Georgie Northcoat is a third-year Bachelor of Applied Sciences Student. Majoring in Marketing and Clothing and Textile Sciences she’s also working part-time as a media analyst at Meltwater, doing research for F&P, working on start-up initiatives in the Dunedin community to reduce waste, and is launching her own company, Upskill Recruitment. On top of all this, Georgie also lives with cystic fibrosis, having to manage her health amongst her busy lifestyle. As a way of empowering others and giving back to the community, Georgie works with Cystic Fibrosis New Zealand to manage their social media pages, alongside acting as a support worker within the community.
“I don't know; see I think people are always shocked to hear I have CF,” Georgie said, explaining that over the years she has come to terms with her diagnosis and becoming more comfortable discussing it with her friends and peers. “It’s like the journey of your person. When I was younger I didn't know how people would react. I knew how my family would react and that was my safe space. I didn't want people to react to me negatively, but that was based on the assumption that they would. In the past year or so I’ve come to terms with understanding myself and my strengths a bit more.” Georgie said she that, despite her CF, she is able to do all the things she would like to, “it is what it is. I'm used to living this lifestyle and it’s an integral part of my life so I build my days around it. I fit everything around what I need to do to manage my health.”
Georgie has gotten involved with the charity Cystic Fibrosis New Zealand in the last few years to offer support to other sufferers online and to meet and support parents and family members. “I wanted to get involved because I personally felt like I’ve never been atypical to CF. I think I can break a lot of assumptions, but it doesn't mean I don’t experience those things. I still experience having to do treatments, have to look after myself and spend time in hospital. I’ve spent a lot of time in hospitals, to be honest, not as much as some, and I’m lucky in that way.” Georgie stresses that it’s not so much the person with CF who struggles, but the family who struggles to support that person. “When I noticed how my friends and family supported me and how it impacted positively on my health, it was so empowering, rather than making me feel like I have this massive disability that I can’t handle. I was like, shit, people need to hear this.”
Since being involved with CF New Zealand Georgie has had many people reach out to her, including mothers of newborn babies who have just received their diagnosis. “It was so empowering for me to go in there and be like I’m 20, you are going to be fine,” Georgie said.
Coming down from Christchurch for university, Georgie hopes to be living in Dunedin for the next few years to further her experience in entrepreneurship and the local start-up community in Dunedin. “I feel like entrepreneurship seems unapproachable. There's an awesome community facilitated by a company called Startup Dunedin who have a whole bunch of accelerated programs running,” she said. Georgie is passionate about minimising waste and sustainability, coming together with a group of mates she met through Startup Dunedin’s accelerated program, Waste Jam. Together they devised a model dedicated to minimising construction and demolition waste.
After looking into some local charities through Startup, Georgie realised there were problems with staff rollover, sparking her interest in the sector and consequently resulting in her new venture, Upskill Recruitment. “I’m trying to link students and employers and find a platform to do that. I thought ‘what a cool idea if charities could get rolling students instead and have staff directed projects.’” She says Upskill is something she wants to do on her own “to prove that I can do it”.
In November, Georgie is heading off to China for an innovation lab to try and solve sustainable development goals. While she’s over there she hopes to travel around China looking for sustainable textiles and get more of a handle on the clothing and textile industry, where she can see herself working in the future.