Talking SDG’s with Bridget Williams from Bead & Proceed

Bridget and I only recently met, but it feels like we’ve known each other forever. She is so inspiring with her work at Bead and Proceed, as she strongly believes that businesses are key to making positive change and is eager to assist them through this process (and be a part of it). She is also involved with the Student Volunteer Army and being a part of Global Shapers.

Bead and Proceed exists to educate and inspire action towards the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Purchase one of our Bead and Proceed Kits so you and six friends can each make an ethically sourced necklace that represents the top five SDGs you want to work on. For every bead and proceed kit purchased, another is donated to a low decile school or community organisation - to help spread awareness and encourage the future generation to be agents of positive change.

So I asked her to answer these questions to find out more about why she ‘s so fired up to do all the things that she does:

Why are you so passionate about what you do?

My “why” comes back to the fact that we have a very limited time on this Earth. If I’m not positively contributing to people or the planet in some way, I feel it’s time not well spent. We all have the power to make impact and I’m so grateful to have a platform that allows me to inspire people to start their sustainability journey! What I do also aligns with my values and strengths: being creative, learning and working with people - you can’t help but be passionate when you enjoy what you do.

What do you love about what you do?

There are so many parts to what I love about my job but I especially enjoy meeting new people who are aligned with creativity and sustainability. I get inspiration from people doing amazing things and in Ōtautahi, there’s so many! When I run workshops, I love listening to the rich conversation that naturally happens when people discuss why they have chosen their top 5 SDGs. There’s a magic moment at the end of the workshop where we all come together, having been vulnerable and open about sharing our values and concerns for the environment but there’s this energy and excitement of what’s to come when we commit to our goals.

What philosophies do you live by?

I have always been into the ancient Greeks and stoic wisdom has been hugely influential in this stage of my life. There are many facets to Stoicism but the one that resonates with me is to focus on what you can control, not what you can’t. Stoics believed to live according to nature and that self-discipline equals freedom. I highly recommend The Daily Stoic - it’s a fantastic book that introduces you to practice daily Stoicism! I also love poutama, which is a Māori stepped pattern of tukutuku panels and woven mats, symbolising levels of attainment and advancement. The pattern represents striving ever upwards and for betterment but also taking time to celebrate when you achieve a milestone.

Who inspires you?

Everything! Nature, books, podcasts, my friends. I’m lucky enough to have friends, family and mentors who can provide me with inspiration depending on what my soul needs!

You guys seem passionate about the SDG's. What are your top 5 tips for people who want to be more conscious with how they're living to align with the SDG’s?

1) Lean about the SDGs - there are so many wonderful online resources to teach people about the SDGs, their targets and how we’re tracking as a country to ensure we make it to the 2030 deadline. Really take some time to delve deep into what the SDGs are - go beyond their pretty colours and symbols!

2) Have an accountability buddy - someone who can help you stay committed to your top 5 SDGs and share SDG inspiration and resources!

3) Practice Effective Altruism - this is about using your networks and influence to really make an impact. So, when choosing your top 5, actually think about where you work, what you do, who you know that could realistically make a difference in the SDG targets you choose. There’s a fantastic book on this called “Doing Good Better”.

4) Keep the learning up - every year there’s the Global Festival of Action. This is a massive international summit on the SDGs and provides the latest reports and information on what people are doing to action the SDGs and addresses themes and learnings! They record these presentations online so check them out because every year, we’re developing our knowledge about the SDGs.

5) Do Bead and Proceed! We run workshops for businesses and organisations keen to start their SDG journey. Or purchase a Kit online and host your own workshop with family and friends.

What are your goals for Bead & Proceed? Where are you growing?

The dream is to go global and have people from around the world purchasing our Bead and Proceed Kits. We also want to grow nationally and be the number one introduction resource for businesses and organisations starting their SDG journey.

Final words of advice?

They say you have two lives and the second one starts when you realise you only have one. Start living that second life!