Seizing Opportunities

“I would prefer to be doing the ropes course with the boys than an interior design workshop for girls” she said.


Why Seize opportunites


A few years ago I did a voice course with the wonderful Isobel Kirk in Sydney. Half way into the course she gave us a sheet of paper and asked us to write a poem. It was only to be four lines but I found this difficult.


She then gave us a large piece of paper and some coloured pens and asked us to draw on it. Large colourful circles and swirls filled our sheets of paper. She then asked us to write a poem again. This time it was simple and I really liked what I had written.


She then asked us to share our poem. The poems were personal so she understood if we did not want to read them out. Everyone in the room read theirs out, except for me. The following week we started the session with a review of the last 7 days, as we always did. I shared that I had felt sad. It wasn’t an overwhelming sadnessand only for a couple of days but I knew it was there.


Thinking about it for a moment, she said, “It was because you didn’t share your poem.” My mind, body and soul wanted to share what I had just created. It wanted me to celebrate it by speaking it. I didn’t seize the opportunity to share it when I had the chance and now that opportunity was gone.


This experience has stayed with me and was a catalyst for seizing opportunities from that time on. Not all have played out but many have and I am richer for the experiences. I want that for the girls.

The creative process is a process of surrender. - JULIA CAMERON

What an opportunity looks like


So when I met Fran and Illy at a friends home I saw a wonderful opportunity to work with them.


Francesco Riva is an interior designer and Illy Amoruso is an accomplished pastry chef. Both from Italy in their twenties they left their jobs, their home, their families to travel across the world for something new. These two creatives are capturing their experiences on film and I asked them to join me in Geham for our next workshop. It just seemed like a natural fit.

Everyone Should Benefit from The Opportunity


Two Italians got to experience a little more of Australia developing their skills and being paid for doing what they love. They both instantly understood what I was trying to achieve and the story I wanted to tell. The benefit to us was having a beautiful video to tell a story and images that the girls could keep from the experience.


In addition, I found out Fran had done a thesis in Italy on creativity with kids and it turns out that it is a perfect foundation for our first 5 Day Creative Challenge!


Both Illy and Fran are using creativity daily to seize new opportunities that are resulting in this couple having the time of their lives.

What Happens When You Seize the Opportunity


You get to create beauty and work with excellence.


A year ago I had the privilege to be asked to talk to the kids at Geham State School about leadership. As it turned out their teacher was my grade 7 teacher, who just happened to be the best primary teacher ever and had such a positive impact on my love of learning. It was so great to see he was still having the same impact 30 + years later.


That presentation then led to an invitation to deliver our interior design workshop to an amazing group of year six girls a year later. This is what they created.

The video we share above shares the subtle story of girls taking risks, pushing aside doubts and facing fears that what the are about to create might not be good enough. What I love about creativity and the creative process is there are no wrong answers just lots of right ones and the girls seized upon that to create some beautifully unique interpretations of their feelings.


The workshop has the girls design a moodboard for their bedroom and we get them to centre that around how they want to feel in that space.

Friends learning about each other

The ‘feeling’ words chosen by the Year Six Geham State School class of 2018.

  • Calm
  • Sophisticated
  • Dreaming
  • Organised
  • Motivated
  • Inspiring
  • Loud and Hippy
  • Energetic
  • Believe / Hope
  • Relaxed

I really enjoyed the bedside table challenge. Though it was difficult at first to work with everybody's different styles, we eventually came out with something pretty decent! – LIZZIE McCOLLUM 12

girls seizing opportunities
Lizzie McCollum
Seize the moment

Oh and the vivacious girl that wanted to be doing the ropes course? She shared with me afterwards how much she gained from experience. Not only about herself but also about her classmates.

Always have something 'living' in the room
Tapping into the 5 senses
Year 6 girls Geham State School, Australia