Our heroes: Julia Capon's habit of doing good
Julia Capon (pictured right with co-worker Amelia on the left) has been working with not-for-profits and organisations that do good things since 2007, and she isn’t turning back! Her first job out of university was marketing manager of Trade Aid and today Julia works in Wellington as founder of Do Good Jobs (NZ’s #1 ethical jobs network) and 350 Aotearoa, she also works with All Good Bananas and is helping launch a site called Planet Goodness.
In her spare time Julia likes to: help make films (Julia directed a documentary on Venezuela), habla en espanol (talk in Spanish) and ride her bike in a skirt (no lycra thanks)!
What’s one suggestion you have for living more sustainably?
Jumping on your bike. Lots of people seem to think it’s scary or put up lots of barriers, but I think we can change that if more people get on their bikes. We just need critical mass! I love all the amazing bike-friendly cities in Northern Europe!
A treasured childhood memory?
Running around our massive section that I grew up on in Gisborne, stuffing myself with feijoas off one of our 14 feijoa trees and generally enjoying being a kid.
What’s one piece of advice you’d give your younger self?
To think a little bit more about “what I want to be when I grow up”. I rushed from high school to University and should have taken some time out to think about what I really enjoyed and wanted to do with my life. I ended up changing my degree so many times, and a bit of space could have sorted that out a bit better for me!
Favourite go-to healthy snack when in a hurry.
Depends what my amazing flatmates have left in the fridge! Sometimes it could be home-made hummus or aioli, or there is always an All Good fairtrade banana floating around!
I start the day by…
Getting through all the regular cleaning and dressing rituals and then jumping on my bike to get to work at 350 Aotearoa and by-passing all the cars and buses stuck in traffic in Newtown. When I am working at home on Do Good Jobs it’s usually a bit more leisurely and a fairtrade coffee is quite often involved!
Tell us about a defining moment in your life.
A boy. I sold my old car about 8 years ago to a boy who was working towards his PhD in philosophy who became my then boyfriend. I was studying marketing at the time and struggling to finish my masters. I had been thinking I wanted to work for Coca Cola and be a business woman, but he kept questioning me about what I wanted to do with my life and I couldn’t define it. He also made me think about what was important to me when I was a kid and I realised that Captain Planet was a pretty huge part of my life (!) so much so that I even started an environment club to pick up rubbish and protect penguins. Over the next year while I was finishing my masters I had a complete 360 of what I wanted to do with my life. I then landed a job with Trade Aid and put my marketing and design skills to use doing good.
What’s your favourite colour jellybean?
Probably black. I’m a bit of a licorice fiend!
What is your most treasured possession?
I’ve tried pretty hard to not get too attached to things, and moving all over the country in the past few years has helped limit this a lot. I suppose things like my family photos, and my Dad’s dusty record collection is one of the things I lug around with me, so treasure quite a lot to have not culled them over the years!
What motivates you?
All the amazing people I know and get to hang out with in a shared office space called The Attic in Wellington. There are some truly inspirational people creating amazing social enterprises (from Inspiring Stories Trust, Enspiral, Bucky Box, Chalkle, Action Stations and more).
If there were one thing you could learn to do that you haven’t already, what would it be?
What was your inspiration to do the kind of work that you do?
I traveled to Venezuela in 2006 and visited lots of worker co-operatives and was so impressed by how these people were changing their lives around and were doing this by asking for a leg up, not a hand out. I worked with some pretty amazing people at my time at Trade Aid and I think Vi Cottrell the founder is pretty impressive. If I achieve just a slice of what she has at her age, I’d be happy.
Where do you want to be in 10 years?
Running NZ’s #1 ethical jobs network. Linking purposeful people with purposeful work! But I also like variety so probably doing a bit of all the things I am passionate about.
What are you passionate about?
Climate change, Poverty alleviation…oh, and tasty food and fairtrade coffee.
What is your favorite way to spend a Saturday?
Sleeping in, meeting friends for coffee (and not being the slave of the week at my flat!)
What was the last thing that made you laugh?
An all group Skype call I have just been involved in with 40 odd volunteers who are all working towards a massive youth climate summit called Power Shift in December. It’s great fun.
If you work with, or know of someone who you think could help inspire others, we’d love to hear about them, please contact us through the comments section below.