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I don’t think I was ever one of those people who just knew what they wanted to do. But this itself has probably been my biggest blessing, because instead of climbing a set ladder, my career always has (and I believe always will be) a journey and adventure.

Back to the beginning …

If you wanted to find the beginning of my journey, like most, it starts at Uni. I went to the University of South Australia in Adelaide and did a Bachelor of Business, majoring in marketing and minoring in HR. I had been quite involved in the student association AIESEC at Uni and decided that when I graduated, doing an internship overseas was an awesome idea. I’d like to say that the decision was based on many highbrow morals about wanting to experience the world … I think if I was honest with myself, I was terrified at having to find a job without much experience, and this would neatly wrap that all up and sort it out for me.

My first job …

The plan worked and soon enough I found myself landing on the tiny Mediterranean Island known as Malta, for what was meant to be a year-long experience. After a 3-month stint doing a marketing internship at a bank (boring), I hit the jackpot. With the help of some people I still call friends today, I managed to score a 12-month HR internship working with an international start-up and business incubator, iWorld Group, that was based in Malta.

This was it. My opportunity to get into the exact area I wanted to be working in.

I was going great guns at my job, but the CEO had clocked me and challenged me to consider looking beyond HR. Three months into my dream role and I was now being challenged to get into a product management role and I wasn’t event quite sure what that was! Turns out I loved it and this was just the beginning of some amazing doors opening for me. Through my time at iWorld Group I got to take my first work trip (to NYC) and do an incredible FIFO experience (a few weeks in a remote German town followed by a week-ish in Malta).

However, time passed and the small Mediterranean island eventually got a little too small for me and I decided it was time for the big smoke. Off to London I went. Things had been going so well for me in the small pond, why wouldn’t it be even more amazing in London?

Lost in the big smoke …

Unfortunately, whilst I thought big city would equal lots of jobs, what I hadn’t considered was it also meant lots of competition. Getting a job was tough and whilst I was desperate to keep building up my product and project management experience and continue the journey I started in Malta, unfortunately, for the first couple of years, that did not quite work out. I fell back on my marketing degree … at least it paid the bills.

Eventually, Lady Luck looked down on me, and a colleague from my time in Malta connected me with a start-up in London who were on the lookout for someone with my skillset. Although it took some time until they could hire me (waiting for funding is a pain) … I finally found myself back in the start-up scene I loved. This was also the first time I started to fully understand the power of personal brand – my reputation had been 90% responsible for helping to land my new role.

I loved my job and things were going great, however, my one year overseas had by now reached the 7-year mark and the grey skies of London were taking their toll. It was time to come back to Australia and I had Brisbane in my sights.

Unfortunately, whilst I thought big city would equal lots of jobs, what I hadn’t considered was it also meant lots of competition. Getting a job was tough and whilst I was desperate to keep building up my product and project management experience and continue the journey I started in Malta, unfortunately, for the first couple of years, that did not quite work out. I fell back on my marketing degree … at least it paid the bills.

Finally back in Australia … 7 years later

Back in Australia, I again found myself falling back on my marketing skills. I landed the role of Marketing Manager at Vision6, and as it was a brand new role, I found myself starting to realise that it wasn’t the marketing I didn’t like when I was back in London … it was the systems and processes that existed and I had to conform to that which drove me nuts. I was starting to understand that it was the set up and creation phase that I really loved.

And that is fundamentally the catalyst that lead me to where I am today.

My journey as a co-founder

I joined Nadine working part time at the beginning of 2011 (I was initially planning on working part time and studying full time) but then this magical thing happened … we started coming up with all these awesome ideas of things we could do.

Nadine has a background in events, having worked for a production house in London producing large scale conferences across Europe and even New York. However, she knew very early on that she made for a terrible employee and that she wanted to work for herself! However, it was not until we had been working together for a couple of months that we realised how well we complement each other.

And working together on a daily basis naturally meant new that we loved throwing around new ideas.

We were sick of complaining. We wanted to do something about it. So, we created something doing what we do best and created an explosive new event that would help millennials unleash their potential when it comes to career and life.

It was September 2014 and we had had a disastrous year on the recruitment front. Hires that were meant to start and never did, or ones that did that didn’t stick around more than a few months. Our frustration levels were high. All we could see was a generation of graduates who were meant to be extremely competent, and they were … technically … but as a hiring manager, that’s only half the story. There seemed to be a consistent lacking gap on the soft skills that everyone needed, regardless of their degree (think communication, problem solving, networking, emotional intelligence etc). And the more we complained about this to friends and colleagues, the more we started to realise that no matter the size of the company, everyone faced this problem. However, although plenty of people were talking about the challenges of millennials – very few people seemed to be directly trying to help them.

We were sick of complaining. We wanted to do something about it. So, we created something doing what we do best and created an explosive new event that would help millennials unleash their potential when it comes to career and life.

This is how generationYOU was born!

A final thought

By no means have the last 6 years been a smooth ride … actually the correct term would be a rollercoaster – extreme highs and lows (it just so happens though that I love rollercoasters).

But the one thing I can now be certain of is every step on my journey has played a crucial role in making me who I am today. Running our own business means I need all my HR skills, and marketing and product development and start up experience and more. But bringing together everything I love, every single day, makes bouncing out of bed every morning a simple task.

 

 

A quick qualifier … when I read this back, it sounds like a fundamentally perfect journey … and I don’t for one moment want to not be grateful for all that has happened to me. But I do want to point out, that there we’re definitely some hairy moments along the way including;

  • The legal dispute at one company that lead to everyone’s salaries being frozen over xmas #broke
  • The crappy sales job I had in London that barely paid minimum wage #brokeagain
  • The time I was told the tech team wouldn’t listen to me because I’m a girl #WTH
  • A couple of awful managers that made me want to chuck in the towel and quit #gladididnt

These things happened. And they are stories for another time … don’t be put off though by the bumps you will inevitably face in your career, cliché as they sound, they will only make you stronger.