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Vale James Waites

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James Waites (Photo by Brett Monaghan at
James Waites (Photo by Brett Monaghan at

The friend of many, James Waites died having lived a full and colourful life earlier this year.

Jimmy was a friend of mine, too, introduced through Virginia Gordon at one of her many salon style luncheons.

I enjoyed meeting James on a number of occasions for coffee where I would come to learn more about his idiosyncratic love for life, his humour, and his passion for hearing and sharing stories. 

I also came to know the caring and considerate side of James at the many lunches I was able to share at Virginia’s gatherings.

He was reverent and cheeky at once, perhaps best typified by the time he leant across and whispered secretly to me after an engaged conversation with a beautiful blond who was at the table: “I asked for her number, Matt, pretending to need it for something else, just in case you wanted to call her”, he earnestly confided in me as he slid her number towards my direction across the tablecloth in something more fitting of espionage. He was too polite to ask what happened next, and I never did call her, but I always smile when I remember James’ good humour by creating that situation.

James was a sponsor of the 10 City Bridge Run, which was an extremely generous act for him as I came to know later as I learnt more about his life. 

I know James would have been very excited to follow my journey especially across Papua New Guinea, the country where he was born and raised. The stories he told me of Papua New Guinea were golden. I’ll be carrying your memory back there when I run in Port Moresby, Jim, as I set about opening a conversation to ask: “how can we use our networks to improve the delivery of child survival?”

Thanks for the inspiration.

Happy Birthday

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The first 100 days of a child’s life decide the likelihood of survival to adulthood.

I restart the journey I began in 2010 today, committing the next 100 days to asking how might we use our networking to improving the delivery of child survival.

Join me. Together we can take the next steps to make a difference and change the world.

Here is a short video I took when out training the other night which explains what I intend to do and why.

Another ‘Talking Shop’?

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Bono was sublime in his criticism of efforts to address issues of child mortality back in 2011 at Davos where he talks about moving past having just another ‘talking shop’. Watch from 27:00 to 32:00 where he exhorts us all to strive for a 10 out of 10.

Crossing the River of Myth

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The avuncular Hans Rosling was back recently staunchly arguing why child mortality is more readily overcome now than ever before. He shows that it is our dated perspective mistakenly informed through myth we cling to that which holds us back. We are closer to a solution than we think or know.

Let Hans tell the story himself below:

Next Steps… I’m Ready

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...and inside is.... Saving babies with Ze Frank! (Thanks Ze!)
…and inside is…. Saving babies with Ze Frank! (Thanks Ze!)

I’m ready to take the next steps.

It has taken me a while longer to get to this point than I thought it might, but I am ready.

Thanks to everyone for being patient. I am not going to fire-hose the world with blog posts, but more wanting to do this together.

Over the last four years since I started this journey I have learnt a lot. Thanks to everyone for your patience.

Rereading this site, I now realise that all the answers are here. We have all that we need. So let’s go. Time to get to work!

Ban Ki-moon: Connected, united

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English: Ban Ki-moon 日本語: 潘基文
English: Ban Ki-moon 日本語: 潘基文 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A few short months after the conclusion of the Second World War, the United Nations was formed on 24 October, the anniversary of today.

Do anniversaries really mean anything to anyone anymore?

What about the United Nations? A colossal failure and bureaucratic mess? Or is it a critical international place of important convening?

I have had my own first hand experience working with the United Nations in many different capacities, but perhaps most significantly was as the Lead Operations and Plans Officer for the Australian Defence Force while deployed into East Timor.

Certainly, it is not a perfect organisation, but would the world be better off without it? I think not.

Far beyond an instrument of global security, the United Nations focuses across a broad range touching every aspect of the human experience.

The one area this blog focuses on is the eight Millennium Development Goals signed by all 192 Member States in 2000 to reduce  extreme poverty levels to two-thirds of the recorded levels in 1990 by 2015. It has been one area where there has been some success. It is not a perfect story: child mortality remains improved, but only reduced to half of the recorded levels of 1990, and so the aspiration to achieve a two-thirds reduction by 2015 might be unobtainable.

Work remains to be done. And it is not for us to sit back and criticise the United Nations. We must put our shoulder to the wheel also.

Ban Ki-moon’s words today in his United Nations Day Message for 2013 was fitting:

We continue to show what collective action can do. We can do even more.

In a world that is more connected, we must be more united.

This is the sentiment of the 10 City Bridge Run. To build a human bridge between ourselves to help address the problems we face. Together we can make a difference.


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Janne Ryan & Adam Spencer | TEDxSydney 2013
Adam Spencer  (Photo credit: TEDxSydney)

Celebrate with us! We are ReLaunching the initiative 10 City Bridge Run on Thursday 24 October 2013 at The Lansdowne Hotel in Sydney and want you to join us. Click here to RSVP or just come on the night.

The 10 City Bridge Run is a citizen-led initiative focused on asking how we can use our networks to help improve the delivery of child survival. This is a massive problem with more than 6.4 million children under the age of five dying this year from mostly preventable disease.

Adam Spencer has kindly agreed to emcee the ReLaunch. Most of you will know Adam already from his role as a broadcaster with the ABC. He describes himself as “Geek, Dad, Comedian.”

Thursday 24 October 2013, 6-9 pm. Free to attend.

The ReLaunch will be a relaxed evening to make connections and open a few new circles.

Thanks to everyone has been involved to date. It has been a long journey already which began in 2010. There has been a lot of learning. Come and hear about the journey to date, and our vision for the future and how you can get involved in making a difference.

Collaboration can produce powerful results. Please join us!