Simon J. Costa
Nelson Mandela once said, “Overcoming poverty is not a task of charity, it is an act of justice.” In this perspective, Simon J. Costa is the judge, jury and executive power.
The 52-year-old Australian has been recognised for his services to the disadvantaged within Australia and internationally with the Pride of Australia Medal, appointed a Senior Officer of the Order of Australia and awarded a Global Humanitarian Award by the United Nations.
Costa describes his life journey as being separated into two distinct halves. “During the first half I was driven by a relentless pursuit of success. In my second half, I still have the same determination, but I am now pursuing significance.”
“Everywhere I went, the priority was studying the problem – not solving the problem. There was severe malnutrition in regions where tonnes of food was being produced and never consumed; the result of inefficient agricultural and supply chain practices.”
Never a person to settle for mediocrity, Costa is always pushing boundaries. At age 37, he became the head of one of Australia’s largest private organisations, controlling multiple companies and employing over 13,000 people. He had wealth, power and influence. At age 44 Costa began reflecting on his purpose in life and the legacy he wanted to leave behind. “I did not feel a meaningful legacy would be represented by the amount of money I had in my bank account or the number of properties I leave to my children. I began exploring ways in which I could use the gifts I had been blessed with to benefit others.”
In 2011, Costa made the life-changing decision to step away from all corporate responsibilities and tackle two of the world’s most significant problems – starvation and poverty in developing countries. Costa joined the United Nations as a volunteer, focusing on improving the lives of people in sub-Saharan Africa whose existence revolved around agriculture. “I never expected the work would become such a passion for me, nor did I anticipate I would stay involved for over seven years.”
“I did not feel a meaningful legacy would be represented by the amount of money I had in my bank account or the number of properties I leave to my children. I began exploring ways in which I could use the gifts I had been blessed with to benefit others.”
The compassionate businessman was initially shocked to discover the scale of the food loss in the region and the lack of urgency to address the causal issues. Working with the UN World Food Program, Costa and his team launched a pilot program involving 2000 farms in East and West Africa. The success of the project attracted strong donor support and expanded to involve over 100,000 farming families over the following years.
A study conducted by MIT University (Boston) revealed the education and technologies introduced by Costa’s team resulted in a staggering 98% reduction in food loss and provided a pathway towards global food security, greatly reducing poverty and starvation.
Since returning to Australia at the end of 2018, Costa has remained highly active. His new company, Inspiring-Leader, supports CEOs and executives in becoming more effective business leaders. Not surprisingly, Costa gives 100% of his fees to charity.
前南非总统 Nelson Mandela 曾经说过:“战胜贫困不是慈善的任务，而是正义的行动。”从这个角度解析，Simon J. Costa同时集法官、陪审团和行政力量于一身。
他从来不是一个甘于平庸的人，总是在挑战极限。37岁时，身为澳大利亚最大的私人组织之一的负责人，掌管着多家公司，手下拥有超过1.3万名员工，可谓是财富、权力和影响力兼具。 而44岁时, Costa开始反思他的人生目标和名下的财产。“我觉得有意义的遗产并非银行账户里有多少钱，或者要留给孩子多少资产，而是开始思索如何利用我所被赐予的一切来造福他人。”
By Billie Ooi-Ng Lean Gaik