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When asked the question — What do the words ‘Sunshine Coast changemaker’ mean to you? — attendees described the attributes of those whom they believed were creating positive change within the community. As Darrel Edwards stated, “A ‘changemaker’ is someone who influences people and the community to live positively, but does so selflessly, giving their time to others and by challenging the norm. In this way, they can look to the future and know-how to adapt as the norms keep evolving.” Cyndi O’Meara kept with the theme of making positive differences, while also highlighting the need to challenge the status quo. “A ‘changemaker’ is someone who is aware of what’s happening and who is prepared to stand up for what they believe in,” she said. Similarly, James Colquhoun identified a ‘changemaker’ as follows: “Someone who’s shifting belief systems. Our society operates on beliefs, ideas, and values that then become legislation, laws and religious beliefs, which we shape our whole world on. Shifting beliefs through education is really important, and I define a ‘changemaker’ as someone who facilitates that process in some way.” Next, attendees were made to think harder by having to answer more specific questions. In particular, they needed to name someone who was recognized as a ‘changemaker’ in the community. Attendees found it difficult NOT to name a person nearby, given some of the most influential ‘changemakers’ on the Sunshine Coast were sitting in the one room; but the names of many inspiring locals were soon listed. During Leanne Layfield even took the time to express her appreciation for the work performed by Mayor Mark Jamieson. Having lived on the Sunshine Coast for over 30 years, Leanne said that Mayor Jamieson was demonstrating a vision for

the region while also trying to make things happen for the Sunshine Coast. As other attendees listed individuals responsible for instigating change, Amanda Yeates answered in broader terms, stating that local businesses have been ‘changemakers’ because they demonstrate a “…strong vision for the coast to transform from being primarily dependant on tourism as an economic driver, to business that can add value into a whole range of different areas.” Amanda explained that more businesses have been putting themselves “out there” in order to be more readily recognised and to transform the way people do business on the Sunshine Coast. It was then time for attendees to discuss how their local business might be instigating its own changes. Harrison Thompson shared an anecdote about attending an event that showcased businesses, where the businesses weren’t sourced from the Sunshine Coast but from north and south of the region. Harrison explained that, in response to this experience, he and his business partner set about organising their own regular event that focussed on promoting local Sunshine Coast businesses only. In doing so, Harrison has worked towards making those in the region aware of what products and produce are available to them locally. As Harrison said, “I want to see the Sunshine Coast change and thrive for the better.”

Sally Hopper is another ‘changemaker’ who continues to support locals and the new local farms in her area. She strives to keep employment and money in the local areas and relies on community support to continue making her products. Finally, these twelve influential business owners and workers — all of them ‘changemakers’ — were asked what they would like to change and influence in relation to the future of the Sunshine Coast. European-born Stephanie Moroz explained that upon moving to the region, she soon realised people could easily take the beauty of the place for granted. Stephanie said she wanted to change people’s attitudes towards energy and waste, and raise levels of awareness concerning sustainability for the future. Chris Cameron expressed a shared passion for looking after the community by supporting local businesses and taking care of our environment. Chris explained that her role within Cleantech Industries had fed her passion for the pursuit of environmentally sustainable practices. Indeed, she said she believes the community should work with the council in order to attract clean and green businesses to the coast that will also boost our economy.

These ideas surely leave us all with something to think about in terms of how we can contribute in a positive manner towards the changes unfolding in our community.


Attendees included Stephanie Moroz from Nano Nouvelle, Sally Hopper from Maleny Diaries, Leanne Layfield from Caloundra Chamber of Commerce, Chris Cameron from Rockcote Enterprises, Harrison Thompson from Turner and Thompson Events, Cyndi O’Meara from Changing Habits, Amanda Yeates from Department of Transport and Main Roads, James Colquhoun from Food Matters, Darrel Edwards from Regional Development Australia, as well as Vickie Magic, Dranko Magic, and Jasmine Sharpe from Matters Magazine.

Matters Magazine Autumn Issue  

We include some great articles on Sunshine Coast Changemakers, and give you some ideas for embracing change and being the change within your...

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