Experiential learning leads to innovative business management
Encouraged to think innovatively during his education at the Christchurch Rudolf Steiner School, Thoje Hood moved onto a multi-faceted career encompassing property management, charity directorship and membership on an educational board.
“I am a strong believer in experiential learning because it creates choices, encourages creativity and gives you the ability to reflect and develop as a person. For me, learning how to think creatively while I was at CRSS has helped me be more innovative with my businesses,” said Thoje.
Developing a strong relationship, characterised by open communication, with his teachers at school, Thoje sees the style of teaching at CRSS as central to his success in business now.
“I really enjoyed the way we were encouraged to interact and freely speak our thoughts about subjects when we were at school. This allowed for a two-way communication with the teachers which allowed us to gain more meaning of a subject. An education at a Steiner school encourages innovation but you can only be innovative when you truly understand something and how it works. This style of teaching helped me to develop my ability to communicate openly and I use that skill in my work every day.”
Having started up a property management firm called ROC Property Management at age 21, Thoje was managing 100 properties and two employees before he sold the business in 2007. Retaining a portfolio of properties in Christchurch, Thoje moved his career into a new direction.
“I have always had a passion for teaching so I studied for an adult education diploma through the University. As part of my course, I researched the charity industry and I didn’t like what I saw. I wanted to be more engaged with where I gave my money so I started up my own charity called Toi Toi Manawa which is an environmental centre for learning and innovation based in Canterbury. The charity has been running for a year and I have just moved it to the Bay of Plenty where I now live. I am the trustee, program developer and chairperson of the advisory board, travelling to Christchurch for our board meetings on a quarterly basis.”
Thoje is also on an educational board in place to help create programmes to engage shareholders in a large corporation and will be running the first programme in November. Not content to rest on his laurels, Thoje also has some interesting plans for his future.
“I am currently looking at investing in a farm with others because I am sick and tired of eating food that is low in nutrients. I am also considering starting up a consultancy firm that helps institutes to become more efficient and socially responsible.”