Silvia Zuur

Silvia Zuur is the co-founder and CEO of the social enterprise Chalkle – an online community platform that aims to connect people and organisations that have things to teach, with people who want to learn. Silvia was a finalist in the Women of Influence Awards 2013 and nominated Wellingtonian of the Year for her work with Chalkle and the social enterprise sector. She is also a board member of Enspiral – a network of social entrepreneurs and social enterprises. She has a degree in Environmental Science and Psychology, and is experienced facilitator and event planner (having organised the Social Enterprise conference and UX Design Day in Wellington in 2013).


What’s happening in the world of Silvia Zuur for 2014? 

Chalkle. Enspiral. Turning 30. But, at the same time what is happening in my world is very much affected by what is happening out in the world. 

I have been reading the book, In the Land of the Long White Cloud, which a friend gave to me, it is about two women who arrived in New Zealand in the mid 1800’s to arranged marriages. So I have been thinking a lot about Aotearoa's history and all the things that have come before me on this land and how can I hold respect to it all and learn from it – everything from how these women arrived here, to all that happened before their feet even touched these soils. And at the same time I have been thinking about Women’s role in leadership. I have been thinking about people like Kate Sheppard and her championing for the women’s vote – and how with the election approaching there seems to be so much apathy and voting is just taken for granted.

So that is some of what is happening in my world at the moment … the history of this land and her people, the role of women, our political system …  If you ask tomorrow – I’ll probably give a different answer with different questions and ponderings.


Describe the most generous person you know. How have they influenced you?

I looked up the definition of the word generous and found this: “showing a readiness to give more of something … than is strictly necessary or expected.”

In that case to be honest most of the people around me are ridiculously generous. I have been real lucky over the last 10 years to live and work with incredible people. 

My flatmates – in Switzerland and Wellington I have lived with the most magical generous people. I love sharing and developing my questions and ideas over the dinner table with them. Katie, John, Chelsea, Ants, Will, Logan, Corinna … 

My workmates – at Enspiral and also the whole crew that I worked with overseas – so many awesome people doing awesome stuff and constantly going beyond the 9–5. My colleagues have been people who show a readiness to give beyond what is expected. I think they have all influenced me to love my work and love coming home.


Can you name an everyday action that makes the world a better place, yet is underrated?

Saying yes. 

It can be so easy to say ‘no’, and saying yes is a generous deed. It opens up an opportunity for something new. Imagine if more people in the world said yes!


Can you tell us three things that inspire you and why? 

Enspiral. Every day I go to work and I feel inspired by the people around me. 

My sisters. One is in Vancouver and one is in Sweden. They are inspiring young women who are out there changing the world. In prisons, farms, offices and yoga studios – they bring inspiration to their and my worlds daily.

My Chickens and Garden. My life can be pretty busy with #allthethings – so I find my space, time and renewed inspiration by pottering around the house and hanging out in the garden with my chickens. A beanbag in the backyard with a good book in the sunshine is the best inspiration recharger.

I guess it always come back to people and the environment, it is why I focused my uni degree in that direction and also where I get my inspiration. I want my work and my source of inspiration to be intertwined and to come from people and the environment.

Learn more about Chalkle at