RACHEL (Murray) MACINDOE
CO-DIRECTOR AND FACILITATOR
My first taste of overseas travel opened me up to the incredible warmth and hospitality of the Sub-Continent. I was nineteen years old and after studying a subject in Bangladesh I decided to travel around Nepal and India on my own. On every train journey I was offered countless amounts of food and tea and invites to dinner. I was inspired to come back to Australia and offer the same warmth I had received. My first week back I was on a tram, sitting next to a student from India. I turned and said hello. He greeted me with a huge smile and said, "Thank you so much for saying hello. I've been here two years and you are the first person to say hello to me." It was this interaction that inspired me to start Polyglot, an organisation dedicated to bridging the gap between local and international students. This is where my story as a social entrepreneur began. Next was the creation of Ladyfingers, a Female Multi-Cultural DJ collective. Twenty women from diverse cultural backgrounds were brought together to train as DJ's so they could DJ at their own cultural parties and share their music to the rest of Melbourne. Then I created Polykala with a friend. This was an organisation dedicated to Adaptive Leadership, Health and Nutrition and Theatre. All through this time I have been running Creative Leadership courses for Students, Principals, Young Professionals, Refugees and Migrants and Councils. I am grateful for all I have learnt throughout my time working at CMY, WYPIN, Foundation House, AVI, Brunswick Neighbourhood House and RMIT University. I am also grateful for my teachers in yoga, singing and theatre, Eoin McCarthy, Vicki Roussel and Gaulier. Today I have the privilege of working with my husband for The Meeting Space. We began The Meeting Space after our return from New Zealand when we were asked to do a four year contract with Bairnsdale Secondary College. We feel grateful for the opportunity to work with inspiring people all over Australia and New Zealand and to be able to take our beautiful son, Tully Jida, with us. He is a key part of the work we do.
CO-DIRECTOR AND FACILITATOR
I trained as a maths teacher at a revolutionary teacher training facility called the New Zealand Graduate School of Education. It was here I learnt how to create a classroom that was inclusive, adaptable and safe. In 2010 I cycled the length of New Zealand to raise awareness for the polio disease, where I raised $50 000 and cycled distances with many of New Zealand’s leading politicians. Upon graduating I chose to work in a small school in Christchurch in the wake of the 2011 Earthquakes. It was a school in a disadvantaged part of town that taught me so much about the importance of relationship building with both students and their families. Throughout my two degrees I've made many trips across the Tasman to co-facilitate with Rachel in a variety of courses and programmes. This inspired me to experiment in my classroom, bringing my maths and leadership work together. The results were surprising: more confident students who actively wanted to engage in the material being taught. Rachel and I ran a Creative Leadership Course for twenty students from this school. The graduation was a fantastic evening of story, food, song and dance. Parents came who had never come to anything else in the school. tAt the end of the evening one mum came up to me and said, "That was the first time I have gotten to celebrate my son. Thank you so much. Usually all I hear about is him being in trouble. Man, I wish I could have done a course like this when I was in school." This inspired Rachel and I to begin The Meeting Space when we returned to Australia. I am now a full-time facilitator in Melbourne, running courses for teachers and students across New Zealand and Australia. To each course I bring a unique set of skills including acting, music and my love of language (I speak German, Maori and Chinese).