The Positive Impact of Networking


Since starting my business in 2010, I have met and connected many inspiring people. . This story comes from a different source, a network I joined more than thirty years ago and is the background story to one of the speakers at the YTM Awards Dinner on 30th April. I take this opportunity to introduce you to -

Andrew Mellody and Co-Ground

Co-Ground is a particularly inspiring organisation led by Andrew Mellody, a young man I have known since he was three years old; I met him and his mother at the local playgroup. As parents we tend to build networks with others in similar situations. The conversation often turns to our children and what they are doing, no matter their age. Thanks to Andrew’s mother and Facebook, I have been able to watch on and support Andrew’s pursuits.

I have seen him grow from a little boy into a teenager and now a man with drive and passion. Supported by his partner, Nicole Precel, he started Co-Ground and has worked tirelessly since day dot to bring his vision to life.

Remember what Steve Jobs told us about connecting the dots; if we look at Andrew’s current situation, his path is obvious. But when I met him as a three-year-old, I had no idea what was ahead of him and all he would achieve. Money is not his driver; it has always been about doing what he loves and investing time in something that makes a positive impact.

So where is he now and how did he arrive there? Let’s connect some dots.

In 2015, Cyclone Pam hit Vanuatu causing record-breaking devastation. Andrew had a family connection to Vanuatu and was at first concerned about his relatives; his focus soon shifted to the nearby villagers. Nicole wanted to put on a fundraiser to support them and, after Andrew spoke to communities in Sara village, the Co-Ground journey began. Co-Ground aims to develop strong communities and social enterprises that fuel education and livelihood projects. This is done through their café, coffee cart bookings and events. Co-Ground also works to up-skill young Melbournians by giving them a place to learn whilst they work. Their vision is to continue to support initiatives in Vanuatu and eventually build a global community.

From a fundraising event, to a crowd funding campaign, to starting a café, they now also run artists markets, flea markets, co-working studio space and site activations. Their site activations are one of the main social enterprises and involves working with property developers and other stakeholders to activate community spaces.

 Not only does Co Ground support communities in Vanuatu, but they have built an Australian community through the enthusiasm of their volunteers.

Come and meet Andrew at the YTM WHY AWARDS Dinner, or come along to my book launch of “Two Ears, One Mouth and a BIG Heart” on the 7th May which will be held at Co Ground in Prahran (or both!) and meet not only Andrew and Nicole, but also the other local heroes whose stories I share in the book as I know that the conversations I have had will inspire you.


Kerryn PowellComment