Changemakers – Chris Lacey
Monday, 26th March 2012 at 9:08 am
Chris Lacey, Executive Director of Urban Seed, is profiled in Changemakers – a regular column which examines inspiring people and their careers in the Not for Profit sector.
Urban Seed is a Not for Profit organisation that prioritises small, dynamic projects run by and for locals in ways that creatively complement and connect traditional services. These projects include open meals, youth leadership development, art and writing workshops, social enterprise, education and advocacy work.
From the inner city of Melbourne to the outer suburbs of Geelong and Bendigo, Urban Seed seeks to serve the needs of communities experiencing disadvantage and along the way engage others to do the same.
What are you currently working on in your organisation?
I am currently developing a strategic plan that will sustain and support the work of Urban Seed into the future. We want to ensure our work is relevant to all of our stakeholders – from street to skyscrapers – and continue to find ways to bring the extremes of society together around a common table to foster communication and understanding. We see that as key to achieving our vision for communities of healing, hope and justice.
How long have you been working in the Not for Profit sector?
I was in High School in 1995 when I first became a volunteer at a youth drop-in centre called ‘Manic Youth’ and I have been in the NFP space ever since. I started with Urban Seed as an intern in 2001 and since then have had the opportunity to work in a variety of interesting roles and start some projects that address needs I am passionate about. I was appointed the Executive Director of Urban Seed in 2010.
What do you like best about working in your current organisation?
I love seeing the lives of the people we work with transform from being constantly in crisis to being more stable and able to deal with the ups and downs of life. In my experience it is really difficult for people to move beyond crisis recovery mode and into some kind of regular life rhythms unless they have a form of supportive community around them. For most of us this is family and friends, but for a lot of people we see each day this is not possible. So one of Urban Seeds’ key aims is to help draw a community together to support people longer term in order to assist peoples recovery. Being a part of this journey is often hard but is also incredibly rewarding.
“You must be the change you wish to see in the world” – Mahatma Ghandi
What are you reading/watching/listening to at the moment?
I am often recommended an amazing array of books to read so I have a stack half a metre high to get through at the moment! I am currently reading Leadership and the New Science by Margaret Wheatley, which was recommended to me by my colleague Samara Pitt. It makes connections between scientific developments and the way organisations work and people lead, which I am finding an interesting angle in on a much-discussed topic. I love sport so I am often watching the Bombers, Heart, Rebels and Bushrangers play but probably not as much as I would like. My boys Xavier and Eamon love books and stories so I am often in the world of Spot the dog and the little yellow digger as well!