Ahead of running the second citizens’ jury on South Australia’s nuclear involvement, the two locals behind Democracy Co talk about how a personal revelation became a thriving international business.
Emma Lawson and Emily Jenke have been involved with the machinations of government for a long time. Before the pair formed Democracy Co, Emily was running a business that worked strategically with clients – many of which were government-affiliated. Meanwhile, Emma was working across ministerial offices and the public service. It was while employed in the latter that she had a revelation.
“One day my boss asked me to do some community engagement – and I said I don’t do people, I do policy,” says Emma. “But I worked it out… and I sat there and listened to people and… It was an epiphany. I was blown away by how smart people were and how much we could learn from talking to people. And I thought, we need to change the way we’re working, because it’s not right.”
That enthusiasm for doing things differently came to the fore when Emma had her first child and decided working in her own business might afford her more flexibility.