True Type | How we can all Change The World, one story at a time
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How we can all Change The World, one story at a time

Today I attended the Hancock Creative Change The World event in Perth with 400+ passionate people working within the social enterprise and non-profit sector, including Lupus WA board member, Mary Erceg.

Mary and I met over 20 years ago when she was working with the Department of Education and I was doing high school work experience with a video production company that was shooting a TV program for their distance education unit.

We recently reconnected after I discovered Mary’s involvement with Lupus WA, and that for the last 40 years she has been living with this chronic autoimmune disease which affects more than 20,000 Australians, the majority of them women.

Around this time two years ago I was diagnosed with Lupus SLE and fortunately, with the right medical treatment, family support and lifestyle changes, I’m in very good health most of the time.

But as I’m learning, this is not the case for everyone, because Lupus is an extremely complex and debilitating disease that affects people in different ways. For this reason, it’s not as well understood within the medical and general community, and sadly this means many lupus sufferers go undiagnosed or misdiagnosed for years, at great personal cost.

As someone who has lived with this life-threatening disease for most of her life, Mary has developed an encyclopaedic knowledge of lupus and is a very passionate advocate for improving lupus awareness, education, support, research and advocacy in WA.

October is Lupus Awareness month and it was fitting to spend the day with Mary at Change The World, an event created by Alecia Hancock to help social enterprises, non-profits and community organisations.

Today we heard from industry leaders about the challenges facing the sector, and how social media can be harnessed to share stories and have a greater impact.

My key takeaways from today were:

  • If you’re a social enterprise, non-profit or community group, you need to start thinking of yourself as a commercial venture and be ready for disruption in the sector – with less government funding and corporate sponsorship dollars likely to be available, you need to consider ways to collaborate and share resources.
  • Think about what you COULD do if you weren’t afraid, then re-frame your perceived ‘deficiencies’ as your super powers and communicate them.
  • You don’t need to pick a fight, just pick a side and ensure your communications are evidence-based.
  • Build an engaged audience by telling your origin story and ensure your communications include the five V’s – your vision, voice, value, variety and vulnerability.
  • Manage your risks and maximise your results – it’s possible to turn a negative into a positive outcome and its essential to have a social media plan that documents your goals, audience, content, resources, growth strategy, risk management and results.
  • You need to innovate and be creative to stay current, so ensure you give yourself and your team TIME to think more expansively.
  • Innovation and diversity go hand in hand, so bring others in, including ‘naïve experts’, and spend time with your end users.

Attending Change The World today reminded me that sometimes we are brought together for a reason, and that we are fortunate to have people like Mary and Alecia in our community who are championing causes that are making a profound difference.

Change The World at

Be Lupus Wise at