Tania de Jong: “Creativity is the most important attribute for NFP leaders”
Tania de Jong has a passion and vision to change the world one voice at a time.
Through Tania’s widespread experience, she has found that collaboration is the most important tool for a NFP organisation.
She feels strongly about creativity playing a more important role in organisations, and believes that creativity and collaboration are the two most important methods for success within the NFP sector.
Third Sector spoke to Tania to hear more about her vision, her thoughts on creativity and the power of music within the non-profit-sector.
TS: You are a performer, successful business leader and a founder of two charities, how do you manage all of that?
TDJ: I have to stay really focused on whatever it is that I am working on. It is also very important to have great people around me; hopefully we can all swim upstream or downstream together. Sometimes when you are running charities, it feels like you’re swimming upstream a lot.
TS: What role does creativity play in the NFP sector for you?
TDJ: Creativity is probably the most important attribute for [NFP] leaders. Creativity and how we use this to innovate our community [will] determine whether we are going to survive and how the world is going to look in the future. Creativity is what is going to help us solve the big problems. The NFP sector has less finance and resources, so it is highly important for us to be creative. We have to be clever about who we partner with and be creative with how we use our time.
TS: What makes you so passionate about the NFP sector?
TDJ: I am very passionate about the NFP sector otherwise I wouldn’t be crazy enough to set up two charities. I think it is wonderful when people set up organisations that have a reason to exist other than commercial reasons. One of the great things about NFPs is a focus on making a difference and that is what makes me so passionate about this sector.
TS: Could you tell us a little bit about your Creative Universe collaboration with Dimension Data Australia?
TDJ: We are creating global space in south Melbourne in order to bring together a mix of social entrepreneurs, start-ups, NFPs and freelancers. This is so people can meet and collaborate and help reinvent the future- it is what I like to call positive human collision. By positive human collision, I mean we spend a lot of time thinking and talking with people who are just like us but for innovation and creativity to truly spark – we need to connect with people who are different to us. You need to connect different dots to get innovation, creativity and spark. You need to get out of your comfort zone and connect with people on a regular basis who challenge you. That is why diversity is so important.
TS: Is collaboration important for success for NFPS?
TDJ: Absolutely fundamental! Having your whole team aligned, working collaboratively is incredibly important. Collaborating outside of your organisation is absolutely fundamental. With funding and partnerships you are thinking outside the box. The same people are always being hit for funding. There are different ways you can raise funds and partner with other organisations. It is important to remember that we don’t have to work against each other, but rather we can work together.
TS: You spoke about singing being a cure and healing mechanism for mental and physical health …
TDJ: Music should play a bigger part in all charities, music is one of the greatest healers there is – it has been proven scientifically. It has major usage and we need to see the arts and creativity as important tools for healing and improving mental health. Music is also important for greater social inclusion and connection. Singing is the language of the heart, it is something we can all do. Singing a song together in an office could really help at the end of a stressful day.
TS: Where do you hope to be in the future?
TDJ: My vision is to help change the world one voice at a time. I would love to see us get everyone in Australia singing and bring singing back to our community. Our voices have been silenced in so many ways. I would like to see a world where we have a greater understanding and become much more inclusive and not just talk about diversity and inclusion but actually really do it.
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