In the autumn of 2021, the second round of the development program for future leaders of NGOs has started. We asked all participants five questions. Meet Kaimai Kuldkepp.
Who are you and what do you do?
I’m Kaimai and I have equal commitment to the environment and human rights. I deal with environmental issues daily in Green Tiger and with equality in the Feministeerium.
I could describe my journey as a great discovery, where learning is a continuous process and change are an inevitable part of development. For example, it only became clear when I was studying economics at TalTech’s master’s program that I was actually interested in human behavior, so I went to study organizational behavior at Tallinn University. In addition to my university education, I have also found myself studying printing technology at the Polytechnic school or acquiring a coaching profession – I have already been active as a snowboard coach for 15 years and founded the largest mountain sports school in Estonia. In my previous career in the private sector, I have gained long-term management experience, but when navigating the world of NGOs, I sometimes feel like Alice in Wonderland.
Why did you join the Future Leaders Development Program and what do you hope to learn from it?
In 2021, I suddenly jumped from the private sector to the activities of non-governmental organizations and now I feel like a schoolchild devouring knowledge – everything is new, exciting and challenging. The Future Leaders program seems like a wonderful helper for orientation in the field, setting goals and making contacts.
What kind of change would you most like to see in Estonian society or in the wider world?
I dream of a communal society where life moves slowly, and the well-being of people and the rest of nature comes first. More precisely, I dream of a society where there is no need to deal with any of the issues that I come across in my work daily. Where there would be no need to either push people to green changes or stand up for biodiversity. Where there is no need to worry about equal treatment or talk about victims of violence. These examples may seem far from each other, but the root causes of various problem areas in society often converge at the same hub. And I would most like to see the crumbling of their invisible roots.
Do you hope to contribute to this change and how?
I made an unexpected career turn in my life to create opportunities to change the world by working in NGOs. Every day I take small steps towards the society of my dreams.
A book, film, show, podcast, person or any other important influence, that inspired you and that you would recommend to others.
I am currently reading Rebecca Solnit’s book “Hope in the Dark”, which gives hope that changes in society are taking place even when progress towards the better seems impossible. For me, it is comforting to realize how all revolutionary turning points throughout history have appeared unexpectedly, but as a result of the joint contribution of long-term committed people. As a similar reading experience, I would also recommend Rutger Bregman’s book “Humanity: A Promising History”, which tries to prove that our tendency to see and highlight negativity has blinded us, so we sometimes don’t notice humanity’s greatest transformative forces, goodness and collectivity.
One of my favorite books is “Daddy, where are we going?” by Jean-Louis Fournier. Only 100 pages, but both tears and laughter are guaranteed, mostly at the same time. And to keep a balance as a feminist, I bring the book “Mother’s Milk” by the Latvian writer Nora Ikstena. There is a little less laughter there, but the background of the story is an antipathy to the Soviet system, which today touches many of us particularly deeply.
See more about the development program for future leaders (in estonian).