Volunteer Spotlight

Meet Gabrielle

Schools Industry Partnership, Vanessa Perkins

We asked one of our Inspiring volunteers, Gabrielle, to share why she got involved with Inspiring the Future and

what she loves about inspiring young people through the program.

How long have you been an Inspiring the future volunteer? 

I signed up as a volunteer with Inspiring the Futures in December 2017 and have participated in several events such as career conversations, mock interviews and  workplace talks. 

How long have you been an Inspiring the future volunteer? 

I have a 16 year old son who is on the Autism Spectrum and we have been on a real journey supporting his growth and development. During his younger years of development I always looked for opportunities to give back to those supporting early intervention more specifically around social engagement and participation. As my son got older his needs moved beyond early intervention as we headed for high school. The focus became more aligned with his peers starting to think about the next stage of life and what that looks like. I came across an exciting not for profit (Inspiring the Future) giving real focus and attention to open up students thinking about careers and different pathways. So I signed up and am so glad I did.  

What is it about volunteering with Inspiring the Future that you really enjoy?

It’s quite easy to participate and it is extremely rewarding. Creating your profile and using the volunteer portal is extremely easy. Opportunities are sent to me through the portal and I can then assess availability and before accepting. Heading out to a school and interacting with the students and teachers allows you to see and feel your impact. Not only do I share my career story and answer a lot of questions from curious young people I always walk away with something new that I have learned. This makes it a real two way opportunity.  

Has your career journey taken the path you imagined it would? 
When going through high school I didn’t have access to these types of experiences and I was extremely lost with what I could and would want to do when leaving high school. I left school and immediately entered the workforce with a big insurance company for the security of a job. I bounced around from department to department with no real plan but this served me extremely well as I ended up with experience across the entire business. Understanding business and organizational development through experience (not by study) became my superpower. Armed with this clarity I searched for roles that allowed me to leverage my super power while continuing to learn new skills.  20 years after leaving school I went to university part time and got a masters in business administration to recognize my experience.

What is something about your career journey that has surprised you? 
What surprised me is how important culture and the working environment is as much as the work you are doing. Both need to be an important part of career decisions.   

What is one piece of advice that you would share with young people today?
Take the time to learn who you are, what makes you tick and what drains your energy. Knowing more about who you are and how you show up in different situations increases your emotional intelligence. Using this information when making Career decisions will ensure you are doing something you are good at as well as looking after your mental health and happiness