Life, like for most people, has been full of hurdles. At 18, I found myself for the second time in a year sitting at the funeral of a good friend. I witnessed first-hand what the phrase “taken too young” looked like. University hadn’t been the place full of hopes and dreams that I had been pitched, and I couldn’t quite work out what I was supposed to look like, sound like, or feel like in this big bad world.

 
 

So I went traveling to try and “find myself”, but rather than doing a Contiki tour through Europe, I spent a month volunteering in an orphanage in Thailand (one of the legit ones) supported by an Australian charity called Hands Across the Water. I was reminded of my place in the world, and reminded of the fact that I had something valuable to contribute. Coming home I threw myself into full time work, going from strength to strength, quickly progressing into leadership positions at some of Australia’s biggest charities including Compassion Australia, World Vision Australia and finally landing here, at Cure Brain Cancer Foundation. Australia’s most innovative, fastest growing charity, where I’m looking after a portfolio of work far beyond my years.

 
 

I wouldn’t change my journey for anything, but one thing I realized is that the world has a lot of predispositions about young people. That we’re talked about as being entitled, lazy, demanding and narcissistic, but the data about the way that we approach work, and philanthropy, indicates otherwise. So I set about bringing a young voice to the research. To become a part of the conversation about how our world can be wired to help nurture young people, rather than perpetuating a stereotype. In my very short life I’ve received the Australian Defense Force Award for Leadership, I’ve attended the National Student Leaders Forum and the Women in Leadership symposium after nominations from people in my world. I’ve been shortlisted for a University of Newcastle Alumni Medal, and nominated for the BandT 30under30 list.

I’ve taken on Young Hands, forming a group of young people who know their place in the world and are inspired to make a difference. I’ve been invited to be an Ambassador for The Awesome Foundation and in the last year I’ve had the incredible opportunity to speak at a number of different leadership conferences, corporate development dinners, schools and universities. Elbowing my way into the conversation about young people in our world.