The power (and pace) of change: an alumna’s tale

Former ABCN student Janet Sou is giving back to a new generation of students, as a mentor with her current employer, Stockland.

Janet Sou
Janet Sou


‘Phenomenal tips’ from participating in ABCN programs many years ago have stuck with 24-year-old Janet Sou, a former student who is now an ABCN mentor, even though putting the theory into practice took a bit of time.

‘Change doesn’t always work quickly,’ Janet told the 120 guests at ABCN’s annual Leadership Dinner in Melbourne several weeks ago. ‘Change is subtle and it’s accumulated over time and numerous experiences.’

The alumna of several ABCN programs was recounting tips she had picked up during her years at Cabramatta High School in Sydney: ‘I remember my mentor teaching me that the thing I called “being lazy” is actually called “procrastinating” and that I can beat it by chunking my tasks. I still procrastinate sometimes but from GOALS, I derived a curiosity about the business world that keeps me going.

‘I remember another mentor said “if you look up and smile you can’t physically feel down at that moment”, which resulted in me looking like an absolute nutcase at school for months afterwards. I still use negative words sometimes but from the Reach Your Potential program I derived inspiration that I can actively try to change my mindset.’

The Taiwanese-born Customer Insights Analyst says it was her mentors who gave her the confidence to apply for the roles that kickstarted her career – firstly as a graduate at EY, then many years later as an employee at Stockland, where she is also one of about 200 volunteer mentors at the company.

‘I’ve basically come full circle,’ Janet said. ‘Seeing the kids participate reminds me of myself. I hope they realise that these programs don’t give them specific step-by-step instructions on how to make it, but it may give them a blueprint for a bridge they have to build themselves.’

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