Home » Podcast » Isabella Dewar on the power of martial arts, a positive mindset and caring for others

Isabella Dewar on the power of martial arts, a positive mindset and caring for others

In this week’s episode, Josh chats with Isabella Dewar who was the Winner of the Spirit Super Connecting Communities Award at the 2023 Tasmanian Young Achiever Awards.

Isabella began her martial arts journey when she joined a karate class at the age of 4 and by 14, she had earned her black belt. Through karate, Isabella has learnt not just the physical skills of self-defence, but also mindfulness, discipline, and a feeling of empowerment that has helped her overcome bullying. At 16, she is now a certified karate instructor and runs free self-defence classes and empowerment programs to kids and adults who have experienced bullying.

Isabella is a carer for her mum and she was recently appointed as the youngest member of the Minister’s Carer Advisory Council that provides advice, information and insights about issues affecting carers to assist in the development and delivery of informed, effective and evidence-based policy, programs and projects to support and recognise unpaid carers. She hopes to use her voice and lived experience to advocate for supports for other young people juggling school and caring responsibilities.

“I think all young people, if they have something to say, should be saying it, because if we want to make change in the world, we have to listen to everybody’s ideas”

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[00:00:09] Christine

Welcome to

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[00:00:10] Christine

Australians, where we share

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stories of Australians making a difference in their

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and in the lives of others.

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We are

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inspirational.  Australians acknowledged the Wurundjeri and Bunurong

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We are inspired by the world’s oldest living culture and pay homage to their rich

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storytelling history. When we share stories on our podcast,

[00:00:59] Josh

Joining me today for this week’s episode of the Inspirational Australian’s podcast is Isabella Dewar,

[00:01:05] Josh

who is sixteen from Burnie in Tasmania. Isabella is determined to try and help

[00:01:10] Josh

everyone around her. Isabella received her black belt in karate at the age of

[00:01:14] Josh

fourteen, and went through an Instructor’s course and is now

[00:01:18] Josh

a certified karate instructor. Isabella teaches self-defense to free two kids and

[00:01:23] Josh

adults who have been bullied. She also helps run empowerment programs and is even a carer at home. Isabella,

[00:01:33] Josh

thank you so much for joining us. How are you doing today?

[00:01:36] Isabella

I’m doing really well. Thank you.

[00:01:38] Josh

That’s good and you’re letting me know that you’d

[00:01:40] Josh

just finished or today is your last day of school holidays. Is that right?

[00:01:44] Isabella

It sure is. I start tomorrow. So trying to get up nice and early.

[00:01:49] Josh

Yeah,  going to get back into the routine.

[00:01:52] Isabella

I hope I really hope.

[00:01:54] Josh

Well,  I can truly empathize with you even though I’m no longer in school, obviously by

[00:01:58] Josh

a long shot.

[00:01:58] Josh

But my kids are in primary school. And so we went on

[00:02:01] Josh

a big holiday recently and on the way back, you know,

[00:02:05] Josh

even just from the parents point of view of little kids, you know,

[00:02:07] Josh

you get them organized, getting it waking up early as you said,

[00:02:10] Josh

and getting everything ready. So what grade are you doing This year?

[00:02:15] Isabella

So I’m in year eleven. Six my second last year in school.

[00:02:19] Josh

Yeah. Lovely and where were you on holidays?

[00:02:22] Isabella

So I was in holidays in Melbourne recently,  so I guess it lasted for about a week.

[00:02:27] Josh

Now is Melbourne,

[00:02:28] Josh

that’s where I am as well. So was it any warmer than what you have there in Burnie

[00:02:32] Josh

or is about said,

[00:02:34] Isabella

no, it saves one more when I left, it was like, yeah,

[00:02:37] Isabella

it was two degrees when I left and when I landed

[00:02:39] Isabella

, it was like a day. And so by a long shot it was nice. I mean

[00:02:44] Josh

that’s, yeah, that’s,  that’s pretty cold and back then

[00:02:47] Isabella

it’s Super cold. We get the occasional snow down here. So it’s, it’s beautiful tassie, that’s for sure.

[00:02:55] Josh

There you go.

[00:02:56] Josh

Well,  Isabella, as I said,

[00:02:57] Josh

thanks for joining us. We had the chance to meet you. I didn’t personally,

[00:03:02] Josh

I wasn’t able to go there. But for the Tasmanian young achiever awards back and

[00:03:07] Josh

that would have been made this year. So does that seem like ages ago for you or can

[00:03:13] Josh

you remember it clearly? What was the awards night experience like for you, Isabella?

[00:03:17] Isabella

Honestly,  it only feels like last week to me. And so we started off with like the day of the

[00:03:23] Isabella

awards and we had to travel five hours sleep hopped in the car. And thankfully I’m

[00:03:28] Isabella

on my own. So I got some hours up anyway. And we were staying in

[00:03:33] Isabella

a house which is really good at where the awards is hosted.

[00:03:36] Isabella

So I had about an hour

[00:03:38] Isabella

before we had the mad rush and having Sarah go down there. And we had four people

[00:03:44] Isabella

in one hotel room, so I coded to the bathroom, is all I remember a

[00:03:49] Josh

good cold,  good call. Wow. Honestly,

[00:03:54] Josh

sorry. That’s the trip from Burnie to Hobart is five hours I didn’t realise I had

[00:04:00] Josh

my head. I thought it was only like two or three hours.

[00:04:02] Isabella

Yeah,  I like an average speed. You can get there in four hours,

[00:04:07] Isabella

but because I can only do ninety on the road to get that extra hour plus road works.

[00:04:12] Josh

The old L plate rules, so they go, well,  good job on calling kids in the bathroom. You got there,

[00:04:17] Josh

you made it all on time. And what would you like?  You know,

[00:04:21] Josh

because obviously for those who don’t know with the other achieved towards each

[00:04:25] Josh

finalist is, are pulled up on stage and presented one at a time. And there’s

[00:04:30] Josh

a video that talks about their achievements and things like that. And what I read

[00:04:34] Josh

out early is very similar to probably what was read out at the awards night.

[00:04:38] Josh


[00:04:38] Josh

you’ve got to be up on stage once and then you go back and you know, the Spirit,

[00:04:42] Josh

Super representative would have been mini lions. There. She is announcing the

[00:04:47] Josh

winner. What went through your head when you heard your name called out?

[00:04:53] Isabella

I honestly, I did that thing where you see in movies like that,

[00:04:56] Isabella

so silly today I looked around me and like who is she?  And then I

[00:05:00] Josh


[00:05:00] Isabella

like, wait, all right,  that’s my name. Everyone around me to the like, go up,

[00:05:06] Isabella

go up and me being me in high heels uncoordinated or we’re still on the stairs,

[00:05:11] Isabella

but I made it up there and I got

[00:05:13] Isabella

a beautiful photo. And there was this little girl giving out the trophy as well. So

[00:05:18] Isabella

she was really sweet. And that I was really lucky. I was the only one that had that

[00:05:23] Isabella

rehearsal because my name was supposed to be cold out of all the categories. So I

[00:05:28] Isabella

had that little Pre rehearsal with this one, so already, so I got

[00:05:32] Isabella

a little bit familiar with her. So I had about three times on stage,

[00:05:36] Isabella

which is Super cool.

[00:05:38] Isabella

Each time those stairs definitely hold the rail,  going up.

[00:05:42] Josh

Good advice for anyone attending these awards later in the track?

[00:05:47] Josh

Yeah, that’s funny. That’s funny. You mention that. So we always do

[00:05:50] Josh

a rehearsal and we use the first award that’s going to be announced on the night as

[00:05:54] Josh

the rehearsal. And yeah,  it was obviously the Spirit Super acting community award. And then you’re up there

[00:06:00] Josh

for the rehearsal up again is upon us. That’s funny. I hadn’t thought about that

[00:06:03] Josh

that you’d be up there so many times. So you master that by the end.

[00:06:07] Isabella

Yeah. I only slept on the way down, but we got that we really did.

[00:06:12] Josh

As I said,  I wasn’t able to be there. I love going to the awards ceremonies around the country,

[00:06:16] Josh

and one thing I’m always interested in is where you prepared with

[00:06:20] Josh

a speech. Even though you didn’t think you were going to win. You said

[00:06:24] Isabella

absolutely not. So what did you make?

[00:06:27] Josh

Yeah, what did you do?

[00:06:29] Isabella

I made like a little stick, you know, it just would like the keynote,

[00:06:32] Isabella

thanking the sponsor. And then I was like, right, well,  I don’t really have anywhere to put it,

[00:06:36] Isabella

so I left it on my table being the smart cookie. I am. So going out there,

[00:06:42] Isabella

I was really lucky because I’m not really great with Big crowds and talking to

[00:06:46] Isabella


[00:06:47] Isabella

So thankfully the spotlight only showed like two faces in the audience and

[00:06:51] Isabella

the rest were like little floating heads that you just couldn’t see. And,

[00:06:56] Isabella

and I was able to actually see my mom and I instantly knew that without her support

[00:07:02] Isabella

along the way and without her just being there for me,

[00:07:06] Isabella

I really wouldn’t have been here where I am today. So I instantly,

[00:07:10] Isabella

after I wanted to thank my sponsor, I just wanted to give my mom

[00:07:13] Isabella

a really big shout out because it’s the bare minimum I can do for her that she

[00:07:18] Isabella

really has helped me everywhere. I’ve been so

[00:07:21] Josh

that’s awesome. Tell me a bit about your mom and I guess your upbringing because you got such an

[00:07:26] Josh

interesting life. I was reading your nomination before we started and you’ve done

[00:07:30] Josh

so much at this age. Does that kind of desire to,  to help people come from your mom?

[00:07:36] Isabella

Absolutely. It does from a young age. I’m very multicultural. So my mom’s Indian dad’s Australian and from

[00:07:44] Isabella

a young age,  she’s always taught us kids to not let our colour or our looks define us. And that

[00:07:51] Isabella

was really good to have that mode because for me young age there was always

[00:07:55] Isabella

bullying going around. I wasn’t dark enough to be part of the Indian community here,

[00:08:00] Isabella

and I wasn’t wide enough to be part of the Australian community up here. So I

[00:08:07] Isabella

wasn’t an outcast, but I didn’t fit in wherever I went. And I moved around schools

[00:08:12] Isabella

a little bit growing up. So it was really good to have that talk with my mom about

[00:08:18] Isabella

what happens if I’m getting talked about because of my skin colour or something.

[00:08:24] Isabella

And she said don’t let that define. You don’t let that bring you down,

[00:08:28] Isabella

but use it to bring me up and all my life. I’ve always done that trying to see the

[00:08:32] Isabella

positives in people and the positive things.

[00:08:35] Isabella

And so she also got me into

[00:08:39] Isabella

a lot of volunteer work when I was younger and martial arts. That’s how I started

[00:08:43] Isabella

my karate at the age of four. And really?  Yep, yep,

[00:08:49] Josh

yep,  nice one. So do you kind of remember starting in karate like that for one of those

[00:08:54] Josh

ages where, oh, you do?

[00:08:55] Josh

Because going to say give me that age where you like kind of just starting to,

[00:08:59] Josh

you know, be able to remember things when you look back. But you do remember?

[00:09:03] Isabella

Yes, I do, I was about four,

[00:09:05] Isabella

twenty five. So I was in that little patch where I could remember just like little

[00:09:10] Isabella

things but not too much. But we actually lived in Hobart at the time,

[00:09:14] Isabella

and there was a little club opposite. My school,

[00:09:17] Isabella

so after school mom and I would go there and she’d take my sister with us and we

[00:09:22] Isabella

always had five things that we had to learn how to play an instrument,

[00:09:26] Isabella

the free choice and martial arts. And I forgotten the other two. Obviously it was

[00:09:30] Isabella

not important to me, But karate was always something that I was interested in,

[00:09:36] Isabella

so I did other martial arts as well. And then when we moved up to Burnie,

[00:09:41] Isabella

there was the same club up here as well. So I developed the really good friendships

[00:09:47] Isabella

my mum did with the instructor and ever since then we’ve got like another family throughout the karate club.

[00:09:55] Josh

Oh awesome. And so was your sister, you mentioned,  was she older or younger?

[00:10:01] Isabella

Oh, this is this, I’m the second youngest. My younger brother’s a little baby. Yes. So

[00:10:09] Josh

and karate would come in handy. You know,  for elder sister you got to defend yourself against his. Oh yeah,

[00:10:15] Isabella

definitely definitely. To take them once they used to come out. There was definitely some running and kicking, so.

[00:10:21] Josh

Yeah,  that’s awesome. So I guess what was it that that did stick out for you about karate

[00:10:28] Josh

that made you really love it.

[00:10:30] Isabella

I really like the discipline side of it. So it taught

[00:10:34] Isabella

me how to be really grounded and mindful around me as well as obviously that self

[00:10:39] Isabella

defense. And just that remembering this,

[00:10:42] Isabella

I thinkkarate which is patterns and you have to remember it and you start off

[00:10:47] Isabella

with like the first one. And I think there’s about twelve before you get to your

[00:10:50] Isabella

black belt, and you have to remember all of that. And I really like that there was

[00:10:54] Isabella

a lot of repetition. There wasn’t something you go and you know,

[00:10:58] Isabella

something that you were uncomfortable doing and you were you felt comfortable

[00:11:03] Isabella

trying to learn new things and I really like that.

[00:11:06] Josh

Yeah,  it’s awesome. And so obviously you’ve got your black belt and you had that by the

[00:11:10] Josh

age of fourteen. So a few years ago. Now, excuse me, if this is rude,

[00:11:15] Josh

I don’t know. I’m not into karate,

[00:11:16] Josh

so I don’t understand.

[00:11:18] Josh

Is it something for the black belt that, you know,

[00:11:20] Josh

if you’ve been doing it for say, ten years from four to fourteen,

[00:11:22] Josh

that you just attain your black belt? Or is it something that not everyone can get?

[00:11:29] Isabella

So not everyone can get it. You have to roughly that’s the minimum you can do is

[00:11:35] Isabella

about five years. If you train every single day to get the black belt for me,

[00:11:39] Isabella

I only train two to three times a week. And even then it was

[00:11:43] Isabella

a big struggle. I had my ups and downs, I threw tantrums, I was Super young,

[00:11:49] Isabella

whereas sometimes I was like, what’s the point to me even doing this?  Do I really have to?

[00:11:54] Isabella

And it all came back to looking at my goals.

[00:11:56] Isabella

And once I achieved that, I was like,

[00:11:58] Isabella

I can actually climb this mountain and get up there. And now I can actually go

[00:12:02] Isabella

further and that’s what I’ve been doing. And I looked around me and I thought,

[00:12:07] Isabella

why not start to do something for myself as well?

[00:12:10] Isabella

Not that I’ve actually achieved this. That’s where the entitlement programs started taking place.

[00:12:17] Josh

Yeah. So the empowerment programs, are they through the karate club?

[00:12:21] Isabella

I’m noticing it a bit separately. So I had permission to teach the same kind of styles,

[00:12:27] Isabella

but because my mom was actually in the martial arts council here in Tasmania. So

[00:12:32] Isabella

she’s the one that started this and then I, I help her, but I also run

[00:12:37] Isabella

a kind of separate one as well. So we have to get together eight different martial

[00:12:43] Isabella

artists and we all get together.

[00:12:46] Isabella

And we all teach self-defense and people would

[00:12:50] Isabella

come, I think last time we had about three hundred people that came and went. Yeah,

[00:12:55] Isabella

you learn all this different types of martial arts and it gives you really good

[00:12:59] Isabella

skills. And if you want to continue it, I, I try and run like a class once

[00:13:03] Isabella

a week for free,  just to get some self-defense in there. And obviously I teach karate through the club,

[00:13:10] Isabella

but as well as my own little self-defense writing class.

[00:13:15] Josh

Yeah. So that’s pretty amazing that you do that for free, like how does that even work?

[00:13:20] Josh

How are you able to provide free lessons because you must have your own costs or things like that?

[00:13:26] Isabella

Absolutely,  we do. So we actually do the Bunnings bbqs. So we go into the sports empowerment

[00:13:31] Isabella

program. Yeah.

[00:13:33] Isabella

So my mum, when we were younger

[00:13:35] Isabella

, mum used to drag us to them. No,

[00:13:37] Isabella

I don’t want to do it. Like I say get

[00:13:39] Isabella

up early. I stand there, I don’t,

[00:13:41] Isabella

I don’t want to. And then I actually realise what

[00:13:44] Isabella

it’s for, and I was like, fine,

[00:13:45] Isabella

I guess I’ll get out of bed for this. I

[00:13:48] Isabella

think that’s done in about five or six days.  And from there,

[00:13:53] Isabella

sometimes my sister and I would do it or it would just be mom and me now. After

[00:13:57] Isabella

covid, we’ve had

[00:13:58] Isabella

a few rule changes where you have three people at all times. And we get like one of

[00:14:03] Isabella

the students who we actually pay for their classes through this money. We pay for

[00:14:09] Isabella

their classes for like the club,  as well as being able to run these empowerment programs and self-defense programs.

[00:14:17] Josh

So this is why I never feel bad about eating Bunnings sausages,

[00:14:21] Josh

even if I’ve had lunch. Exactly, because it’s all,  it’s going to such good causes.

[00:14:26] Isabella

They really are and everyone who does it are really

[00:14:28] Isabella

crazy people. And it’s a guilt free snack when you get it.

[00:14:34] Josh

Do you ever get a chance to like chat with people when they’re ordering?  Because I imagine

[00:14:40] Josh

a lot of the time people would just kind of buy the sausage or walk off,

[00:14:43] Josh

but some people might be asking about, you know, what is, is your group?

[00:14:47] Isabella

Yes, we have a little like a blackboard at the front. And

[00:14:51] Isabella

a lot of people come over and they don’t question it,

[00:14:54] Isabella

but they ask questions about it. And it’s so what is the empowerment program or what is it sports programs?

[00:15:00] Isabella

And a lot of that time, they think it’s footy or socko basketball,  but I’m actually like no,

[00:15:05] Isabella

it’s martial arts. And from that I explain what we do and use that to hear other

[00:15:11] Isabella

people’s stories. And they really open up about like their stories of being bullied

[00:15:16] Isabella

or how they did martial arts when they were younger. A few times I met some retired

[00:15:20] Isabella

military people and they, um, they decided to open up about their journey,  which is really amazing. And it’s right,

[00:15:27] Isabella

five minutes. Good as that five minutes of talking that sticks with you

[00:15:31] Josh

for sure.  And for them it would be the same like likewise that go away. Getting

[00:15:37] Josh

a lot from that conversation too. I imagine

[00:15:39] Isabella

I really hope so. We had a few people from there coming to these days,

[00:15:44] Isabella

or I’ve heard about it so. Yep.

[00:15:46] Josh

And that’s cool.

[00:15:48] Isabella

Yeah,  a little community up here was Super great when we had to print out flyers and

[00:15:51] Isabella

stuff and it actually printed out for free at hobby open. So I went and thanked the

[00:15:57] Isabella

person that did it for us and I was like,  that’s really amazing. Are you going to get in trouble?

[00:16:01] Isabella

There’s no way. I’m like the big boss here, so it’s fine. Yeah,

[00:16:05] Josh

that’s awesome. That’s really cool. So, you know,  it sounds like you’re volunteering quite

[00:16:10] Josh

a lot. You’re doing these empowerment programs. You’re teaching at your own club,  you know,

[00:16:15] Josh

obviously Bunnings any sort of things on the weekends. So giving up your weekend as

[00:16:18] Josh

well. What is it that kind of is driving you to,

[00:16:21] Josh

to give up all that time for these kind of, you know, obviously really good causes,

[00:16:26] Josh

but still giving up your time for it.

[00:16:30] Isabella

Yeah, to me anyway. It was honestly, it was

[00:16:33] Isabella

a little bit difficult to do it all cause obviously family stuff and home life. I

[00:16:37] Isabella

also had a part time job. So it was

[00:16:39] Isabella

a bit hard to manage all of it. But I sat down and I reflected,

[00:16:43] Isabella

it was actually with mom. And I said without all the people around me to support me

[00:16:48] Isabella

through my bullying journey through my eating disorders and through me missing

[00:16:54] Isabella

school. I missed a lot of school for that. That love and support around me,

[00:16:58] Isabella

I honestly would be so lost in what I’m doing. And I would just really hope to help

[00:17:03] Isabella

someone who might be going through similar things or just need to learn something

[00:17:07] Isabella

or just need an outlet for them. I want to be that safe spot for people.

[00:17:15] Josh

Yeah. So that’s really sad. You know, this is the inspirational, strange podcast,

[00:17:19] Josh

but it is really inspiring to kind of have that kind of attitude towards something.

[00:17:23] Josh

Because especially when you face such difficult times you know,  people sometimes say like they suffered from bullying,

[00:17:31] Josh

but sometimes the suffering doesn’t end. Are you you know,  have you still facing that daily or is it?

[00:17:38] Isabella

Yeah, definitely. Um yeah, it’s calming down a lot. I actually,

[00:17:42] Isabella

I’ve only recently been in recovery this year for eating disorders,

[00:17:46] Isabella

which I’ve had so many years.

[00:17:48] Isabella

And the bullying side of things high School is it’s just, it’s

[00:17:54] Isabella

a struggle. And I think everyone’s experienced that. But everyone has been taught

[00:17:58] Isabella

to, you know, just push through it, get through it, you know,

[00:18:00] Isabella

it’s not going to last forever. But it really feels like it’s going to last for

[00:18:04] Isabella

ever. And when you’re in that environment, five days a week, it’s,

[00:18:09] Isabella

it’s not something that is easy to do. So for a while it was very difficult. Now,

[00:18:16] Isabella

if it happens then it’s kind of like I can stand up for myself. I can actually

[00:18:21] Isabella

speak up about it or talk back to them because half the time bullies just what some

[00:18:25] Isabella

sort of reaction out of it. And I remember it also.

[00:18:29] Josh

Yes,  the. The frustrating part of it isn’t it that the person doing the bullying to them.

[00:18:37] Josh

They just thinking about it afterwards,

[00:18:39] Josh

but it stays with you and can affect you for a long time. The victim of it,

[00:18:45] Isabella

it really does. It was something that really good influence around me said that Velcro sticks,

[00:18:51] Isabella

silicone slides and really seemed to let the negative stick with us that the good

[00:18:56] Isabella

things slide away. So I started to change my mindset after hearing that to let the

[00:19:01] Isabella

positive things stick with me and the negative,  negative things slide away.

[00:19:06] Josh

That’s very wise. That person.

[00:19:08] Isabella


[00:19:10] Josh

I haven’t heard that one actually since. Yeah.

[00:19:12] Isabella

Neither have I until this year. So it was

[00:19:15] Isabella

a good time to hear it as well. I was going through a good bit then.

[00:19:19] Josh

Yeah. Now,  it also shows that you’re obviously a very kind person yourself because being

[00:19:25] Josh

a karate black belt, I mean,  you could totally kick their butt. But obviously choose not to do that.

[00:19:32] Isabella

Look,  there’s been one time where I yeah, we weren’t going down that path, but yeah,

[00:19:38] Josh

I bet that’s a good story. Maybe if there are another time.

[00:19:44] Josh

So I understand as well that you’ve competed. Not just doing through your karate courses and then obviously teaching

[00:19:51] Josh

the little ones and adults, but you’ve actually competed at a really high level as well.

[00:19:56] Isabella

Absolutely. So I think I started competing,  maybe when I was seven, and I used to,

[00:20:03] Isabella

I always got sober and I remember this because there was this one girl from Hobart

[00:20:07] Isabella

and she and I would always compete for the gold. And I started to work even harder and harder,

[00:20:12] Isabella

I just just to be very competitive and win that gold medal for her. So I eventually did,

[00:20:18] Isabella

and I realized that I’m actually pretty decent at what I’m doing. So I made it to

[00:20:23] Isabella

the state finals and I got gold, I made it to nationals,

[00:20:26] Isabella

and I think I got silver there. And then I made it to the world karate cup,

[00:20:30] Isabella

which was held in gold coast. And I got twenty seventeen and I came fourth in my

[00:20:35] Isabella

decision. So there was quite

[00:20:38] Isabella

a lot in there as well. I think maybe one hundred in that division. So was Yeah,

[00:20:43] Isabella

that was a full day around Costa and quitté, which is fighting which is

[00:20:48] Isabella

a committee and court is at peyton’s. So I came fourth in the fighting aspects and

[00:20:54] Isabella

I think I came fifth in the court. So very close to getting that bronze medal. I

[00:20:59] Isabella

was half a point away. So yeah, it was pretty

[00:21:04] Josh

cool. Yeah,  that’s awesome. And so for you to think, you know,

[00:21:09] Josh

competing at that kind of level is something that you’d like to continue or keep

[00:21:12] Josh

doing. Or, if you got other priorities at the moment, you

[00:21:16] Isabella

know,  continue to compete everywhere across the world. Different karate styles get together and compete,

[00:21:22] Isabella

so that’s something I want to do as well.

[00:21:25] Josh

For sure. That’s awesome.

[00:21:26] Josh

And so,  you know, a lot happening, obviously in year eleven,

[00:21:29] Josh

as we said at the top of the episode,

[00:21:32] Josh

and you’ve got the karate going on. How do you find, I mean, we touched on this

[00:21:37] Josh

a little bit before,

[00:21:37] Josh

but how do you find that juggling that balance to kind of keep all those balls up in the air?

[00:21:43] Isabella

It honestly took a lot of time management where I actually had to work out a schedule,

[00:21:47] Isabella

a lot of the time,

[00:21:48] Isabella

I don’t really do homework at home. I try and

[00:21:51] Isabella

get it all done at school. So if I have like a double period of biology, for example,

[00:21:56] Isabella

I would get all of my work done there. And then instead of having to go home and

[00:22:00] Isabella

finishing it up. So I spend, I try and spend about an hour

[00:22:04] Isabella

a day at the school just to revise the content or finish up something if I have to.  But

[00:22:10] Isabella

a lot of the other time I’m on the train working or just having some free time,

[00:22:15] Isabella

all home stuff going on. So it was a lot of scheduling it all in.

[00:22:19] Josh

Yeah. One thing we haven’t really touched on yet is your caring as well. It must take up

[00:22:24] Josh

a bit of time.

[00:22:26] Isabella

Definitely. So I care for my mom and my younger siblings,

[00:22:31] Isabella

and they both have a few things going on.

[00:22:35] Isabella

One is

[00:22:36] Isabella

a bit more Time required. She’s got a brain infection. So

[00:22:42] Isabella

a lot of my time is spent either being with her when she needs me or just making

[00:22:47] Isabella

doctor’s appointments, things like that. But I’ve been really, really fortunate,

[00:22:51] Isabella

and I can talk about it the next straight mate,

[00:22:55] Isabella

Minister’s Carer Advisory Council. And I am the youngest member on there that happened this year, and I was really,

[00:23:04] Isabella

really amazed to be actually on that board. And with so many other people that I

[00:23:09] Isabella

was able to talk about it obviously after the media release. But he’s honestly

[00:23:14] Isabella

a really nice person from what I’ve met and everyone on that team is really beautiful. So

[00:23:21] Josh


[00:23:21] Josh

I was aware of that and I had it on my

[00:23:23] Josh

notes. So I’m glad that we brought it up.  Tell me

[00:23:27] Josh

a bit about how it came about and what’s it like being on an advisory council,

[00:23:34] Josh

and I’ve kind of got to be follow up question,  but I’ll let you go first. Because honestly, I

[00:23:40] Isabella

say everyone on that board,  they had

[00:23:43] Isabella

a written kind of interview so that to write it down and then it was just submitted

[00:23:50] Isabella

in, I think by email or something. Mine was a little bit different where I got

[00:23:54] Isabella

a phone call from the CEO himself and said, hey, would you mind having

[00:23:58] Isabella

a zoom meeting with us? We want to interview for something,  but you don’t have to. Oh yeah,

[00:24:04] Isabella

that seems to do it. Me being me making jokes all the time. Not realizing that

[00:24:09] Isabella

minister Nick Drake was on this. I didn’t really know who he was. Oh,

[00:24:13] Isabella

that the CEO of that mental health family and friends was that as well as the CEO

[00:24:18] Isabella

from carers Tasmania. So there were some very big people in there,  but they seemed to enjoy my jokes.

[00:24:26] Isabella

I got to, Yeah,

[00:24:27] Isabella

I got an email back. I think two weeks later it was like you’ve been accepted into

[00:24:32] Isabella

this board and I was like, man, I don’t know what I’ve done,

[00:24:34] Isabella

but I think it’s cool. So yeah, that was,

[00:24:39] Isabella

that was kind of my way of getting into it. And we had our first meeting and it was

[00:24:46] Isabella

really good and they so sweet,  they actually paid for my accommodation down there because I went in person.

[00:24:52] Josh

Yeah.  Fantastic. That’s awesome. And so, you know,  with these councils and committees and things like that. Obviously there’s

[00:24:58] Josh

a lot of people with a lot of suggestions and opinions. How did you find it being the youngest person

[00:25:04] Josh

there, as you said?  And were you able to get some of your feedback across

[00:25:10] Isabella

I really was they were really

[00:25:12] Isabella

understanding and sweet when it came to kind of my turn to share about my story and

[00:25:17] Isabella

things that I, when I help with me, I really want to make

[00:25:20] Isabella

a difference with the education system I was I wasn’t treated one hundred percent

[00:25:27] Isabella

with them where they were giving me kind of the bare minimum at school in order to

[00:25:32] Isabella

help me at home. And I needed a lot more support with that. And

[00:25:37] Isabella

a lot of the time I got shut down from it

[00:25:39] Isabella

being like, oh, you’re kind of a child,

[00:25:40] Isabella

you don’t really know what you’re talking about. And I was like, no, I have

[00:25:43] Isabella

a voice, it can be heard. I think my exact words were age doesn’t define

[00:25:48] Isabella

a caring role. And that’s what really stood out to that were our oldest member. I

[00:25:55] Isabella

don’t actually know how old she is,

[00:25:56] Isabella

but she’s kind of up there in the scale and I’m really low on like the age ranking.

[00:26:00] Josh

Yeah. That’s a very polite way of putting it by the way.

[00:26:05] Isabella

Thank you.  But yeah,  so I definitely spoke up and I was like,

[00:26:10] Isabella

I’m not going to be quiet. And if I had something to say,

[00:26:14] Isabella

I will say it because I really want to help others around me,

[00:26:17] Isabella

especially if they’re in the same situation. I’m in or if they’re in a similar situation. Yeah. And they, oh,

[00:26:24] Isabella

they all listen really well and they’ve Taken in some of my advice and feedback to things, which is amazing.

[00:26:31] Josh

That’s fantastic.

[00:26:32] Josh

I’ve been interviewing a few of the spirits Super connected communities,

[00:26:37] Josh

awards winners. These last few weeks, you know,  because they’re sponsoring the podcast at the moment,

[00:26:43] Josh

which is fantastic. And I’m seeing this amazing fame emerging that I’m just so

[00:26:51] Josh

proud of because I’ve done anything I’m just proud to hear from people like

[00:26:54] Josh

yourself that and I asked that question about the council. You know the committee

[00:26:58] Josh

where you’re able to get your ideas across for this reason. So the thing that’s

[00:27:01] Josh

emerging is that we’re now starting to as a,  a culture Australia. And that political kind of interest is actually

[00:27:12] Josh

starting a little bit. I know it’s only

[00:27:13] Josh

a little bit but to hear and ask young people for their opinions to listen to the

[00:27:19] Josh

feedback. And I hope this is where the next step takes in is to actually take that

[00:27:23] Josh

on board like they’re doing with you.

[00:27:27] Isabella

Definitely, I think for me, especially I’m a bit and I it’s kind of grown up from

[00:27:31] Isabella

a young age. My hearing role started fairly young. And that was the first thing

[00:27:37] Isabella

that they said was a lot of the time,  especially coming from kind of the Northwest coast of tassie,

[00:27:42] Isabella

people lose sight of where they’re going,

[00:27:44] Isabella

they lose their track that they want to be on. And the me have always tried to

[00:27:48] Isabella

refocus back on that and I think that’s what kind of stood out to them that I’m

[00:27:53] Isabella

a young person. But I’ve also never been afraid to speak up about things. And I

[00:27:58] Isabella

think all young people, if they have something to say they should be saying it,

[00:28:02] Isabella

because if we want to make a change in the world,

[00:28:05] Isabella

you have to listen to everyone’s ideas and try to put things into perspective.

[00:28:10] Josh

Yeah,  so true,  so true. This episode is brought to you by Spirit Super,

[00:28:19] Josh

the Super fund for hardworking Australians. Let’s be honest. Most of us don’t pay

[00:28:23] Josh

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[00:28:30] Josh

but that’s okay. Spirit Super makes learning about looking after your Super,  Super easy, with

[00:28:36] Josh

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[00:28:41] Josh

practical and helpful advice. Spirit Super is here for you and your Super. For more info,

[00:28:47] Josh

go to Spirit Super ABC.com. Today you consider the PBS and TMD experience Super dot

[00:28:53] Josh

com today use less pads before making a decision. He sure is murder trade association of Australia Superannuation fund PD.

[00:29:01] Josh

Loyalty advice is provided by quadrant first PD while day past performance isn’t

[00:29:06] Josh

a reliable indicator of future performance. We had lots of exciting stuff going on,  Isabella. Yeah,

[00:29:16] Josh

I can’t believe it.

[00:29:16] Josh

So with the in tell me if you want to move on to

[00:29:20] Josh

a different topic, but I’m just finding it so interesting with the,

[00:29:23] Josh

the caring role that you do. What kind of support is available?

[00:29:27] Josh

If there’s other people listening who are thinking, you know, I’ve got

[00:29:30] Josh

a family member, you know, illness or disability and actually I am

[00:29:34] Josh

a carer too. Because I think one thing that goes under the radar is people don’t realise what makes

[00:29:39] Josh

a carer and so many pickers out there who are just not realising that what they’re

[00:29:45] Josh

doing is Super important. What kind of support, you know,

[00:29:49] Josh

have you been able to get access to as opposed to any tips for other people who are

[00:29:52] Josh

identifying with you?

[00:29:55] Isabella

So I think the first thing I actually did want to give a little bit of

[00:29:58] Isabella

a back story here and it was actually speaking up about it. So I spoke to carers

[00:30:02] Isabella

Tasmania here and the care a gateway. So through that I was able to access support like counselling. So I

[00:30:10] Isabella

actually see a psychologist every two weeks to help me out with what’s going on at home. But I

[00:30:16] Isabella

was also able to, I recently got

[00:30:19] Isabella

a laptop to help me with my studies. And I can access things like I got to be on

[00:30:24] Isabella

a podcast through Kerry gateway. So I was fortunate enough to meet Peter Jay who

[00:30:30] Isabella

came up to my house and we did a podcast together. But also all of those like,  obviously visible things,

[00:30:37] Isabella

but it was the emotional aspect to where they were able to help me learn how to

[00:30:43] Isabella

book doctor’s appointments. They were able to help me in my caring position by

[00:30:47] Isabella

giving advice and things that might be able to help me do. So it was

[00:30:52] Isabella

a lot of speaking up about it, which was really intimidating. At first,

[00:30:55] Isabella

it was Super scary. And I’ve been actually talking to Nick straight about it,

[00:31:00] Isabella

which is when you’re at such a young age, you always get worried, especially being

[00:31:06] Isabella

a carer for your parent.

[00:31:07] Isabella

You’re scared that your parents are going to be Taken away

[00:31:09] Isabella

with you. Taken away from you. Sorry. And that that’s scary and that’s what I

[00:31:14] Isabella

thought might happen. It was actually no,

[00:31:16] Isabella

I just need extra support around me. And that’s where I learnt very fine lines that

[00:31:22] Isabella

I can reach out and talk about this and get support without being ashamed about it.

[00:31:27] Isabella

So yeah, that was, that was definitely something it took a lot for me to do.

[00:31:33] Josh

Yeah, I think it’s a good advice you know is,  is that so if support’s there,

[00:31:37] Josh

then you shouldn’t feel ashamed to access it. It’s not such a bad thing to ask for help it’s, it’s

[00:31:43] Josh

a hugely positive thing.

[00:31:45] Isabella

Definitely. And even if you don’t think you’re in

[00:31:47] Isabella

a caring role, I’d still reach out and try and get that support if you,

[00:31:51] Isabella

if you’re reading through and you’re like, look,

[00:31:53] Isabella

I actually fit into these categories, go for it and try and get help. Yeah.

[00:31:58] Josh

Yeah,  for sure. So as we come into the back end of the year now

[00:32:05] Josh

obviously you’re in year eleven. So things like exams are going to start coming up

[00:32:10] Josh

and, and stuff like that of do you have to kind of take

[00:32:14] Josh

a backseat with some of your, you know,  volunteering and things like that so you can focus on on school?

[00:32:20] Isabella

Definitely. So I really finished my mid-year exams two weeks ago. So during that I

[00:32:26] Isabella

actually had to stop training just to focus on obviously my schoolwork. But I also

[00:32:33] Isabella

I had to only work. I only work really one day a week, but it’s

[00:32:37] Isabella

a full Saturday from eight to five. So to like cut down my hours working and it was

[00:32:44] Isabella

a lot of time to look at the subject that I’m doing and I get really frustrated

[00:32:50] Isabella

easily when it comes to schoolwork. Sometimes

[00:32:52] Isabella

a third book across the room times it’s a calculator. Yeah. So it was

[00:32:56] Isabella

a lot of I need to sit down, I need that. Yeah.  I and

[00:33:02] Isabella

a lot of that was kind of reaching out to tutors as well just to help me with a subject,

[00:33:06] Isabella

if I didn’t know. So it’s kind of been me recently and then I do it all again in

[00:33:12] Isabella

a month’s time. So

[00:33:14] Josh

yeah, well what’s happening in a month?  You got more

[00:33:17] Isabella

that. Yeah,  that’s the end of your exams. Those are the big ones for test scores. Luckily,

[00:33:23] Isabella

I really have two exams which is physical sciences and biology but it’s still kind

[00:33:29] Isabella

of heavy subjects where you have to know all the content and really study it Well. Yeah.

[00:33:36] Josh

And you mentioned before that you know,

[00:33:37] Josh

you’re still in recovery. So some of the stories and things that you’ve faced is

[00:33:42] Josh

that impacting as well, like your ability to, you know,

[00:33:46] Josh

focusing in and kind of cause exams. I remember, you know,

[00:33:49] Josh

cutting my mind back. I found them physically quite exhausting.

[00:33:53] Isabella

Definitely. I think the best advice I got was recovery isn’t linear,  where obviously it’s not going to be

[00:34:00] Isabella

a straight path. If you start to get good eating habits again,

[00:34:03] Isabella

or if you’re actually, obviously, sometimes I would have like

[00:34:09] Isabella

a fear food where I was afraid to actually eat something or I’m really, I still am,

[00:34:14] Isabella

I’m uncomfortable eating around people. So even in my own friend group, I get

[00:34:19] Isabella

a little bit awkward and it’s annoying to have to feel really tired and going to

[00:34:24] Isabella

a class because you just haven’t eaten. And it’s, it’s

[00:34:28] Isabella

a bit difficult to be able to kind of overcome that fear because I need to focus on

[00:34:34] Isabella

my future. So that’s something I definitely was talking to

[00:34:38] Isabella

a psychologist about and just finding pathways to be able to overcome that obstacle and get onto

[00:34:46] Isabella

a different path to be able to focus on my career in the future.

[00:34:50] Josh

That’s rough. So speaking of your career, what is it something that you have in mind already,

[00:34:56] Josh

or you got to keeping your options open.

[00:34:59] Isabella

I actually went to work in palliative care.

[00:35:01] Isabella

 So I’m looking at being a doctor and that first to become

[00:35:05] Isabella

a nurse. I think from the age of eight I,  I was one of the ladies at the hospital,

[00:35:13] Isabella

my friend at the time his dad unfortunately passed away,

[00:35:17] Isabella

but we’d go and visit him together and being part of an Indian community,

[00:35:21] Isabella

it was really sweet. Where we all get together and we always supported everyone and

[00:35:25] Isabella

I watched how beautiful the nurses and doctors, whether they message,

[00:35:29] Isabella

when I said I want to be able to help someone,

[00:35:32] Isabella

especially through that really hard time of their journey. If they don’t have

[00:35:36] Isabella

someone caring and compassionate with them, it’s, I just,

[00:35:40] Isabella

I feel sad and I want to be able to help someone,

[00:35:43] Isabella

even if it’s that little bit of support and kindness towards the end. It can make a difference.

[00:35:50] Josh

Yeah, it’s such a important but also for me,  I think it’s

[00:35:55] Josh

a Super unappreciated role sometimes. So my Nan is in palliative care. So I

[00:36:02] Josh

actually my, she’s in aged care, but you know,  we’ve had conversation with the family that, you know,

[00:36:09] Josh

she can see that eventually she will be,

[00:36:12] Josh

need to be moved to palliative care. It’s just kind of the trajectory. And yeah,

[00:36:16] Josh

you just hope that someone that is really caring and compassionate and empathetic

[00:36:21] Josh

is there.

[00:36:22] Josh

And so I think people will their loved ones will be in good hands with

[00:36:25] Josh

you. I can tell if you’re one question I do have I don’t have many set questions,

[00:36:32] Josh

but I do have one because Spirit Super has asked me to pass this question on to me

[00:36:37] Josh

and we’ve kind of, we’ve discussed it a little bit in

[00:36:40] Josh

a roundabout way already. But I think it’s good just to ask it straight out because

[00:36:45] Josh

I’m interested to see what you would say about it with how well spoken you are and you know,

[00:36:50] Josh

get into this from any aspect that you like. But do you think that being young

[00:36:54] Josh

helps or hinders when it comes to making change?

[00:36:59] Isabella

Between helps to be honest. Obviously,  every young person is different and everyone has their own story to tell. But

[00:37:09] Isabella

without hearing the voices of young people around you,

[00:37:12] Isabella

you wouldn’t be able to really help everyone, you’d be able to help

[00:37:17] Isabella

a specific target audience. And those younger days are probably one of the hardest

[00:37:23] Isabella

things that anyone can go through. You’re learning new things,

[00:37:28] Isabella

you’re learning obstacles. You have so much resilience that you don’t even know

[00:37:33] Isabella

that you have because you’re so if they persevere and your,

[00:37:38] Isabella

your wanting to strive and be better, even though you being pushed down a million times. And through that,

[00:37:45] Isabella

you are able to speak up and you’re able to share your ideas without even realizing

[00:37:50] Isabella

that you’re doing it. So I definitely think it can go both ways,

[00:37:56] Isabella

but it’s things in no way to help me.

[00:38:00] Josh

Yeah, it’s a tough. You could answer,  you know, in so many different ways, but again,

[00:38:05] Josh

you’ve shown that you really do live here in your own advice when you were saying

[00:38:09] Josh

you wanted to focus on the positives and that the positive things stick. Because

[00:38:13] Josh

the way you answer that question was such a positive way,

[00:38:17] Isabella

you don’t get me wrong. There are definitely

[00:38:21] Isabella

a few people around here that I want to give a good stop,

[00:38:23] Isabella

but we can’t do that. So we just got to look on the bright side of things.

[00:38:30] Josh

For sure. Yeah,  I like that every now and then I can tell you an angry side sometimes.  Sure it

[00:38:40] Josh

comes in handy when you’re campaigning in variety. That’s for sure.

[00:38:43] Isabella

Oh,  definitely definitely my punching bag and I have a healthy disagreement to each other. But so

[00:38:50] Josh

that’s fantastic, Isabella,  we got to wrap up in a SEC, but you know,

[00:38:54] Josh

obviously you’re appearing on the inspirational australian’s podcast and I found

[00:38:59] Josh

you to be incredibly inspirational. Just the way that you focus on the positives,

[00:39:03] Josh

the way that you are sharing your story and you’re not, I suppose,

[00:39:08] Josh

afraid to hide some of the imperfections in life that everyone has imperfections

[00:39:13] Josh

and you’re using them to really help you, you know,  to drive you to helping other people,

[00:39:19] Josh

which I find incredibly inspirational. But what is it that inspires you?

[00:39:24] Josh

And you can answer that on a day to day basis

[00:39:26] Josh

, you know, longer term. But yeah,  I’m interested to know that

[00:39:30] Isabella

my family we learned was really lucky to come out here from Singapore on

[00:39:37] Isabella

a scholarship. And I’ve seen the amazing things she’s done and my older sister has

[00:39:42] Isabella

been doing things that I couldn’t even imagine. And here she is studying to become

[00:39:47] Isabella

a pilot. My older brother was in the army and he’s a paramedic now my dad’s

[00:39:51] Isabella

a lawyer and he’s got his own story to tell. And I told everyone stories and I’ve

[00:39:57] Isabella

seen the way they are. Sometimes I want to stop them,

[00:40:00] Isabella

don’t get me wrong. But it’s them that make me feel better every time I’m sad and

[00:40:06] Isabella

they’re the ones that are here to pick me up and I fall down. So half the time I

[00:40:11] Isabella

want to do it for them and half the time I

[00:40:13] Isabella

want to do it to prove to myself that I can do it.

[00:40:18] Josh

Brilliant. So as I said, you faced

[00:40:20] Josh

a lot of obstacles yourself. And obviously an award win. Doesn’t make any of that

[00:40:26] Josh

better. It doesn’t take away any of the pain and suffering and the hard times you’ve faced. But, you know,

[00:40:32] Josh

winning the Spirit street bet award the connected communities award. Did it at

[00:40:36] Josh

least provide some validation that the path that you’re on is the correct one.

[00:40:41] Isabella

Definitely did a bit of

[00:40:45] Isabella

a fighting night where I won and I felt so amazing. And then I started to feel

[00:40:49] Isabella

a bit downhill because I got sick that night. It was like the sickest I’ve kind of been for

[00:40:55] Isabella

a few years now. So it was really amazing to meet everyone around me and they were

[00:41:00] Isabella

so inspirational and they were so they were living life to the fullest. And I

[00:41:05] Isabella

appreciated all the kind words I was like, I’m getting sick,

[00:41:08] Isabella

I’m going to be in bed and I was like, no, no, no,

[00:41:10] Isabella

you’re going to be fine. I was like, I don’t feel well. But it was,

[00:41:15] Isabella

it definitely validated me a lot for a while,

[00:41:19] Isabella

I didn’t really get any recognition of what I was doing. Everything felt like an

[00:41:23] Isabella

effort to me. I just lost all my goals. I lost that motivation to do anything. And winning that award,

[00:41:31] Isabella

just made me feel ten times more incredible to myself being like, hey,

[00:41:36] Isabella

you got three times and you deserve this. You really do. So it was awesome.

[00:41:44] Josh

That’s awesome. I’m not so awesome that you were that sick and unwell,  but

[00:41:48] Isabella

it was an interesting time

[00:41:51] Josh

and is a tough one when you,

[00:41:52] Josh

you kind of like you feel obliged sometimes I know what you mean. Like when you go,

[00:41:55] Josh

oh,  I’ve got to kind of see this event out or whatever it is. People don’t think I’m rude,

[00:41:59] Josh

but I literally can’t stand it.

[00:42:02] Isabella

I remember one of the judges came up to

[00:42:04] Isabella

congratulate me off to the night and I was crying to my mom being like,

[00:42:08] Isabella

I just want to be in bed. And then I

[00:42:10] Isabella

turned around at what my tears away I was like,  thank you for You know,  it was amazing.

[00:42:17] Josh

Well hopefully you were able to recover from that really well. Did you stay on in Hobart for the weekend?

[00:42:24] Isabella

Yes,  I stayed on. I think we went to the markets on Saturday and we drove back to Sunday.

[00:42:30] Isabella

And then Monday I actually had the advocate coming over to take photos and

[00:42:34] Isabella

interview me. And I told them I was like, look,

[00:42:36] Isabella

I’m really sick. I’m on cold and flu meds. I don’t think I’m in the right frame of

[00:42:41] Isabella

mind and they were like, no,

[00:42:42] Isabella

you’re going to be fine. So I could be there at the beach with like three jackets

[00:42:47] Isabella

on in my karate uniform. Are you saying that by day was

[00:42:51] Isabella

as a photo of you in that? Because what do you,

[00:42:54] Josh

I’m going mental blank. I think I know what’s it called the karate act, the gear?

[00:42:59] Isabella

The game?

[00:43:00] Josh

The?  Yeah,  you got the trophy. That’s true. There you go. He never would

[00:43:04] Isabella

have done anything.

[00:43:06] Josh


[00:43:07] Isabella

I really hope I covered it up well, so yeah,

[00:43:10] Josh

you did a good job. Well, Isabel,

[00:43:14] Josh

I’m Super excited to follow your journey and your career. And obviously you’ve got

[00:43:20] Josh

big things ahead this year. First and foremost, get that out of the way. Well,  all the best lines

[00:43:27] Josh

you’ve done so much already and you can be really proud of of

[00:43:31] Josh

what you’re doing with your life. So Congrats to you.

[00:43:34] Isabella

Thank you,  Josh.

[00:43:34] Isabella

I really appreciate it.

[00:43:40] Christine

The inspirational australian’s podcast is brought to you by awards, Australia

[00:43:45] Christine

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[00:43:53] Josh

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[00:43:55] Christine

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[00:43:58] Christine

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[00:44:04] Christine

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