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CO-CEO transcript

Rhian Miller: (00:03) I don't think we're born into this world with any ill intent. Lwanyaaga Shyaka Farid: (00:06) We need to realize the most important thing, that we are, that we are human. Jacqueline Twillie: (00:11) Oh, I didn't even realize we were poor people because we had such a good life. Vhutali Nelwamondo: (00:15) Sometimes you dream as far as your exposure, but imagination can take you a little bit further than that. Jack Manning Bancroft: (00:22) Welcome to the Making of a Hoodie Podcast. Welcome, everybody, to the Making of a Hoodie Podcast, in this podcast today, we're looking at the topic of co-CEOs and this hoodie that we're going to make is for co-CEOs. Rhian Miller: (00:48) My name is Rhian Miller, and I'm a proud Wirangu, Narranga, and Wongatha woman. I'm based in Australia on Gubbi Gubbi Land. Lwanyaaga Shyaka Farid: (00:57) My name is Lwanyaaga Shyaka Farid, a Ugandan of Randi's descent. Jacqueline Twillie: (01:04) I'm Jacqueline Twillie, based out of New York, but originally from the New Orleans, Louisiana area. Vhutali Nelwamondo: (01:10) My name is Vhutali Nelwamondo and I'm from South Africa, and this year I've been named as one of the AIME co-CEOs. Lwanyaaga Shyaka Farid: (01:18) I'm excited and pumped to connect with the humans from all over the world. Jacqueline Twillie: (01:24) I'm honored to be co-CEO. Rhian Miller: (01:27) It's an absolute honor to be connected with co-CEOs from all around the world. Jack Manning Bancroft: (01:40) We've been exploring this idea of unlikely connections by a factor of five, which is like if you hold up your hand and you look at all of the digits on your hand, for most of us, you can see five digits. So if you think of the thumb as a starting point of where you are and wherever you are in the world, if you go to the edge of your network and build a relation with an unlikely connection, and that goes to your forefinger and then they go to the edge of their network, and bring someone into your group, that's your middle finger, and you keep going around, then we think that starts to work against some of the systems that we've inherited right back to four or five centuries ago, with big colonial empires setting up many of our modern nations with structures which were built for people to be inside the margins and built for people to be outside the margins.So at its core, when we don't think that human beings are fundamentally evil at AIME, we think that human beings are fundamentally decent. And I'm very lucky today to be able to have the chance to hang out with four human beings who are fundamentally decent, I believe, and doing their best to go about in the world, and bring kindness and joy. And let me start with that as a first topic for us to explore gain is, are human beings fundamentally decent and are the systems that we've got busted? Lwanyaaga Shyaka Farid: (03:05) A personal story, I think everything that has happened around and how life stand for me today, has been because human beings have been nice to me. For example, like what we are trying to work on here, I think it's living proof of the goodness in human beings, how we get these different individuals who'd be in a certain group of their own, coming together to connect. And most of the times what happens is, when these individuals connect from different backgrounds or different walks of life, or people who are what we normal in courts, what would say normally not connect. The result is always amazing, I think, or better. What I think maybe what we've learned as human being is to be okay with what's happening now.And we've forgotten how to imagine what would be the better situation or what would be the result if we did things differently. But as human beings, I feel like that's what has always led to where we are. Unlike whatever position you are holding in life, or whatever your people or people like you, who were like a 100 years ago, I would say it's a better standard of living now, or it's a more comfortable life or a fair way of living compared to what it was. And that has only happened because human beings have made it happen and I think that's proof that human beings care for each other. Jacqueline Twillie: (04:49) I agree that overall humans are fundamentally decent. We know about the injustice as that gets amplified, that story gets told. And when we hear stories from our communities from around the world, we realize the kindness that goes throughout communities of people that don't meet each other, that's in each of our communities before we ever connect with each other. And that's the reason when we look at different continents and we hear amazing stories of people, even with adversity in their face, when they do amazing things, that's what gives me hope.Yeah, on every continent, there are people who live with kindness as a value. In my community in Louisiana, my home state, I often hear stories of elder people who say, "Oh, I didn't even realize we were poor people because we had such a good life. We had laughter. We had joy. We would sit around in the yard and play games." And those are the pieces of human nature that I don't think it's amplified enough. It's definitely not glamorized when we watch movies, or TV, or see on social media, but that's where my hope in humanity goes back to, when you don't have all the flashy stuff and you still find a way to have joy, that's the hope. Rhian Miller: (06:17) For me, I think the definitive answer is no. Humans are not bad. I don't think we're born into this world with any ill intent. We're not born into the world wanting to make it a worse place. In fact, it's quite opposite. I think we're born with hope and with opportunity, and with the chance to be able to be who we are and express it in ways that we want to. And I do believe the systems that we're raised into and that we're taught in, are flawed. And I think there needs to be work done in order for us to be able to change that. But at the end of the day, yeah, I don't believe any human in the world has ill intent to harm or to hurt one another. And I don't believe our systems are set up to harm or, yeah, to negatively impact people, but they are potentially outdated and that's what needs to change. Jack Manning Bancroft: (07:28) Yeah. I think it's fair to be a little bit pointy and I think it stacks up historically that the systems that we've inherited in a lot of the countries on Planet Earth, they were set out to harm a big group of people. We totally have inherited systems which were set out to harm people, and to isolate people, and to devalue people, to be able to in most parts, take land, to "conquer," take land, take the riches, take the soil, and to dehumanize a lot of our indigenous people and a lot of people of color, people of gender, for a small group to win. Where we are now, I think you could say that in many, many countries, there has been a big movement in the last couple of 100 years towards basic human rights.And towards trying to accept what I think is the most fundamental idea, that every human life has worth and every human life I believe, has equal worth. And so that's our challenge I think, is where we've inherited a bunch of systems which we're designed for a certain level of thinking and a certain level of intelligence, and from a certain group of people. And what I think is exciting, is that what we have now is a groundswell a desire to see more people be able to have a decent life, to see more of that equality. And our challenge and our opportunity I think is... Has anyone ever sat on a seesaw as a kid growing up or as an adult, of getting on that- Jacqueline Twillie: (09:11) Yes, I did this weekend. Jack Manning Bancroft: (09:13) Oh, that's great news. When I think of the seesaw, I think part of what we've done in this race to progress is, we've said to people from outside the margins, "Hey, we'll tip the seesaw down this way. You're welcome inside the margins now, but come and behave in these set of established rules." The people inside the margins, if they really want to see and connect to people from outside the margins, then we're going to tip the seesaw the other way and walk into another playground.And I think that's the most exciting thing, that if we can actually cross the train tracks to both sides and have the seesaw moving back and forward, I think we'll find a sweeter balance in the exchange of intelligence, because at the moment it's like, oh, still based on some sort of charitable model of, "We'll let you into this playground now and we'll put some positions around the table." Whereas I think that's just a very small-minded viewpoint on intelligence and abundance. And I think the biggest source of human intelligence is currently sitting outside the margins and- Jacqueline Twillie: (10:11) Jack, when you were talking, I thought about Shirley Chisholm, who was an activist from Brooklyn, New York. She has a quote that if they don't give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair. It's the rebelliousness to claim space, even if the systems that were created to keep you out, even in spite of that, know that there's something in you that's unique and bring that to the table. And it's those thoughts that are outside of the margins, you're a 100% right.That's where our richest resources are. If we are all thinking the same and talking the same, how are we going to shake things up? And how do we grow? And there's in the business world, my background, I went to business school and there was one case study that stuck with me for years. It was called the Abilene paradox, how this team of business people, they were going to this meeting and one person is sitting in the back, saying, "We shouldn't do this," or, "We should do it a different way," but they were so afraid to say something outside of the norm.So they get to their destination, they do the work. And in the debrief afterwards, there's a conversation that, "We shouldn't have done that." And the person who was in the back seat said, "Yeah, I was thinking that the whole time, but I didn't want to buck the system." And how much better would we be if we are courageous and rebellious, and we just buck the system and let that be a norm and accepted? But we want to shrink and fit back into the systems that were created, but they weren't really created for our creativity and they weren't created for equity and equality for all, so we just got to bust it wide open. Jack Manning Bancroft: (11:55) Yeah. And I think the cool part about that seesaw potentially is, for taking the chair into the table, taking the seat into the table and going, "Right, well, I'm going to sit here." If we can do that, which is happening, that train's moving. And we can find a way to invite people to tip the seesaw back and be like, "Hey, come hang out over here." So for executives and for people in leadership who are looking for different ways of thinking, that walk a mile in my shoes, that real deep relations and connections, that's where the juice is. I think taking that intelligence and bringing other people from inside the margins to really level up, because I think we've already got all the new business schools in our head.They're in our genetic code, they're in our histories. And so if we can be establishing doctorates, and knowledge fields, and systems, that can sit in parallel and plug into those main systems like the mainstream business schools, which are established by certain groups of people, it's going to create for a more richer seesaw. Which, I think is the heart of the co-CEO model. Co-CEO model doesn't work if you have just suddenly people from outside the margin sitting there parroting the CEO, who's a white man. We fail. It doesn't work. But if a white man starts to learn and you have interchange and you seesaw, that's the art of mentoring, is moving back and forwards. Rhian Miller: (13:26) It's really interesting when we talk about what determines human intelligence and like most aspects of human behavior and cognition, intelligence is such a complex trait that's influenced by genetics and environmental factors. And intelligence is changing rapidly because of, as we spoke about earlier, colonization and the flawed systems that we're in, and it's about having, yeah, a mental quality that consists of the abilities to learn from experience, to adapt to situations, to understand and handle these abstract concepts. And then to use the knowledge that is so deeply embedded within each of us on this call, to be able to make the world a better place, or to be able to put forth new ideas, old ideas, and to really use, I suppose, the values that's core to how each of us have individually been raised in some kind of level of marginalization.Because if we have people in power and people at the top that are making the decisions, then change isn't going to happen because this knowledge and intelligence needs to come from those that have been left outside the margins, and those that have had the lived experience to be able to create solutions to the current problems and the future problems that we're going to face together. Jack Manning Bancroft: (15:00) These times are made for resilience, ingenuity, kindness, joy in the face of despair, because that's what we're facing. We're facing really tough times. If you've been through generational struggle, that's part of the stuffed-up nature of the system we've inherited, part of the stuffed-up nature of what so many people had to endure. You guys, my family. And the gift in that is that we're still here and still being here, having been through that, surviving and still having ability to access joy and hope. We are the best suited and the best prepared for leadership in the toughest times and I think that's what humanity's going to have to tap into sooner, rather than later. Lwanyaaga Shyaka Farid: (15:49) These kids we work with below the margin, actually have more survival knowledge, because from their life experience, than those that have above the margin will ever gain in their lifetime. And it makes so much sense, what you're talking about. Because I feel like it's a privilege for those below the margin to realize like, "Yo, the system is made to keep me here. So I have to walk against the system." And yeah, if you realize, when I look on the screen how we are having this conversation, our families and all of us have a background of the kind of groups who are told the story of where they belong and face the challenges of the flaws, but still be able to bring the smiles because they're aware that we have to work through the blocks in the system, to make sure my kids don't realize that they're disadvantaged or they're pushed away from crossing the margin because the system was said to keep power in a certain group.And the interesting part, all I think about is, maybe we need to realize the most important thing that we are, we are human. And if there's an opportunity for people below the margins to share their human experience of how they work around the flaws or the challenges that come with the flaws of the system, this increases our human intelligence. The way we mentioned that human intelligence keeps changing according to the situation and it's something hard to measure, for example, Jack, the experience you brought when you came to Uganda or went to South Africa to Vhutali's church and met people. And it might not be the first time but for a time when people are genuinely good to you, not just because you're the founder or the CEO of this amazing organization called AIME, trying to make the world a fair place.But because someone knows you have my voice back for whatever reason, because I can tell you this. My mom has never figured out what I do or what we do at AIME. She thinks we play with kids. We make sure our kids enjoy school and happy at school, which is part of what we do. But all I'm trying to say, it feel like we have to be nice because these people have my boy's back. And I don't know if even words can express what that means. Like someone you're seeing for the first time, someone who doesn't even make sense of the position you're in, but just because you're human and you are watching someone else's back, who they know or who they're connected with, so they feel like they also have to have your back in that moment. I think that's one of the thing we need to put front, being human and- Jack Manning Bancroft: (19:27) And being in relation, right? I think that's one of the things which we can control, is the idea of inside and outside the margins is one world-view of measurement. So I would say that a lot of people who don't have money, are not poor in other measurements of hope, joy, intelligence, relations, resilience, connection, grounded to some sort of reality on the world, in the world. And that's the other part, we have a measurement system which says inside, outside the margins, which is a dangerous way to walk through. I look at so many people that I've been so lucky to have gift knowledge to me from traditionally outside the margins, whatever that means, which basically I think it means if we're going to define it, money. It's at the center, it's money we're talking about, but do you have money as the world's measurement?Now that's not the only measurement of wealth. What about the joy factor? What about those people that Jacqueline are talking about, who grew up their whole life with a smile on their face, that's a happy life. That's a human life and I think that's the other part. What we can shift as human beings, the beauty of the economic system is that economics is basically creating something in the middle that we value. So we've said the dollars valuable, what we have the opportunity to do is, create alternative and parallel economic models and that shifts the game.If the value is relations, what you're talking about there, Shyaka, that we have humanity's back, that we go across the tracks to other people, to other borders, that nation states are not going to hold us in these small confines, then we start to see that actually, in terms of that measurement system, the people that we would say were outside the margins, are actually the geniuses at how to build really strong kinship relations, and have joy and have resilience. And so that intelligence score takes this group to the top, which flips the script on who's inside and outside the margin. So we've got all these seesaws. We need lots more measurements because there's not just one playground. Jacqueline Twillie: (21:42) It's one of those things where, for my life, I didn't realize that I was valuable and I had something to add to the world until I met people from other parts of the world. And I got to hear different stories and see other people's genius, and their richness, without richness, not being dollars, but their minds and what they brought from their communities, that I said, "Oh, my community's different. So if these different groups bring this, I bring something different also." And that's the unlikely connections. The more we get to go outside of our comfort zone and see other people in their element, we appreciate them, which in turn a gift of that is for us to see the uniqueness in ourselves.Flipping what we could see as a deficit for myself, I saw things like, "Oh, I'm not this." I had a long list of what I was not, and when I could see what other people were and how different, unique, they were, I was able to crack through that system. So that relationship part, if we're able to get out of the comfort zones more and that's what we do at AIME is, we facilitate these unlikely connections, more people are able to tap into that. Jack Manning Bancroft: (23:02) That's so powerful, Jacqueline. I think that was one of the things that I was really, really steadfast on with taking AIME globally is, we get stuck in tribalism. We get stuck in our own mindsets in our own countries. And it's hard to get the imaginative juice for another story. But when you can leave nations and get mixed up in that good, you start to see that a bunch of the rules are actually fluid and have been created. And you see that intelligence, that richness of the mind, that richness of connection, which you said, which I think we're going to have to jump into to designing this hoodie at some point. But, Vhutali, you've been thoughtfully listening, which is something that I've always respected with you. You take the time to listen and to think, what are your reflections on becoming the co-CEO in South Africa? And some of the things we've been talking about yeah, in intelligence, it's moving and how we can shift the system? Vhutali Nelwamondo: (24:00) Being co-CEO is totally unexpected for me and for my community as well, and for my family. I remember that time when I was told that I'm the co-CEO, I actually called on my twin sister to know that I've actually been made co-CEO. And she couldn't believe it, but I'm happy to happen because it's an inspiring moment for myself, for my family, and for my community as well. Before I joined AIME, I don't think there was ever a time where I thought I could actually become a co-CEO.My aspiration didn't go as far as that, because of what I was exposed to in terms of... Sometimes you dream as far as your exposure, but imagination can take little bit further than that. But there is an issue of kindness that I want to reflect on. I come from a very welcoming community. When you come to my community, you will never feel like an outsider, but over the years, it made me question the effect of whether we are kind or is just the way of life here where we are. Being kind to one another, being kind to the environment. I don't know, it's not something that we learnt on a later stage, that it's something that we grow within.And if I go to Jack's point where you were saying that measure of richness or wealth is something that resonate with me. I didn't know I was poor until someone came and told me that I was poor. I didn't lack for anything. We didn't have money, but we didn't sleep hungry. We didn't measure what we have. We know what we have will sustain us and stuff like that. And that to me, was the way of life. When you start measuring things, it also means that you have things in abundance and I don't think that's life was meant to be, in which we have things in abundance enough that you are thinking, "This can sustain me for the next five years," and so on and so forth.It was always about, "Can this sustain the community we are in today? Then can you sustain me for the next couple of years?" Because it was about sharing. It was always about a community than an individual. That's how I grew up like [inaudible 00:27:16], that when we are trying to be kind to people, trying also means that maybe the system is required to be changed, because we are supposed to be kind, not try to be kind to people. We are supposed to be kind because that's, according to me, the way we are supposed to live. And you remember the first ever mentor festival in Australia, what people mostly think about is that it was the first mentor festival in Australia.But what my team think about, I came from South Africa and we had mentors from South Africa who came in to be part of the event. And the one thing that resonate with them is the fact that they are Africans who actually welcomed Americans in Australian soil. One of the mentors actually put that we were holding the... What do you call? Welcome to Australia board to welcome American people in Australia, to my mind that was gone, it was gone. Then I saw it on this guy's status. And I ask what was the most amazing thing during that time? And he said, "To me, it was the fact that we can be the first to do anything anywhere in the world, regardless of whether you come from Africa, you come from Australia, you come from America. We are the first people welcome Americans in Australia. And then the Australians came after us. But we are in Australia."Which was something that almost was impossible. It's something like everything is possible, just that the opportunities sometimes can be array, but when the opportunities are there, we make things happen like imagination. You could think in a million years, how can a South African person welcome an American in Australia? And sometimes it happened. It was never documented because by then when we think of it, it's something goes way beyond connection. It goes beyond... It shows how simple the world is connected and how complicated we make it seem, because we are simply connected.When I met Shyaka the first time in Australia, it was the first time. But within a couple of minutes, it felt like I knew Shyaka for a very long time, because the struggles that we face in a daily basis, the wins and our imagination as to what the world could look like in the near future, was in sync. Maybe that's the opportunity that we need to create, for people to connect in that level, where they start sharing. And then we know that maybe the diversity is in our appearance and color, but our thinking, even if it's diverse, it's coming towards a common goal. You may find out that the common goal is not as diverse as we are because we just want to see the world a better place for everyone who living on it. Jack Manning Bancroft: (31:00) We've got to design a hoodie here and I think what this hoodie can support, is co-CEOs. So this hoodie is for co-CEOs. This hoodie is for the small amount of funds that we can raise to help employ you guys to be co-CEOs, to help having space for us to have a networked co-CEO model where there's a stage of leadership for four to five people each year around the world, to work together, to have that experience of what you said, you guys have all been talking about of like, "Okay, going across the borders." And then also hopefully to create a currency of leaders that have the confidence and strengthen themselves, and a network to come back to, to be able to say to some of the movers and shakers in some of our more mainstream established systems, "Hey, yeah, we'll work in relation, but I'm not just going to do it all your way. Come learn some of the stuff I know, and let's work together, and let's value each other's intelligence."And I think that what we're hopeful for is that lots and lots of other organizations around the world build one very, very simple bridge, sideways, not linear, sideways, and just put a co-CEO model in. Just hack the system. Like playing snakes and ladders, just put co-CEOs into your executive room, whether you're a small business or a huge business, and get someone with intelligence from outside of your world, into your game ASAP, not as the entry-level role, but as someone at the top of the system and not just there to shadow you and puppet you, but actually to bring what they've already got, which is enough. I love working with you guys because what you've got already, you don't have to go to a business school. It's your intelligence already, which is critical to bring to the party. So that's what this hoodie is going to help generate work around, is for co-CEOs. So let's be fashion designers, gang. What do you want on the hoodies? Let's go into the design room. Jacqueline Twillie: (33:02) This is quite the fun process. So one of the things that I would love to see on the hoodie, is the color red. It's the color of, for me, courage and facing systems. So I would love to see red on there somewhere, even if it's a stripe. Rhian Miller: (33:21) Yeah. I think we need to have something on there around nature versus nurture. I don't know how that's going to be represented, but I think it's something to symbolize the individual worlds that we've all grown up in, versus the world we're currently coexisting in. And then with that as well, the world that is the current thing that we live in, because we can pretty much hand on heart say that this group of people gathering on this call, would've never met. Our paths would've never crossed if it wasn't for this world we're currently living in AIME, but that's not the everyday world that every other human being gets to be a part of. Lwanyaaga Shyaka Farid: (34:18) I'll call red. I think I would like a sketch of human being with rays of light, like a sketch of the sun, but then just the rays, and then a human being, just showing a human being sharing their energy, and love, and passion to everyone. And if I was just to imagine a statement, it would be like, "I for you and you for me." I think that would briefly describe the whole ideology for AIME or why we do what we do. Because I remember, Jack, the first conversation we had in that interview for Golden Ticket, I remember one of the problems was, we didn't have the funds and the university partnership I had gotten, could not manage to sponsor the program.And I remember when I told you like, "Jack, if we don't do this, these kids have no one else. They only have us." And so that still resonates to me. And I feel like, "I for you and you for me," is the typical definition of that status. When you change your money, like, "Shyaka, you're the first Golden Ticket winner, take AIME to Africa." So I think I would love to see that on the co-CEO hoodie. Rhian Miller: (35:58) How do you think we could represent or present an evolutionary worldview, to inspire people to let go of preconceived ideas, to be able to shift perspective in profound ways? What imagery could be used to do that? Jacqueline Twillie: (36:18) What came to mind as you were presenting the question was, a mind that was open, with stars shooting out of the mind, almost like fireworks. Jack Manning Bancroft: (36:30) I'll just jump in quickly, just to have a build from our three-year old daughter who saw fireworks for the first time at this New Year's Eve. We drove around to our local town fireworks at midnight. And she looked up at the sky, or nine o'clock fireworks, sorry, and she looked up and she went, "Mom, Dad, it's like paintings in the sky," which I think could be a beautiful way that we could think about those fireworks, essentially out of the mind, it's like paintings of the mind and let's let it out. I think someone said earlier, perhaps it was you, Shyaka or Vhutali, you're talking about having those limitations in movement or expectations, but then understanding that imagination, that's unlimited. And perhaps those fireworks could be part of that. Vhutali Nelwamondo: (37:23) So for me, I think inclusivity, something that was representing inclusivity, I'm not sure what exactly. Or diversity, but one thing that I appreciate about this opportunity is the diversity within the opportunity itself. Because when I joined AIME, the co-CEO model was already there being modeled and it's something that I appreciated, but I didn't think it was going to the something available for us. When I say us, including people like Shyaka, and I thought it was exclusive and when I realized that it was open for everyone, that was something that I really appreciated, that it was open.And if we have something on the hoodie that represent inclusivity or diversity, that could be something interesting. And also it allows me an opportunity to dream further. So a space where someone could actually put their dreams on, would be something interesting, like a dream space or... You can call it a dream space or whatever you call it, but somewhere where you can just write what you want and something that you want to see in the future. Because since I came on this position, I started dreaming further, as far as being a CEO myself, which is something that over the years, since I joined AIME, I wasn't even thinking of that like it was something very farfetched, if I can put like that, but that's my- Rhian Miller: (39:27) And I love the part about having a dream space or a place where people can contribute to the hoodie. And as Jack was talking about, art in the sky. A lesson you taught me a couple years ago, Jack, which was that most people follow a logical path and to find the illogical path, and to listen deeply to the patterns of what people are saying. And when I picture the art in the sky or the fireworks, and inclusivity and diversity, and this dream space that Vhutali talks about, I can almost see a blank section. And often we get mentors and AIME to write the next chapter. And so potentially that part of this hoodie could be that we leave space for people to contribute. Yeah, we leave them the opportunity to then create change or to add their own artwork to it. Jacqueline Twillie: (40:28) Well, given that we're in different parts of the world, it would be cool for this hoodie to have some type of symbol of the world, whether it's a part of the mind or something else, to really show how connected we all are. And going back to the first question where we kicked off about, "Are humans decent?" I think this is a case study for decency of humans across the world. Lwanyaaga Shyaka Farid: (40:57) Very interesting, as Rhian and Vhutali were talking, and it's very interesting that actually, even Jackie, it relates to what I was doing to say. I think it was Rhian who mentioned a brain showing maybe the fireworks coming out. And when I think of diversity, I think of the rainbow, because it's different colors following each other. And all I could think of is, how about we have a sketch of a brain and with a rainbow coming out in form of fireworks, representing different ideas from all. And this brain would represent the whole world map or this sphere, and dreams just popping out in different colors. Does that make sense? Rhian Miller: (42:00) Makes so sense. Jack Manning Bancroft: (42:03) But you should say there's nice stuff here. It's a good brief to design a hoodie. It's amazing. We keep building and, yeah, we're we're going to get towards the end of the podcast shortly. So I maybe I'll ask a couple questions. You've got a couple of thoughts on the last point, feel free to jump in as well. But have you thought about the fabric of what it might be on? What color do you think the fabric would be of this hoodie? Lwanyaaga Shyaka Farid: (42:35) I don't know. I just love pink. I don't know why pink represents freedom to me. I just love pink. So the only thing I would think of is pink. Vhutali Nelwamondo: (42:47) What's the brightest color? Jack Manning Bancroft: (42:49) Good question. Rhian Miller: (42:51) Or do you do the opposite? Do you go dark and then have the bright pictures to... Yeah. So people are more inquisitive into what's happening. I don't know. Vhutali Nelwamondo: (43:03) I think I'll go for Rhian's idea, that color with the brightest prints. Jack Manning Bancroft: (43:12) We could go multicolor, we [inaudible 00:43:13] colored sleeves. Rhian Miller: (43:14) Oh, my God. We could do half-half. Jack Manning Bancroft: (43:16) We go half-half. We could be multi-color [inaudible 00:43:18]- Rhian Miller: (43:18) I like half-and-half. Jack Manning Bancroft: (43:20) Okay. Rhian Miller: (43:22) Half-and-half it is Lwanyaaga Shyaka Farid: (43:23) Half-half. Rhian Miller: (43:24) Maybe that's how we tie in unlikely connections as well, because it's an unlikely hoodie. People are going to question what on earth we're wearing and so potentially that plays a part in how we represent the unlikely connections. Jack Manning Bancroft: (43:41) Yeah. That's cool. I don't know if it's possible on my end, whether you could patchwork the color system to be five because I think if it's black-white, it might be too linear. The world's not black-white. If it's pink-blue, it might be too linear, but perhaps it's a patchwork of five color-bases, could be the way of bringing the five of you all together. We could have symbols of the countries that you're from, could be the outline of those five pattern places. And in that we could have a mini story perhaps in it. And I think that you could perhaps then have that big image of the mind-opening stars on the front exploding, a strike of red off to the side, your countries as you patchwork pattern prints around it. And then a big board on the back, which says, "Write a dream here." And we just have it as something that keeps building. Jacqueline Twillie: (44:44) Jack, that's phenomenal. When you were describing that, I thought about a conversation with my eight-year old niece. I asked her if she had a favorite color and she said, "Tie dye." And I said, "Well, tell me more." And she said, "Because I don't just like one thing, I like the burst of it all." So when you were talking about the five different colors, it reminded me of her conversation of... I love that she wasn't linear and boxed in, and just picked a singular color, she went all out. Jack Manning Bancroft: (45:13) Yeah. Maybe we tie dye it. Maybe that's a nice way to do that, to see if we can get five different colors into the tie dye. That could be another solution for it. Okay. So if I take that away and come back to you guys as a designer, I'll go get on the grunt and get on the floor with Chem, and think about the print. But if we could come up, we'll come back to you with a patchwork option or a tie dye option for approval, if that's okay, design leaders, is that all right? Rhian Miller: (45:42) Sounds great. Good luck. Lwanyaaga Shyaka Farid: (45:45) Sounds good. Jacqueline Twillie: (45:45) Have fun with it. Jack Manning Bancroft: (45:46) And then in terms of the cloth, what do you want the cloth to be? Where do you want it to have come from? Is it recycles like plastic bottles? Is it recycled cloth? Is it a reclaimed old hoodie? Is it made from something else? Yeah. What would you like the cloth to be and to have come from? Rhian Miller: (46:09) I reckon we should use old AIME hoodies and potentially that's the five different bits of power that come together to create it. Because I reckon when we all first started our AIME journeys, whatever capacities that was in, we each began with an AIME hoodie as the symbol of the beginning of the journey. So potentially that could be what these bits of cloth are, that come together. Vhutali Nelwamondo: (46:39) I'm a fan of restored, recycled apparel, reason being is that I'm as well as that profession. So I care for the environment quite a lot, but on the process, I've learned that the recycling process is quite expensive. It makes it almost impossible for us to take care of the environment, but restoring things close to their original state, is not as expensive as destroying and recreating something new. So I'll go for recycling old hoodies. Rhian Miller: (47:34) Perhaps that's the beauty of it, because the model should be so easy that people can pick it up. That execs, organizations, those in leadership, could just pick up the co-CEO model and run with it. And so perhaps by using something that already exists, by reclaiming it, it can signify how simple it is to take in new perspectives and those from diverse backgrounds, to be able to lead and to wear a uniform with pride. Jack Manning Bancroft: (48:10) And maybe the way to add a layer of bridge building, is that we ask someone who makes hoodies, if they'd like to build a bridge and hand a couple of 100 hoodies over to us, that are in dead stock at the moment, that they're not using or that are just sitting there dormant. And that could extend that metaphor of the executives or those people that have some influence, leaving their boardrooms and walking across the tracks and sitting on that seesaw in New Orleans, or in Kampala, or in Venda, or in the Sunshine Coast of Queensland and saying, "Yeah, I'll come over and sit down with you." And so maybe we could see if for this one, we do a reclaimed project and find someone that would like to, yeah, utilize one of their hoodies and maybe that could be a way we could build a partnership with it. So is there anyone who'd be the dream clothing group to have one of their hoodies donated to us or passed over to this project, as probably the final question for me? Lwanyaaga Shyaka Farid: (49:13) Thinking, if something comes to my mind, like Jack, I might not have an answer for you, but I'm just excited about the idea of reclaimed because reclaimed is one of the projects we've done at AIME that has brought something crazy. That sometimes I even sit back and I don't know what I'm doing, but I know it's growing into secular fashion, but I don't know if I can think of... It takes a company that can donate hoodies to us. Rhian Miller: (49:56) Do you go for a company that executives would be aware of or do you go for a company that students, like young marginalized people that want to get into co-CEO positions, would be aware of? Do you go for higher education institutions that have their university hoodies, et cetera? I don't know. Jack Manning Bancroft: (50:19) These are the wonderful questions you get to wrestle with in apparel design, the source of the cloth. Well, what do you think? Give me some sort of direction as to where to go reclaimed. And I'll go down a pathway if you give some directions. So just tell me where to go, boss me around, co-CEOs. Rhian Miller: (50:40) I reckon we go higher ed institutions or whomever the company is that designs the uniform or the kit for them. So in America, we know that the apparel for university students is a massive deal. And I think Nike sponsors most of them, but in Australia, I think each university's responsible for their own. So yeah, that's my input. Jacqueline Twillie: (51:12) Going to the sports apparel because they have an abundance. So that's the train of thought that I was rocking with. Jack Manning Bancroft: (51:20) Okay, awesome. Well, if you've got any sports apparel, leads, you can do some co-CEO hustling after the call, that we can see how we go with some bridge building. And to take us out and zoom out, maybe we can finish today's podcast with just a reflection on someone you told about becoming a co-CEO at AIME and what that was like, and that will finish us up. So I'll finish here with my voice and just say thank you all for joining us and whoever is the last person to share of this group of four co-CEOs, of the person that you share the story with. If you can just round out the show and thank everyone for joining us on the making of a hoodie podcast, that'd be great. So over to you all, thanks so much for everything you do, and for your joy, your passion, your commitment, and your energy that I'm so lucky to be connected to. It's a gift to have relations with all of you. And yeah, thanks for taking me along on the journey. Vhutali Nelwamondo: (52:16) I shared that I'm a co-CEO with the director of Community Engagement at the University of Venda, name of Prof. Netshandama, and I was invited to go on a planning session for executive council with the Community Engagement, so that we can come up with a draft for a [inaudible 00:52:42] community engagement can look like in the next couple of years. And that was the exciting because I've never really found myself in that kind of executive-level thinking, and contribution, and stuff. So that was cool. Rhian Miller: (53:00) That's awesome, Vhutali. I got to go into a school last week here in Brisbane, and it was the first time I'd seen the students since the end of last year and was able to tell them that I was fortunate enough to be the co-CEO this year. And they were like, "What does that even mean?" And I was like, "Oh, I don't know. It means I'm in the exec leadership team. It means I get to sit on board meetings. I get to do like all of the fun stuff and the hard stuff. But at the end of the end of the day, I still get to come and sit side-by-side with you guys in tutor squads." And for them, they were totally mind-blown that someone at the age of 24 could be a co-CEO and could be in this kind of role.And it was really inspiring and eye-opening for me to be in that space and to hold the space for them, to be able to ask questions and inquire about what it meant, and, yeah, to be proud. To be proud of myself, to be proud of the organization we work for, to be proud of the space that we are able to provide for future generations. And that was something, for me, that I don't think I'll ever forget, not only within this role, but within my whole working career. Lwanyaaga Shyaka Farid: (54:23) I was going to share, when I shared with my partner, Sandalai, I told her I was co-CEO and she's like, "Oh, this is proof that your brain now works." After they had accidents. They had accident. Both of us were not sure. And for Jack offering for me to apply as a co-CEO, she was like, "Oh, this is proof that your brain works." But the part that I would really want to show is, there's a key that mentee called Kakwa Sharon, and we were doing one of the IMAGI-NATION TV episodes, and she was giving a speech. And that was the first time I was telling the kids that I'm co-CEO, just like we had shared with the kids and they didn't know what it was, but I described to them what CEO is, and they're like, "Oh, shit."Sharon was like, "So I can also be an executive of a global company, like a Ugandan being an executive of a global company." So it got them so excited. And I felt like, "Oh, wow, I'm so happy I shared." I didn't know what to expect for them to react after me sharing that I'm now co-CEO. So I'm so thankful to have this role to connect with you guys and everyone at AIME, to be able to have the privilege to walk in this position. I'm so thankful. And being here at this podcast. Jacqueline Twillie: (55:49) So I share the news with one of my mentors and her first question to me was, "This is great. And what is your intention?" She wanted to know what my intention was. How did I plan to be resourceful with my time and energy for the organization? Which was a great question, because it was something I thought about well before I said yes to being co-CEO. And so that's one thing that I try to keep grounded, is my intention. And part of my intention is to lift as I climb, which is what AIME is about. We're pulling everyone up as we come up as well. So that was exciting. I mentioned it to my niece, which is one of my favorite people in the world. My nieces and nephews are phenomenal folks. They're my squad. And my eight-year old niece, she goes, "So this means like work-from-home?"And I said, "What do you know about work-from-home?" And she's like, "It's on the commercials. People work from home, and you get to have a work shirt on and pajamas on the bottom." And I was like, "Yep, pretty much." So the spectrum of excitement and curiosity around it. And I think as we progress this year, the five of us using this times five model as co-CEOs, we're going to open imaginations for people to do this in their own organizations, and find a way to make it work, because we're doing this across many continents and time zones, the different countries, the cultural backgrounds, and it's possible. And we all come with an open mind and heart, and that's the pure magic. So I'm thrilled that everyone listens to this episode today. And we want everyone listening to reach out to us, to find out how they can get plugged in and we can help make a fairer world for us all. Thanks for listening and catch us next time. Bye.


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