Hard News by Russell Brown


The Foundation for Subliterate Representations (NZ)

So I got an email about social responsibility. On average, I am reasonably socially responsible – meaning that I am occasionally irresponsible, but reliably social – so I thought I'd give it a go. I am, my friends will tell you, all about giving it a go.

But where, exactly, was I going? The email read:

Organisation of a disorganised space

Social responsibility in New Zealand requires organisation and a centralised portal to avoid replication and increase contribution and awareness in ways that are both good for business and good for New Zealand’s development.

FOStR Nz is a vehicle to contribute to and evolve positive social change, to assess, qualify and report on the issues affecting new Zealanders today. These will include stories as well as statistics, stories of where social responsible action is focussing, and why.

I'm all about the stories too.

But what was FOStR Nz? It sounded sort of official.

I found this page on the website of the Human Rights Commission, which told me that:

FOStR NZ has been developed to assess the social contribution extended and practiced by organisations. It is to provide a place where social responsibility can be better understood, assessed, prioritised and information can be made readily available to both the corporate and broader community.

And, more confusingly, it also said this:

Statement: Fostr NZ does not intend to reallocate more to be one place to find address and evolve SR. FOStR NZ is the rising tide to lift all the boats of dedication working in this area, as our Kaumatua says this Waka has risen from the sea to support the Waka of New Zealand in today’s world and to connect New Zealand on this very important level with today’s world.

Yes, clearly, very important. So important, it was written in an impenetrable code.

But there, at the bottom of the page, was the information I needed:

Our infrastructure includes CEO Graziella Thake, COO Brian Tomlinson pro bono services form SG, Ogilvy, EY, Pursuit, Cross Ventures, Social media, Gracie productions and the list goes on.

Graziella Thake! A name with which to conjure! I imagined that I was the hero in an airport thriller -- and Graziella Thake was the brilliant scientist who would help me save the world. But I did not need to imagine her. She exists.

She is, apparently, a forensic psychologist at the Department of Corrections. But clearly, she's so much more. As founder and CEO of FOStR NZ, she's been "vitalizing responsible exchange and collaboration between business and the community" since 2009. She is the CEO of ICP Group, and of Insinclife, which offers "a highly trained, motivated and dedicated team of Corporate and Life coaches, along side the unique programs and tools developed by a registered psychologist and the Founder of Insinclife.com, Graziella Thake."

Graziella's abilities do not stop there. Her "specialties" are listed on LinkedIn as:

Faciliataing and bring simple solutions to complex human situations. Providing fameworks that are attainable and sustainble. Real and Approachable both as a speaker and facilitator who brings passion, dedictaion, straight talking, and compassion to mutliple audiances requireing grounded solutions with a human factor delivered with vitality. Experience with mulitple Entrepreneurs , CEO’s, Leadership and management teams, muliple Brands, Ethnicities and backgrounds.People seeking credible results.

I'm all about the credible results too.

But I wasn't having much luck visiting either of the website addresses she'd given for FOStR NZ: either fostrnz.org, which does not appear to exist, or www.foster.org, which belonged to someone else altogether.

But I did find Graziella Thake's page on the website of The Alliance for a New Humanity, which casts further light on her brilliant career. She "travels internationally as a key note speaker both professionally and for the NGO's to the United Nations, highlighting the importance of authentic leadership, communication, conscious self-education and Conscious leadership and community responsibility through personal legacies."

I'm all about the personal legacies too. (I'd show you my legacies, but they're, like, personal.)

And, quite suddenly, the circle was completed. My waka had found its shore; my responsible exchange had been vitalised. I found the FOStR NZ Facebook page. The alliteration tickled my tongue and tonsils.

And here, shining like many subliterate suns, was the text of the email I that had set me on this voyage of discovery.

And, just like Jack Shephard in the last episode of Lost, I was not alone. My friends were there. Well, Facebook friends.

They'd had a lovely dinner at Sale Street this week, and launched the Foundation for Social Responsibility as a trust.

The partners page listed Ernst & Young, the Human Rights Commission, Ogilvy and Simpson Grierson. As if to underline the importance of the work the new trust undertakes, there was even a social media consultancy.

Under "Our People", there were listed both people I know and like, and people whose waka will never be welcome on my beach. Truly, it was a coming together.

I must go now. But I'll leave you with Graziella's own words:

Everyone's heard of Social Responsibility but not many people agree on the definition. We need to share and learn together as a society what Social Responsibility is, and how it can make our world better.

And you know I'm all about making the world better.

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