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Q&A: An Interview with Jonah Cacioppe

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Jonah Cacioppe1. Describe your key strengths and personality as Business Manager of Integral Development?

“I think I have the ability to see others key skills and the desire to bring them together to create something greater than the sum of the parts. I also enjoying the planning and strategic process, although I do like the joke; “How do you make God laugh?” “Tell him your plans.”

2. What’s your most memorable moment?

“Hmmm. The first day I stood up on a surfboard was pretty memorable as was the day I nearly drowned on one several years later up at Yanchep.”

3. Where do you see Integral Development in 5 years time?

“In 5 years time I see Integral Development positioned as the leading boutique leadership development consultancy in Perth and on its way to being one of the most innovative and unique consultancy’s in Australia. By 2014 I we aim to be opening an office in Sydney, and be attracting more and more business from Asia. After all we are in a privileged position here in Perth with 60% of the world’s population sharing our time zone – this time zone is where most of the world’s economic growth will be occurring in the next decade and we want to be there to facilitate that growth and assist it in being healthy wise development, rather than just economic growth at the cost of the environment and well being of all.

We also aim to be delivering more and more innovative leadership programs, programs that incorporate some of our core values and skills, specifically in areas such as sustainability, personal development and using techniques such as meditation to facilitate leaders in being the best they can be. We see the market rapidly shifting to embrace some of these issues and techniques.”

4. If you could invite 5 people to dinner, who would they be?

“I’d love to have over William McDonough, he is one of America’s leading environmental thinkers and developed the ‘Cradle to Cradle’ framework and is involved in sustainability projects with Nike, Ford and the Chinese government that are quite inspiring. If you haven’t read his work do it.

I would also love to have over the founder of Zen, Bodhidharma. He spent seven years meditating in front of a wall before he became enlightened so he might not be the best conversationalist but I’m sure he would be interesting and inspirational nevertheless.

As for my third guest I think James Martin might be a good one, he is Britain’s leading futurist and famous for his book “the wired society” which foresaw the impact of the internet on culture. I am currently reading his latest book, “the meaning of the 21st Century” that very clearly outlines the key challenges facing humanity in the next 100 years. Both troubling and inspirational stuff.

I’d of course have to have my girl friend Jasmin, not only would she be extremely annoyed if I didn’t invite her, she also makes the most amazing chocolate mouse!

Last but not least, I’m thinking it’s a toss up between Barack Obama or an artist like James Turrell or Bill Viola. Obama seems like an incredible and intelligent man and I would love to know how such a young and relatively new man in American politics has coped with such pressure. I think it is a key skill of any great leader to be cool, calm and compassionate under pressure and Barack seems to have this skill in one of the most difficult periods in recent history. If Barack wasn’t available I might go for James Turrell a US artist who owns a volcano in Arizona and creates some of the most incredible light installations on the planet.

5. Who is a Leader that inspires you and why?

“Besides the bunch I would like to have to dinner. I am actually convinced that everyone has the potential to lead and that everyone does so when they are in their most fundamental and authentic state, in the zone so to speak. Positive psychologist Mihály Csíkszentmihályi, in his seminal work, ‘Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience’, suggests and I agree that people are most happy when they are in a state of flow, a state of concentration or complete absorption with the activity at hand and the situation. Where a person meets the need of the situation in front of them rather than focusing on their ego’s doubts, desires and thoughts about it.

Csíkszentmihályi described flow as “being completely involved in an activity for its own sake. The ego falls away. Time flies. Every action, movement, and thought follows inevitably from the previous one, like playing jazz. Your whole being is involved, and you’re using your skills to the utmost.” In this state I think everyone is a leader and is exhibiting all the core qualities of a great leader. I’m always inspired by watching anyone expressing or acting from this state – whether it be a great business leader like Ray Anderson, Martin Luther King mid flow in his ’I have a dream speech’ or the Barzillian soccer team at their best. My vision for Integral Development is that we facilitate more and more people to get into this space more and more.”

6. If you were stranded on a desert island, what 2 items and one book would you like with you?

“My iphone so I could call and get picked up in the not too distant future, a pair of board shorts and a surfboard so I could go surfing while I wait and Shankara’s ‘Crest Jewel of discrimination’ (an 8th Century Indian spiritual classic) to read that evening while I wait for the love boat to cruise by and pick me up.

Jonah Cacioppe

Jonah holds a BA from Curtin University and an MSA from Sydney University. He is a Director of Integral Development and has been involved in the design, administration and running of leadership and management programs over the last 12 years.

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