Who would have thought?

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If you’d asked me six months ago were my focus would be in regards to work as an internship coordinator, sport management placements would have featured way down  the list.

I’m not a sports fan, I openly admit that, very un- Australian of me!

I’ve been dragged along to the occasional Sydney Swans game, feigning interest…but deep down, as my friends scream, yell, stamp and cheer in the direction of Buddy Franklin, I’m daydreaming of my next beach holiday. I just don’t get it. 

Yet I admire the passion and dedication of sports fans. I’m actually envious of it.

Sport can be a guiding force in life, defining weekend activities, entire Saturdays can be taken up by game day. It bonds people, barracking for the same team means you become part of a something bigger than yourself. Take the AFL,  for 6 months of each year you are busy being a fan. I’m just cold and miserable, wanting summer to return.

I find that sport fans are driven and determined, loyal and optimistic. A girlfriend of mine, travelled from Brisbane to Sydney for the Rabbitohs NRL grand final win against the Bulldogs. ‘ Born a Bunny’ back in 1977, a true believer, she witnessed the historic win that night, and revelled with the Redfern community the day after. A true fan, of the A to Z variety. All codes, all disciplines. Passionately, hopelessly mad about sport. The end.

Possessing none of the above, a focus on sports management internships have pushed me out of my comfort zone and into an iron man race against time to secure countless opportunities for sports mad interns.

Think Canterbury Bulldogs, South Sydney Rabbitohs, Illawarra Dragon, Parramatta Eels.

Think Invictus Games ( Prince Harry, oh la la!!) Football Australia and Athletics NSW.

And surprisingly , I’m loving every minute of it!! The in-person meetings, the phone calls, the emails. Endless conversations about sport.

And each time a site agrees to host an intern, it’s like scoring a grand final goal or world record at the Olympics.

Perhaps I do possess the qualities of an sports fan after all – tenacity, grit & steely determination. It’s what I’ve needed in spades as I’ve navigated my way into the unchartered world of all disciplines, all codes.  

Whether I win or loose as I slam dunk, sprint and peddle my way to my target, I’ve come to view journey as the grounds for personal growth and learning. 

It is challenging, fun and I’m constantly learning – what more could I ask for other than an interest in sport??!!

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Shaping Young Lives into ‘ Perfect Storms’

Any one who knows me is aware of my vivid imagination – I have a tendency to run off with it at times. Yesterday was no exception.

The end of another student internship program. Farewelling bright, bubbly twenty somethings, with hopes, dreams and burning desires to bring about change in their chosen professions.

I listened to Kelly Clarkson’s song ‘ Invincible’ on repeat as I churned through the days administration tasks. It was a busy but in between the emails, phone calls and filing I chatted to students as they submitted their internship time sheets, dropped of bags for storage, prepared for final exams.

Beat down on me, beat down like a waterfall cause I can take on so much more than I had ever dreamed

The noticeable shift in the student interns demeanour – a quiet confidence oozing from every pore, a new found belief and mastery of their unique skill sets, their gifts.  

I was hiding from the world, I felt so afraid I felt so unsure. Now I am invincible , I’m the perfect storm.  

The students recounting the challenges they had faced in the workplace and how they had overcome them. How the highs and lows had shaped them and provided moments of clarity.

Cause it’s being weak then strong. And the truth I’ve found, I have courage now, gonna shout it out. 

Teacher I feel the dots connecting

The mentors who had guided them for 12 weeks, the connections they had built and the skills honed. Many students told me of job offers, remote work projects they would continue upon returning home. I wanted to hug one student whose entire career path has shifted gears, who detailed plans to keep the momentum going upon returning home.

Yesterday was a most rewarding day. As with my imagination, I have glossed over the prickly bits of the 12 week program…. of course they were there. 

But I focused on the ‘ perfect storms’ I helped to shape –  future disruptors of industry, innovators and change agents. Students whose self belief has been injected with invincibility magic dust.

Mentorship

I stumbled across the Sydney Story Factory after yet another encounter with the black dog. My Mum sensed I needed something extra, something to draw me out of my inner world, and at the time, volunteering seemed as good an idea as any.

So I did a google search ‘ volunteering opportunities in Sydney’

And there in bold appeared ‘ Sydney Story Factory – creative writing volunteers needed’

It was as if the heavens had sent a sign – a golden light shone forth from my Apple devise, bathing me in a warm glow.

As a trained primary school teacher with a passion for writing, coupled with an over active imagination – the stars aligned that day in March 2013. I registered my interest there and then.

In an instant I became immersed in the world of creative thought. Imagination of the pencil to paper variety…My smile returned.

And all thanks to one remarkable women ( well two if you count Mum) – Cath Keenan. Founder of the Factory. When our paths first crossed at the volunteer induction I wanted to knit her into blanket form and wrap myself in her positivity, optimism, passion, energy & commitment to ‘ sparking creativity in every child’.

Resisting this urge, I did the more sensible thing of volunteering.When work- life balance tilted heavily in the direction of work, I supported the Factory through donations and my work as Internship Program Coordinator, sending the best of the best for placements. Often I was so jealous of the student nominations that I held off for weeks!! Pick me Cath, pick me!!

Instigators of ideas, people whose passion, energy & vision embodies them, wholeheartedly driving them forward. On a mission, one that they communicate to others with such eloquence, that the curious can’t help but be swept up in the joyous movement of the community.

And truly great mentor’s  have a strong, supportive and loyal community around them. They keep these people close, they understand that without them, their ideas lay dormant, never morphing into a thing of shape or substance.

From my three years experience in network building, I say to those new to the concept, find a mentor that ticks your boxes and stick by them. For great mentors are generous, they share their good fortune with their flock, their tribe. Their network becomes your network.

But take note, from someone who has trodden the murky and foggy networking path to seek out like minded individuals –

You cannot fake connection
People can see through falsehoods
Mentors seek authenticity
Be true to you and the rest will follow

It with a new found ease that people of substance enter my inner circle….knitting needles at the ready, new crochet squares continually being added to my colourful, collaborative, diversely delightful networking patchwork quilt.

A nice work email?

It is rare that I write such heart-felt accounts of my work day….but events of late have been inspiring and I have to share story.

Names have been removed to ‘protect’ identities!

Enjoy.

Dear XXXX

I was thinking of you recently and I am sure you will enjoy this story so I will tell it in a bit of detail.

So I had this lovely student, whose listed on his internship application that he had a passion to get involved in the coffee industry – start up business – entrepreneurial etc.

He studied Finance and Supply Chain Management.Instantly I knew which partner to put him forward to – a dynamic dynamo of a site supervisor –  super fit, very attractive, a Bondi Hipster  running a very successful start-up that was shifting into the global marketplace.

The placement went well – very well.

Americans never say thank you for anything and this student thanked me – I was in shock! He also stated he could not have been offered a better internship and that he had been offered to work from the states for the company he had interned for. I was so happy.

On his last day in Sydney, I after I received his thank you email I took a moment to read his application again closely.I came across this line –

While I lean toward the introverted end of the spectrum, I get along well with people and enjoy hanging out. I just need some time to decompress every now and again.

Then it finally clicked for me – why this student almost recoiled every time I reached out to him over the semester!

My enthusiasm was killing him – it reminded me of working with you – I know there were times that I was just too much for you.

You see this student’s interest in the coffee business was a soft spot for me – with my love of café culture and my distant dream of café ownership. So I often would chat to this student with much enthusiasm about coffee shops around Sydney – asking him where he had been / what he impressed him / sending through my recommendations!! He would answer my questions whenever I cornered him – but with little excitement!!

And then I thought what an extremely challenging situation I had placed him in with his internship placement – a start-up business – with a high-flying entrepreneurial hot-shot who is seriously going places. For this introverted student just looking his site supervisor in the eye would have caused his blood pressure to rise.

Anyway, as the story goes, my student got a rave review from his site ‘ his work ethic was second to none’ was offered a job to work from the States, and in the same breath, the student thank me for setting it all up.

Why I am telling you this – this student  has by far been one of my favourite students – in 6 short weeks he made so many professional, more importantly I think – personal gains….and he reminded me of you.

It only hit me on Friday when I read his application closely and he described his introverted nature. A person very sure of himself, his strengths and areas that prove challenging – a very impressive young man, just like you!

So that is my tale for you today. I wanted to share it with you.

Kind regards

KB

 

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