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Marianne Elliott used to be a lawyer. For many years she worked in human rights. She was responsible for developing a long-term strategy for human rights in New Zealand. She learned that people use stories to explain what human rights mean to them, and that politicians need stories to understand why human rights matter.
Elliott also worked with the Government of Timor-Leste on the development of a human rights strategy. In Timor-Leste, she discovered the importance of listening and the value of a beginner’s mind: the ability to bring fresh eyes and curiosity to every situation and story.
Elliott worked for two years with a human rights organization in the Gaza Strip, learning everything she knows about resilience from her Palestinian colleagues, and how humor can bring light to even the darkest story.
Later, in Afghanistan she headed up a new provincial office for the United Nations Mission in Afghanistan, where she co-wrote a UNIFEM report on Gender-Based Violence in Afghanistan. She learned the difference between striving for change and being of service. These days, Elliott aims to be of service.
She has helped small non-government organizations overhaul their management and governance structures to make better use of their most valuable resource, their people. She has helped large development organizations streamline overloaded work plans and focus on those things they did better than anyone else. She has facilitated strategic planning processes for organizations and individuals, co-managed the merger of two crown entities and designed and managed national consultation processes.
She’s also the regional leader for Off the Mat, Into the World in New Zealand and Australia and teaches workshops using the tools of yoga to support sustainable, conscious activism. She started 30 Days of Yoga to help others establish a regular practice at home.