A few years ago, I was a guest speaker at a Networking Event where I met amongst others, Amanda Judd.  Back then, she had just got her business up and running and I loved listening to her story and her dream.  We bonded instantly, swapped business cards and later I offered to help her in any way I could knowing that with whatever support she needed, she would go far in life. For someone so young, she had courage, will-power and a deep burning passion.  Not only was she a breath of fresh air, but she was an inspiration.

Our friendship started from that very first and brief meeting.  It was not long before our paths crossed again when Amanda asked me to speak at a Youth event that she was organising.  Not surprisingly, I learnt that Amanda was the Youth Representative for the then North Shore City Council and she was passionate about giving a voice to our young people in a way that would benefit all of the community.  At the time I don’t think she was even 25 years old and unfortunately like most city councils, the next youngest person was actually over 50!  As a consequence, she faced many challenges to have her voice heard.

Amanda had previously been a Youth Leader while she was growing up and I could see how this had helped her develop her leadership abilities from a young age.  I remember at the time there was a lot of media attention on all the problems with our youth who were portrayed as being lazy, drinking heavily, driving recklessly, living in the moment and basically uncommitted.  Ironically, the people I met through Amanda weren’t anything like this.  Rather, she had mobilised a passionate group of people who wanted more than anything to make a positive difference in this world and who wanted to contribute.  Some of their biggest issues were us, the older generation who would not listen and who were stuck in their ways.  I recognised then how each generation brings a unique perspective to the world and how we must build inter-generational bridges to harness the inherent strengths of each generation, especially in the workplace.

Her next big adventure came when she was selected to represent New Zealand at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Copenhagen, meeting presidents and dignitaries from all over the world.  I was so thrilled for her and for years, I’ve nick-named her ‘Amazing Amanda’ – now you can see why.  She never ceases to surprise me.

Now back to her business.  Called Lovenotes, she set out to solve a waste paper problem in the workplace.  What she does is collects all the single-sided waste paper from a business and returns it to them in the form of note-books that can then be re-used.  In her words she says:

“Lovenotes is a New Zealand company passionately regenerating the world through innovative products and services. The signature Lovenotes service has seen over 600,000 pieces of waste paper, collected by thousands of staff of 95 kiwi companies, turned into 20,000 notebooks and reused everyday back in those offices.” Check out her website at www.lovenotes.co.nz

I think it’s pretty cool what she has achieved, but I also admire her for her innovation, tenacity, entrepreneurial spirit and resilience to succeed and to be true to her dreams and make a positive impact on the environment.

As for me, well I had this idea to take one of my paintings and create it into a journal.  But not just any journal – I wanted it to be good for the environment and I wanted to collaborate and support another small business because by working together and sharing our expertise, everyone wins.

So I contacted Amanda to see if she could help.  She enthusiastically embraced my idea and said she could source recycled paper for me so they would be environmentally friendly and she would be able to track the effects of the production on the environment too.  That sounded awesome so I gave the green light and the first batch of these journals arrived on my doorstep 1 week ago.

And in true Amanda style, she said they would be delivered on a Saturday morning which I thought was slightly odd as I didn’t think couriers operated on the weekend where I live.  Saturday came and went so I thought it would be Monday instead.  Then out of the blue; midday on Sunday, a lovely young man turned up on my doorstep carrying a large brown carton and said ‘these are from ‘Lovenotes.’  Wow, I thought.  It’s Sunday – how did Amanda manage this but then that’s our Amanda, she is amazing and she mobilises people like nothing I’ve ever seen.  That’s why I call her Amazing Amanda and that’s why ever since I met her, I know she is destined for great things. 

In addition, when I emailed her later, she said they were delivered by electric vehicle!

Amanda added “these lovely notes were handmade in our peaceful factory in Auckland.  The 100% recycled paper is FSC and ISO14001 certified.  This exclusive and limited edition of notebooks with recycled paper has saved 51 litres of water and 2kg of waste to landfill.”  

The ‘Follow your Heart’ painting was inspired from a conversation with a close friend.  It was painted intuitively and abstractedly from the heart using a rich dioxazine violet purple, scarlet crimson with splashes of teal.  It wasn’t until later when I was looking at the painting that I saw the crimson paint  reflective of the heart chamber and then came the understanding that it is through the heart that we transform fear into love which is represented by the colour purple.  The green teal adds vibrancy and represents the power of love to heal and support new growth.  It is through the heart that we find our greatest potential to Be who we truly are, to be authentic and to express our love into the world in a myriad of ways.  All we need to do is to listen to its quiet voice, follow its guidance and live our highest expression on this Earth.

With 110 blank pages, this journal was created to inspire you to follow your heart and live your  potential.  Whether you like to write, draw or doodle, it’s good for you AND it’s good for the environment.  Buy online now www.greatspirit.co.nz/great-spirit-products/ – just $25 delivered to your door or you can email me at: jo@greatspirit.co.nz

And if you want to make brilliant stationery from your waste paper, get in touch with Amanda.  See more on her website  at www.lovenotes.co.nz

Much love