Home » Podcast » Fiona Sanford is helping girls flourish

Fiona Sanford is helping girls flourish

In this week’s episode, Josh chats with Fiona Sanford, CEO of Flourish Girl who was the Winner of the Victorian Government Group Achievement in the Community Award at the 2023 7News Young Achiever Awards Victoria.

Flourish Girl is helping build self-confidence, self-awareness and social connectedness. Flourish Girl is a preventative mental health and emotional intelligence charity. They deliver rites of passage programs to teenage girls and gender-diverse teens aged 13 to 18 years old. Since 2018, Flourish Girl has worked with over 12,500 teens across 84 schools. They delivered close to 150 workshops in 2022 alone.

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[00:00:08] Christine

Welcome to Inspirational Australians, where we share stories of Australians Making

[00:00:13] Christine

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[00:00:20] Christine

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[00:00:25] Christine

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[00:00:31] Christine

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[00:00:39] Christine

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[00:00:46] Christine

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[00:00:58] Josh

Hello and welcome to the Inspirational Australian’s podcast for your weekly dose of

[00:01:03] Josh

inspiration. Today I’m joined by a guest and Fiona Sanford,  who is the CEO of Flourish Girl. Fiona was

[00:01:11] Josh

a twenty twenty three semifinalist in the Spirit Super Create Change Award. And Flourish Girl was actually

[00:01:17] Josh

a winner in that same year in the Victorian Government Group Achievement in the

[00:01:20] Josh

Community Award. Both of those being part of the 7News Young Achiever Awards Program. Flourish Girl, helping build self-confidence,

[00:01:28] Josh

self-awareness and social connectedness. Flourish Girl is a preventative mental health and emotional intelligence charity. They deliver rites

[00:01:35] Josh

of passage programs to teenage girls and gender diverse teens. Age thirteen to

[00:01:39] Josh

eighteen years old. Since twenty eighteen Flourish Girl has worked with over

[00:01:43] Josh

twelve thousand five hundred teens. Across eighty four schools. They delivered

[00:01:48] Josh

close to one hundred and fifty workshops in twenty twenty two alone. So to tell us

[00:01:53] Josh

whether that bio is still accurate. Welcome, Fiona, how you doing?

[00:01:57] Fiona

Good. Thank you. Thank you so much for having me. Yes, pleasure.  Thank you. It’s,

[00:02:02] Fiona

it’s so special. Even just to reflect on,

[00:02:05] Fiona

on those statistics and how they have actually increased significantly in the last

[00:02:11] Fiona

couple of months, we have now worked with over seventeen thousand young people,

[00:02:15] Fiona

which blows my mind too to know that we’re having Such

[00:02:18] Fiona

a positive impact on that many young people and now in over one hundred schools

[00:02:22] Fiona

Across Victoria. So a bit of growth since early in the year,  which has been really exciting.

[00:02:28] Josh

That’s pretty huge because this by would have been

[00:02:30] Josh

written early months of this year and to go from twelve thousand five hundred teens

[00:02:35] Josh

that you’ve worked with to seventeen thousand over seventeen thousand. Is a bit of like exponential growth really.

[00:02:41] Fiona

Yeah, it’s been,  it’s been pretty wild this year actually we’ve noticed kind of year on year we’ve

[00:02:47] Fiona

increased significantly.

[00:02:48] Fiona

But the,  I guess the demand for the programme at the moment and the need for what young

[00:02:53] Fiona

people are really struggling with and having

[00:02:55] Fiona

a safe space for them to share their challenges or their struggles and what they’re yeah, I guess,

[00:03:02] Fiona

I guess what they’re really going through underneath the surface is schools are

[00:03:06] Fiona

really noticing that that’s not so needed for,  for young people right now.

[00:03:11] Josh

So many questions about the growth, but I want to,

[00:03:12] Josh

I’m mindful of not skipping ahead, you know, wanting to paint

[00:03:16] Josh

a picture of what flower skill is for people who haven’t heard of it. So, you know,

[00:03:20] Josh

you’ve given us a good little intro and breakdown on it. Can you tell us, you know,

[00:03:24] Josh

a bit about how it started and the process I’m interested in is to actually do,

[00:03:30] Josh

do you approach a school, do they approach you?  Probably both.

[00:03:34] Fiona

Probably both.  Yes I first I was founded in twenty eighteen by the

[00:03:38] Fiona

incredible Shani Dante. She grew up in Sydney and new South Wales and really

[00:03:44] Fiona

acknowledged that. There were so many challenges that young people were going through that she was noticing,

[00:03:49] Fiona

but didn’t actually realise that they weren’t normal. Yes,  that was young people struggling with certain mental health challenges,

[00:03:56] Fiona

but that it, there was nothing coming at a preventative Level. So Afghanistan started to flourish,

[00:04:03] Fiona

go back in twenty eighteen, and then since then I was actually

[00:04:07] Fiona

a part of the very first workshop as a volunteer really?

[00:04:10] Fiona

Yeah. When we, when we did that in twenty eighteen,  which is really special to just be

[00:04:14] Fiona

a part of the journey and really say flourish global then. And also knowing,

[00:04:19] Fiona

and noticing the changes in the young people. Obviously we’ve had covid. There’s

[00:04:25] Fiona

Such a lack of connection with young people. Yes,  they’re on their phones so much. But really noticing this,

[00:04:32] Fiona

this change and I guess not stagnancy but change and challenges that

[00:04:39] Fiona

young people are going through around emotional intelligence around mental health.  We’re having lots of conversations,

[00:04:45] Fiona

our facilitators going to the workshops and lots of Physio,  lots of conversations around eating disorders,

[00:04:52] Fiona

self-harming suicide. And I guess two years ago,

[00:04:57] Fiona

maybe there were one or two conversations like that, but this is very,

[00:05:01] Fiona

very common. So what we’re really noticing is that as soon as young people are created and provided

[00:05:09] Fiona

a safe space where they can just have permission to be themselves and share what’s

[00:05:14] Fiona

really there for them. And Introduce to some tools in how to actually share about

[00:05:20] Fiona

what they’re going through a fire, shall we do a check in.

[00:05:22] Fiona

So it’s an opportunity for them to. Yeah,

[00:05:25] Fiona

really share what’s below the surface. And I think the thing that really makes our program special is our facilitators,

[00:05:32] Fiona

and I think that’s why this the award that we got at the start of the year really

[00:05:36] Fiona

just encapsulates everything that we do it for Large scale. And it’s about young

[00:05:39] Fiona

people leading young people. And our facilitators are eighteen to thirty year olds,  who are really passionate about young people,

[00:05:46] Fiona

maybe have experience in psychology or studying some social work youth work. What

[00:05:52] Fiona

is really passionate facilitators who care about young people and they come in and

[00:05:57] Fiona

they share vulnerably and they share their stories about what are the journey that

[00:06:02] Fiona

they’ve been on Across their life. And it’s in those moments that the young people see

[00:06:08] Fiona

a role model that actually being open and vulnerable about what they’ve been through

[00:06:12] Fiona

and it gives them the permission to be like, Oh

[00:06:14] Fiona

hey, she’s kind of cool. And I can,  I can do that and not be judged and I think that’s

[00:06:21] Fiona

a really beautiful part of what we do it FA,

[00:06:24] Fiona

she always provide that role model for these young people in the workshops.

[00:06:29] Josh

Yeah,  you touched on that at the start of what you’re saying about, you know,  teens and you know,

[00:06:33] Josh

all of us really are on our phones so much. And when you have that social media

[00:06:38] Josh

presence, and that’s what you’re basing role models on, it’s not even, you know,

[00:06:42] Josh

some influences, you know, vulnerable. And that’s great, but it’s really

[00:06:45] Josh

a polished what they want to show you. And as you said,

[00:06:48] Josh

when you get someone in front of you really sharing vulnerably and openly,

[00:06:51] Josh

it’s gives them permission to do it just as you said. So that sounds like

[00:06:55] Josh

a fantastic, amazing kind of program. Can I ask,

[00:06:59] Josh

who are the typical facilitators and you know, how would they get involved?

[00:07:03] Fiona

Yeah, so our facilitators, as I said earlier,  were aged eighteen to thirty every now and then we do

[00:07:10] Fiona

a recruitment drive. But always looking for facilitators who are or people who are

[00:07:13] Fiona

interested in helping young people to deliver these programs,

[00:07:17] Fiona

I think our facilitators are happy and comfortable to be vulnerable about

[00:07:22] Fiona

themselves to share about their challenges and to really showcase what’s possible

[00:07:28] Fiona

if we are actually sharing about what we’re going through,

[00:07:31] Fiona

and I think the one thing I love about our facilities is the love,

[00:07:35] Fiona

the passion and the energy that they bring into the space. We always kind of talk

[00:07:39] Fiona

about our facilitators being the, you know, when you go to

[00:07:42] Fiona

a family event and you’ve got that when you grow up, you’ve got that, like cool,

[00:07:46] Fiona

older cousin who you kind of want to hang around with. You want to listen to it,

[00:07:50] Fiona

you want to lead from like that’s kind of the vibe that we have with our facilitators,

[00:07:54] Fiona

that the young people can relate to them and look up to them. But it’s not someone

[00:08:00] Fiona

looking at like looking up to someone who seems really out of reach. And I think,

[00:08:04] Fiona

as you said on social media, like there’s all these people that Yeah,

[00:08:09] Fiona

there’s all these people that our own social media influences or sporting icons and these kind of things. But

[00:08:16] Fiona

a lot of them actually feel quite out of reach or they feel quite polished or they

[00:08:20] Fiona

feel like they’ve got it all together. Or they, they look like on,  on social media that they’re, it’s just

[00:08:27] Fiona

a highlight reel of what’s actually going on in their life. And I think that’s why

[00:08:30] Fiona

our facilitators have Such a strength of like we,

[00:08:34] Fiona

we don’t mind if we mark up the words that we say in our workshop because it gives

[00:08:37] Fiona

the young people permission. It doesn’t matter if I lose my words and I’m like,  Oh man,

[00:08:41] Fiona

I just don’t even know what I was saying Right now. Or I stuff out my sentence. Our

[00:08:45] Fiona

facilitators give the the permission for the young people to do the same and role

[00:08:50] Fiona

model that rather than having to look absolutely perfect,  fully put together. And I think bringing that like diversity,

[00:08:57] Fiona

what the facilitators where an energy and some a slow pace. I’m a fast paced,

[00:09:02] Fiona

like really bringing and providing the young people with a variety of,  of potential role models I think is

[00:09:09] Fiona

a really special part of what we do. And as you said,  like they don’t necessarily have a powerful,

[00:09:16] Fiona

powerful role models like that on social media and are there some out there.

[00:09:20] Fiona


[00:09:20] Fiona

what we notice with the young people is more often than not that the people that

[00:09:25] Fiona

they follow on social media when we get them to think about it being like, hey,

[00:09:29] Fiona

when you think about social media,

[00:09:32] Fiona

how does it make you feel like the people that you follow if you’re following all

[00:09:35] Fiona

they see, all these people. When you look at their stuff,  how does it actually make you feel?

[00:09:40] Fiona

And it’s really interesting to see the light bulb go off that go off in their head

[00:09:44] Fiona

and be like, Oh, actually

[00:09:46] Fiona

a lot of the people I follow when I look at

[00:09:47] Fiona

this stuff. It makes me feel bad or it

[00:09:50] Fiona

makes me judge myself because I’m not doing that. Or I’m not achieving in quotation

[00:09:55] Fiona

marks achieving as much as what they are. And I think, yeah, it’s just

[00:09:59] Fiona

a really powerful tool for them to be like, Oh,

[00:10:02] Fiona

I actually actually like that makes me feel bad. So why am I doing that?

[00:10:08] Fiona

Like giving them back the power to be like, Oh,

[00:10:11] Fiona

I don’t actually have to follow them anymore. Like I can follow them or I can meet

[00:10:14] Fiona

them or whatever it might be and surround themselves with people who are inspiring

[00:10:19] Fiona

and do lift them up and make them feel good. Not people that they think they should follow. Yeah,

[00:10:25] Fiona

it’s really interesting. I find that really interesting.

[00:10:27] Josh

It is neat to do like the

[00:10:29] Josh

Marie Kondo technique on our social media. Yeah. Does this person spark joy for me?

[00:10:36] Josh

Yes. A good point and I love your the way you described your facilitators like the

[00:10:41] Josh

cool, older cousin. Yeah. As soon as you

[00:10:44] Josh

mentioned it, I was like, Oh yeah,  that’s my cousin Sabrina.

[00:10:47] Fiona

I know you can literally like picture because I’ve

[00:10:49] Josh

always had the cool music,

[00:10:51] Josh

cool clothes and stuff. So am I going to be that like creative and interesting when I get older?

[00:10:56] Fiona

Yeah, yeah,  absolutely. I love I love that. We get to provide that and I think like one of the

[00:11:01] Fiona

other things that facilities do so beautifully is yes,

[00:11:04] Fiona

we go into workshops and we have content that we’re going to deliver. But it’s also,

[00:11:08] Fiona

it’s very much what happens in the space and what the young people want to bring

[00:11:12] Fiona

into the space to the conversations that we have. Our facilitators are really able

[00:11:19] Fiona

to be flexible and kind of like mold what we’re talking about to what the young

[00:11:23] Fiona

people actually need in that moment. Because we’re,

[00:11:27] Fiona

we’re not here to come and preach at them or teach them. It’s like, hey,  let’s just have

[00:11:31] Fiona

a conversation and explore some topics with you. And if we go in the direction to

[00:11:36] Fiona

judgment, which is something that we talk a lot about. Awesome. If we go into

[00:11:39] Fiona

a conversation about how we feel, pressured to be

[00:11:42] Fiona

a certain way. Awesome.

[00:11:44] Fiona

If we go into a conversation about, hey,

[00:11:47] Fiona

here’s the person you actually really want to be,

[00:11:49] Fiona

here’s the person you aspire to be awesome. Like let’s focus around that. So it’s

[00:11:53] Fiona

really being able to bold and wave to what the young people want and need in that

[00:11:59] Fiona

moment, which I think is something. Yeah,

[00:12:01] Fiona

not many organizations do. Maybe they have the specific content that they need to

[00:12:05] Fiona

get through. And I love that we just provide space for them to estimate the where they’re at.

[00:12:10] Josh

Yeah, yeah,  that’s really cool. So some questions about the participants who, you know,

[00:12:17] Josh

come along? Is it held at the school? Usually?

[00:12:22] Fiona

Yes. So you ask the question before about where do we,  how do we connecting with school?  So yeah,

[00:12:27] Fiona

a lot of it has been either the schools will contact us or will do reach out to

[00:12:31] Fiona

certain schools as I said, where all Across Victoria. We’ve done quite a few schools in regional and rural Victoria,

[00:12:38] Fiona

which has been really special. And obviously majority of our programs are in metro Melbourne, but yet our,

[00:12:46] Fiona

all our programs are from high schools are seventy twelve. We do Level one, two,

[00:12:51] Fiona

and three programs. So Level one is all about like the self awareness. How am I

[00:12:56] Fiona

feeling? Can I check in with myself? What of the judgment I’m putting on myself?

[00:13:01] Fiona

Level two is about the relationships they’re having with other people. Whether that be romantic, whether that be friendships,

[00:13:07] Fiona

whether that be family and Level three is all about the community. So how do we

[00:13:12] Fiona

help them become leaders in their community?  So yeah,

[00:13:15] Fiona

our young people are aged between thirteen and eighteen. And when foxtail started we, I guess the like,

[00:13:24] Fiona

gender diversity wasn’t in schools as much as what it is now. And I think it’s been

[00:13:31] Fiona

Such a special change and shift with our language and our learnings around,

[00:13:35] Fiona

especially in the last two years. How do we really provide

[00:13:38] Fiona

a safe space for gender diverse young people to be a part of our workshops?

[00:13:42] Fiona

Hence why in the last year or so we’ve changed our language and I think they go

[00:13:47] Fiona

through so many struggles, these gender, diverse teens. Anyway,  how do we just break down and change the,

[00:13:53] Fiona

the expectations and the pressures that they might feel and how do we just create

[00:13:57] Fiona

a safe space for them to be?  Because ultimately through our programs,

[00:14:01] Fiona

we just want young people to be themselves. And if we do that and give them the

[00:14:05] Fiona

permission to do that,  then we’ve won. Like that’s amazing. And that goes for any young person that participates.

[00:14:12] Josh

Well,  you kind of must have read my mind because I wanted to ask you as well about,

[00:14:16] Josh

you know, you mentioned the safe spaces and in schools.

[00:14:19] Josh

How do you go about,

[00:14:20] Josh

you know, creating a safe space in an environment where say,  a teen is not that comfortable at school?

[00:14:27] Josh

That could be a challenge.

[00:14:29] Fiona

Such a great question. Such

[00:14:31] Fiona

a great question. I think this is like credit to the facilitators that we have. I

[00:14:37] Fiona

think like two main things for me that when I think about facilitating and Making people feel safe and comfortable,

[00:14:43] Fiona

is through story and through play. And I think through story,

[00:14:47] Fiona

by sharing our story and sharing our vulnerability and allowing them to mirror that,

[00:14:53] Fiona

that’s an opportunity for them to feel really safe and comfortable. And then also

[00:14:58] Fiona

through play, it’s like giving them the permission to be

[00:15:00] Fiona

a child. We do icebreakers of this that we do games,

[00:15:03] Fiona

they do silly things. And again, like having that role model that they can be like,  Oh,

[00:15:07] Fiona

I’ve never seen like an adult woman or an adult gender diverse person. Just like,

[00:15:12] Fiona

basically in front of other people and give the role model give the like

[00:15:18] Fiona

playfulness through that. And I think also the,

[00:15:23] Fiona

the way that we set up our programs, we very much take them on

[00:15:26] Fiona

a journey. We don’t just jump straight into the vulnerability. It’s like we take them on

[00:15:30] Fiona

a journey Across the full day.

[00:15:32] Fiona

So we’re lucky enough to work with them over

[00:15:34] Fiona

a full school day, which I know not many organizations get to. So it’s absolutely

[00:15:39] Fiona

a privilege that we get to take them on this journey Across the day. And our

[00:15:42] Fiona

workshops are really set to kind of bring the light and the fun and the story at

[00:15:47] Fiona

the start of the day to start to get them to maybe share

[00:15:50] Fiona

a little bit about themselves. But kind of in like a not

[00:15:54] Fiona

a hard way. Maybe it’s just like a little bit challenging,

[00:15:57] Fiona

but not something massive. And then as we step down into the middle part of the day

[00:16:01] Fiona

in between recess and lunch, that’s when we really encourage them to,  through activity,

[00:16:06] Fiona

through dance movement through all different things that we do. Start to share more

[00:16:11] Fiona

about themselves and more about what they’re really going through. As I mentioned earlier,

[00:16:15] Fiona

one of the big conversations we have is around judgment. It’s really easy to feel

[00:16:20] Fiona

the pressures that they feel to talk about the pressures that they feel by society.

[00:16:25] Fiona

I don’t know if you’ve seen the Bobby baby,

[00:16:27] Josh

or if my wife has been,  I need to say, yeah,

[00:16:30] Fiona

it’s like,  there’s this part of it. I’m sure you probably heard the monologue,  I’ll say the monologue,

[00:16:36] Fiona

but the pressures that young people feel around like they must have

[00:16:40] Fiona

a big butt. Big boobs. Small waist, long hair. They have to like,  be straight. They have to be white,

[00:16:49] Fiona

like all of these different pressures that they feel and it’s actually giving them

[00:16:53] Fiona

the space to share about these challenges. And in that moment,  when we talk about that,

[00:16:59] Fiona

and we talk about the judgments that they feel on themselves that some of the

[00:17:02] Fiona

comments they have, I’m not good enough or I’m fat,

[00:17:05] Fiona

I’m ugly. My friends don’t like me. They’re just pretending. I’m not smart

[00:17:11] Fiona

enough.  I’m going to make my family,

[00:17:12] Fiona

I’m not going to make my family proud all of these different pressures and it’s,

[00:17:16] Fiona

it’s the opportunity when the girls are like,

[00:17:19] Fiona

Oh my gosh. She feels like that. And so

[00:17:23] Fiona

do they. And she feels like that and wait.

[00:17:25] Fiona

I thought she had all the stuff together, like I thought she was perfect and but,

[00:17:31] Fiona

but they all feel like that. And it’s not like drop in that moment where these

[00:17:36] Fiona

young people actually realize that every single person in the room, adults as well,  the staff members like the fans,

[00:17:44] Fiona

the staff members have an opportunity to shatter. And it’s that that moment when

[00:17:50] Fiona

the young people actually realize I’m not alone in what I’m going through. And I

[00:17:55] Fiona

think that’s Such a powerful moment for them to connect to each other,

[00:18:00] Fiona

not just on social media, not just on the phone,  but actually really connect and realize, Oh,

[00:18:06] Fiona

I’m not in this alone. And then we start to have the conversation. Okay,

[00:18:10] Fiona

what can I do when I’m struggling,

[00:18:12] Fiona

or what can I do to support the people in this room to support the people around me?

[00:18:17] Fiona

And I think that’s like that movement and flow and we do it through different

[00:18:22] Fiona

activities. Speaking, dancing, writing on Post-it notes,

[00:18:26] Fiona

these kind of things provides them the opportunity to start to feel safer and start

[00:18:30] Fiona

to share. And it takes one incredible young person with so much courage to be the

[00:18:37] Fiona

first person to share. And then it’s a snowball of all that, all the shares from,  from young people.

[00:18:44] Fiona


[00:18:44] Fiona

I think there’s lots of different ways that we make them feel safe,

[00:18:47] Fiona

but ultimately it’s them Making each other feel just as safe,  which is the bit that I love.

[00:18:54] Josh

Yeah, that’s always important as you were saying,  you know, that role model Level,

[00:18:57] Josh

but then that peer to peer support and then because that’s what’s going to be

[00:19:00] Josh

lasting as well as their you know, they go to school with them every day. So yeah,  support each other.

[00:19:05] Fiona

Yeah, yeah. For sure. I think that’s,  that’s like Such an incredibly important part of the reintegration piece after

[00:19:12] Fiona

a workshop. Yes,  we go through the journey together and then then we leave. And it’s like actually

[00:19:17] Fiona

it’s on them to continue the journey. It’s on Yes,

[00:19:19] Fiona

on the teachers. But it’s also also what are the tools that we can provide them

[00:19:23] Fiona

during the day when they’re struggling as an individual,  what can they do to look after themselves?

[00:19:28] Fiona

Maybe it’s dance, maybe it’s listen to music, maybe it’s go for a run,

[00:19:32] Fiona

maybe it’s journey or whatever it might be. And then how do they support each other?

[00:19:38] Fiona

And I think it’s a really, it’s

[00:19:39] Fiona

a really beautiful list that they come up with an opportunity for them to really

[00:19:43] Fiona

lean on each other and ask,

[00:19:45] Fiona

ask something of each other because I don’t think they very often get the chance to do that.

[00:19:52] Josh

I’m not sure what you can share cause obviously understand we’re talking

[00:19:54] Josh

about safe space for young people then going out and sharing their story publicly.  But are there any, you know,

[00:19:59] Josh

stories that really come to mind or really spring out that you think you’d be able to share?

[00:20:04] Fiona

Yeah,  absolutely. Obviously I would share names But there’s so many that come to my head.

[00:20:10] Fiona

I think we had a beautiful opportunity recently to be out in

[00:20:14] Fiona

a regional school and it’s really interesting being in regional rural schools

[00:20:19] Fiona

versus metro Melbourne schools. Like yes, they’re all going through something,

[00:20:24] Fiona

but the challenges are quite different. And we were in this regional school,  some of our facilities were out there,

[00:20:30] Fiona

and this young person was sitting in the circle and kind of had been

[00:20:35] Fiona

a bit of like sassy, sassy girl,

[00:20:38] Fiona

not interested throughout the day. And had got to this metal section which I was

[00:20:42] Fiona

just talking to you about. And she started to share and she started to share about

[00:20:49] Fiona

what she was actually going through. Everyone in the room just thought she was the

[00:20:52] Fiona

bully. They thought she was like the mango, the one who was just angry at everyone,

[00:20:58] Fiona

angry at life.

[00:20:59] Fiona

And what actually happened was she shared about all the challenges,

[00:21:03] Fiona

the mental health challenges that she was going through,

[00:21:06] Fiona

the family challenges that she was going through back home. And no one in the room

[00:21:10] Fiona

knew she was sharing that she was like,

[00:21:13] Fiona

Oh yeah I just like I guess the way she coped was Like

[00:21:20] Fiona

throw throwing stuff out at other people and bullying other people or being mean to

[00:21:24] Fiona

other people without even realizing that she was doing it and so as she started to

[00:21:28] Fiona

share, everyone in the room was kind of like,

[00:21:30] Fiona

Oh this all makes sense. But then she went one step beyond that and she really took

[00:21:36] Fiona

responsibility for the impact that she’d had in that year and a half. And she pointed out to

[00:21:42] Fiona

a couple of girls and spoke directly to them and said,

[00:21:44] Fiona

I apologize for bullying. I apologize for these comments. I apologize for the

[00:21:50] Fiona

impact that it had on you. And the other girls would just like how special for them

[00:21:56] Fiona

to get an apology,  but also for them to realize what was going on behind the scenes for that young

[00:22:02] Fiona

person. And I think we often as facilitators,  we often talk about the young people that are like,

[00:22:09] Fiona

Super sassy or Superman or don’t want to be there. They’re the ones that need it

[00:22:12] Fiona

the most because they’re the ones that quite often don’t want to talk about what

[00:22:17] Fiona

they’re going through and therefore don’t necessarily have

[00:22:20] Fiona

a safe space to talk about what they’re going through. And I think, yeah,  it was just a really,

[00:22:24] Fiona

really powerful opportunity recently for that young person to apologize and then

[00:22:29] Fiona

for everyone to really like, get behind her and say like,  thank you. How can we help like, what’s next?

[00:22:36] Fiona

How do we like help you on this journey?  And I think that just bringing together of,

[00:22:40] Fiona

of all the young people in the room is really special.

[00:22:43] Josh

That is,  and that sharing on its own is really powerful. And then combined with the,

[00:22:48] Josh

you know, owning up and taking responsibility. Yeah. That, Yeah, that’s huge for,

[00:22:53] Josh

for that person moving forward. So that’s a brilliant one.

[00:22:56] Fiona

Yeah, I think it’s,  it’s interesting, like I have, I’ve had that

[00:22:59] Fiona

a couple of times where young people will actually apologize for what For their actions. But

[00:23:06] Fiona

like whether they apologize or not,  it’s the opportunity that they have to share really about what they’re going

[00:23:11] Fiona

through. And there’s been a lot recently about body image and young people really sharing about the way that

[00:23:18] Fiona

they feel about their body and how their friends can imagine that they’re thinking those things. And I yeah,

[00:23:28] Fiona

have been in workshops recently where that’s really been a,

[00:23:32] Fiona

a pivotal moment for even friends like within friendship groups for them to see the that. Oh wow,

[00:23:38] Fiona

she’s really struggling and how can we help her with that. But also that we all

[00:23:42] Fiona

kind of feel like that, and like

[00:23:44] Fiona

a lot of the time we’re all judging our bodies. And so it’s allowing that person to

[00:23:48] Fiona

realize they’re not alone in that challenge. And they can lean on. They can lean on

[00:23:54] Fiona

other people for support if they need to.

[00:23:57] Josh


[00:23:58] Josh

Well,  definitely just from doing this podcast and speaking with young achiever awards

[00:24:03] Josh

participants, I’ve noticed that as an ongoing thing that people are really,  you know,

[00:24:09] Josh

facing imposter syndrome massively and feeling like that they’re not good enough.

[00:24:14] Josh

And it could be for so many different reasons. It could be, you know, culturally,  you know,

[00:24:19] Josh

gender where they fit in the community and so you had the work you’re doing is

[00:24:24] Josh

fantastic and it’s addressing that.

[00:24:26] Fiona

Yeah, yeah, thank you. I yeah,

[00:24:30] Fiona

I feel very blessed to be able to lead this organisation and the work that we’re

[00:24:34] Fiona

doing. I know everyone that’s involved in it from board Level all the way through

[00:24:39] Fiona

to the volunteers that we have are so passionate about just Making

[00:24:44] Fiona

a difference.

[00:24:45] Fiona

And I think the other piece is Large scale is like,

[00:24:48] Fiona

how do we provide an opportunity, not just for the young people to feel safe,

[00:24:51] Fiona

but the staff members, the board members the, the community at Large, you know,

[00:24:56] Fiona

how do we uplift them and how do we encourage them to step up and learn and grow.

[00:25:00] Fiona

And it’s funny that you mentioned imposter syndrome like, man,

[00:25:03] Fiona

I’ve been feeling that I stepped into this role in January this year. And it’s been

[00:25:08] Fiona

a rollercoaster ride and it’s been amazing and there’s been so many highs. But it’s

[00:25:12] Fiona

also, yeah it’s, it’s tough to be like, Oh, I’m a woman,

[00:25:16] Fiona

I’m young and I’m leading this organisation and I want and I’m so desperate for it

[00:25:21] Fiona

to succeed. And I’m so passionate about it succeeding because of my own story and

[00:25:27] Fiona

my own journey. I was a gymnast at eighteen years,

[00:25:30] Fiona

but my own journey with the young people that I was surrounded by and their mental

[00:25:36] Fiona

health struggles. So I feel like everyone that’s involved in off globally has that

[00:25:42] Fiona

deep connection to what we’re doing and wanting to provide a safe space for young people and to provide

[00:25:49] Fiona

a space for all people involved in organization to really thrive and grow and flourish.

[00:25:55] Josh

Yeah, very nice. All right,  so you are day one, you know,

[00:26:01] Josh

at the first workshop you said that’s awesome. And then this idea that becoming the

[00:26:05] Josh

CEO, which is very special. So I had the pleasure of meeting ishani probably

[00:26:10] Josh

a few years ago now at our young achiever worlds event in New South Wales. And then

[00:26:15] Josh

was so so happy to see fluttershy nominated and things like that. Obviously you

[00:26:19] Josh

nominated. So has that journey been, you know, becoming CEO Ashanti recently,  you know, founder stepping down,

[00:26:28] Josh

can you walk us through that that must have been really challenging.

[00:26:31] Fiona

Yeah. Gosh,  I feel like it’s been Such a journey to think like twenty eighteen was what?

[00:26:37] Fiona

Five years ago it actually just blows my mind that that was the first workshop I

[00:26:41] Fiona

feel like it was maybe last year. It’s just got all gone so quickly.

[00:26:47] Josh

Yeah.  Like covid was last year and then the year before that was twenty eighteen. So

[00:26:52] Fiona

yeah.  Like it actually just blows my mind. Yeah. So I think like my journey along

[00:26:58] Fiona

a Large scale has been through volunteer, facilitating,

[00:27:01] Fiona

then stepping into facilitating and like early on it was that was only

[00:27:05] Fiona

a group of like five of us. That was a shiny, myself, and a few other incredible facilitators. And yeah,

[00:27:11] Fiona

then we’ve kind of just grown and year on year, as I said earlier,

[00:27:14] Fiona

just growing little bit by little bit until covid hit and then it just went absolutely mental after covid,

[00:27:21] Fiona

which is so beautiful because it means schools were really investing in the young

[00:27:26] Fiona

people and investing in their wellbeing and I saw that shift at the end of twenty

[00:27:31] Fiona

twenty I came on as head of programmes of Large scale. So it was the like liaison

[00:27:36] Fiona

with the school booking. The school programs really having an opportunity to share

[00:27:41] Fiona

and grow far shall I read by the end of twenty twenty. I said to ishani,

[00:27:47] Fiona

you need help. You can’t do this anymore by yourself. Like you’ve got these

[00:27:51] Fiona

incredible visions. But she was trying to do everything and I just literally was

[00:27:55] Fiona

like, you need help.

[00:27:56] Fiona

I want to help like,

[00:27:57] Fiona

let me do this. So I stepped into the role and eventually just grew from there and I think, yeah,

[00:28:04] Fiona

the journey with ishani has been like amazing to see her absolutely like flourish

[00:28:10] Fiona

in Large scale to see her grow and evolve and get to the point where it’s like,

[00:28:16] Fiona

hey, actually I feel like I’ve given everything and she really had like,

[00:28:20] Fiona

she’s given everything she has over the last, like five, six,  seven years of this beautiful idea. And now it’s,

[00:28:27] Fiona

it’s beyond her. It’s bigger than her. It’s like now we’ve work with seventeen

[00:28:31] Fiona

thousand young people and that just like blows my mind every time I say it. And so,

[00:28:37] Fiona

yeah, I think it’s like it’s been so many things.

[00:28:40] Fiona

It’s been

[00:28:41] Fiona

a challenge like saying ishani step away. She’s also one of my really closest

[00:28:45] Fiona

friends, so I don’t get to see her every day,

[00:28:48] Fiona

which is hard and I don’t get to speak to her every day like we message and stuff

[00:28:52] Fiona

but. But seeing her go from and I think this is

[00:28:56] Fiona

a really powerful opportunity that founders quite often don’t get to do or don’t do.

[00:29:03] Fiona

She actually realised when she’d given absolutely everything and when she wanted

[00:29:08] Fiona

to move on to her next chapter. And I think the way she did that and the power she

[00:29:12] Fiona

in, in Such a powerful way it set flower show up for success. But it also set up herself

[00:29:18] Fiona

herself for success.  And in turn it set me up for success to be able to take over

[00:29:25] Fiona

this organization. Yeah, and I think like taking over CEO that has been

[00:29:31] Fiona

a whole rod. I’ve loved it. There’s been so many challenges. We’re still a startup,

[00:29:36] Fiona

so there’s lots of challenges coming with the startup. It’s very fast paced and

[00:29:43] Fiona

yeah, like I think at the moment like trying to recruit facilitators,

[00:29:46] Fiona

that’s our biggest challenge because we just need more facilitators to hit the

[00:29:50] Fiona

demand for the amount of programs that we’re doing. So yeah, it’s been, it’s been

[00:29:56] Fiona

a really exciting opportunity. I feel like I’ve leveled up in so many ways. And in the past three, sorry,

[00:30:03] Fiona

five months we’ve employed three more staff members to full time. And we’ve also

[00:30:08] Fiona

just brought on head of mental health in impact who’s a clinical psychologist,  Helen, which is yeah,

[00:30:16] Fiona

which is just highlighting and like the reason we did that was because with the

[00:30:21] Fiona

mental health challenges these young people going through before covid. Yeah,  those mental health challenges, but

[00:30:27] Fiona

a lot of it was quite whether we didn’t know about it or whether people didn’t talk

[00:30:31] Fiona

about it, but it was quite a lot. Whereas now that what the facilitators are hearing and yes,

[00:30:37] Fiona

we’re really taking the initiative to be like, okay, we need

[00:30:40] Fiona

a psychologist on board and we need them to help deliver and create the programs.

[00:30:45] Fiona

Evaluate the programs help support the young people help support the facilitators

[00:30:49] Fiona

help support the staff members who are hearing some challenging things. And I think

[00:30:55] Fiona

that’s just some really powerful and proud things that like things that I’m really

[00:31:00] Fiona

proud of over the past couple of months in really building the organization and how

[00:31:06] Fiona

do we set it up for success?  Moving forward.

[00:31:10] Josh

So as CEO, you know, some people, you know,  if they’re younger listeners might think that sounds very fancy, older,

[00:31:17] Josh

more jaded the citizens would know that CEO probably never gets any work done

[00:31:20] Josh

because there’s just too much. Yeah. Things to answer and pretty much meetings to

[00:31:26] Josh

attend. So what’s a typical day for you like Fiona?

[00:31:29] Fiona

Oh, I feel like it changes so much day or day.

[00:31:33] Fiona

 I think the,

[00:31:35] Fiona

the biggest thing that I’ve probably become aware of is how important it is to look

[00:31:41] Fiona

after your staff. And we’re Such a small team at the moment. There’s,  as I said before,

[00:31:46] Fiona

full time staff staff including myself and we’ve got our head of programmes,

[00:31:49] Fiona

he’s coming on as two days and then we’ve got twenty facilitators as well. So I think for me,

[00:31:55] Fiona

a lot of it is Making sure that the staff are okay. Making sure the facilities are

[00:31:59] Fiona

set, Making sure that I’ve, yeah,

[00:32:01] Fiona

really set everyone else up for success in order for me to do the other things that

[00:32:06] Fiona

I need to do. As a start up, there’s

[00:32:09] Fiona

a lot of governance type things like really setting the foundations of the

[00:32:14] Fiona

organisation working through strategy. Where are we going? Where do we want to go?

[00:32:19] Fiona

Who are the people we want to impact?

[00:32:21] Fiona

I’m also like applied for grants and awards and fundraising. So there’s lots of

[00:32:26] Fiona

different hats that I have at the moment. I’m really grateful for

[00:32:30] Fiona

a couple of the partnerships that we’ve had. We’ve got to empower. We’re part of

[00:32:34] Fiona

that collective which has been incredible for the donation,

[00:32:37] Fiona

but also probably more so the connections and opportunities I’ve given we’ve also

[00:32:43] Fiona

just partnered with with temba in the most recent partnership agreement.  And yeah, that’s

[00:32:51] Fiona

a really exciting opportunity for us to develop our facilitators even more. Yeah,

[00:32:56] Fiona

so I feel like day to day, it kind of is a bit all over the place,

[00:33:00] Fiona

depending on what’s needed. And when I think someone said to me once about being

[00:33:06] Fiona

a CEO, it’s choosing choosing and knowing that everything is a priority. But what’s the most like the biggest priority?

[00:33:16] Fiona

And I think that was like,

[00:33:18] Fiona

that was so important because there is so many things in a start up and as

[00:33:22] Fiona

a CEO that you have to look at. But what is the number one priority?  And I think for me,

[00:33:27] Fiona

the number one priority is our staff and our programs and how do we best support them? So

[00:33:32] Josh

yes, the challenge with a start up and any smaller organization that’s really doing big things. Is that the

[00:33:39] Josh

work list, the things to do is actually unless like,  it’s legitimately you could work twenty four hours

[00:33:45] Josh

a day on it. And so that’s so true what you’re saying about picking everything is

[00:33:49] Josh

a priority. But what is the absolute?

[00:33:51] Fiona

Yeah, we, we use this,

[00:33:53] Fiona

one of our board members told this to me early on. It was like three glass bowl

[00:33:58] Fiona

three probable. So glass balls are,  what are the three things this week that you have to do otherwise?

[00:34:03] Fiona

If you drop them, they’ll smash and then the rubber balls,

[00:34:07] Fiona

it’s like three things. What are the things that three things that you need to do

[00:34:11] Fiona

this week? And if you don’t do them, it’s not great,

[00:34:14] Fiona

but they’ll bounce back and you can get to them next week. And I love that. I was

[00:34:17] Fiona

like, that just makes my to do list so much easier. Yes, it’s

[00:34:21] Fiona

a never ending to do list. And I think also just having that in your mind that you

[00:34:25] Fiona

actually can’t get to the end of the to do list because there’s always going to be

[00:34:28] Fiona

more things. I say this. And I also need to remind myself of this because sometimes I’m like, Oh,

[00:34:34] Fiona

it’s so long. But I think one of the challenges that I’ve really felt and faced

[00:34:40] Fiona

recently is actually spending time looking after myself. As you said, like, as

[00:34:46] Fiona

a CEO or a startup, or even just like anyone doing any role,

[00:34:51] Fiona

it’s so easy if you’re passionate about something,

[00:34:54] Fiona

to get and allow it to consume your life. And I have like,

[00:34:59] Fiona

there has been times this year when I’ve been so consumed in absolutely everything for scale and realized, Oh,

[00:35:06] Fiona

I’m actually not even looking after myself. I’m not exercising, I’m not going for a walk. I’m not generally,

[00:35:12] Fiona

I’m not meditating.

[00:35:13] Fiona

I’m not seeing my family or seeing my friends and so that’s been

[00:35:18] Fiona

a really big challenge and I think something that’s really important for us to talk

[00:35:22] Fiona

about because unless we’re looking after ourselves,

[00:35:26] Fiona

we can’t look after the organization and like there have been times where I’m like

[00:35:29] Fiona

I get really sick and I’m like what I think about it. Oh,

[00:35:33] Fiona

that’s because I wasn’t actually doing the things to look after myself. So a reminder for myself, but also

[00:35:38] Fiona

a reminder for everyone listening. Yeah. What are the little things that you can do

[00:35:42] Fiona

every day to actually look after yourself?  Maybe it’s going for a walk,

[00:35:45] Fiona

maybe it’s being in the sun. Maybe it’s just sitting down having

[00:35:48] Fiona

a coffee and taking a few minutes, just a brief. Yeah.

[00:35:54] Josh

Some great insights,  they actually wrote down the three gospels and through three,  both.

[00:35:57] Fiona

It’s so

[00:35:58] Josh

good. It’s good. It’s very good.

[00:36:00] Fiona

It’s really,  it’s really helpful with staff members too, because like them,

[00:36:03] Fiona

it’s like you’ve got your list. But then everyone has their lists. And it’s how do

[00:36:08] Fiona

you just be Super clear,  what are the priorities and how can you help like your staff members or other

[00:36:13] Fiona

people in the organization to know and help prioritize what their goals are?

[00:36:19] Josh

Yeah. So i’mnot, definitely not in your target audience of participants. Not being

[00:36:25] Josh

a teenage girl or gender diverse teen myself. But every day

[00:36:28] Josh

a lot of what you’re saying is, is really speaking to me and I’m getting

[00:36:33] Josh

a lot out of this chat myself. So have you ever done anything for corporate teams

[00:36:38] Josh

or is that just too far removed from you know, your number one goal?

[00:36:42] Fiona

Yeah, we haven’t specifically, we’ve done a few like we’ve dabbled in

[00:36:46] Fiona

a few different things. We offer teacher training and parent information sessions,

[00:36:53] Fiona

where we talk about what it is that we’re going to be talking about with the young people,

[00:36:57] Fiona

give the parents some tools that they can use. And also the teachers like what are

[00:37:02] Fiona

the things that they can do and the knowledge that we have that we can pass that on

[00:37:06] Fiona

to them outside of a workshop. Because ultimately if we, if we just work with

[00:37:11] Fiona

a young person, that’s awesome. But as soon as they leave that room,

[00:37:14] Fiona

or potentially as soon as they leave the community of the school and go back into

[00:37:20] Fiona

a normal day to day or night time with their family and their family potentially

[00:37:24] Fiona

don’t know what they’ve just done. They’ve had a transformational experience,

[00:37:27] Fiona

but then they go back into normal life and it can be quite jarring. So how do we

[00:37:32] Fiona

set the young person up for success around the like the whole community around them

[00:37:36] Fiona

that be the teachers, the parents and the young people. So we’ve done

[00:37:41] Fiona

a little bit of those kind of things. We’ve done out teacher training and parent

[00:37:44] Fiona

information sessions and still offer those. Yeah,  it’s an interesting look. I feel like absolutely everyone can benefit from these

[00:37:52] Fiona

conversations. We did a session with meca,

[00:37:56] Fiona

some of the meca retail staff in New South Wales yesterday just online for an hour

[00:38:01] Fiona

and it was really powerful. Introduce them to

[00:38:04] Fiona

a check in like the most basic tool that we use it for our school is

[00:38:09] Fiona

a check in. And it’s like each person you’re in a pair.

[00:38:12] Fiona

One person has two minutes,

[00:38:14] Fiona

maybe three minutes to share. How are you really going?

[00:38:18] Fiona

And then the other person is not allowed to say anything. You just have to listen.

[00:38:23] Fiona

And then once that person’s finished, we switch over and it’s an opportunity for,  for people to really, Yeah,

[00:38:30] Fiona

have this stage just to share what’s there. But also know that they can share

[00:38:33] Fiona

what’s below the surface. So we did that with the Mecca Mecca the other day,

[00:38:39] Fiona

which was really powerful and really beautiful. And is it like when you’re in

[00:38:42] Fiona

a corporate or a fast moving organisation?  It’s so important. But no, I don’t like,

[00:38:49] Fiona

I think we’re so focused on the young people and they’re in that they need it so

[00:38:54] Fiona

much. So I don’t necessarily think we’re going to go into adults. Other than

[00:39:00] Fiona

helping them have the knowledge to support young people. I think that’s our nature,  but as, as you said,

[00:39:06] Fiona

like this work is so important and we’ll continue to shed learnings from the young

[00:39:11] Fiona

people and what we’re doing on social media or on podcasts or whatever it might be

[00:39:16] Fiona

to help everyone because yet you’re right,

[00:39:18] Fiona

like that sometimes what I need to be like, damn, I need to be in

[00:39:21] Fiona

a workshop because I’ve forgotten to look after myself or I’ve forgotten to reach

[00:39:26] Fiona

out to this person because I know they can help me or whatever it might be. So I

[00:39:30] Fiona

think it’s, it’s, yeah, constantly coming back to like, whenever perfect,

[00:39:35] Fiona

whenever going to be perfect, but how can we continue,

[00:39:37] Fiona

continue to surround ourselves with people who are going to encourage us to be the

[00:39:41] Fiona

best versions of ourselves. And how do we take that responsibility on ourselves as well? Yeah.

[00:39:48] Josh

So you mentioned earlier that, you know,  there’s so many challenges and you know,

[00:39:53] Josh

for you to focus on but as an organization,  what’s probably your biggest challenge you’re facing right now? Yeah.

[00:39:59] Fiona

Oh,  biggest challenge I think we’re facing right now is having enough facilities to

[00:40:06] Fiona

deliver on the amount of programs that we want to be doing and the,

[00:40:10] Fiona

the demand that’s coming from the schools. I think that partly comes from needing

[00:40:16] Fiona

more funding to support the facilities and their growth. We can’t just throw in any

[00:40:21] Fiona

old person with no training because they’re holding Such sacred spaces for these

[00:40:25] Fiona

young people. So Making sure that the facilitators feel really safe and supported

[00:40:31] Fiona

to deliver really powerful content. So I think that’s one challenge that we have is.

[00:40:36] Fiona

Yeah. Not wanting to, I’m kind of, I guess, restricting ourselves a little bit,

[00:40:40] Fiona

not wanting to expand too quickly and losing the quality and the impact of what

[00:40:43] Fiona

we’re actually doing. But it can only increase more facilitators by increasing the

[00:40:50] Fiona

program numbers at the moment. So it’s a little fine line balance. It’s a bit of

[00:40:53] Fiona

a like cycle that we’re in. But yeah, when we get

[00:40:57] Fiona

a little bit of funding like we did for like ten,

[00:40:59] Fiona

but that was really powerful. And I think the other thing like the biggest

[00:41:03] Fiona

challenge that we’re facing kind of comes down to the conversations that the

[00:41:08] Fiona

facilities are having with the young people it’s,

[00:41:10] Fiona

it’s so much heavier than it’s ever been. So it’s taking an emotional toll on some

[00:41:15] Fiona

of the facilitators. It’s on the staff members,  it’s how do we really look after ourselves and our team?

[00:41:23] Fiona

So I talk about the like,  what are we doing to look after ourselves every single day?

[00:41:28] Fiona

Because I think, yeah,  it’s Making sure that they’re set up for success and looking after themselves,

[00:41:33] Fiona

Hence why we’ve just brought on our head of mental health and impact to really

[00:41:36] Fiona

support in that space. And then yeah, I think always as a start up and a charity,

[00:41:42] Fiona

the challenges wanting to get more donations and more funding and more partnerships and, and looking to Yeah,

[00:41:49] Fiona

ways to expand into and work with organizations that are really like minded.

[00:41:55] Fiona

There are so many incredible organizations out there. I’ve met some through the

[00:42:00] Fiona

awards even when and like we presented at one of the other organizations it was in our category. Oh really?

[00:42:07] Fiona

Yeah. Strive Brianna from Strive health initiative with University of Melbourne. We

[00:42:13] Fiona

went to the health and wellness day health day. I think it was what it was called

[00:42:20] Fiona

which was supporting the Uni students at Melbourne and we all different organisations,

[00:42:27] Fiona

we were there to talk about health and we came along and we had conversations and I

[00:42:31] Fiona

think it was just a really how do we continue to partner with and work with other organisations and

[00:42:37] Fiona

like top Level each other and,  and platforming each other rather than be in competition. How do we collaborate?

[00:42:45] Fiona

Yes, I think that’s a really important part of our next journey. Who are you working with and how can

[00:42:51] Fiona

we platform each other?

[00:42:53] Josh

D, trying to think of the right word here, but you know,

[00:42:57] Josh

a lot of startup culture or people advising startups is, are at scale, grow,  expand, and you’ve got almost the,

[00:43:05] Josh

not the opposite that you’re really focused on. Just Making sure that everyone is

[00:43:11] Josh

looked after that you’re doing what you do really well. So do you find it hard

[00:43:15] Josh

sometimes to get that kind of expert advice or you know,

[00:43:19] Josh

external mentorship because others may not be on the same kind of path that you are?

[00:43:24] Fiona

Yeah, I think it’s been interesting. We had

[00:43:26] Fiona

a strategy day in March and I think that gave so much clarity because from a board Level,

[00:43:32] Fiona

but also like our exact team.

[00:43:35] Fiona

It was very much we are based in Victoria for the

[00:43:39] Fiona

next three years unless we go like,

[00:43:42] Fiona

unless there’s amazing things that happen like to really have that clarity that our

[00:43:47] Fiona

focus is all the young people in Victoria. I think that was

[00:43:51] Fiona

a really powerful choice. And step that we took to not scale too quickly

[00:43:58] Fiona

and potentially lose the impact of what we were doing and lose the quality of what

[00:44:04] Fiona

we were doing. But to really focus on what we’re doing in Victoria.

[00:44:08] Fiona

And I think

[00:44:09] Fiona

like as, as I’ve said,  our facilities are absolutely assets. So as soon as we scale Super wide. And again

[00:44:16] Fiona

that’s, that’s a challenge that we’re going to have eventually. What’s like,

[00:44:19] Fiona

how do we do that and how do we do that in

[00:44:21] Fiona

a way that we don’t lose money or invest in too much?

[00:44:27] Fiona

But I think yeah, at the moment I think that was

[00:44:28] Fiona

a really powerful opportunity for us to just be like, no,

[00:44:32] Fiona

we’re focusing on schools in Victoria for the next three years. And I think with that clarity,

[00:44:41] Fiona

it means that anyone that we bring in anyone I speak to in mentorships or

[00:44:47] Fiona

partnerships or any of the other staff that reach out to like,

[00:44:50] Fiona

we’re Super clear on where we stand. And it allows for, I guess, like

[00:44:57] Fiona

a conversation to be had that is and then like,

[00:45:00] Fiona

brought out into different areas in saying that I think I’m always open to that

[00:45:06] Fiona

changing the three years. But I think it would only change if there was

[00:45:11] Fiona

a significant opportunity that we had that was not going to lose the impact of what

[00:45:16] Fiona

we’re actually doing now. And the quality of what we’re doing. And I think that’s

[00:45:21] Fiona

actually advice that we have got from some of our partners and organisations is don’t,

[00:45:27] Fiona

don’t scale too quickly because they’ve seen the impact of what happens when small organisations scale too quickly. Yeah,

[00:45:36] Fiona

I think it’s actually been interesting. It’s actually been the opposite. It’s been

[00:45:39] Fiona

like, yeah, don’t scale too quickly because we are in a we are in

[00:45:43] Fiona

a position that’s really healthy at the moment and yet wanting to continue like

[00:45:48] Fiona

this. So much growth that we can have in Victoria at this point. Still

[00:45:52] Josh

so you mentioned working with Strive one of the fellow finalists in the Victorian

[00:45:57] Josh

government group achievement in the community wall,  which is awesome. So cool. You know, you had

[00:46:01] Josh

a really good group and it did seem like and obviously you won. But it did say like

[00:46:06] Josh

a very celebratory,  happy affair that night at the event held at the Sofitel in Melbourne. Can you walk

[00:46:14] Josh

us through your experience with that you know when you up there as a finalist?

[00:46:18] Josh

Were you happy with that not expecting to win or how was the experience that night?

[00:46:23] Fiona

Oh my gosh to be honest

[00:46:27] Fiona

I thought we weren’t even expecting to get into a finalist. So the fact that we were

[00:46:31] Fiona

a finalist was like absolutely incredible. I was the first person to be called up

[00:46:37] Fiona

as a finalist to get your certificate. And as per the instructions of the day,

[00:46:43] Fiona

I went to sit back down and then I realised everyone else was actually still

[00:46:47] Fiona

waiting over the other side for the final.

[00:46:50] Fiona

Like for the winner to be cool.

[00:46:51] Josh

Yeah.  Some people went rogue.

[00:46:53] Fiona

Yeah. And I was like,  okay,  am I supposed to be back over there?

[00:46:58] Fiona

I don’t know. And then all my type was like,

[00:47:00] Fiona

I think you should be back and I was like, Oh, okay,

[00:47:02] Fiona

well I may well walk back like it’s probably unlikely we’re going to win,

[00:47:06] Fiona

but I can celebrate with everyone else. I was at the I was at the back of all the

[00:47:10] Fiona

groups and went out and I go go go. I was literally just like where did they legit

[00:47:15] Fiona

do which is weird where I was so surprised like not surprised in what we’re doing.

[00:47:22] Fiona

The impact that we’re having, but man,  there were so many incredible organisations and so many incredible groups. I don’t

[00:47:29] Fiona

I have,  I don’t know how they chose because like Across the whole lot I was sitting there

[00:47:35] Fiona

listening to all the different finalists. And I genuinely like there are so many

[00:47:40] Fiona

people out there that we’re doing so many incredible things. And I think that was

[00:47:42] Fiona

my biggest takeaway from the night was that there are so many incredible young people out there Making

[00:47:49] Fiona

a difference.

[00:47:50] Fiona

And I love that they got the platform and we got the platform as well

[00:47:54] Fiona

for our show, but that so many young people actually got

[00:47:57] Fiona

a platform to shine and to be recognised for all the work that they’re doing. I

[00:48:01] Fiona

know a lot of them it’s the work that they’re really,  really passionate about. And yeah, it was just

[00:48:09] Fiona

a beautiful opportunity for people to be recognised and honoured and celebrated for

[00:48:14] Fiona

that passion that they have. But the date willing willingness to make

[00:48:18] Fiona

a difference.

[00:48:19] Fiona

And I think for us at far scale,

[00:48:21] Fiona

like that recognition was something that we’d never experienced before. It was the

[00:48:26] Fiona

first time that we’ve as an organisation got an award like this and I think, yeah,

[00:48:32] Fiona

I was in shock on stage. I couldn’t believe it. And I was really privileged at the

[00:48:38] Fiona

same time to represent so many other organisations up there in the category to win.  And I think yeah,

[00:48:47] Fiona

just celebrate the incredible facilitators that we have. I said in the speech that Yes, yes,

[00:48:53] Fiona

this recognises all that we’re doing. But it’s the award really recognises the

[00:48:58] Fiona

incredible facilitators and their, their passion, their expertise,

[00:49:04] Fiona

the work that they’re doing and actually providing those safe spaces for young

[00:49:07] Fiona

people. So yeah, I was very shocked, but absolutely honoured. And it’s been

[00:49:13] Fiona

a really beautiful celebration that we’ve had for our facilitators as well.

[00:49:18] Josh

Well,  you mentioned you don’t know how the judges pick,  tell you what that is. A really tough category to,

[00:49:23] Josh

to judge because it’s our only one really that has, you know,

[00:49:27] Josh

groups of people. And it can be tricky sometimes because you have the conversation

[00:49:32] Josh

of woe and there’s the young achiever awards. The participants are young,

[00:49:36] Josh

but it’s not led by a young person. Is that eligible?

[00:49:39] Josh

So there’s all these conversations and I think where flourish girl was so Such

[00:49:43] Josh

a strong candidate is it’s so youth led. Yeah,  it’s obviously the participants are all young people,

[00:49:49] Josh

so it just fits the bill and you have Such

[00:49:51] Josh

a great impact Across so many schools and so many young people. So it’s

[00:49:55] Josh

a real credit to what you do.

[00:49:56] Fiona

Yeah, thank you. Yeah, it was a real privilege to be awarded the award and yeah,

[00:50:02] Fiona

I think to continue to platform the work that we’re doing. I think that was through

[00:50:07] Fiona

other partners being able to share the award and yeah,

[00:50:11] Fiona

really being recognized for all that we’re doing and. And everything that we hope

[00:50:15] Fiona

to do in the future as well. So there’s so much more that we want to be doing and

[00:50:19] Fiona

helping so many more young people. So yeah,

[00:50:23] Josh

well, before we wrap up,  do you have one final question for you, Jonah?  So, you know,

[00:50:29] Josh

you’re obviously on the inspirational australian’s podcast and you know you’ve

[00:50:32] Josh

inspired me today. I’ve been taking some little notes here that I’ll carry into my

[00:50:37] Josh

daily to do list with the three glass and three rubber balls was excellent. I loved

[00:50:41] Josh

the reminders about, you know,  taking time for yourself to make sure your own health,

[00:50:46] Josh

physical and mental is really good because without that,

[00:50:48] Josh

you can’t then be at your best to support your staff and the people you’re willing

[00:50:52] Josh

to serve. So I guess there’s a long lead up to my question about what is it Fiona,

[00:50:58] Josh

that inspires you. Whether that’s a person you know a philosophy on

[00:51:04] Josh

a day to day or wider? What inspires you?

[00:51:07] Fiona

Oh, I feel like that’s Such a beautiful question and the first question that comes to my head,

[00:51:15] Fiona

the first few people that come to my head of my parents, my mom and my dad,

[00:51:18] Fiona

and my dad was there on the night of the award and it was so beautiful, he had

[00:51:25] Fiona

a pin that he, he’d been awarded previously and I asked him, I was like,  what’s the PIN for?

[00:51:31] Fiona

I have never seen that before. And he goes,

[00:51:35] Fiona

it was an award he received twice and the award was recognizing service above self.

[00:51:41] Fiona

And I remember being there and hearing that and just being like far out,

[00:51:46] Fiona

that feels so relevant to how I feel about flower show and yes,

[00:51:53] Fiona

it service above self and without the detriment of self. I think that’s an important

[00:51:58] Fiona

add on that I would say.

[00:52:01] Fiona

But I think, yeah,

[00:52:02] Fiona

just the way that my parents have always supported those in need. Always been

[00:52:07] Fiona

willing to go above and beyond for Yeah, the people around them,

[00:52:13] Fiona

the sporting clubs like my my mom was involved in my gymnastics club for years and

[00:52:17] Fiona

years and years. She did so much volunteer work but I think, yeah,

[00:52:23] Fiona

just the love and care that they have for other people. And I think I’m really

[00:52:27] Fiona

privileged to have had so much of that ingrained in me. And they’re the

[00:52:34] Fiona

people that really inspired me to make

[00:52:36] Fiona

a difference and to be able to grow and support so many young people Across

[00:52:40] Fiona

Victoria and partly Australia and hopefully wider than that Across the world. And

[00:52:47] Fiona

yeah, I think for me it’s connecting to what is my purpose and what is my why?

[00:52:53] Fiona

And my why is because I don’t want young people to suffer with mental health

[00:52:57] Fiona

challenges. I want all young people, I want all people,

[00:53:00] Fiona

but I want all young people to be able to have permission to be themselves in all

[00:53:07] Fiona

aspects of their life, whether that’s mental health and talking about it,

[00:53:11] Fiona

whether that’s sport that they want to play. Whether that’s

[00:53:13] Fiona

a job that they want to do, whether that’s sexual orientation,

[00:53:18] Fiona

whether that’s like the people that they love, like whatever it is, I want people,

[00:53:22] Fiona

I want all young people to be themselves and to thrive being themselves. So yeah,

[00:53:27] Fiona

I’m grateful that I have that connection through my parents.

[00:53:34] Josh

That it amazing parents because you know, we, those of us who,

[00:53:40] Josh

who have had amazing loving supporting parents. We’re very lucky and I think

[00:53:45] Josh

sometimes we may never truly know how lucky we are. So that’s a wonderful, beautiful answer. Fiona, thank you.

[00:53:55] Fiona

Yeah,  I absolutely agree with that and I know the privilege in that as well. And I love

[00:54:01] Fiona

that. I get to use that privilege in a positive way.

[00:54:03] Josh

Yeah. For sure.  So where can people connect with flourish?

[00:54:09] Josh

Gayle to find out more that maybe to apply to be a

[00:54:15] Fiona

yes please

[00:54:15] Josh

facilitator or something like that.

[00:54:17] Fiona

Yeah,  absolutely. So you can follow us on Instagram at FA show on the school. There’s

[00:54:24] Fiona

a link in there to our website,

[00:54:25] Fiona

but the website is flower scout dot org. So jump on there. We have applications

[00:54:30] Fiona

open. You can join our team and there’s a place that you can apply for being

[00:54:36] Fiona

a facilitator which is looking for. So no matter when you’re listening to this,

[00:54:40] Fiona

please please if you’re interested apply and then on LinkedIn as well,  we’re starting to post

[00:54:45] Fiona

a little bit more. We’re getting better at posting on LinkedIn and getting better

[00:54:48] Fiona

at posting on social media. So yeah,  there’s some really exciting things happening in the next couple of months and

[00:54:55] Fiona

start of next year. So definitely stay tuned and follow the journey. But we’re

[00:55:00] Fiona

really excited where everything’s going and would love to connect or to hear how you found the podcast. And yeah,

[00:55:07] Fiona

all of that kind of stuff. So

[00:55:09] Josh

wonderful. Thanks for your time this morning, Fiona,  I really appreciate it and yeah,  thoroughly enjoyed the chat.

[00:55:16] Fiona

Amazing. Thank you so much for having me and allowing me to share so much about our show.

[00:55:25] Christine

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