Member Q&A - James Pole


Each month we talk to a PSA Youth member and find out about their work and passions.

If you want to be involved in this feature let us know at psay@psa.org.nz

This month we talk to James Pole, Digital Media Coordinator, Deaf Aotearoa, from Auckland.

James PoleWhat were you initial thoughts on signing up to do this Q&A?

Gosh, someone thinks I’m interesting enough to be interviewed?!

What is your job and what do you do on an average day at work?

I’m the Digital Media Coordinator for Deaf Aotearoa (and unoffically the office IT geek!).

I compile Deaf Aotearoa’s weekly national e-newsletter, the CommUNITY Weekly, which goes out to over 1,300 subscribers all over New Zealand. As far as we know we are the only Deaf organisation in the world to send out a national newsletter each week to the Deaf community.

Much of the newsletter is translated into New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL) videos, most of which I produce. We also work with government departments to translate important announcements into NZSL video. I also look after the Deaf Aotearoa website and social media accounts.

What was a highlight at work for you in the past month?

Every four years the World Federation of the Deaf organises an international conference where thousands of Deaf people from all corners of the globe meet.

Their next conference is being held next year in Istanbul, Turkey. Deaf Aotearoa staff were given the opportunity to apply for special leave to go to the conference – which I was successful in getting.

So I’m off overseas next year to the conference for a week then I’ll be going on holiday for two weeks to the UK and the US. Needless to say, I’m pretty excited about that!

What would you say is the hardest thing about your job?

Being a Deaf person working for Deaf Aotearoa has it challenges. When I am socialising with Deaf people at Deaf community events in my own time it is not uncommon for Deaf people to assume I am there on my ‘work’ time and thus available to provide work-related services on the spot. So often I have to make the boundaries between my ‘work’ time and my ‘personal’ time clear.

What brought you to join the PSA and the PSA Youth network?

The PSA did a presentation at my workplace. I didn’t realise quite a lot of things about the PSA (including the fact I could join as an employee of a community organisation) so I joined very soon after! I think the PSA is quite an important institution which has been hugely influential in making sure workers have a high standard of work conditions and we need to work together to make sure we continue that legacy.

Name some things you like about the PSA Youth network

I attended a PSA Youth conference about two years ago and was amazed at the amount of energy buzzing around. I left thinking the PSA’s future is in very safe hands with lots of energetic people ready to take the lead!

What is your vision for youth in the PSA?

I think for the PSA (or, indeed, any organisation anywhere) to survive they need to develop youths’ leadership potential so they become great leaders and able to lead the organisation into the future. This is something Deaf Aotearoa is doing as well through their youth section called Magnet so I see many parallels in many organisations. So basically my vision is for today’s youth to become tomorrow’s leaders not just in the PSA but everywhere.

How about when you aren't at work?  What else do you like to do with your time?

I play a really cool augmented reality game called Ingress. It’s a smartphone app where you explore (in the real world) different locations using the GPS in the phone. There are two teams and the aim of the game is to capture portals and link them up to earn points for your team. It’s really fun to play and as a bonus all the walking around finding portals keeps me fit as well!

What are your three favourite foods?

I am pretty obsessed with clean eating, so lean meat and organic fruit and vegetables. They keep my energy levels up and I don’t get sick as often as I used to before I started clean eating. Although, I don’t mind the odd junk food (chocolate comes to mind!) every now and then!

What are your three loves?
Travelling, I try to go overseas at least once every year (even if it’s just over the ditch!)

My iPhone (yep, I probably couldn’t live without it…)

Trains and planes (I just had to sneak a fourth one in!)

What are your three pet peeves?

People who make assumptions about what Deaf people can (or can’t) do.

People who don’t put recyclable stuff in the recycling bin (grrr).

Buses and trains that don’t run to schedule.

What advice would you give your 18year old self?

Stop eating so much junk food, it’s not good for you! (Not that my 18-year-old self would listen anyway haha…).

Anything else you would like to add?

I think I’ve said enough :)