Alexandra Iljadica, Partnerships Manager

Photo by Julia Gove

Photo by Julia Gove

Alexandra Iljadica is the Make Nice Partnerships Manager and basically a godsend to everything we do! She is one of the most passionate and dedicated women we know and she brings a whole heap of damn fine business know-how to our team.

What do you do?

I’m Make Nice’s partnerships manager, this means I do things like look for and chat to companies and people who give a shit about women as much as we do. I also spend time thinking about what else we could do outside of the Un-conference to keep the women in our community being relentless, professional and nice as fuck. Hint: not-gross-networking workshops and fun/functional merch.

Make Nice is my side project. In my 9-5 M-F time, I run a non-profit called the Youth Food Movement. We put on events and run campaigns that tell the story behind your food, because you know, we all eat right.

Do you have a maxim that you live and work by?

A good friend taught me the power of having a yearly mantra. This year it is a mixture of “who actually gives a fuck” (in a healthy way) and “be satisfied” (said in the voice of Leo from Romeo and Juliet of course).

What are the three milestones that have led you to where you stand?

Having divorced parents and mixed families along the way that allowed me to live and experience different people and places.

Saying yes to a retreat with benedictine nuns in the mountains of Jamberoo, NSW in December 2009. It’s where I fell in love.

Saying yes to putting on a dinner at The Commons on 22nd June 2010 for random people who care about food. It led to our first team at the Youth Food Movement.

What projects do you have in the pipeline?

I’m currently planning two fundraisers, one for Make Nice and one for Youth Food Movement. I always like to be original so am squeezing my brain as to how to flip the traditional fundraising approach on it’s head. Big gala’s aren’t our thing.

I’m also planning a major donor program for the Youth Food Movement. I’ve spent quite a bit of time talking to people in their 50s, 60s and 70s about why they give to causes and people they care about. We always end up talking about the end of life. It has been eye opening to imagine what it is like to have money and know that you can’t take it with you. Money is pretty fascinating to me at the moment, mostly because it also freaks me out in many ways and causes so many of humanity’s problems.

Oh and, we’ve just created our first food product Waste Not, and currently looking for ways to get it into the hands and mouths of the masses.

What is your dream project?

I like things that involve food in some way, are silly and also have a strong element of boldness/no bullshit. My brain is always swirling with ideas, some things I’d love to get off the ground in my lifetime are:

  • No-recipe zine/cookbook subscription

  • An experience that allows women to test risk-taking e.g riding a motorbike

  • Workshops/training for men to get in touch with their inner feminist

  • Produce a line of spiritual cards (of all religious persuasions) that aren’t naff

  • Make a piece of furniture using terrazzo

If you could choose to hear from any female contemporary at a Make Nice event, who would it be and why?

My super famous pick would be Yayoi Kusama, I read some of her letters to Georgia O’Keefe asking for support and guidance on how to be a woman in the masculine art world of the 60s. They were almost like what I see in the Make Nice slack group, so I reckon she would fit right in.

My peer crush choice would be Sophie Hagen, she is a comedian and was the co-host of the Guilty Feminist podcast. I see making people laugh for a job as one of the most vulnerable and creative pursuits so would love to hear how she does it.

Do you have a supportive female network in your field? Was it always this way?

Yes and no, in the food/environment field, particularly at a community level there are an abundance of women. My own organisation is 100% female staff, 66% female board and 85% female volunteers. Women have always been involved in environmental movements here in Australia and globally so it’s no surprise. Often we work with the agriculture industry, where the majority of the women I have met and worked with are wise, strong and intelligent. The culture of the industry is still very patriarchal however. Case in point: when you think about a farmer I’m sure you don’t think of a woman.

How can we find our more about your work?

Youth Food Movement

Photo by Nikki To

Photo by Nikki To

Photo by  Elize Strydom

Photo by Elize Strydom

What are you listening to, reading, watching of late, that is inspiring or entertaining you?

I’m reading Quiet by Susan Cain and with every page I realise that my inner introvert has real power. I’m definitely still an extrovert, but it has helped me to see how I give so much more space to my extrovert (because that’s what society says being successful looks like).

I’m also learning how to ride a motorbike. It is scary as shit and the moment you get a little confident (told you I was an extrovert) you forget the clutch, or a car gets too close and you realise that your face could be hitting the pavement any moment. It’s hard and humbling. It’s been really uncomfortable to be so uncomfortable with learning something new. I was so good at it as a kid, but somehow have lost that touch.

I love listening to Koori Radio on my way to work, the breakfast hosts Grant and Kalkani are hilarious, talk like humans and they play Mariah Carey, 90s R’n’B and disco on high rotation. I love the joy and good vibes of disco, they don’t have anything bad to say about people or the world.

What’s something surprising about you, that we might not know?

I drive a 1984 Porsche 944 and would honestly love it if there were no speed limits on the road (and no other drivers or pedestrians).

I also enjoy making napkin origami, you know like from chinese restaurants where your napkin arrives in the shape of a hat or a duck.

What is one facet of your field that you want to see change?

I would love for us to be less addicted to newness. In my world, I write a lot of applications and proposals for projects and there is an underlying assumption that only new things will solve the problems we’ve been trying to fix for decades. Anything that is existing doesn’t need funding. This is a bit silly because it means we are constantly funding things that are new, as opposed to funding things that are proven to work, or things that take time (longer than a year of grant funding).


Photo by Nikki To

Photo by Nikki To

Photo by Nikki To

Photo by Nikki To