Author – Amanda-Jane Turner
An interview with the Founder of the AWSN – Jacqui Loustau
Jacqui grew up in Australia and loves a good coffee! She is married with children and successfully juggles her family with her employment and her volunteer work with the AWSN all of which keep her very busy. Despite all her competing priorities, Jacqui kindly agreed to be interviewed for the first article of our new series.
Knowing Jacqui is very committed to helping others I asked her about her community involvement. Jacqui shared that she has always volunteered her time to help others and ever since high school has been committed to participating in her community. Jacqui explained that when she was in high school she dedicated every Saturday to looking after children with disabilities which she absolutely loved to do. She also volunteered for World vision, Starlight Children’s Foundation and Make-a-Wish. These days of course Jacqui, as the founder and leader of the AWSN, does not have the time to be involved in any other community organisations. The reason, as she excitedly informed me, is that the AWSN has lot of amazing initiatives in progress that are currently taking up her time.
Jacqui has a variety of interests, chiefly of course is her family. Prior to having children however, she was an active rock climber, Mont Blanc being amongst her climbs! Jacqui had this to say about rock climbing:
I often liken security to rock-climbing and mountaineering. You never know what could happen at the next step. Conditions can change quickly and you need to be ready to respond! When you get to the top of the mountain, you breathe and take in the view until it is so cold that you have to gather your energy for the hard path back. Same goes it security, you think you may have solved one issue or completed something, but new challenges are always there and they are getting harder. I guess it’s why I love rock climbing and security! Always challenging with never the same route to the end.
An avid traveller Jacqui shared that her parents also loved travelling which introduced her to many places as a child. During her early travels, she visited the Philippines where she witnessed the poverty there. This was the catalyst that motivated her to volunteer for World Vision and make her wish to see Thailand and Africa to help people there, but at the time she said she ‘didn’t have the guts to do it’. This changed however, after she read the book Living Poor by Moritz Thomsen.
Always wanting to travel as an adult, Jacqui desired to see the world and visit her two pen pals along the way. Eventually she went on a two week Contiki tour, and this led to her staying overseas for thirteen years! To keep herself in needed travel money she worked her way up from a Helpdesk position to a security consultant. Her employer at the time could see her potential and put her through six weeks of what she said was the hardest training of her life.
As the interview concluded I asked Jacqui if she had anything else she would like to share with the readers of the AWSN blog. Here are her words:
For those who already volunteer…Thank-you!
Some people think that they cannot make a difference in this world and therefore don’t give any time to even try. But even if everyone gave a little, you would be surprised at how much impact it can make to someone’s life. We are all time poor and have moments where we just cannot do anything but just live day-to-day. But during the times when we can, we should as it makes you more alive. Everyone has different passions and experiences, and there is always someone out there needing you to support and bring them up. I encourage all of you to volunteer for something you are passionate about or mentor someone (or both)! Just try!