In this week’s episode, Geoff is talking to Michael Bonnici who was the Overall Winner in the 2018 7NEWS Young Achiever Awards for NSW/ACT.
Michael Bonnici contributes over 200 volunteer hours every year. He is Director of Lifesaving, educational speaker and award-winning Patrol Captain at Wanda Surf Club. He also volunteers for Meals on Wheels, Australian Red Cross Blood Service and Salvation Army. Michael raised $3,000 for Samaritans Purse Australia and volunteered time to help build schools in disadvantaged Battambang, Cambodia. He was recently named as the Sydney South Young and Overall Volunteer of the Year.
I am a dynamic, organised and committed individual with the ability to pay attention to detail. I am quick to understand innovative ideas and able to work hard on my own initiative to meet deadlines. I also enjoy working in a positive team environment which ensures the best possible result for the organisation, team and client. I pride myself on my work ethic, always striving to continue to learn and improve my knowledge no matter what the task may be.
As a graduated City Planning (Honours) Student, I am extremely passionate about sustainable Urban growth, through a variety of social, economic and environmental factors that determines the future of our cities. With a passion for Strategic and Transport planning, I have high aspirations to work on future large scale development projects which ensure sustainable growth for our cities going into the future.
I am very outgoing person who enjoys volunteer Surf Lifesaving at the beach, Rugby League refereeing and working as a Senior Town Planner at Canterbury Bankstown Council.
In this episode:
- You’ll be amazed at just how much Michael does in his volunteering roles
- Michael’s advice to us?
- Always have a mentor
- Look outside the square try and look at it from a different angle
- Work out ways to be organised to reduce your stress
- Keep in touch with friends and family and talk to the
- Put yourself out of your comfort zone
Connect with Michael on Instagram
Connect with Michael on LinkedIn
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Welcome to the Inspirational Inspirational Australian’s podcast, where we chat to people making a difference in their communities
and in the lives of others.
And here is your host for today. Geoff Griffin.
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We really appreciate it. My guest today is given so
much of himself to volunteering and making a
difference across his short lifetime, particularly to surf lifesaving. It’s also forged a very successful career as a senior
town planner at Canterbury bankstown Council.
In recognition of his achievements, Michael Pinetree was chosen as the twenty eighteen freemason’s
New South Wales act,
community service and volunteering
part of the Geoff Geoff Achiever Awards.
so highly regarded by the judging panel that he was also chosen
as the Young Achiever of
It’s great to have you on the podcast, Michael. Welcome.
Thanks Geoff. It’s great to be here.
You clearly were an outstanding
choice by the judges. Not only to win the Freemasons award
for your efforts in your work in
community service and volunteering, but also as the young achiever of the year which is
pretty awesome. I know the
judges were just in
awe of the amount of
work they do.
The progression that you had made through the ranks in surf Life Saving
and clearly we’ve got a real passion for surf lifesaving.
What led you down that path initially?
Yeah, so I guess I had
a few troubles
sort of growing up and hanging around the wrong crowds and I actually had a teacher that
pointed in the direction of volunteering. And I just sort of expose myself to as much of it as I could and developed a real passion
for everything in volunteering and surf Life Saving the was the main one growing up doing nippers.
And it Gave me a lot of leadership
positions. I guess that helped me with my personal
personal stuff that was going on
as well as some career aspirations that I had. So
yeah, I really just enjoyed every, every moment with so many
opportunities that were getting thrown at me and it was
just a really good pathway as, as a young person coming through
it’s a common story, isn’t it? We get into the wrong
or bad habits for whatever reason. It is
an old palazzi or a teacher
that’s an inspiration itself for other teachers to suggest ways
young people can get connected with things.
it comes because of boredom that we might mix with the wrong people and clearly
we made a really good choice. Your patrol captain, that one the surf club. Now,
how long you’ve been at wonder and what levels of service have you progressed through to be where you are now?
Yeah, so I’ve been there since I was five as a nipper.
I started patrolling when I was 14.
So this is my 10th year patrolling for Wanda, I’ve given over a thousand hours
as a bronze medallion patrol member
and being a patrol captain.
And I also
operate the jet skis
and I’m a duty officer for Cole that’s after hours and stuff like that. So
I really love
everything I do with wonder
and surf Life Saving and
and it’s progressed me into further leadership and executive roles
in the club with
which have given me some great opportunities as well.
Yeah I guess being on the jet ski would be a little bit of
fun as well.
I love it. It’s
It’s so good especially even like it’s great fun. But even in big surf, it’s pretty amazing what we can do in terms of the rescues that we can perform and the
positions we can get, get ourselves into around rocks and stuff like that on and pretty,
pretty dangerous conditions.
Have you had any serious
rescues, really Life and death rescues yourself?
Yeah I have actually I’ve had
two unfortunate fatalities that were pretty hit me a bit to say that sort of especially as a young person.
But I’ve also had some pretty,
pretty cool rescues both on the a rescue boat with someone like
someone I thought would have drowned for sure. And we, we managed to rescue Them
as well as a rescue on the jet ski where there was a man in trouble, probably 20 metres from shore. And I rescued him and he was actually standing on his wife under the water. When I pulled his pulled him up, his wife came up after that. So that was another one that took me by surprise but
nonetheless, was a good result.
It’s moments like those that
make me really proud. And yeah really, really thankful for the training and the opportunities that I’ve got in surf Life, Saving
all the training, pays off at those moments.
And as I say, makes it all worthwhile and you appreciate why you have to go through those hours and hours of
maybe sometimes tedious training sessions that you may not fully understand probably in the early days.
But that’s, I mean, that’s
really amazing. The scenarios that you have had to deal with as a young person.
That is extraordinary for us, as mere mortals to think what you have to go through and what you do.
Saving lives it doesn’t get any more important than that. I opened to you and I remember
meeting you really humble guy.
Are you confident that you’re really humble about what you do and the difference you make in a community? And when we met at the 28 eighteen I was really impressed
with the young man you are. So
Yeah absolute pleasure. And that’s what the Awards are all about acknowledging people that may not
in the broader community otherwise be acknowledged. So
you do an amazing job.
How many are involved that want to surf club?
We have 14, just over fourteen hundred members,
but around two to three hundred of Them are
really active and doing most of our patrols. But all of those members
are parents and grandparents, and
it’s just a really good community to be a part of even for those that don’t patrol this, some might be down there making lunches or
fixing things. And
it’s just like a little family. Fantastic.
A pretty busy beach
Yes the cronulla beaches in Sydney, incredibly busy in the summer,
is actually for surf clubs that share the same stretch of beach.
So there’s a few rivalries there but we all work together
nonetheless for the same common goal. So
yeah, it’s the Sutherland Shire is definitely
a beach, crazy and passionate community
just between you and iritis. This won’t go said
presuming one does the best.
Yes. Well we actually we one club of the year for Sydney
this season. Just go and say,
you know the trophies there on the shelf to prove it
and we always think we’re the best.
Oh congratulations on winning this year’s driver who won last year as a matter of interest,
was actually Gary in the royal national park. I think.
yeah, well I’m sure you have it for a few Geoff to come
but I gather some dust there for a few days. Yes.
we all do an amazing job. Protecting
the community and making sure that they’re safe to every possibility
how many clubs are dotted around New South Wales.
There’s actually one hundred and twenty nine. So yeah, quite quite a lot
over Geoff thousand. Seventy thousand members. As part of
the New South Wales. Well that’s
that’s, that’s amazing. So Geoff thousand members.
of that would bevolunteer?
That’s all volunteers. So
100 to one hundred percent. Yeah, that doesn’t include any staff there are staff, but yeah, the 70 odd thousand is one hundred percent volunteer based. Wow.
That’s massive. That is really huge. Yeah.
You’re also director of lifesaving. Can you tell us what that involves?
Yes I was director of lifesaving and then went on to be the club captain as well. And for four Geoff really enjoyed my time on the board and
I guess running the patrol operations at one
or together with the Life Saving and education
team. So we, we assembled all the patrols and we make sure that our patrols are up to standard that way. We’re offering New training and annual skills maintenance and proficiencies. And we also,
if we get call outs after hours or outside of our normal
flagged area we respond to those as well. So it’s a, it’s an all of operation I guess, response and
management sort of tamba. Yeah, it’s a really good role and Gave me a lot of opportunities even just working on the board of directors for the club and saying
other things like financials or the surf sports side or the juniors
and just how they operate. Gave me a great understanding
just in terms of operating on a committee and how to speak, I guess a bit more professionally and how to engage with
more professional people as a, as a young person.
Yeah, I think that’s really important. Have you ever done anything across a broader scale of
surf Life Saving other than just
Well now my current role now the Life Saving manager for surf Life Saving Sydney, I manage, helped manage the 15 clubs in Sydney and the twenty odd thousand members that we have in Sydney. So even sitting on that lifesaving
manage the support operations response, which includes
everything from jet skis helicopters, drones,
and the like.
And our duty officer and rescue coordinator team.
And and yeah so,
so I really enjoy the Life Saving manager role and it’s, I guess it’s that upper echelon now of managing
a lot more people and I
guess needing to speak lot more professionally to higher skilled members in the organisation.
That’s fantastic. What’s the average age of someone in a more senior position at club level and
certainly on the executive.
Would you epitomize
age, or would they normally be a bit older?
Yeah, normally what I would
normally most people on the border between their 30s and
60s I would say some being older,
some being Life members that have have served in surf Life Saving for 40
plus Geoff sort of thing. So
at the start of
getting onto a board the,
this sort of feeling that all you’re on a youngster, you know, you’re just sort of there to fit the position. But
I didn’t want to,
I didn’t want to take that. I really wanted to be respected and I wanted people to hear my opinion. And
I think I presented
a lot of evidence based arguments especially with our membership
mostly being under the age of 25.
I was able torepresent
their concerns really well and, and I gained a lot of support for that and I’ve sort of carry that momentum into my current role as well. Now. So say something I was really passionate about youth development and giving the youth of our organization a voice especially. You know that
eighteen to twenty five bracket is
usually when a lot of people stop volunteering
because other things that happen in Life or the University boyfriends, girlfriends work things like that. So
that was an issue that I really wanted to focus on.Yeah.
Well apparently you’ve also been a volunteer across other organizations haven’t you? What are some of those and
what were you and what were you doing in those organizations?
Yeah so I guess through High School I did the Salvation Army dornoch appeal every year.
I donate blood every two weeks for
Australian Life blood.
And I was lucky enough to go to Cambodia with samaritan’s purse
Australia and help
build schools in the battambang province,
which was really a highlight of my Life. So fast getting to see what
they go through and also the change that, that charity is making over the
we say that when we are feeling
a little bit dejected about our lot in Life
that we should maybe think of people
in Cambodia, Vietnam, some of those other poor countries,
I feel a little bit happy with our position. Absolutely,
I guess the
epitome of that was handing out
the, there was like a Christmas shoe box appeal in the shoe box,
had like basic stationery and things like that a toothbrush toothpaste. And when we Gave those to those kids, they were literally running around screaming and I was so happy and it really puts everything into perspective especially with what we’re going through right now with covid
to think about what they were going through and even some of the stories about
how much of their water supplies not filtered and it’s not safe to drink and things associated with their genocide and the still ongoing issues with that and corruption in their country. And the inability to get work definitely
puts it’s always in the back of my mind
about people that are lesser, often how lucky we are in Australia.
Yes, very true. I have someone that I respect that greatly in New Zealand.
He, amongst many, many things,
is a what he would call football. I would call soccer. Sorry to the purists
of the roundball code listening.
He is a rugby league referee
I feel he’s a sucker for punishment.
are also a referee
and a sucker for punishment.
Tell us more about
what you referee.
I’ve always loved rugby league and I played growing up. And I’m a passionate Canterbury Bulldogs
supporter even though we’re becoming dead last but
I guess when I transitioned from from not playing,
I still wanted to be involved in the game and that’s why I took up
I think I’ve been doing it for about ten
Geoff now and
three Geoff in the New South Wales junior, refereeing squad, refereeing Karen Matthews Tasha Gayle and
ash bowl and got to be coached by
some of the likes of Gavin badger Ben Cummins, Alan shortall some a lot of first grade referees in the NRL,so
I really loved refereeing and
I don’t, I’m not a sucker for punishment. I genuinely
go out there just to have fun and I know there’s a lot of
a lot of
abuse and things like that but it’s sort of white noise to me when I’m on the field. So. Yeah, I just genuinely love being on the field around the game and being involved.
What’s the secret to shutting out?
Negativity from the sidelines.
As I said it’s, it’s a lot like white noise when I’m out there in the game,
I guess stoppages in play.
You hear it a bit more specifically, but I just ignore it.
I know at the end of the day there’s nothing to gain out of engaging
with any of it. Unless
specifically said by a player on the field the crowd doesn’t mean anything to me when I’m on the field. So
it’s a skill that you learn. And it’s definitely a skill that I’ve adapted into things I do in surf, Life Saving and my work the way that I speak to people, I guess it makes you think a bit more about what you’re going to say before you speak. You think you speak more directly and change the different language that you use depending on the conversation. Yeah,
well, that is a good learning for sure. And it’s important to understand
in any leadership role and referee is a leadership role in a sense
that you can never be right all the time. And certainly, refereeing is a prime example that if there are a 50 50 crowd you’re going to be wrong. 50 percent of the time every call you make.
So you think I constantly. I love AFL and I’m constantly amused when they go into the football. Every single decision
is wrong to someone.
we’re all a little biased, but
you know, some people maybe just a little extreme
subsequently the sucker for punishment thing. I don’t think anybody takes it on is amazing because you need our referees and people are always trying to make the
right call with the fact they can’t possibly seeeverything
from every angle in the right way. But You get a caning now just changing tack.
Tell us about your role at Canterbury bankstownCouncil.
I’m currently a senior town planner, just got a promotion actually a couple of weeks ago.
And I started off as a cadet town planner, progressed to a town planner, now monsignor and I assess development applications. Say anything from
residential commercial, industrial childcare centres, everything of the like say yeah I really enjoy my job, but it gives me an insight into a lot of the developments out in the industry. Sort of gives me a bit of an urban design and architectural feel on,
on development as well. So yeah, I’ve been working at Council for
almost four Geoff now.
I’m pleased you explained your role because I was thinking maybe
you planned stuff for older folk.
the first response people say when you’re a town planner especially in Sydney, is who, you know, they’re always the ones pointing the finger at me and saying oh you’ve planned Sydney so poorly and it’s
so it’s not quite what I do for a job but it’s kind of along the same lines. So we do have a strategic plan is that think more, more strategically and broadly. But
in development assessment it’s to be more specific.
So you have junior planners, middle aged people planners and seniors.
I’m just kidding.
Yeah. Yeah. You think that way when you first read it,
it’s just just that trying to
tell us something that most people wouldn’t know about. You
Probably I lived in the USA in Denver Colorado for six
months, and I
went to Columbine High School. Now. So it’s a bit of a fun fact. I guess a lot of people know Columbine High School, I guess its history. But
yeah, I was lucky enough to go there in 2013 as part ofa
six month exchange program. And then had my, the American partner who was her partner with she she came and stayed with my family in Australia for six months.
That would have been a cool experience.
Yeah, it was we, it was with the count the Council sponsored the program. So we,
we had to
do the Toastmasters public speaking course before we went because we were representing the Council.
And we did a lot of networking events over there as part of the sister cities, partnership in a little town in the town, in Colorado.
And yeah, it was a great experience. I got to go
skiing in the snowy mountains and the Rocky mountains. Sorry. And as I said, got to
experience American High School,
like all the movies and playing the school soccer team, and
we’ve got to do a few trips around America to Las Vegas and in L.A. as well. So
definitely an experience that changed my Life.
Other schools and colleges what you see
on the movies?
Pretty much. Yeah. It surprised me.
I think the first question I had on day one was
did you have to learn English before coming to America?
Or do you ride your kangaroo to school and things like that?
And how fascinating
as we know, success generally doesn’t come by chance, and I know
Super committed to your work and also of course surf Life Saving.
What’s the key to your success to, to the,
to everything that you do?
I think the,
the key and I’ve had times where I’m down or I’m
just so stressed or burnt out is to be organized. So we have a diary or use your calendar and your phone and actually map out everything that you need to do
and do what you love.
So for me,
surf Life Saving and all my volunteering is something that I love.
I don’t do it for the recognition, I do it genuinely to
make New people learn New things and put myself out of my comfort zone. And I always say to people in surf Life Saving that it, it’s given me more than I’ve given it because of the person that it’s made me and
the things that it’s taught me.
And I guess the other key to to success is to make
positive networks. So
surround yourself by people of similar interests. People that they’re going to be
positive that they’re not going to put you down
and ultimately, ultimately going to guide you in the right direction.
to grow we have to come face to face with failure and how we deal with that. The lessons that we learn
important as to how we grow. What’s the mechanisms or things you’ve learnt along your journey
of help you to cope and to grow? Yeah, my,
my, the mechanisms I used to just always look at the bigger picture.
So if you,
if you find yourself getting a bit bogged down, just take a step back and look at the bigger goal the bigger picture of what you’re trying to achieve and break it down into increments and you find that you can achieve it a little bit easier and celebrate small goals, small milestones, because That’ll help get you to that bigger picture.
Always look for constructivecriticism.
Is a big one for myself. You’re never going to be
perfect to always look about,
especially people with more experience or even of lesser experience
about challenges that they faced or,
or take advice that they’re giving you. And always be receptive to that and adapt your personality to that as well. If it doesn’t fit in,
try and always display resilience where you can.
And the last one I wrote
down there was
to always have a mentor.
It’s a big one for myself. I have a mentor that I’m pretty close with and I’ll probably call him
twice a week and he’s really experienced but he always just
knows how to calm me down if I’m a bit stressed and point me in the right direction
or fantastic advice and people can watch
or listen rather to the podcast again or give the show notes
to guide those are
good learnings and good observations, Michael. 90 is so successful
and I think you’re right
the error of my ways. I’m not organized. I
carry my diary everywhere. So I’m not
serious and something that’s fallen on
be organized but also critique yourself and be open
to people giving you constructive feedback
as well and do what you love. If we have that opportunity then that’s pretty special.
And we should be very thankful for that.
And give our utmost that’s something that I was always taught by my father.
You can do something,
give everything to it as well. So what are your future plans and goals?
my main priorities being successful in my career and giving my all to my job. But outside of work, I’m currently, as I said, the Life Saving manager for surf Life Saving the Sydney branch, which is a New New role. And it’s really exciting and there’s a lot happening especially going into this New summer season
with, with cable
I’m, I’m still really passionate about
being a duty officer and responding to a lot of those High profile jobs and responses. I was
lucky enough to
go to the flooding event that happened in Western Sydney
in March this year and we had responded alongside SES and a lot of other emergency services. And it was it really opened up my eyes. I really came to sort of broadened my,
my learnings and opportunities in that
in that higher
upper echelon of emergency services. And hopefully spending covid hopefully get some overseas travelling as a future plan.
But we’ll see how that pans out. I
got a feeling when things open up a little it’s going to be rather hectic
on those flights and the last time.
And it is in our hearts to go out to everybody that have been through significant lockdowns over the months, particularly in New South Wales.
And in Victoria,
And I, you probably have had lots of ups and downs as well. You would have had to have had because you’ve had some pretty responsible roles. Things don’t always go right. Go right for us
at this time motivated and strong bounce back
from those low moments.
Yeah, I try and try and keep it balanced
as much as possible. So you know, things just like
even scheduling for myself just to do some exercise or go for a walk or go for a swim. Or for me just socializing with my friends outside of work and into surf. Life Saving can can often be a good breather. I guess, but as I said surrounding surrounding myself with people like that are positive and just just happy to have a good time staying organized. As I said, having a diary really helps me.
Always communicate with those close to you speak with a mentor
and always try and look outside the square. So try and look at it from a different angle but there’s been times where absolutely. I’ve wanted to just give it all away a couple of Geoff ago. I was writing my a
thesis for my Honours degree,
trying to do all my surf Life Saving volunteering hours as well as
maintain full time work. And I was
sort of waking
up at five a.m. and going to sleep at
midnight trying to get all that in. And I almost
hit breaking point to be honest. But
I think there was times where I just had to just say, I’m going to take a day off and just not do anything or
just call up someone that I haven’t spoken to in a while and just have a casual chat to get my mind off things
Yeah. Very good idea that explains a lot because the judging we were trying to debate how
you fit everything into what you do
now. We know you just don’t sleep.
Yeah. And it’s an important lesson there too, isn’t it? Not to pack too much in because it can become a burden
and it could have easily become something
that you didn’t
enjoy any longer.
But obviously you to be able to manage that. Well things started to open up
Going back to the Awards in two thousand and eighteen
must have been a thrill initially just to have been nominated for one of
the young achievers Awards.
Yeah, it was, and it’s something it always leaves a weird feeling for myself
winning Awards in volunteering because we’re all in my opinion of equal equal value. We all do it for the same reasons. We’re all there not to be recognized. So
it was a great
to me, it was a great feeling for
my club. We’re going through a bit of a transition stage and
to sort of Be put on the map for this Awards
celebration was, was really humbling.
And just to be there as well. And not and and before the night, just to read all the stories was really inspiring and it was just it was just such a happy place to be, to be honest there’s just so much
positivity in the room at the time. Yeah.
I think the thing with the Awards that people don’t
necessarily realize is that more than the individual, as you say it’s about acknowledging and validating the work of so many around you.
One person gets the knowledge,
but it’s the whole group that goes on the journey of validation and excitement for the nomination. And it helps to put people on the map for charities for organisations like surf Life, Saving, wonder
to, to be acknowledged
for the work that you do personally,but
for the broader group as well. And that is very important to
nominate potential nominees to understand
might be nominating one person but is the whole group.
Sometimes people say to us,
I don’t want to single one person out, but you are recognizing a lot. You are recognizing the broader group
by acknowledging one so it might the finals of course,
as I mentioned earlier for the Freemasons New South Wales act, community service award.
But you also went on to win the young achiever of the year.
That must have been an absolute you.
Yeah, it really was, and I was it was
totally unexpected. I remember going up to the stage
after hearing everyone’s stories and, and all the other nominees and I just had signed off on it in my head that I wasn’t going to win. Because I knew that they were all better than me in my head.
And to win I was
I hadn’t had a speech prepared. I was caught. So off guard and yeah, I was totally blown away and incredibly humbled to win. And
yeah, it really, it, it put me on a
projectile I guess for everything else that I’ve achieved since as well. I didn’t rest on our laurels after that. And I really wanted to
show to other young people say, tell my story and say, you know, use this as an example, especially for those that might be struggling or looking for opportunities to, to try and get opportunities. And yes, it’s just such an
incredible night and I was lucky to have my family there with me and my best best mate and family friends is there as well. So
he wants to empower people
to go to another level, often to be able to do more to be
more aware in the community
raise awareness for others about what you’re doing.
And it’s great that you’re able to take advantage and use that opportunity.
Is there anything that stands out in your mind still
that you will never forget about? Well, it’s not. Um,
I think my speech
was a little bit could have been better prepared because I didn’t prepare one. So I was a bit of tangent but the thing that stood out was would probably
be listening to everyone else’sstories.
Obviously it’s not all about volunteers it’s about there’s
different categories and
there was I think some amazing people working in
health and doctors and stuff at the time or people that were working on cures for cancer and
things like that. And it’s just it to me
that put it all in perspective about some of the real change that some young people out there are doing. And
it makes you feel like
you need to do more I guess. And
especially at a time when
I felt that everything you hear in the media was always negative negative, and you go to an event like that. And you just see all these positives especially that young people were
working on it.
It blew me away and it was even so good to have
John barilaro there as the deputy premier
to for him to to take that out of his time and to,
to be that really shows the level of, of the Awards that it
and the respect that it has in the, in the community I guess. Absolutely.
I think we underestimate
appreciation there is from
High levels of the community for our young people and the need for our young people to create change, as you rightly said.
In fact, the Geoff Geoff young achiever award nominations are open
right now, right across the country. And
if anybody wants to nominate someone
head to Awards dot com, or if you want to know how to make a contribution
for our prize grants to go to the winners for the coming program.
And you can head also towards Australia at dot com for more information
coming harder and harder to find and to put together to anybody who’s able to help make education. Those funds go directly to our winners for the twenty one twenty two program.
In addition to being invited back the following
year, after winning your award
at the Awards gala presentation turned aside a few words to the 400. Yes, that were there which your speech was
excellent on that particular occasion.
You’re also invited to be an executive judge for the twenty nine eight Awards. How did you find that experience?
Yeah, it’s exhilarating. Definitely, definitely interesting to be at the other side of the piece of paper I guess
reading every like it’s such a
tough job for the judges having to read through those nominations. But it was, it was really good and I learnt a lot out of it too. About some of the discussions that we had and
trying to actually
rank I guess some of these amazing young people coming through and,
and the Awards night
amazing not just saying everyone else that was coming through and actually being able to sit back and I guess not be nervous about being a finalist and so forth. Was really
yeah, it was it was really,
really amazing. And it was, it was good to see some of the other young people and I think some of Them were as young as 14
that year. Them winning higher Awards as well.
What have been fascinating watching
and experiencing judging from the other side
of, of the fence, not being a nominee, but being a judge.
It is daunting, isn’t it?
Absolutely. I don’t envy judges. And
yet it’s a tough thing to do especially for all these young people that are all doing the same amazing things and trying to you know, look at the impact
that they’re all having and and kind of measure that is a, is a really tough thing to do it’s
wonderful experience to participate in the judging across the country
because we get together
as a like minded group of people who really came
to give back but also make a difference in people’s lives.
And that one month long judging process
two weeks for the executive
panel on that final long day
of fun. But very serious responsibility. It’s such a privilege and
meet and see all of the finalists
in person on the night is just so exciting.
Are there any other hobbies or interests
you have, you know, when you’re not when you meant to be sleeping?
Well, since lock down, I’ve been playing a hell of a lot more PlayStation which is probably not a good thing. But trying to still maintain some exercise and been swimming at the beach a lot, which has been good and I just
purchased and moved into
my New home which has been exciting. And I’m studying a diploma
Public safety and emergency services. So that is another extracurricular thing that I’ve, I’ve got, but I’m enjoying that as well. So still a lot to do,
but it’s nonetheless all keeping me
and entertaining. I guess.
Well, I think the PlayStation is the entertainment part
Congratulations on your New home. That’s very very exciting.
Thanks. And is the New study does that lead you into a Kinect
outside of surf Life Saving or is
it more of a connection with other services potentially with surf Life Saving?
So it was actually through surf lifesaving that put me onto it. I was lucky enough
to get a scholarship through the Australian Institute of disaster resilience
a couple of Geoff ago.
And it sort of funded about half of it. Yeah, that’s sort of how I got into it and yeah, it doesn’t really benefit my career in any way but other than just benefiting my own personal development. So for surf Life Saving so it’s not often you see
people in volunteer roles aspire to up skill with extra curricular and or postgrad learning.
And I think that’s what this was trying to achieve and
it’s been really beneficial. So
I’d recommend to anyone out there to actually try and look at that sort of stuff if you’re in the same field as me. And yeah, I think it’s,
it’s always good to keep learning New things and
keep your head in the books at least somewhere.
What’s the passions that makes Michael tick?
I like being busy. I think I think being busy. If I’m not busy I probably don’t know what to do. I like
I like to put myself out of my comfort zone. I like to always strive to be better and to challenge myself.
And I just like to do things that I enjoy. So at the end of the day I
really enjoy going down to the beach and surrounding myself with the same people that are happy to volunteer their time. And
are I really enjoy getting out of the
and talking to players or blowing the whistle. So there’s things like that that,
you know, really, it’s the, it’s the highlight of my week. I look forward to it and all that. I love hanging out with my mates and
hopefully we can all see each other as soon as well.
Well, tell us the truth, you feel like sending people off with you?
I don’t, I really don’t. But I think the first few rounds of the season I had one each week. And as I say, it’s not something I enjoy. But yeah, I really don’t enjoy that at all.
I guess you got to do it. Otherwise everybody’s going to go a little while.
Yeah, that’s right.
You maintain that control?
Do you have any other words of wisdom you’ve given us plenty. Anything else you can think to impart
words of wisdom? I think I’ve already said it but put yourself out of your comfort zone.
The thing I always think about and it might sound a little bit cliche, but
at the end of your Life, what do you want to be remembered for?So,
you know, I always think about that and I think about, you know,
leaving your, your stamp or your footprint
on this world or on you, on your home town or whatever it is, your family name
about something that you’ve achieved. And as you said if you’re going to do something
really well, or as best as you can and that’s the way sort of I think about everything that I do.
Great words of wisdom.
Michael, where can our listeners connect with you online?
I’m on LinkedIn, Facebook Instagram probably
won’t say like Snapchat or
anything like that or keep it limited to LinkedIn. I think.
Is there anything else that you want to add today before we close to that?
I just like to say thank you to the Awards Australia Geoff and your team
especially for the recognition that I got in twenty eighteen
and the projectile that that put me on and even to be on this podcast today. And to share my my story.
how passionate you guys are about sharing young people’s stories and
it’s something that
I think a lot of organisations in Australia can be better at but it’s gaining a lot of momentum at
the moment. So
yeah, it’s just a really big shout out to
you guys for all the hard work. Do I think it’s for most of it it’s thankless
work and you guys don’t probably get the recognition you deserve. So thank you and to anyone that’s listening, please nominate as many people as you can. Or if you know anyone in business Please sponsor
one of the Awards if you can because
it really goes to a great cause.
Oh thanks man that’s very gracious
of you. We do our best and for us it’s not about us personally It Awards Australia getting the recognition. It really is
about that connect
You might want to partner because we don’t get any
funding other than the
category Naming sponsors that come on board.
So here is for us, are acknowledging Them and connecting Them with community in their chosen industry.
So really appreciate your kind words. We love what we do which is why we’re very passionate. All about team.
about our purpose to make a difference, I think. And
you are a real champion, it’s
been an absolute pleasure to have you on the podcast today. Michael,
it’s good to catch up to even virtually to see you again after 18 and 19
because you are an absolute champion.
Thank you so much for sharing some of your story with us.
No worries. Thanks, Geoff.
Well, good luck with that New home. Good luck with all of your roles at surf Life Saving. Really appreciate everything you do on behalf of those people that you help and support
that day on the beaches.
We hope everybody listening to enjoyed hearing some of Michael’s story today.
And during these tough times, I encourage everyone to dream bigger and bolder,
be strong because whilst there often
seems to be no light at the end of the tunnel is to end. Now until next week, please be kind to yourself and others. And remember,
together we make a difference.
I hope you enjoyed today’s interview as much as I had.
We would love you to subscribe to our podcast, that you won’t miss
an episode showing us each week as we talk
with ordinary Australians.
Achieving extraordinary things. Did you know that Awards Australia is a family owned
business that proudly makes a difference
in the lives of those
that make a difference for others? And we thank our corporate not for profit partners to making award programs possible to, you know, someone that’s making a difference
or maybe a
business might like to sponsor an award.
Contact us through our Instagram page, Inspirational Australian’s dot Australians will head to our website.
Awards Australia dot com. Would be great
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doesn’t like a good news story, and please write and review us.
We would really love to hear your thoughts until next week. Stay safe. And remember
[00:46:45] Speaker 4
together we make a difference.
Thanks for joining us today on the Inspirational Australian’s podcast. We hope you enjoyed listening
and have been inspired by
ordinary Australians Achieving
So it’s goodbye for another week. Remember together
we make a difference.
END OF TRANSCRIPT