Berry Liberman is an incredible (and incredibly busy) woman. Berry wears many hats, she’s the Editor of Dumbo Feather magazine, she sits on the board of the Melbourne Festival and she’s a social entrepreneur, but her stand-out favourite hat of all? Mum of two, with another on the way.
Let’s start with an easy one. How do you choose who you profile in Dumbo Feather?
We argue a lot about it, and we are building lists all the time…people we know make suggestion, and also people we don’t know! We have a big list internally inside the office that we all add our wants to, then we have a process to determine who gets to the top of the list and then we battle it out.
Sounds fun! So then, what’s your favourite part of the creative process?
When it’s crunch time. I love it when the pressure is on and we have to put the magazine together, like now (Dumbo is about to go to print!). We all get into very intense, very deep conversations about why we’re doing what we’re doing, so the content is always flushed through a pretty strong debate process of why this issue, why this content, why this spread, why this layout, why these images. That’s the part I love the most, when it gets very… muscular.
Let’s make this clear, you’re the editor of a magazine about to hit print point, you’re about to be a mum for the third time, AND you run a company. We’d love to know what your top tips are for staying sane?
Umm. A nanny that you love and that your children love is really important, so that person is a part of your family. And a good partnership, so Dan (Berry’s husband and business partner) and I, we co-parent, we’re both very connected to our family’s rhythm, what the kids need, what we need. And prioritising, it sounds naf, but you have to know what’s at the absolute top of your list, and for us it’s the kids and our relationship, so if that ever feels like it’s not humming, we drop everything else to make sure that we nourish our family. And we make sure that we nourish a meaningful life between us, and that’s our work. Our work and our family, it comes from the same value system, the same values base, that’s how you do it. But not to be trite, it’s bloody hard and I am full of guilt a lot of the time but I’m getting better at prioritising. I am naturally a very disorganised and spontaneous person, so I can’t really cater to that, I have to be organised and it’s good, it’s very good discipline.
It sounds like the key is your support network?
Yes, an amazing support network is key, you can’t do it without that. I have that at home and then I come into work and there’s another support network, so the two really work together. Which is very lucky, I mean we own and run the business so we’re not under the pump from someone else telling us what to do, we get to determine that, which means we work most nights. We always do pick ups, we go home, we do bedtime, bathtime, we have dinner together and then dinner is usually a work dinner, leading into a night of work. I sleep more than Dan does, but I try to be in bed by 11pm especially now that I’m pregnant.
You talk about living a meaningful life, what does that mean to you?
Living a meaningful life, I think, is having an authentic alignment between your personal life and your working life, I think doing meaningful work is fundamental – because all of us have so much to give and if you can put it in a context, a framework and channel it and focus it to doing something and contributing something meaningful to the world that’s incredible. And family, for me, is an incredibly meaningful journey.
Final question: When was the last time you did something for the first time?
Oh my god. I’ve never had a third child. I don’t know! Do you know when the last time you did something for the first time was?!
Ok, let’s rephrase, when was the last time you did something that scared you?
I do stuff that scares me all the time, but it’s within the context of the same! I feel like I’m constantly being pushed and pushing myself, in that I never thought that I’d really be able to do the family and work thing to the extent that I am. But I’ve found that the more I put on, the more I am able to do, which has been an amazing thing for me to see – to my great shock!
Doing things for the first time, I’m really not in that time of my life, there’s so much that I want to do but it really is a timing thing, and I think that’s a really important question for women, “Can you do it all?” “Not at the same time!” So right now, to look at it, I would say that I have it all, but I don’t have carefree travel, great nights’ sleep, the ability to experiment and explore new things all the time. I’m in a routine, and by the way, that’s how you juggle family as well, the routine saves your life. And so I’m in that probably for ten years, which for some people would feel like a huge sacrifice, but for me, there’s time.
There is an interview with one of our favourite women, the incredible Vandana Shiva, in the current issue of Dumbo Feather Magazine, Vandana is an Indian philosopher and eco-warrior and you can read her Dumbo Interview here.
Disclosure: Berry and her husband Dan own Small Giants, an impact investment company – which also happens to be one of TOM Organic’s business partners. We’re not interviewing Berry because she works with us, we just think she’s a pretty darn incredible woman!