspiraction is now manifesting itself again at our Talk on Purpose Graduation party.

13 passionate change makers – people committed to living and working at the intersection of their talents, passions and strengths in the service of others – will be sharing their short (3-5 minute) talks with you.

Introducing our speakers:

Philippe Guichard | Penny Locaso | Paulina Larocca | Geraldine Coy | Louise Neville | Liz Sigston | Irma Zimmerman | Natalie Dunn | Jessica Purbrick-Herbst | Trudi Saul | David Corduff | Renee Dela Cruz | Anita Harnden

Introducing our Slow School faculty:

Robert Moorman (Social Videographer) | Sandy McDonald (TEDx Speaker) | Jon Yeo (TEDxMelbourne Curator) | Yamini Naidu (Business Storyteller) | Carolyn Tate (Slow School Curator)

If you’re looking for some inspiraction, then there’s no better place to find it than within the Slow School community. Please come celebrate with us and share the love at our after-party.

Date: Friday 21 August
Time: 6pm to 9pm
Venue: Level 2, 673 Donkey Wheel House, Bourke Street, Melbourne
Catering: Food and drinks provided



Come on clever, collective brains – reflections following launch of the We R One World Game

I feel very strongly about this.  It is not about the game, it’s about the outcome.  It’s about challenging people to think and act.” – Slow School faculty member Sandy McDonald, after our debut of the We R One World Game

The following guest blog was kindly provided by Sandy and is entitled Come on clever, collective brains

This weekend, I learned that the world’s military arsenal has firepower 6,000 times greater than all of World War Two.

That made me sick to my soul. I have two precious grandchildren. I cannot bear to think of them incinerated in an inferno beyond our imagination.

So what will we do about this?  You and me?

How will you and I – apparently small dots of inconsequence on the world stage, not even motes of dust in the vision of those that lead us – make a realisable change?

We were at the We R One World Game.


There were seventy brains in the room. Brains, we’re told that have a collective power even super computers cannot begin to match.

How can we harness that intelligence, energy, and belief?

What is the mechanism by which you and I can come together to make a change so disruptive that governments finally understand they have to reduce the world’s arsenal? Terrorists become advocates of peace?  Every belly is filled with food and clean water?  Everyone can read, write, and count?

We cannot do it alone. We cannot do it with ideas alone. We could do it incrementally and with connection.

We have one thing increasingly in common in the world today.  The mobile phone.  Even among some of the poorest people, mobile phone usage is ubiquitous.

Come on clever, collective brains.  Think. Communicate. Connect. Construct.

Here is an example we’re working on.

  • There are an estimated 25 million children orphaned, abandoned and abused, world wide.  There are millions of carers.  Many of them have mobile phones.
  • There are over 53 million knitters and 78 million quilters in the United States alone. Google research shows that many of them want to make a difference with their craft.

They all have mobile phones.  What is the common denominator?  How can we put the crafters and carers together to help these children who are part of the next generation to effect change?

– Sandy

Slow School’s next day of thinking outside the box as global citizens is just around the corner.

We R One World Game is happening again on Friday 18th September, 9am to 5pm
Donkey Wheel House, 2/673 Bourke Street, Melbourne CBD

For more information visit



Sneak peek from facilitator Ron Laurie on the We R One World Game

You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model which makes the existing model obsolete.” – Buckminster Fuller, creator of the World Game

Slow School faculty member Ron Laurie brings to fruition this idea of creating change, through the ground-breaking We R One World Game. As he explains, “The game appeals to people who grapple with the question, ‘Surely there must be a better way, surely we can do something about the world?’ It attracts the curious, the inquisitive, the pioneer, the adventurer, the risk taker, the collaborator. But that’s not the only type of person who should be there. It’s really for every person who has an inkling that what they do as a human being is important.”

The World Game began in the 1970s and is derived from Buckminster Fuller’s idea that “we are all astronauts on this spaceship called Earth.” The funny thing about this phrase is that there has never been a manual on how to drive our spaceship. Fuller himself was trying to work out what the instruction manual for spaceship Earth was, and so came the World Game. Ron played the game twenty years ago and gained a life-changing insight into himself and the world, “The moment I walked into the environment of the World Game, I realised right there that I wasn’t thinking comprehensively enough. I was only thinking about what was going on in my localised area. The World Game gave me a bigger perspective from which to work. It vastly opened up my awareness and perspectives.”

Buckminster Fuller claimed that we do not in fact have a crisis of resources – it’s just that we’re not distributing them intelligently – but we do have a crisis of consciousness. Ron agrees, explaining, “We do possess the intellects to actually deal with the challenges we face in the world. It’s just that we’re not thinking of the world as a world of abundance. Rather, we’re thinking of the world as a world of lack.” This is something which Ron believes the We R One World Game can change, “It is a game that aims to shift a person’s consciousness and awareness, so they have an experience within themselves of new ways of looking at things. They walk away never seeing the world the same way again.”


Wary not to give too much away about the game, Ron provides a small insight into what can be expected at the We R One World Game, “I would describe the game as an experience. It’s an immersive, live action role play understanding where you begin to experience first-hand some of the challenges that are happening in the world – from the perspective of a participant, not just an observer.” Ron hints there are lots of surprises and many ah-ha moments, which we love here at Slow School.

What can we expect to get out of the game? Ron hopes that the We R One World Game’s cumulative effect for participants is that, “It is an experience which I would say you will never forget. You will always have a reference point. I would hope that people walk away  asking themselves, ‘What can I do that would make a difference to the world?’ ”

The next We R One World Game day is… 


Friday 18th September, 9am to 5pm
Donkey Wheel House, 2/673 Bourke Street, Melbourne CBD


To get your tickets to an upcoming game or to find more information, visit




Interview with Sandy McDonald, online marketer and author

Author, speaker, coach and presenter Sandy McDonald is one of our most active and innovative faculty members here at Slow School. Over the past 30 years she’s been making waves throughout the online world. Her business Get It Right Online helps entrepreneurs find clarity around their purpose, which in turn empowers them to communicate most effectively with their audience. Clarity complements Slow School’s guiding principles of Consciousness, Co-creation, Creativity, Compassion and Courage. Slow School intern Georgia Gibson had a chat to Sandy about how these philosophies have helped her in business.


“You can’t develop clarity without being very self-aware. That’s because you have to dig deep into who you are as a person, to understand what it is you can bring of value to the world,” Sandy observes. She attributes finding intention and purpose to being self-aware and acting consciously, “When I work with people in the online space, what I’m actually trying to do is get them very clear on their intention… When they’re clear on that, what tends to come out is the principles by which they operate their business – the same way that Slow School operates its business on its 5 key principles.”


Sandy believes in co-creation 100%. “That’s the only way I can work, in a co-creation space,” she remarks. Sandy has found that working in the online environment is often thought of as being a linear process: somebody with a need buying somebody’s expertise, a very “servant and client” relationship. Sandy dedicates her work exclusively to people seeking to move beyond that paradigm – people who will work with her to find their intention and what they want to achieve in the world. “That can only be achieved online through total collaboration,” Sandy points out.


We all know it takes courage to announce what we truly want to achieve, particularly online where exposing our most heartfelt intentions can open us to all manner of criticism and scrutiny. “It takes enormous courage because you have to dig very deep – first of all into who you are, what you are and what you have to offer. You then need to have the courage to stand up and be recognised for what you have to offer,” explains Sandy. “I think it’s courageous to say, ‘I’m going to present what I have to offer. By doing that, not only do I deliver that to the world, but I stand up and I’m comfortable in my own skin.’ ”


Current research suggests that creativity is tapped best when we enter into a comfortable “play space” – a physical place. Sandy has first-hand experience with the amazing results this approach can deliver. “If you do a brainstorm, all ideas are good ideas. There’s no negative, no strategising. You’re accessing your right brain and therefore you’re in play space. That’s when total creativity comes about.” We can then apply this to our business, Sandy continues, “That’s when you start to realise your wonderful values, your principles, your ideas, your immutable laws, how you operate in the world.”


Where is the link between compassion and the online space? Sandy answers, “The Internet shows us that we can harness compassion and galvanise action. That builds community and, with such a community, what we can do together is yet to be imagined.” Sandy has acted on this belief through her charity KasCare, a foundation which developed the Knit A Square initiative. People from all over the world send tens of thousands of squares, all of which are made into blankets to warm these desperate children.  You can find out how on

The recipients of these blankets are children orphaned by extreme poverty or the devastating consequences of AIDS. The KasCare charity unites knitters from all over the world, and provides a compelling example of the Internet’s power to move compassion into action.


Sandy is a facilitator of Slow School’s flagship program Talk on Purpose (formerly Is there a TED-style talk in you?), where she helps participants clarify their purpose and articulate it in a short videoed talk in front of a live audience.

Further information about Talk on Purpose can be found at:

To learn more about Sandy McDonald and her work visit:

Sandy has also interviewed Slow School’s Founder, Carolyn Tate, on the topic of purpose and clarity:




Interview with Yamini Naidu, economist turned business storyteller

I think we’re living in a time where there’s such a shift in consciousness, people are very mindful about mindful leadership, about doing the right thing, about the environment, building a business with purpose.
– Yamini Naidu, economist turned business storyteller

For over ten years, Yamini Naidu has been teaching her clients about the power of storytelling in business – counting among them some of the largest multinational corporations, as well as independent small business people seeking to make a bigger impact. “I’m frustrated with how hard it is to influence using just data,” Yamini explained in a recent interview with Slow School intern Georgia Gibson, “So I work with leaders and entrepreneurs, helping them shift from spreadsheets to stories.”

To many of us, business storytelling is a novel concept. Yet once discovered, we begin to understand how critical a role it plays in building conscious businesses. In Yamini’s words, “We tend to drown everybody in information and I think there’s an inspiration famine. Storytelling helps us address that famine.”

In her interview with Georgia around Slow School’s 5 guiding principles, Yamini gave the following insights.


Making a drastic career change is challenging for anyone – it takes courage. “It’s a funny thing,” Yamini mused, “When you make those leaps you don’t realise you’re being brave or courageous. But when you look back you think, ‘Boy that was a big leap to make.’ ” Yamini believes that courage always manifests an action – courage is about what that first action is, what that small step will be, and then taking it. “It’s about personal accountability, responsibility and doing something, even if you’re not sure.”


Co-creation has existed throughout the Slow School community from its earliest days and continues across all of our Slow Dinners, Lunch’n’Learns, Coaching Circles, courses, programs, special events, and co-working days at Slow School HQ. Yamini believes co-creation is essential to yielding better results. “Collaboration can often be limited to a project, or to a finite outcome, but co-creation is much bigger than that. Co-creation respects the wisdom that people bring to the table. It doesn’t view any one person as the expert, but acknowledges that together we can create something that’s bigger than all of us.”


Business is often seen as a dog-eat-dog world, where competition rules and compassion is pushed to the side. Yamini commented, “Competition is a very difficult space. I think compassion is the complete opposite end of that.” She added, “I personally believe nice people and compassionate people do finish first, and it’s the only way to be in the world.”


Connections are easy to make but difficult to maintain, and Yamini struggled to find an answer herself about how to approach this issue. “That’s a difficult question. I think growing your connections has to be around the purpose. That’s why Slow School works: we’re bringing people together but it’s based around a community and around a purpose.” She elaborated, “I know now with social media, there’s all this pressure to buy likes and to trend on Twitter. But there’s a huge and growing need for more face-to-face connection, and more real interaction.”


When asked about the apparent consciousness gap between large and small businesses, Yamini responded, “I think it’s going to become non-negotiable. People are not going to want to engage with businesses that are not able to prove they practise consciousness.” For Yamini, this includes doing right by the planet and each other. She also believes that consciousness is increasingly becoming a driver of consumer decision-making. “I think we’re becoming so aware of our supply chain, because we’re such a connected world. That can bring great power with it, and forces great responsibility on companies.”


Up next for Yamini is helping to facilitate Slow School’s Talk on Purpose program (formerly Is there a TED-style talk in you?). “What I love about this program is how it transforms people,” Yamini explained. “Talk on Purpose will help people get clarity on what their idea is, and give them a compelling way of communicating that idea. I think clarity is often really hard because people have lots of ideas, or they’re very passionate or imaginative.” Talk on Purpose aims to help people from every industry find their purpose and deliver their story in a supportive, creative environment. “It’s such a rich and powerful program,” Yamini continued, “and it’s very unique. It will give people lasting tools they can use in their day-to-day leadership business challenges.”

Information about Slow School’s Talk on Purpose program can be found at:

To learn more about Yamini Naidu and her work visit: