Volunteer Susan Goldie's Story: Supporting Small Businesses in Nauru

"Storytelling is an incredibly powerful tool. We all, as humans, learn through storytelling," - Susan Goldie.

Susan Goldie has dedicated her life to humanitarian work, including mental health education, better end-of-life care, poverty reduction, and economic empowerment.

Susan joined us as a volunteer in November 2023 and has started working with our Nauru team on capacity building of local small-medium businesses. Susan's work supports the Nauru Private Sector Development Roadmap program, a 4-year partnership between ABV and the Nauru Chamber of Commerce to help foster closer collaboration across private, public and community sectors in support of Nauru's National Sustainable Development Strategy.

A key opportunity for Nauruan small businesses was the Miss Pacific Islands Pageant, held in Nauru in January 2024. This important regional pageant celebrating Pacific cultures was a landmark event for Nauru to host, and many small businesses, such as vendors, sole traders, and goods and service providers, stepped up to the challenge. 

The previous year's Miss Pacific Islands winner, Josie Nicholas, advocated for increased youth involvement in sustainable tourism. This youth-led approach to building sustainable tourism resonates with the vision set by the Sustainable Tourism Working Group, established in 2023 as part of the Roadmap's implementation, to support closer collaboration between private sector, government and community stakeholders to achieve shared sustainable tourism goals. 

Susan played a crucial role in conducting workshops for local vendors, volunteers, and hosts in preparation for the Pageant. These hybrid workshops, a highly tailored iteration of ABV's signature YES Program, were co-delivered by Susan with another ABV volunteer, Marcus Alexander, along with Jennifer Harris, the Nauru Chamber of Commerce's Business Hub Manager. The workshops covered essential aspects of customer service, work health and safety, and financial tools to start and grow a business. 

Image: Volunteers Liane, Matt, Susan and Marcus facilitating workshops from online with Jenn Harris (Nauru Business Hub Manager)

One of Susan's unique approaches includes educating through her lived experience. "Storytelling is an incredibly powerful tool. We all, as humans, learn through storytelling," she said. In her other community roles, Susan uses storytelling as a way to break down mental health stigma by delivering talks in schools and sharing her lived experience as a carer for someone with a mental health condition.  

Outside of ABV, Susan is a board member of a community-owned mortuary service that supports people who struggle to pay for their loved ones' funerals and connects local organisations to better serve their community's needs in times of grief and loss.

Beyond her humanitarian work, Susan finds solace in Taiko drumming, a mind, body, and soul workout she discovered during her first trip to Japan. "The drums can be so large that you need a crane to bring them in; it's an amazing art form. I leave the studio after drumming feeling so refreshed and clear-headed."

Susan was excited to join ABV and contribute to sustainable change-making. "The theme of all my volunteering is to build capacity and empower people, which very much aligns with ABV's mission, and that's what drew me to the organisation," Susan said. 

When asked what made Susan choose ABV, she said, "ABV is working in such a streamlined way; no one is indispensable, and people are valued. ABV continues momentum but never becomes the destination; they are the wind in the sails of the next community."

We feel privileged to have a volunteer with such diverse and meaningful experience. Thank you, Susan!

Image: Susan and her daughter hosting the Vinnies Community Sleepout in Western Sydney.

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