Be proactive and seize unexpected opportunities

In life, things do not always go as planned.

While some people we spoke to held on to their childhood aspirations and made their dreams come true, others developed careers through seizing unexpected opportunities.

As you will see from the stories of the people in this video, being open-minded is important so that when chances to develop your career come up, you can take advantage of them.

The final speaker, David, also shares his advice about how you can create positive networks that will help your career.

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I had finished off my university degree in four years, so it’s a four-year undergraduate degree. I did pretty well. I got through it, and then I applied for jobs and within my first job I presented and I got the first job. And I think looking back now I had a really good bunch of mentors around me.

So, I had started my career straight in private practice, which means you don’t go to the hospital and work as a physio, you’re in basically a centre or a medical centre let’s say. And for those of you who don’t know what a physio is it’s just someone that helps you move better, basically, okay, so if you get into a car accident and your body gets smashed up pretty bad and you’re in the hospital after surgeries, physios are usually the guys that come in and help you out of bed and get you moving.

And so in this health profession that I’m finding myself in, it’s kind of like you land your dream job because you’ve got this guy that’s open-minded, the business owner, and the way that he runs the team, the way that the business runs is a good way for me to learn. And so when I was with them, with Mark Round, with Symmetry for eight years, I actually partnered with him and opened two clinics with him as a partner. And over the eight years, he supported me in going as a sports physio with Victorian state rugby teams as a team physio with his support. And my family contacts, I managed to travel with a Tongan national team, as a sports physio too, to the Commonwealth Games in India. I travelled with the Tongan rugby team to lots of international places overseas, and that was a great experience.

So currently, yes, I’m a physiotherapist. I’ve been working in this field for 12 years, really passionate about lifelong health, and I am now wearing the business hat.

It’s just uncanny because 18 months ago, I was one physio in one shop, in 18 months we’ve grown to a team, and now I’m learning new life skills because yes, I’m a physio, I’m passionate about it, I really enjoy it, I like to think I’m pretty good at it, but then now I’m learning to be a people person, managing people, being a manager of people, being a manager of expectations, providing employment, providing opportunities for other people, and then growing this business, this footprint into more, yeah sure, more locations, but more so to spread this idea of moving people across this health spectrum because there’s more to health than just going and punching out a heavy exercise program.


When I was temping in London I got a lot of temp work with advertising agencies as a receptionist and then moving into assistant work. Lots of people along the way would just say, “You write really good emails. Can you draft my email and I’ll forward it on? Or, how do I explain this to someone?” And I’d be like, “I don’t know. Write it like this.”

So I had that agency administration receptionist background. And then when I came back to Melbourne and lived in Melbourne, I got a similar assistant role for an agency. And then I discovered that they were paying writers to go off and write things and I was sitting there like, “People get paid for this? I can do that. Why are we emailing them? I could totally write that.” And so I had my blog going on the side where I was writing a lot. And then I was also at another job paying people and being like, “We need to find a writer that does this.” And I’d be like, “Why are people getting paid to do this?” And then I realised that that was an actual job.

So as I’ve gone on, I’ve been able to merge the two as a writer and also working in the ad agencies. But now I’ve moved into the brand strategic advisory consultancy side, which is a lot more aligned. Because advertising again, I felt like, why are we selling this? What’s the big picture here? It’s just like, I feel like I’m helping more organisations just be able to articulate better


What are some of the key skills and key qualities that you think have really kind of helped you progress from one step to the next?


Yeah, I think in the beginning was…confidence had a large part to do with it. And what I used to say, I used to convince myself that I belong here with these footy players. Even if I’m not confident, I can fake it. Which is a good thing. I think if you can fake being confident, you got to brainwash yourself to tell yourself that I can do this because if no one has confidence in you, at least if you’ve got it, that’s all that matters.

And creating a network that works for you, not against you.

And I’ve always liked to surround myself around people that were better than me as well. Because if you think you’re the quickest, the smartest, the strongest in your group, you need to upgrade your group. And that’s how, I think, I’ve naturally done that. I’ve always wanted to be…I’ve always felt like I’ve been the dumbest, the weakest and the slowest in my group. So, that’s sort of always been my push to push me and it’s like, someone’s always better than me and I’m always chasing them.

And I guess in my professional life, I’ve always been like a sponge. I’ve always looked to the older guys that were in the trade for 10, 15 years older than me. And I always want to work with them at a young age. I’d always want to work with them because some of the older guys that were maybe in their sixties, a lot of the younger guys didn’t want to work with them because they didn’t have patience, they’d want it done now.

And I was up for that challenge to be yelled at so I can soak up his knowledge on how these type of renders mixed or how to do corners or how to do hard sets. All the techniques I was willing to put my hand up, to work with that, to cop the yelling and all that type of stuff. And I think that paid off because I ended up becoming a better tradesman than a lot of the ones that were in front of me, because I was willing to soak up, to take the punishment and in return, pick up that knowledge.


Have you received any advice from your own family or your community about this sort of work that you’re in?


Yeah. I reached out to your brother and he’s been following me or my cousins been following me and connected me with a fellow Polynesian or a family member. I think we’re related and he’s been open to help me. And he’s a developer in the industry that’s built a successful company in Australia, in the UK, in New Zealand and he understands the processes. I guess also my cousin who also has a IT, I think a IT company in Ballarat, who I reached out to and, and he’s happy to help where he can as well. So I think that, that the parts to the puzzle of people in the industry are out there, we just need to connect it and create a community of people in the tech world that are happy to help. Because I definitely know that they’re out there, it’s just a matter of bringing them together to say that, “Don’t feel judged, let’s create the next Tongan Elon Musk or something.” I don’t know.

  • ‘Akesa – Community Facilitator
  • Ama – Lashing Business Administrator & Marketing Coach
  • Annie – International & Community Development Specialist
  • Ashirah – University student
  • Cass – English Teacher, Writer, Project Manager, & President of the Victorian Kiribati Association
  • Chris – Field Officer (HR)
  • Christopher – Carpenter & Stonemason
  • Crofton – Visual Effects & Animation Specialist
  • David – App company CEO
  • Elisabeth – Teacher
  • Elvina – Building Services Mechanical Engineer
  • Fipe – Cacao Products Manufacturing Business Owner
  • Grace – Airline Customer Service Agent
  • Leki – Physiotherapist
  • Luisa – Registered Nurse
  • Malelega – Legal Assistant
  • Marita – Writer
  • Rose – Workplace Consultant
  • Sefita – Community Engagement Officer
  • Semisi – Lawyer
  • Talei – Lawyer & Community Engagement + Government Relations Consultant
  • Teisa – Medical Doctor
  • Tevita – IT Professional
  • Thom – Make-up Artist
  • Venna – Lashing Business Owner & Trainer
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