When Ronni Kahn walks into a room, you know it.
It isn’t just because she is dressed in powerful layered shades of honey, laguna and mustard, her signature colour is yellow. She has a presence. One that is unapologetic and regal, shiny, sincere and on a mission. From the moment she walked onto the stage at PauseFest 2020, there was no need for written flourished speeches, she was there to connect and with a story to tell. She told the story of The Order of The Teaspoon. That is the moment I knew I must chat with Ronni.
Ronni was born in South Africa, moved to Israel and then emigrated to Australia in 1998. In 2004, she founded the food rescue charity, OzHarvest, which started as a single van in Sydney. She delivered 4,000 meals in the first month. OzHarvest now operates nationally, rescuing over 180 tonnes of food each week from over 3,500 food donors and education has also become a part of this mighty mission.
We asked Ronni where all her energy comes from.
“The power of what I do, I am completely driven by the impact we can make, by the difference it makes and the gratitude I have for what it is that I do. I've always been a positive human being, a combination of presence and finding one’s sacred duty and living every single day in gratitude. Means I am inspired every day of my life.”
So what is a sacred duty to Ronni?
"Sacred duty means I stumbled upon my true calling, which allows me to radiate my life’s force. I am here to serve and do good and to try and live very consciously."
OzHarvest is now a massive social enterprise, a large machine helping so many people with the very basics of food. It is quite intriguing, almost novel that an organisation like this also needing to co-exist within a corporate space has this enigmatic leader driven by purpose rather than the buck. How does this marry together?
"It's all about eclectic leadership, OzHarvest is a magnet for magnificent people," says Ronni.
"It is because it is a blessed organisation, it is unlike any other organisation. It is unique, people walk in and say “we love it!” the energy, we love what it is. Our people are inspired and inspiring; they have chosen to work for a purpose. Purpose at its very core is powerful and true."
"People want to buy purpose at a supermarket- I want some purpose! Can I get some? I don't know what I am supposed to do! It takes more hard work, you have to look inside, align with your values, know what values are. You have to do some inner work, I think absolutely OzHarvest is a very proficient business, it is not just that it has the packaging around it that drives it and protects it. OzHarvest is prosperous because those who are dedicated to it are there to serve others, we aren't here to be the biggest or best. I am not here to be the most widely quoted leader. I am here to serve."
OzHarvest celebrated opening Australia’s first rescued food supermarket – the OzHarvest Market in Sydney this year, based on a ‘take what you need, give if you can’ philosophy. Philosophy is as aspect solidly forged through Ronni's journey as a philanthropist and life changer. A sharer of knowledge and a great communicator; Ronni's story will go to print this year. The book is beautifully titled 'A Repurposed Life'- with the release set for October.
“It is a story about finding your true calling. It's really a memoir of what I have learned over the last 15 years, it starts when I was little and reaches into today. It is vulnerable, scary, honest, and I hope the book resonates with people just like when I talk. This is what I want the book to do. To make people say; I can do this, I want to be the best human being I can be" says the beaming woman in front of me.
We were blessed enough to have Ronni give you this special message The Order of The Teaspoon. I just know you will enjoy this as much as we did.
To find out more about OzHarvest and how you can assist in its mission; go to https://www.ozharvest.org/what-we-do/
If you’re a business that would like to donate food, please call 1800 108 006.
If you would like to donate money to OzHarvest to help them continue their daily work, click here. Every $1 donated means OzHarvest can deliver two meals to Australians in need.