From Broken Hill to Broome, young regional Australians converged on Canberra for the ABC Heywire Summit.
As one of the lucky attendee, we were provided the opportunity to connect with like-minded people and given a platform to voice issues affecting our regional communities.
Even though the Trailblazers program is relatively new, it's already changing the lives of young Australians, like myself, who have projects running in their communities.
Segways, speed dating and speaking – oh my!
Between the Segway rides and speed dating networking events, we were involved in professional development and storytelling workshops.
We were afforded the opportunity and environment to truly examine our projects; the failures and successes that have shaped what they are today, and discussed how we move forward to future goals.
But this was all in the lead up to the big event - the pitch.
It’s Brittany, Pitch.
Trailblazers were tasked with writing a pitch, of no more than 3 minutes, to present in the Great Hall of Parliament House in front of 350 people.
To put it bluntly - I was pretty bloody nervous.
Once I got over the initial fear, we were taught the power of storytelling – how to take our audience on a journey. We learnt how our personal experiences shaped our outlook and how to concisely communicate that to an audience.
A few drafts later, we had the opportunity to conduct a practice pitch in front of members of the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal at a “Mocktail Party”, and frankly this was a highlight of the week for me. I was paired with a FRRR Board Member, Prue, who offered honest feedback that helped refine my pitch.
With the help of Matt O’Sullivan and the rest of the ABC Heywire team, my fellow Trailblazers and I perfected our pitches and rose to the challenge on Wednesday morning.
I didn’t cry or fall over on the stairs (tick) and you can read my pitch here.
As a Trailblazer, we have the opportunity to connect with different mentors throughout our time in the program, with our first mentor sourced personally within our local community. Michael Inwood is a Nuffield Australia Scholar (2010), third generation merino and cropping farmer and winner of a Farming Systems grant to develop the Triton 4x4 EV – a zero emissions farming vehicle – that has been described as the most environmentally friendly vehicle in the world.
Michael kindly agreed to be my first mentor and I’ve been incredibly grateful for his wealth of experience and knowledge on board.
ABC then pair you during the week with a Canberra mentor to help you navigate the crazy world of public service and Parliament House.
I was paired with deadest legend, Phelposs (or Laura Phelps as she is more commonly known), who has been so generous with her time and advice and recently secured a place for me to speak at a Young Farmers Business Forum.
20 Years of Heywire Gala Dinner
There’s nothing like chucking on your best frock, and the gentlemen dusting off their suits and boots, to celebrate the end of an amazing week at the Heywire Gala Dinner.
I was humbled to be asked to present my pitch again at the Gala Dinner – a moment that will truly stay with me forever as I spoke about farming succession in the shadow of a complete dinosaur skeleton.
What better way to finish of the night than Heywire winner, Nia, and a group of other winners performing Jason Maraz’s I’m Yours in auslan (sign language) – there were a few misty-eyed people in the room (myself included).
Once A Trailblazer – Always A Trailblazer
It’s hard to quantify the Heywire Youth Summit week.
It’s exhausting and exhilarating – but I’d do it again in a heartbeat. For 5 days I was surrounded and inspired by 15 other Trailblazers – and money can’t buy experiences like that.
Their projects are truly amazing and if you have a spare moment, please go and check out what they’re doing in their communities.
Talitha Devadass: Entrepreneurship Facilitators
Prudence Melon, Nadir Rezai and Apat Arok: E-raced
Aimee Snowden: Little Brick Farmers
Prikita Desai and Dawyte Clancy: Shoutout!
Rona Glynn-McDonald: Common Ground
Lucy and Kelli Williams: Teenage Trifecta
William Sharples: Eden Game Development Centre
William Egan and Tessa Wynne: Type Fun Diabetes
Jye Walker: Great Southern Aboriginal Health Service