March 2, 2022

State Youth Leadership Conference

On a humid morning on Tuesday 1 March, 15 members of the Mordialloc College Student Council travelled to the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre to see the State Youth Leadership Conference. It was an action packed day for students to learn about leadership. The State Youth Leadership Conference aims to empower students – the future leaders – with the skills and confidence to be the change-makers in the community.

At the beginning of the Conference, we were greeted by a booklet and a sticky note on our chairs. The sticky note was given to us so that we could write a definition of ‘what leadership meant to us’. At the core of this, the co-hosts, Tari and Heather, educated the audience that there are many meanings that people may have about the word ‘leadership’. This demonstrated that there is diversity amongst the future leaders and that we can choose our own way to lead our group. We also had the opportunity at the start to meet fellow attendees at the conference. We were asked by the hosts to ask questions to other students from other schools in the hope of sparking conversations and making new friends. The questions were what fruit they would be and why they had chosen it. The hosts concluded their segment by describing the leadership that they have displayed in life and why leadership is important in a rapidly changing world.


The hosts then introduced an array of speakers to demonstrate leadership skills and success. The most exciting part of the conference was hearing from Holly Ransom, an influential advisor, Wil Massara, the CEO of Youth Leadership Academy, and Hunter Johnson, CEO at The Man Cave & STUFF.


A key takeaway from Holly’s presentation was that ‘if you are getting someone agitated, then you are doing something right. And that progress is being made’. What this means to me is that as long as you have a goal, no matter how upset or angry it makes someone feel, it is in the best interests of yourself to make the goal a reality. It highlights that perseverance is a great characteristic to have when you have a desire to do something.


In relation to Wil’s presentation, he emphasised on the importance of the fact that ‘age has no barrier’. This idea was supported by his experience in leadership, as the CEO of Youth Leadership Academy at age 19 and being the founder of Planeapida at just 12 years old. The meaning that I took away from this was that age is not a factor-at-play in the success that you have, but it is the determination and perseverance that is within you to overcome challenges. Thereby, highlighting that age is not influential on the ability to have success in life.


I would also like to share the 3 Principles that Wil mentioned to enhance the leadership potential that people have.


1st Principle: “Your age does not determine your ability to achieve extraordinary things”.

2nd Principle: “United Individuals create change”.

3rd Principle: “Your OWN story”.


Based on learning about the principles, I hope that you also feel empowered to make a positive contribution to the school and also the wider community.


Furthermore, based on listening to Hunter Johnson’s presentation, he had a range of messages that he had shared with us. But the most influential advice that I heard was to be ‘preventative’. This meant taking action early so that difficulties would not arise in the future. It emphasises the ability to be a long-term planner and envision what the future may bring. In doing so, it underlines the importance of being proactive rather than reactive.


The hosts of the Conference ended with a Q&A. Students had the opportunity to ask questions to the presenters about their previous leadership experiences. It was a great opportunity to get advice from such successful and influential leaders.


After the Conference concluded, we walked along Yarra Promenade to Flinders Street Station to return back to school.


Some key takeaways that I would like to share with you from the conference is that:

  • Actions begin today and not tomorrow,
  • The power of authenticity changes the particles in the room; and that
  • People should first seek to understand, rather than to be understood.

Thank you to Mr Cummins for organising the event.


Jeremy Thai-Chan – Year 11

Facilities and Environment Member of the Mordialloc College Student Council