November 23rd marked one of RMIT Golden Key’s most significant events for 2015. The inaugural Future of Leadership Youth Forum, an initiative designed to generate dialogue between prominent community leaders and students on the importance of leadership in the tertiary and broader community, was held at RMIT’s Swanston Academic Building. Through the forum, the RMIT Golden Key committee sought to empower students to have a platform where they could share their opinions and inspire others to commit to excellence within both their student and professional lives. A dynamic panel of community leaders including Tim Costello (AO), CEO of World Vision, Tony Wheeler (AO) founder of Lonely Planet & Street Artist Rone provided insight and feedback on four topic areas (the future of leadership, community service, work readiness and innovation) generated by RMIT students as well as high school students from the Smith Family & SNAP partnership schools.
The event commenced with a welcome address from RMIT Golden Key president, Natasha Luscri, who introduced the audience to the initiative behind the forum. RMIT University’s Vice Chancellor Martin Bean then set the tone for the day by explaining how RMIT exists to create transformative experiences for students and how students, as young leaders, have a hand in reshaping the social, economic and technological paradigm of our future planet. Significantly, citing the turbulent and dynamic times affecting the world presently, Martin expressed the importance of education in helping answer questions facing humanity at present.
Following Martin’s presentation, the key note address was given by Mr. Harold Mitchell (AC), a prolific and altruistic Australian entrepreneur and philanthropist. Mr. Mitchell gave an inspiring and rousing speech, explaining his own disadvantaged background and the importance of his education at RMIT in becoming one of the most successful Australian entrepreneurs of all time. Mr. Mitchell’s sentiment echoed that of Martin’s, emphasizing the likelihood that the world economy will continue changing and hence, employees will have to create their own jobs. His message for students were to be ready and accepting of change by being willing to work hard and keeping an open mind.
After the key note, the forum commenced with the first student group presenting their ideas on the ‘future of leadership’. This discussion focused upon the student’s vision of leadership in the Australian community and their ideas on how students can improve Australia’s future. The students were excited to be able to interact with Mr. Tim Costello (AO), whose breadth of expertise helped generate dynamic discussion between the students, panel and audience. The next group of students presented their thoughts on ‘community service’, explaining how giving back to the community by participating in volunteering activities is both a rewarding and invaluable experience.
After a quick break, the final two topics were addressed by students. The first group addressed the topic ‘work readiness’, describing how the transition from university to the workforce can be a challenging experience and formulating strategies to assist students obtain graduate employment and shift from university into the workforce. The presence of two incredible entrepreneurs on the panel, Mr. Tony Wheeler (AO) and Rone also helped generate valuable and thought-provoking discussion.
In fitting with RMIT’s emphasis on innovation, the final topic presented revolved around the core importance of innovation in student learning, with students formulating an innovative app designed as a supportive technological structure to aid tertiary learning.
As the forum concluded with thoughts and comments from the panel and audience, we were left with an ample amount of ideas and questions to think about. Whilst a lot of take home points were mentioned throughout the duration of the event, none were more important than “Experiment with various pathways and have fun.” Not being afraid to try different options with an open mind to workout one’s passion goes a long way.
Overall, the feedback was overwhelmingly positive and we are proud to have hosted such a terrific event.
Rohit Kumar, General Committee Member