Founder of The Change Box
Katie de Rooy is a lover of many things. From coffee to wellness, to Google (essential for modern-day learning), her dog Rupert and even collaboration tribe Collabosaurus – but it’s her extreme passion for ethical purchasing and sustainability that landed her a home here at The Cool Career.
When you have braved the stage with Lisa Messenger, and received media coverage in The Box Bureau, you may think that you are on the path to “making it”, but to this down to earth babe, making a difference in the world is all that counts.
In today’s interview, you will discover how Katie, maneuvered her way through three very different high schools, to her first job as a behavioural therapist for children with autism, to how she created The Change Box.
Katie is a mover, a trailblazer and hell-bent on living life on her own terms. She is also devoted to her cause…
“It is my hope that each and every single Change Box inspires a ripple effect of positive change in the world”.
Let’s find out how she did it!
Hi Katie, Welcome… it’s fantastic that you can join us here to share your wisdom. Take us to the very beginning
Oh goodness, where do I start? I grew up in North Brisbane, Queensland on about two acres. We had chickens, ducks, dogs and birds and my sister and I were always running around and playing outside. Growing up my Mum was a teacher and my Dad was a property developer and business owner. They were, and are still, both very passionate and energetic about their careers and I always knew I wanted to have the same feeling about mine. My mum always strongly encouraged us to read and, in turn, this helped me develop a sense of imagination and open-mindedness to different possibilities which definitely helped in giving me the confidence to start my own business.
Where did you go to High School and how was that experience for you?
During high school, I went to three different schools; an Anglican school, a Steiner school and then a distance education school. As a kid, I had always gone to quite small schools and the Anglican school was the first larger school. The number of people really overwhelmed me at first, but it was definitely a great experience in pushing me outside my comfort zone. I then had a short stint at a Steiner school which I really did not enjoy it. I quickly swapped to a distance education school which I loved. From a very young age, I’ve been quite introverted and high school made me realise that while I love being around others I am often energised by smaller, more quiet settings. It helped me learn how to work independently and helped me develop a stronger sense of self-belief.
Three different high schools, wow! that must have been intense. Did your high school play an important role in helping you choose your further education and future career?
The last two years of high school definitely played a role in helping me choose the next step (studying psychology) and then eventually running my own business. In the last two years of high school my favourite subjects were Modern and Ancient History as well as Legal Studies. From these subjects, I developed an interest in psychology, human behaviours and helping others. As I was studying through distance education, I was able to plan my own schedule and manage my own time. This also motivated me to want more control over my career and what I ended up doing. You only have classes a few times a week so often you are pushed to figure things out by yourself and this created a sense of independence in me, which definitely helped when starting and growing my own business.
Did you complete any internships or work experience placements in high school? Tell us about that experience.
No, I don’t think so. Did you go to College, University, Tafe or another equivalent? Take us through the courses that you studied and why you chose them?
Yes, I studied psychology at university and graduated with a three-year degree. I actually thoroughly enjoyed studying and it was a great step for me into the next thing. When I first graduated I planned on only taking a year off, however, I quickly realised that I wasn’t sure I wanted to study for another three (or more) years and there were other options.
Haha, yes, studying can get like that sometimes. So tell us about your career journey so far. Who you have worked for, and explain any highlights.
When I finished my degree I worked as a behavioural therapist for children with autism. I absolutely loved this role and working with the kids but wanted to start something of my own.
So, when I wasn’t working I was planning and creating The Change Box. I was really interested in ethical purchasing and starting The Change Box to make it easier for others to make positive buying decisions. Originally, I just started a blog, however, I quickly realised I wasn’t passionate about it and dropped it.
When I started building the Instagram, Facebook, and Website for The Change Box people were really interested so I ran with the idea and it’s grown from there.
How did you get the job that you are in now?
I built it (with the help of some amazing people!).
What is the hardest part of your current job at The Change Box?
I wouldn’t say I find any aspect of my current role ‘hard.’ Sometimes, you go through learning periods, when running your own business. Almost like a game, you are trying to figure out how to get to the next level, sometimes it can feel like you are throwing things at a wall and just waiting to see what sticks but when something does work it’s an incredible sense of achievement. So, it’s definitely worth the, often, frustrating learning period.
What does a day a typical business day look like for you?
Routine is something that I am definitely working on as every day is different and it can often be a little bit of a crazy mess.
Emails are a big part of my life, haha, followed closely by planning and running marketing campaigns.We always have big ideas coming up and every day is working towards achieving those.It’s often a crazy mess of customer service, marketing, packing boxes, content creation, social media, and more.
Who has been your hero, or greatest inspiration growing up and why?
Both my mum and dad have greatly inspired me in different ways. They both inspired me to create a career that I was passionate and energetic about. My mum is always learning and very passionate about helping others and I was always deeply inspired to have a career in a helping profession because of the change I saw her create in the live’s of others. My dad started his business at a young age and is a very determined, patient person and I admire his ability to cleverly build something that lasts. He has been a huge inspiration and help in assisting me in building The Change Box.
What advice would you give girls who are interested in your career?
Just jump right in and get started! Google is your best friend, so go a little bit crazy with Google and learning in general. Always focus on growing and investing in yourself and don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it.
List your most valuable resources that you turn to constantly for inspiration!
- Favourite Websites: The Cusp. I always find something inspiring or helpful here.
- Name an Instagram Account that you can’t go a day without checking: Collabosaurus, Lorraine Murphy and The Change Box (haha).
- Favourite Podcast: I’ve been listening to The Guide to Growth by Helena Murphy and From The Vault with Tony Robbins. Both of these are golden and it takes me at least 3 different tries to listen to the whole episode without stopping and doing something or writing down a big idea.
- Favourite Netflix Series: I don’t have a Netflix series that always inspires me but I do have go-to movies if I am feeling unmotivated. They are The Intern (which is no longer on Netflix!) and Legally Blonde.
- Favourite all-time book/s: The Defining Decade by Meg Jay. My copy of this book is old and worn as I have been reading it at least once a year ever since I finished Year 12. I always take away something new and it always gives me a good boost of motivation and clarity. I had my first public speaking event a few months ago and the night before I read the whole first section of this book and it helped me approach the event with purpose and confidence.
- People: My partner, Josh, constantly gives me inspiration and confidence. He’s always confident in himself and his ideas and it’s infectious. He always moves on quickly when he makes a mistake and never wastes time being hard on himself which I highly admire.
- Others: My dog, Rupert, brightens up every single day of my life and reminds me never to take anything too seriously (other than the post-lady, we should definitely be very worried about her!).