I spent a significant part of my childhood navigating the complexities of family and life. That being said, I was exceptionally fortunate to grow up with a significant amount of love around me from my parents, extended family and friends; the old adage “it takes a village to raise a child” certainly resonates with my upbringing and holds testament to the person I am today.
Growing up with two athletic parents, I had a ball in my hand as soon as I could crawl. From the age of 6 I dreamed of my playing professional sport. I vividly remember articulating to my mother that I would move to Brazil, marry a beautiful woman and play for the Brazilian soccer team by the age of 18. At the age of 10 things took a turn, I decided I would play rugby instead of soccer. This was a pivotal moment in my life as it dictated the friendship groups I had, the injuries I picked up and also revealed a characteristic about my behaviour - always wanting to be with the group - but it made me feel the happiest.
At 15 I sustained a near-death experience on the rugby field; a broken leg with serious complications and if left undetected would have resulted in an amputation and/or death from internal bleeding. The truth is that it saved me from an unfortunate path I was heading down. I was on a daily report card at school, I was sneaking out at night time, I was drinking and smoking at parties, having fights with my parents and had no ‘real’ friends because I was too concerned with the social dynamics of remaining cool. This injury was a jolt to my identity as I suddenly questioned who I was, what I was doing and why I was doing it. It gave me a second chance with people and allowed me to slowly start rebuilding a new authentic image true to who I really was. Each injury I experienced over the years in rugby slowly nudged me in the direction of following my heart into the social justice sector.
Moving to Melbourne and being exposed to the Foundation for Young Australians (FYA) community and everyone in it is one of the most profound life experiences I could have asked for - and for that I am incredible grateful. Suddenly, I was dropped into a community of young people who were passionate about changing the world and they were already getting started. This was also a time where I started to peel back the layers of the identity that I had constructed for myself. I started to voice my opinion on issues that I had previously been silent on, I started to own some of the wrong-doings of my past, and started to slowly build my integrity from a foundational, core level.
Melbourne is now home and I feel exceptionally lucky to have the friends that I do here. At 26, I have an incredibly open, loving and trusting relationship with my parents, step parents, siblings, girlfriend and best mates. I am in a privileged position to be co-leading a phenomenal mental health youth organisation dedicated to empowering young people with the skills, courage and character to transform their world and reach their greatest human potential. I feel like I am where I need to be.
Looking forward, in the words of Teddy Roosevelt, I want to be remembered as a man who had the courage and character to dare greatly. As a man who had the courage to tell and live my truth in moments big but most importantly in moments small. As a man who experienced the beautiful struggles of life and used those experiences to live a life of love, self-expression, personal freedom and power.
I want to be remembered for my deep self-awareness and for unapologetically living my values in times of greatness but most importantly in times of extreme challenge. I want to be remembered as a man who had the courage to be vulnerable; who had an anchoring presence; who could hold space for others to courageously risk revealing their beautiful broken self, therefore allowing them to stand in the power of their own authenticity.
I want to be remembered as a leader and a teacher who served, motivated and inspired people around me to reach their best selves. I want to be known for empowering the people in my life to be more than they thought they could be. I want to be remembered for my zest for life, my eternal curiosity in the world and most importantly I want to make my family and friends proud of me.
“I create spaces where people can connect and be accepted for who they are.”
“The gift of this watch represents compassion and empathy; core values which resonate strongly with me.”