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A beautiful story about change through positive collaboration

CathelijneMeet my cousin Cathelijne Lania, founder of A Beautiful Story, driving change through fairtrade jewelry. In 2012, her company was voted the most sustainable company in Amsterdam.

What is your model of change towards a more sustainable world?
For me, sustainability is all about people and their mindsets. My key drivers for change are collaboration and attention for positive results. People need to work together and leverage each other’s unique talents to create something larger than they can create by themselves. As global citizens, we need to find ways to connect and work together to live together on one planet. It is easy to waste energy on criticizing differences, rather than leveraging and celebrating them. Everything you devote attention to will grow, so make sure you pay attention to the positive things in life. I enjoy creating and sharing beautiful stories, hence the name of my company: A Beautiful Story.

What drives you? What kind of role do you see for yourself in this change?
Beads for Life fun at work!What makes me really happy, is to make other people happy, like the group of women in Nepal who now have a job making jewelry, and can take control of their own lives. They not only change their own lives, but also become great examples of personal leadership who can inspire many others. My parents (an entrepreneur and a social worker) served as my examples; they were always ready to help others create better lives for themselves. I hope I will also inspire others and continue to create jobs and beautiful stories.

What kind of leadership is needed for positive change?
Leadership is not just about big change. My recommendation for people eager to drive change is to just start, to not be afraid to start at a smaller scale. If many people, in their own way, using their talents, make small changes, this all adds up to larger change for a better world.

What is next for you and your company?
I started A Beautiful Story in 2006. I wanted to use my marketing skills to help out a silver smith I befriended in Nepal a few years before. Through co-creation, together we have made a business out of positive change. Since then, the company has grown; creating and maintaining jobs in many communities. The next step is to scale up by expanding sales into Germany, the UK, Scandinavia and the USA.

For more information on Cathelijne’s beautiful story and products: www.abeautifulstory.eu. Interested in joining the (crowd)funding campaign for expansion, visit www.wekomenerwel.nl/projecten/a-beautiful-story/