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Showing Some Sole

9 February 2015 at 10:56 am
Xavier Smerdon
As the founder and Chairperson of The Butterfly Movement Ltd, trading as Soles4Souls Australia, Dalice Kennedy is working hard to give people around the world a strong footing. Kennedy is this week’s Changemaker.

Xavier Smerdon | 9 February 2015 at 10:56 am


Showing Some Sole
9 February 2015 at 10:56 am

As the founder and Chairperson of The Butterfly Movement Ltd, trading as Soles4Souls Australia, Dalice Kennedy is working hard to give people around the world a strong footing. Kennedy is this week’s Changemaker.

In 2010 Dalice stepped away from her Management position at CanDo Group Charities and joined World Youth International, travelling to Kenya as a volunteer Team Leader, leading eight other Australian volunteers.

She describes her time of living and working in Kenya alongside her team for three months as a defining leadership opportunity and life experience, which was also the foundation for her establishing the charitable organisation, Soles4Souls Australia, in 2011.

What are you currently working on in your organisation?

Shoes, shoes and more shoes!

Soles4Souls Aust. received tens of thousands of shoe donations when the first shoe drive was launched in 2011. Following that a lot of time and resources have been dedicated to building a strong foundation in which to grow and be sustainable. In the first three year period, 100,000 pairs of shoes donated Australia-wide were redistributed in Australia, Tanzania, Vanuatu and Guatemala.

Today we now have the capacity, through our partnership with Wesley Social Enterprises, to sort, pack and re-distribute 100,000+ pairs of donated shoes each year. Therefore, our current focus is on reaching more Australians and encouraging and enabling them to run shoe drives at their work, school or community group and/or to donate shoes personally.

We also continue to focus on key partnerships and building a sustainable organisation at all levels.

How long have you been working in the Not for Profit sector?

I started working in the sector eight years ago. I was working as a public relations consultant with the dream of working in the non-profit sector. During that time an opportunity came up with one of my clients, CanDo4Kids, in Communications and Business Development. Working with CanDo Group Charities was a great experience and an amazing opportunity to grow my skills professionally.

In 2010 the desire to travel kicked in and I chose to apply for a Team Leader position with another great Australian charity, World Youth International. I was successful in my application and spent three months leading eight Australian volunteers on various development projects in rural Kenya. This was a life-changing experience for me and was the catalyst for starting Soles4Souls Aust. when I returned home.

I started Soles4Souls in mid-2011 with a shoe drive operating from the back of a local business owned by my sister.

What has been the most challenging part of your work? And how do you overcome that?

Building a charity from the ground up has a lot of challenges, the main one being financial resources. Similar to a small business, you become very resourceful in all areas of operations.

I was very fortunate that a lot of individuals and businesses supported my passion in the early days and thousands continue to support the goals of the organisation. Partnerships and donations in-kind are critical to our organisation, so good communication is key.

In terms of your work sitting on a Not for Profit board, what would you say is the key to an effective NFP board?

I was a founding Board member of Soles4Souls Aust. and became Chair in 2014. Having a clear direction and purpose that all the Board members are ‘on-board’ with and committed to continues to be key.  

Our Board of Directors have diverse skills which is important for bringing different ideas and perspectives to the issues and opportunities we encounter.

I consider my greatest achievement to be …

Growing Soles4Souls Aust. from the ground up continues to be my career and personal highlight. Every year when I sit to write the annual report I am blown away by how far the organisation has come.

I am so grateful for all the early supporters who donated shoes and volunteered their time back in 2011, and for all the individuals and businesses that choose to work with and support us today. Helping to facilitate that many people working together towards a common goal is a privilege.

I’m always being asked …

Why did you start Soles4Souls Australia?

I started the organisation after my experiences working in Kenya in a volunteer capacity. It was that time in Kenya which continues to shape my life. The organisation has grown and developed since the early days, but the inequalities and desire to create opportunities for others continues to inspire me.

What are you reading/watching/listening to at the moment?  Why?

I am reading and listening to everything NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming). I am a strong believer in both personal and professional development and I recently became a certified NLP Practitioner. Being a good communicator and connecting with people is always important and valuable, and NLP provides a different level of skills to support success.  

Through your work, what is your ultimate dream?

I love microenterprise, social enterprise, Fair Trade and providing people with real and meaningful opportunities to grow and be self-sustaining. It is my hope that all organisations across sectors begin collaborating for better social outcomes.  

At Soles4Souls Aust. we support microenterprise in developing countries, with a specific focus in Tanzania. We also work in partnership with Wesley Social Enterprises in South Australia, who provide employment for people with a disability, for all the sorting and packing of the donated shoes.

Through Soles4Souls Aust. and more broadly I dream of helping people to realise their dream and to make a positive difference to the world.

My greatest challenge is …

Fitting in everything I want to do.

Xavier Smerdon  |  Journalist  |  @XavierSmerdon

Xavier Smerdon is a journalist specialising in the Not for Profit sector. He writes breaking and investigative news articles.

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