Out shopping with Mum as a 10-year-old I saw a homeless man begging for money. Being an extrovert child I went up and asked him what he was doing.
He chuckled and said, “I am trying to earn enough to get a feed.”
I looked in his hat and saw he had only collected $4.20. Even at 10 I knew that wasn’t going to get him much.
It rained hard that night and as I lay tucked up in bed warm and safe I kept thinking about the homeless man. The thought of him out there on the streets really got under my skin.
The next day I knocked on the Principal’s door to ask what we could do. We organised a food drive, collecting cans to donate to the Foodbank.
Something clicked inside me and I realised this was what I wanted to do – try and change bad situations and help people reach their potential.
Since then I have been fortunate to have all sorts of opportunities to pursue my passion.
Some of the big ones include being the youngest attendee at the 2020 summit in Canberra in 2008. The ideas we put forward there initiated the establishment of the Australia Youth Forum, the primary mechanism for youth to communicate with the Government.
Other highlights include living and working in the Kenyan slums and representing Australia in a World Trade Organisation summit in Switzerland in 2011.
In terms of personal accolades, highlights include being named Young West Australian of the Year and Young West Australian Volunteer of the Year in 2012.
I am working with Governor Malcolm McCusker and his wife, Tonya, to inspire more young people to get involved with philanthropy.
I believe if people say they are too busy to volunteer it is just because they haven’t found the thing that fires them up. When you find something you are passionate about you want to make time for it.
The Australian Financial Review recently named me one of the 100 most influential women in Australia. It was humbling to be alongside some of my idols.
My advice to others striving to achieve their dreams is that it is important to have goals that are written correctly and reflected on daily.
On MLC: Last time I was at the school a show reel of happy times went through my head. Great times in the classroom, epic battles on the sports field, the honour of being school captain in the Centenary year. It was such a supportive community. That support has continued since I graduated. Fellow Collegians are mentors and I am so grateful for that.