There is nothing more special than hearing the impact ABCN programs have on students many years later.
Recently we reconnected with past GOALs student, Christopher Stanley, to hear about his experience of the program and how having an ABCN mentor ten years ago changed the direction of his future.
The ABCN GOALs program is designed to inspire students with the many personal, educational and professional choices available to them, all the while encouraging them to complete Year 12 and further tertiary study. Each student is paired with a corporate mentor who shares his or her personal experience of the workforce and provides advice on setting goals, communication and managing finances.
In 2008 Christopher, then a Year 9 student at Lurnea High School, participated in the GOALs program and was paired with mentor David Braga, then from JP Morgan.
We invited Christopher to speak at ABCN’s End of Year Event NSW hosted by the Commonwealth Bank of Australia in November. With his permission here’s an excerpt from his very moving speech:
“To engage with the professional workforce gave me the opportunity to experience what it was like for the people who were managers in the business world. The GOALS program, and my mentor David, let me see that there was something else to aspire to; and that being a tradie or a waiter were not my only options. And the fact that I was able to relate to people that I wouldn’t have otherwise had contact with, made all the difference for me.
GOALS gave me the exposure to opportunities that inspired me to do better. Be better. It changed my thinking about my future at the right time in my life.
GOALS set my professional standards and ambitions. But the most important thing it did was give me confidence. I didn’t know what professionalism looked like in the real world. The mentoring and the skills that I gained from the program influenced my approach to everything I’ve done since, whether applying for a casual job, going to University, or starting my career.”
After finishing high school, Christopher went on to graduate with a Bachelor of Design from Western Sydney University, and is now a successful graphic designer working for an international company and his own freelance business. Importantly his aspirations haven’t stopped at his professional career, and Christopher spoke about the importance of giving back and his drive to be a role model for others:
“When a high-end professional has no obligation to mentor a kid from the west, it gives you a grounding, and when you have an opportunity to give back, you do so, as it benefits the kids more that you realise. I now look for opportunities to be that mentor when and where I can.
Through sport I have been able to mentor new referees, by helping to improve their skills and knowledge of rugby league, and at university I took the opportunity to teach a design program to Year 7 and 8 students.
I believe that being a role model is an important element in a successful career, and that we should all take on these opportunities when we can.”
Mentor, David Braga, is now the CEO of BNP Paribas Securities Services and while the pair are yet to meet again, David had great things to say about Christopher and the program:
“I was very humbled to hear about the impact the ABCN GOALS program had for Chris. Hearing this now emphasises to me the high quality of the ABCN program to be able to make a real difference in young adults’ lives. I’ve been delighted to hear some of his story of what he’s done since then, and I am really looking forward to the opportunity to meet Chris in person again in the near future.”
ABCN is hoping to arrange a reunion between Christopher and David in the coming months and we’ll be sure to share this long awaited catch up with you!