Become a Leader

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Nas Campanella mentoring Kylie Knight from Wollongong BALDOWNLOAD THE EASY READ VERSION

As part of the Become a Leader program each participant is matched with a mentor for the second half of the program. Mentors assist emerging leaders to get the most out of the leadership program and to practice leadership in their own lives and communities. A mentor’s role is to provide guidance, support and advice to leaders and this has had a powerful impact on many pairs. Below, recently graduated leader Kylie Knight and her mentor Nas Campanella share their experience.

From Kylie...

Have you ever met someone so charismatic you can’t help but be inspired - a very presence that you simply can’t ignore? Well that’s Nas.

When I entered the Leadership program, I had some great ideas but I was struggling to get my message across. Part of this was because I lacked the confidence to ask for what I wanted, or to influence others. After thinking about what I wanted in a mentor I decided that it should be a successful woman - someone who knew exactly what she wanted in life and who could speak confidently. Being a long-time Triple J fan, Nas was the obvious choice.

For those of you who don’t know much about her, Nastasia Campanella – Nas - reads the news to over a million people every day on ABC radio - an excellent job for any up-and-coming journalist. The remarkable thing about Nas is that she does this even though she’s totally blind. Nothing stops Nas. She’s been to university, built a successful career, and travelled the world – things that many people are too afraid to do. So when Carolyn told me that Nas had agreed to be my mentor I was amazed; gob-smacked; over the moon; and a bit terrified all at once.

With Nas I practiced negotiation – how to get what I needed without upsetting others. I learned about speaking up, and the strength of silence. And I learned the greatest lesson about leadership is that it requires action not just words. Nas taught me that it doesn’t matter how great your ideas are if you never act on them. Even if you have to try again and again, never give up – just take a different approach.

I’m much older than Nas, but that doesn’t matter – I’ve learned so much during our time together. I’ve come away believing that I can do anything if I plan well and take the right approach. I’m more focused on what it is that I want to achieve, and how to best go about doing that. And it’s all because I was brave enough to apply for the leadership program. If it hadn’t been for the ongoing support of My Choice Matters, I would never have had this amazing opportunity. If I hadn’t acted, I would never have met Nas.

So now I’m going to go away and pursue my dreams. I plan to raise an army of strong, confident, determined people who want to live life to the fullest, an army of people to claim their place in this world not as observers, but as participants. An army of people like you.

From Nas...
I really enjoyed my time mentoring Kylie. We had a total of four sessions, tackling a different goal each time. I had never done this kind of work before and I wasn’t really sure I had the skills, knowledge and confidence to take on the task. After meeting Kylie for the first time I felt much more comfortable. There was a huge element of honesty between us from the second we met. I was very clear about the fact I’d never mentored someone before, and Kylie was very open about her strengths and weaknesses.

Once we’d figured out her goals, I felt better about preparing for our sessions. Working with Kylie enabled me to learn how to create a lesson plan and gain better time management skills. I found the opportunity to teach and mentor really rewarding. I always had teachers and mentors considering my needs while at school and university so it was nice to be on the flipside of that experience. As a result, the program has made me a more patient person and has inspired me to pursue a second career in disability services and/or inclusive education.