Spotlight: Caroline Godts

Caro spotlight

What drives you?

In any job I want to feel that what I’m doing is meaningful, and I am often triggered by everything that is injustice and the things that go wrong in the world. My first presentation in elementary school was about the Red Cross – that tells you something. I was raised in an open family with heated debates on societal issues around the dinner table. I think criticism is important, but, for example, I wouldn’t want to be a watchdog and work for an NGO of that type. I prefer constructive work and like the feeling of enabling people to do what they want to do. Precisely what I can do at Sociale InnovatieFabriek.

Biggest SocEnt trend you have seen over the last 5 years?

Business, small and big, is becoming more self conscious about its role in society. Big companies are being challenged on their sustainability by different stakeholders. Small businesses are looking for a different kind of added value, beyond the financial. Hopefully this means that economics can again be at service of mankind and not the other way around.

Transparency, information, and the access we have to media is essential in this movement to a responsible role for business in society.

Currently reading

Michael Foley, The Age of Absurdity

The good news is that the great thinkers from history have proposed the same strategies for happiness and fulfilment. The bad news is that these turn out to be the very things most discouraged by contemporary culture. This knotty dilemma is the subject of The Age of Absurdity – a wry and accessible investigation into how the desirable states of wellbeing and satisfaction are constantly undermined by modern life.
Michael Foley examines the elusive condition of happiness common to philosophy, spiritual teachings and contemporary psychology, then shows how these are becoming increasingly difficult to apply in a world of high expectations. The common challenges of earning a living, maintaining a relationship and ageing are becoming battlegrounds of existential angst and self-loathing in a culture that demands conspicuous consumption, high-octane partnerships and perpetual youth. In conclusion, rather than denouncing and rejecting the age, Foley presents an entertaining strategy of not just accepting but embracing today’s world – finding happiness in its absurdity.

Background

Caroline holds a masters in International Relations and Conflict Management. For seven years she worked as CSR Project Manager at Business & Society Belgium, a learning network for companies active in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and sustainability. “I’m not a big fan of academic theories”, says Caroline. “I learned a lot about the power and the need for social innovation in my previous position where I worked with companies that had great CSR strategies but somehow failed in implementing them. The big ship of companies is not an agile strategy that you steer so easily into truly sustainable ‘shared value’ strategies. It was great coming to Sociale InnovatieFabriek and work with people who want to innovate and are really excited about getting something done!”

Caroline is a fan of the cradle-to-cradle approach and says it has changed her thinking. “What worries me most is the mindset of today’s society. Nobody seems to notice that we are so soaked up in an economic mindset, and we don’t even notice it. Picture three different-sized circles inside each other. We need to realize that a healthy natural environment and a healthy, wealthy, educated and safe society are essential prerequisites for a thriving economy. Now we look at the earth and society as ‘capital’. We treat the environment as if the earth was latest (third) priority, the farthest removed from the core of our being, and we treat society and people as human resources to use as pleased. But really, the ratio should have the earth at the core, a society that builds on it, and an economy in third place.”

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