Jodie Wainwright, the 318th person I’ve met on my quest to have lunch with 500 strangers, wants the world to be a better place, so she works for an organisation where she can effect change, even if it’s just one person at a time.

Jodie started out in traditional corporate roles, but always felt like something was missing.

These days, as the CEO of Milk Crate Theatre, Jodie is doing work that perfectly aligns with her values.

Milk Crate Theatre is a not-for-profit organisation that gives people whose voices are under-represented – those who are homeless, are living in insecure housing or have a disability – the opportunity to learn skills and find community through theatre. With the help of professional performers, they devise performance works – which are based on their experiences and tends to include a social justice theme – and then act in the production.

Jodie says participants can experience profound changes during the months-long process. At the start, they may have little self-confidence, as many have been ignored or rejected by mainstream society. But once they’re given the opportunity to work with others and express their creativity, they grow their skills and self-belief, which empowers their aspirations for the future.

Jodie believes there’s power in stories, from the life experiences all of us accumulate to the messages that get delivered through theatrical productions. But she worries that in a fast-paced, individualistic world, it’s easy to miss out on hearing other people’s stories unless you consciously seek them out.

I’m glad Jodie is doing work that means so much to her and that she was so interested in my story that she agreed to meet for lunch.