What's your 30-second elevator speech?
This changes on a regular basis, dependent on which project I’m pitching. But the common denominator across all of them is: "Picture yourself exploring fields of icebergs on the Antarctic Peninsula."
Who inspires you the most to be the best you can be as a person?
This is such a good question. But if I want to answer it most precisely, I might have to change the wording a little too "what" inspires me the most as sometimes it is people, but at other times it is ideas or problems or observations. For the most part, I think what inspires me to be a better person is seeing others doing what they’re passionate about and thriving. Whether it is in professional settings or personal, and that’s probably the best thing about Motive. You’re always surrounded by people working so hard at their projects because they're wholly invested in it and so passionate. It’s a constant source of inspiration.
How long have you been in your current role, and what does it involve?
I currently have a few roles. I do Antarctic operations for Intrepid Travel, I’m the co-founder and organiser of the Frank Hurley Photography Awards, and I'm a photographer in a more traditional sense. Across all these, the "JD" is always in a bit of a state of flux and spans very sort of mechanical tasks like logistics management through to the literal "art" of photography. My career, however, has always sat in the middle of a sort of venn diagram of photography and Antarctica. So almost all my projects and tasks are somehow interfacing with one or both of those things.
What was your biggest hurdle during COVID-19?
I was an expedition leader on a ship in Antarctica when Covid-19 broke out. We were stuck off the coast of Uruguay for a week. We were forced to appeal to South American authorities to establish a "sanitary corridor" to get us out via a chartered aircraft. This was probably the single biggest professional hurdle I’ve faced thus far. In a number of ways, I'm very grateful for it.
I have several close friends who often lend their support and ideas. But when looking at bigger picture influences, I often turn to authors, philosophers, leaders. Kim Ellis at the Australian Antarctic Division is a great and constant source of leadership innovation.
What does life look like outside of your business profile? What do you like doing for fun?
Due to the nature of my work, my professional and personal lives cross over immensely. For fun, I like to pick up a camera and go for a good walk. Surfing and getting in the ocean is also a constant source of energy, exercise, and my "reset" button if I need one during the week.
Is there anything you would like to promote? or anything you'd like to offer help with?
I’m always thrilled to talk about literally anything to do with business and entrepreneurship. Even more so, I love to talk about photography and Antarctica. If anyone needs photography tips, please don’t be reticent to reach out. And if you’ve thought about going to the Antarctic, I’m happy to provide advice wherever I can. I’m leading my expedition there in 2022 if anyone might be interested in joining. But before then, any budding photographers can enter the Frank Hurley Photography Awards for a chance to score a free trip anyway.