A Conscious Conversation With…is a new blog series dedicated to showcasing the diverse and unique purpose-driven lives around the world. In each Conscious Conversation, we invite one special guest to openly and honestly answer a set of short, fun and provoking questions built around our six key pillars of life, to share their stories and thoughts in their own words.
1.Tell us a little bit about yourself
I am the founder of Good360 Australia the largest online marketplace for businesses to donate goods to Australians who need them most. I am the type of person who once I know something I can’t unknow it and must do something about it. I also have unusually high levels of energy and resilience. I am tenacious, persistent, and never give up. I may or may not have been described as stubborn and wilful as a child – but I like to think of these traits as perfect for a social entrepreneur.
2. What are you most passionate about?
Equality and waste. I don’t understand in a country like ours why there is such a gap between the haves and the have-nots and why it continues to widen. Access to education and employment continues to widen the gap and it is incredibly frustrating. There is an abundance of resources, and they are just not equitably shared. I started Good360 in Australia because I couldn’t understand why if there were perfectly good usable brand-new items that hadn’t been sold why wouldn’t we match them to Australians who needed them most. It is criminal to let them go to waste or to landfill.
Since Good360’s launch in 2015, we have matched 22 million items, what if we didn’t? Imagine how many more items we could match if all businesses ensured any goods that didn’t sell were matched to an Australian who needed them – that is my passion. Receiving new items creates hope and dignity, lifting a person up when they need it most. Imagine if you lost your house in a fire or flood, or you lost your job during COVID. Imagine how receiving these new goods made you feel, knowing that someone cares and are standing with you – that‘s what we do, it is a great feeling, very special.
3. What is one life defining moment that taught you your biggest lessons?
My parents died when I was young. I also suffered a major illness when our children were very young, before they had even started school. I was determined that they needed a mum in their life and fought hard to survive this illness. Having traumatic life events show you that you can face up to anything, it helps build a resilience that you never knew you were capable of but also coping mechanisms for less serious events. It also helps provide a sense of perspective, what is important and how not to worry about the little things in life.
4. What’s the most valuable piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
When I first started building Good360 a mentor once told me it always takes twice as long and twice as much money as you could ever imagine building any business. I thought that was interesting but couldn’t possibly apply to me. I have a plan, a mission and in typical bull at the gate I was going to make it happen. Of course, he was right. However, that doesn’t stop me pushing hard to achieve the unachievable – it just helps knowing that the zealous goals I set myself are okay if they slip because people wiser than me know it is part of the course.
5. What do you need more of in your life right now and why?
The ocean, if I can see water I am calm. I am lucky that I live on the coast and can see it from my house. Most days I can take my crazy border collie for a walk along the ocean, it is calming. There is a lot of crazy in my head, it runs at a million miles an hour, there are always too many tabs open! Taking the time to go for a walk helps me appreciate how lucky we are to live in a country like Australia, the freedom, fresh air – I love the expansive view, looking out to sea, we are the land of so many opportunities. So much potential. When the days are crazy I need to remember to look at the water and breath in and out.
6. What are you most proud of?
My husband and two sons. We are only a small family, but we are tight, I am so proud of the respectful young men they are growing into. There is always a lot of talk on International Women’s Day about equal rights for women. I have an incredible husband who is always supportive, my sons have been able to see what a relationship of equality looks like.
We don’t have daughters, but our role has been to raise our sons to know how to respect women. I am proud that they wouldn’t have any doubts about the equality a women would have in a relationship.
Our sons are also resilient and that is a skill that I have wanted to teach them more than any other, no matter what life will throw at them they will need to be able to have coping mechanisms. I have watched over the last year or so with COVID and how they have coped with home-schooling, major milestone events and resilience has been a major factor.
No matter what else is going on I am most proud that they have the resilience to get through what is the most challenging of times.
7. When was the last time you cried?
I tell people all the time that I cry when I read our Impact Stories, they are stories from our charities, a short story about how the goods that have been donated have impacted the people in their communities. I read them at night, I like to know what the real difference is that we are making in people’s lives. After a busy day at work, what did we achieve? It is so easy to get caught up being ‘busy’, reading how the smallest donation can be so meaningful helps put in perspective what is important in life. My husband has stopped getting stressed when I start crying, at first, he thought something was wrong, now he knows, I am just emotional that making the decision to start Good360 was the right one – we really have made a difference. Thousands of people are having a chance at a better life – one step closer to equality.
8. Finish this sentence.
Real and honest conversation is…… happening less today with people using social media instead of picking up the phone. We are all guilty of texting, messaging on Facebook etc, this doesn’t replace calling a friend, going and seeing them and having a real conversation. Now I feel bad, I am going to have to make some calls
9. Where can we find you?
Good360 Australia Social tags
Good360 website: https://good360.org.au/
Alison – LinkedIn> https://www.linkedin.com/in/alisoncovington/
Published by Conscious Conversations on 31 August 2021