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MEET THE TEAM: 10 minutes with Jadzia

Updated: Dec 6, 2021

Tell us about how you found yourself part of Neighbourhood?

When I first moved up to Auckland I only knew two people in the entire city, which was a bit of a social shock. I feel like the older you get the scarier the whole process of friend making gets. Luckily I managed to find a flat with three of the loveliest and most welcoming people I could have ever imagined stumbling across. Even better, one of them introduced me to his girlfriend Maddie (the President of Neighbourhood). After only a couple of conversations I knew that we would get on like two peas in a pod. Our morals and values aligned very closely and I felt like my long term goal in life - to create positive change - was mirrored back in Maddie. Luckily I’d already been part of other committees and non-for-profits before, so I knew many of the processes around setting up and running one. Together we managed to get all the paperwork sorted and the rest, as they say, is history.

Describe yourself in three words:

I find it difficult to talk about myself in case it might be mistaken as egocentric or narcissistic, so this question always makes me a little apprehensive. In order to answer I actually turned to my family and friends to ask them how they would describe me. The most common answers were charismatic, driven and empathetic.

Do you have any significant goals or projects for 2021?

I would love to start my own website and sell my artworks, prints and other creative pieces on there. It’s something I’ve been umming and ahhing over for quite some time but I feel like 2021 will be the year I finally do it. Other than that, I would love to do more traveling and I can’t wait to throw myself into all of the awesome projects that we are planning to accomplish with Neighbourhood. My cup is very full and I feel like I have a lot of energy to give. I would also like to channel some of that energy into my fitness goals. Physical activity has always played a big role in my life, especially when it comes to regulating my mental and emotional health. I used to do all sorts of sports including sailing, swimming, judo, Brazilian jiujitsu but over the past year I’ve developed a strong love of yoga and rekindled my enthusiasm for the gym.

What is a cause/issue/movement that you feel passionate about?

My goodness, were do I even start? The causes that jump to the top of my mind are - female empowerment and equity, womens rights to make decisions about their own bodies, mental health, the Black Lives Matter movement and racial injustice, cyclical recycling and creating sustainable supply channels across all types of production. I could honestly just keep listing one cause after the next. I guess that's why I’m so passionate about Neighbourhood, as it gives us and others in our communities the chance to tackle all of these issues.

Who or what has influenced you most?

People that are close to me, such as my family, partner and friends. These individuals have known me in many, if not all, of my various life stages and are always able to ground me again when I'm feeling lost. Over the last year the things that have influenced me most were those aspects outside of my control. I’ve always been someone who has quite a structured idea of where I want to go in life and what I want to do but the global pandemic flipped a lot of that on it's head. 2020 did however teach me how too survive and even thrive in the face of change. I really enjoy stepping out of my comfort zone and saying yes to new experiences. I think that a lot of growth can come from exposing yourself to new opportunities and influences.

If someone I love is down, I cheer them up by?

I know that my love language involves physical affection but for some of my loved ones they wouldn’t respond to that. So what I do to cheer someone up also changes depending on who is feeling down. Sometimes this might involve getting out of the house and going for an adventure, taking them out of the space they were in and introducing them to new stimuli. With others I know that in order to process what they are feeling and move past it they need to voice their issues out loud. In this case a nice long walk and a chat is the ticket. I don’t think there is a one solution fits all, we are all unique beings and we all handle our emotions differently. I think if you know someone long enough you will begin to work out what their coping strategies are and how you can best be there for them.

Somewhere you’ve never been in Aotearoa that you’d like to visit?

I’m so embarrassed to say that after having lived in New Zealand for 22 years of my life I have barely explored the North Island at all. My whole experience can pretty much be summarised into visiting Wellington and a short 10 day camper van trip. We often want what we can’t have and for me that meant choosing to travel overseas and forgetting about the beautiful country that was on my doorstep. This is the main reason that, as of a couple of months ago, I decided to move from Queenstown to Auckland. With Covid still rampantly roaming the earth it was the closest thing to an exotic, international trip that I would experience for what I think could be a long time. It also means that I can now finally start touring the North Island of Aotearoa.

Something that relaxes me when I’m feeling stressed?

It depends on my level of stress but my coping mechanisms usually involve either painting, music and tea or driving to the ocean and walking along beautiful sprawling beaches. There’s something about hearing the waves crashing against the shoreline that has an almost tranquillising effect on my mood. I tend to try and work through my stress alone and then if I can’t come up with a solution I’ll reach out to someone in my inner circle for advice or just to speak my thoughts out loud.

What is something you are grateful?

I’m grateful for all the people in my life who continually support me no matter what crazy shenanigans, projects or choices I make. I feel like I should probably do a shout out here to my partner of four years Chris, who supported me throughout university and now in my new role here in Auckland. I’ve put you through a lot with the whole long distance thing and yet you are always there for me cheering me on and allowing me to grow both independently and within our relationship. I’m also grateful for the mind, body and life I have. I think it’s important to check in with yourself and to acknowledge your privileges. Often we don’t realise how important something is until it's gone.

The last thought that kept you awake at night was?

Will I have enough time in my life to accomplish all the things that I want to? I think this is simultaneously both a healthy and a very harmful thought. It drives me to better myself, to try things I might have been too afraid to do, to stop procrastinating and to say yes to more opportunities. I also think it’s quite detrimental in the sense that even after accomplishing so many amazing things I’ll always look back on my life and think… well maybe I could have done more. Something that I want to practice more in 2021 is just being present in the moment. Too often I get far too caught up in planning for the future or looking back at how I could have done things differently in the past. I forget to enjoy what I have right here, right now!

Do you have any strange and irrational fears?

It’s not really a fear but more like a weird quirk. I hate the feeling of having my hands covered in a substance. I’ve always been amazed at how people can so happily smother their palms and fingers in hand cream. If I did that, I would want to wash it off five seconds later and wouldn’t be able to stop thinking about it until I finally did. I just can’t stand the feeling of something coating my hands. Sunscreen is the worst by far but it’s also one of the most important daily rituals we should all undertake. To anyone out there reading this - please put on your SPF!

What is something you are excited about at the moment?

I’m very excited to have joined the Womens Impact Network at my work, as their newest committee member. As someone who works in the tech industry I believe that there is still an ongoing underrepresentation of women and especially young women in these organisations. We have a lot of projects planned throughout this year and I think that they will play a considerable role in growing awareness and leading change. I’m also very excited to have joined a gym at the start of this year and to be able to start prioritising my health and fitness. I’ve noticed some massive shifts in my mood and the way I see things just from regularly exercising again.

Favourite song on your playlist right now?

This is so difficult to answer! I feel like my favourite song flip flops all the time based on my mood, the people I’m with and what’s going on in my life. One of my all time favourites though, which I worked very hard not to overplay, is “Devil Like Me” by “Rainbow Kitten Surprise”.

You can follow Jadzia on Instagram at: @jadziasjourney

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