Designing a Life of Purpose – An Interview with Gideon Soares

28 May 2018

24-year old Gideon Soares grew up in West Auckland and has always had a passion for design. He studied Industrial Design at Victoria University of Wellington and then completed a Masters of Design Innovation.

Gideon Soares

“My thesis focused on the expression on New Zealand male masculine identities in the design and manufacture of consumer products. Although extremely challenging, my Masters experience was invaluable in terms of the expertise I acquired,” says Gideon.

He is currently working on contract as a Service Designer within the Ministry of Social Development, helping in the design and development of a series of workshops that are being run in four locations (Dunedin, Christchurch, Auckland, and Rotorua).

He’s entrepreneurial in nature and “is currently working on lighting, furniture, jewellery and electric skateboard proposals. I’ve also set up my own company producing men’s beard oils.”

Outside of work, Gideon enjoys weightlifting and is training towards his first powerlifting competition. He’s also a keen volunteer at his church, where he has been a young adult leader for the last three years.

“This position consists of mentoring and leading a group of young people, both in their personal and spiritual lives. I am responsible for organising and structuring a biweekly ‘life group’ with about 20 young people, hosted at my flat. During this gathering, I provide dinner; arrange a game or ice breaker for any newcomers to make them feel welcome; conduct a study based on the series being taught at our church’s Sunday service; and offer guidance to those looking for counsel who have something in their life they are struggling with,” says Gideon.

“The purpose of my position is to foster community, and essentially ‘do life together’ with these young people. They are all approximately the same age, and in similar stages of life. It is my role to create a family environment that makes people feel comfortable and accepted. This role has proved both challenging, yet rewarding and I have thoroughly enjoyed stepping into this opportunity to leverage my leadership skills. Furthermore, I organise regular one-on-one catch-ups with the males in my care, if they want to express themselves outside of a group environment, or are in need of further mentoring in a more private setting,” he says.

We asked Gideon what he saw as presenting the greatest challenges and opportunities for young people in today’s world. He pointed towards technology and automation.

“Young people need to learn to work with or build /maintain the new developments in tech that are occurring. I believe divergent or creative thought and process will become more highly valued as artificial intelligence (AI) continues to develop and becomes more and more a part of our everyday lives. I see this future as something to be cautious but enthusiastic about.”

For more information on Gideon’s design work, visit his website.