Tell us about your background...
I spent six years in the Royal Australia Navy as an Electronics Technician. This means that I maintained and repaired communications equipment both on shore establishments and onboard Navy ships. In 2013, I deployed on HMAS Melbourne to the Middle East Area of Operations for six months. It was a tough deployment at times, but I am proud of our contributions to international maritime security and am grateful to have had the opportunity to visit some incredibly beautiful parts of the world.
What are you up to these days?
I live in Brisbane with my partner and our two gorgeous dogs. Currently, I work as a project advisor on some major Government projects. I enjoy the daily challenges of my job, but also the flexibility it provides me in finding that work-life balance. Outside of the 9-5, I like to get away camping or hiking and volunteer with some youth-focused initiatives that allow me to 'give back' for some of the opportunities I've been afforded myself. Whether it's teaching kids to drive at PCYC, working with youth leadership programs or sharing the LIVIN message at schools through the LIVINWell mental health program – we all have the opportunity to change someone else's life.
How was your transition from the military to civilian life?
I was fortunate to secure an entry-level Government job not long after discharging from the Navy. It was something completely unrelated to my trade and, I thought, unrelated to any of my work experience in the military. As a result, I sort of felt like I was starting my adult life over again. To be honest, for a while there, I felt a bit disheartened that I had 'wasted' so many years in the military when other people my age were so much further ahead. As I progressed in the organisation though, I started to realise that many of the skills I was recognised for were developed in the military and I wasn't so far behind after all.
We know that transition from the military to civilian life can be challenging on the mental health of so many Veterans. We know that transition in many areas of life can be challenging - primary school to high school, high school to university or the workforce, becoming a parent, loss of a close friend or family member etc. What is ONE tip you can provide to those reading this that helped with your transition from the military to civilian life from a mental health perspective?
Just take the next best step. Acknowledge that transition is going to take time, that you don't need to conquer the world straight away, that it's OK to not be OK. Just focus on what that next best step is for you and reach out for help if you need it.
What do you wish civilians were more aware of about Veterans and military personnel?
Many times when I really 'click' with someone in my workplace, I will find out that they have previously served and as a result our brains work in many of the same ways. I am certain that many of our Veterans are some of the most multi-skilled and committed employees a business could wish to have. Our military service gave us so many foundational skills that are now second-nature – time management, responsiveness, accountability to name a few – and these can be translated to so many jobs. I would love to see more people recognising someone's military service for the huge benefits it can bring to a workplace. We may not be the best self-promoters, but we make bloody good employees!
What do you like most about LIVIN?
What I like most about LIVIN is that they are normalising the conversation about mental health and making it 'cool' to speak openly and honestly. I love the focus on kids in particular, because I think the more impact we can have at an early age, the less young people who will have to suffer.