Juliette Aucamp’s choice of café says a lot about her. It’s somewhere she’s never been in a neighbourhood she’s still actively discovering. It’s clear Juliette is not someone who is ever going to be content to going to the same place over and over. She’s an explorer from way back. Which is how she found herself in Düsseldorf 9 months ago, and how we find ourselves at Café Aroma in Meerbusch settling in for a long afternoon chat that is filled with many, many stories and lots of laughs.
Juliette is a Business Intelligence partner at Vodafone – a conduit between business and IT. Having worked for Vodafone in South Africa, the Düsseldorf position was an internal transfer that she had not actively pursued until her husband pointed out that Düsseldorf was right in the middle of Europe. Interest piqued, she flew to Germany and fell in love.
1. Where are you happiest?
“With my people. I could be anywhere as long as I have my people. I would be okay stranded on an island or in an ice cave if they were there. I love the beach. I love the sea and diving, but where my people are that’s where I’m happiest.”
2. If someone gave you 100K for a legacy project what would you do with it?
“Can I split it? I’m a big sea and animal person. I would spend half on an awareness program in impoverished countries…a campaign on protecting the ocean from pollution. I would also save abused animals. For me the most terrible thing is to watch animals being abused and tormented.”
3. What is your favourite possession?
“Camera, camera, camera, camera, camera. Anyone who has a camera lives that moment over and over.”
4. What’s one thing that is just outside your comfort zone?
“I don’t believe in living in comfort zones…You only grow when you’re outside your comfort zone. I like the bumps when life jumps you out…I love people who grow…I loving seeing how surprised people are by themselves when they grow.”
5. If you could invite one person for dinner who would it be and what would you want to ask them?
Side note: So let’s just say that Juliette’s dinner will not be a table for one. It went from an intimate dinner for one, to a banquet hall packed with fascinating people. (She messaged us a few extra additions later in the day!) The following is a consolidated list…
“Significant people who have made significant changes that have changed the course of our being. People who go against the grain and make controversial decisions. I would want to show them the world now and ask ‘Did you expect this?’ or ‘What were you thinking?’
I don’t want people who started wars at my dinner…
Nelson Mandela. I would like to pick his brain, to have more of an understanding of the concept of what he wanted…his philosophy of intercultural acceptance.
James Dean. I would love to meet him and introduce him to my husband and say ‘See! I told you, you were just like him!’
Jan van Riebeeck. I would like to ask him ‘Oh, brother, what happened?! What was the plan??’
Mother Theresa. She can definitely come to my dinner.
Princess Diana. She changed so many things. She made people reach inside themselves…I remember being in the car and hearing that she died and my mother having to pull over to the side of the road because she was crying so hard.
Oprah Winfrey. Successful business women! Changed the world for Females on TV and also her Humanitarian work.
Sheryl Sandberg. Lean in! Corporate Strong female leader.
So….I would add them to the list.
My Dad and my Mum…My Dad always used to push me to go and live in Europe. He would say ‘The world is your oyster.’…My Dad passed away when I was really young. I would really love him to meet my husband and to see where I am now.”