Q & A with Jo Pretyman, founder of I-Manifest

Posted by Hom Yoga on

Hom Yoga is a proud partner of I-Manifest, an NGO that uses creativity to empower youth to find their passion and live their purpose, fostering knowledge, awareness and life enhancing practices.

We spoke with Jo Pretyman, founder of I-Manifest, during a recent event hosted at Hom Yoga, in lieu of the joint creation of  “The School of Sustainable Beauty” to find out how she finds time to bring balance into her life, whilst running a thriving NGO.

I read recently that your mantra is to 'live a life of use to others'. Where did your desire to 'give back' arise from? And why kids?

Kids are the future! They are pure life force, creative expression. They bring new ways of thinking, new ways of viewing the world. They have compassion and a deep understanding and care for the future of the planet. The next generation is bright so we need ensure we give them the full opportunity to help build the new world. For me it’s simply about facilitating this for them and to be a conduit between them, business and government.

Your organisation I-Manifest strives to help Australia's youth, particularly disadvantaged groups, to harness their creativity in order to tackle issues facing today's society. What are some of the biggest hurdles stopping them from doing so?

There seems to be a significant mismatch at the moment between what we as a society know is right and fair and what is actually happening. For example, it’s no secret that our education system is no longer serving us, yet real change on a wide spread scale seems so far away or that creativity is what drives culture, yet it’s seems to be a constant battle for the creative community to keep the cultural vibrancy of a city alive. From my experience through I-Manifest there is also a huge disconnect between the socio-economic / geographic communities of Sydney in terms of resources, access, opportunity. More fair, equitable systems need to start emerging – systems that embrace cultural, generational and socio-economic integration. That’s what I-Manifest is about. To help us all come from a place of love and acceptance so transformation can happen. The separation perpetuates fear.

Sydney can be a pretty fast paced city, what do you do to switch off?

I find it hard to switch off in Sydney. It’s a constant struggle staying on top of it all, fulfilling all of one’s obligations - work, personal, health, friends, colleagues, family. It really does never end and I definitely experience tough patches. Usually when that happens I just shut down for a while, sometimes it’s just the simple luxury of a couch and night of TV, yoga or getting back to meditation and writing. But then I quickly end up feeling guilty for not being productive! I would love to find the secret to a more balanced life. I’m still searching for the answer!

A film, or a live theatre show?

Film 100% - but in a classic cinema like The Golden Age.

A long weekend away from Sydney, what's your destination of choice?

In summer it’s Byron or the mid-north coast. I love a quintessential Aussie beach getaway! In winter I love heading up to my brother’s in the Blue Mountains for fire and family time. We both adore cooking so we can spend hours cooking up a storm, listening to jazz, talking about life, laughing at the kids. Heaven.

Favourite book?

Ernest Hemmingway, The Sun Also Rises.

It's your last supper, what's on the menu? 

Sashimi, champagne!

Society’s current climate demands so much of us. Being in the public eye, how do you maintain an authentic life?

Connecting with old friends and family brings me back down to earth. And keeping honest - with myself and with others. I wear my heart on my sleeve, which often bites me! But I do think in some ways it’s a blessing in disguise, it keeps me open and let’s the emotions flow.

You've lived a very entrepreneurial life thus far. What would your advice be to someone with a budding business of their own? 

Keep it simple. Let it evolve as it needs to but monitor that it stays true to your core product and purpose - it’s easy to get excited and distracted by the possibilities. And accept that extreme hard work is what it takes.

Find out more about I-Manifest.

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