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Do you remember being a teenager? What were you afraid of? What did you think your future would look like? If you had a chance to give your 15 year old self some sound advice, what would it be?

While time travel isn’t an option, we’ve spoken to three of the country’s most successful business leaders, who share advice they’d like to give their 15 year old selves. Here's what they told us.



- Emma Isaacs, MyRoad mentor and Founder/Global C.E.O. at Business Chicks

Put yourself in your mentees’ shoes: What would you tell your 15-year-old self?

“Keep going. Trust that everything will be fine. Ultimately success comes down to your mindset and the way you approach problems. Trusting yourself and trusting your instincts is a really great philosophy to take with you through your career and your life.”

You’re going to fail a few times, but learn to love the failures. They never appear like it at the time, but they’re actually the best parts. We all know that we grow when we learn new things and that growth often comes through our mistakes. We should approach failure with a positive mindset and not be striving for perfection always.

Find your tribe. It’s so important to find people around you who are positive and supportive of your goals. Try and spend the majority of your time with people who you can learn from and who make you feel positive too. Life’s too short to hang around people who are negative and who take energy from you.

Be kind. Give more than you take. Always have a mindset of generosity and kindness, whether you can give your time or your advice or your skills, always be looking for ways to support others and be kind.

Work hard. If you want to be successful, it’s going to take you applying yourself and working hard. I've never met a successful person who hasn’t worked hard to achieve what they have.

Emma Isaacs is passionate about encouraging women to be bold, to be courageous and to take risks. Responsible for growing ‘Business Chicks’ into Australia’s biggest network of female professionals, Isaacs has spent time with some of the world’s greatest thought-leaders including Sir Richard Brandon, Bill Gates and Arianna Huffington. She is a highly sought after keynote speaker on topics around female leadership and entrepreneurship, and currently lives in Los Angeles with her husband and five kids under the age of seven. 

- Carl Harris, MyRoad mentor and managing partner at Deloitte Tasmania

Is there any advice looking back that you would give your 15 year old self?

“Invest in your education. Work hard to get the best results in your final years. It’s a small investment of time for a career that can span 40+ years.”

Maximise your options. As the world changes, so does the future of work, the skills you will require and your opportunities.

If you'd have had a mentor, what difference would that have made to you when you were a teenager?

Look for people who are interested and will invest themselves in you. I think a mentor for me could have helped with decisions that I grappled with for years, particularly in relation to career direction.

Get someone else's view, rather than figuring it all out yourself and learning by trial and error, that's important but if you can also get an independent view and someone's perspective and some ideas and some examples and some stories, I think it's got to help you out.

As managing partner of Deloitte Tasmania, Carl Harris is passionate about creating an inclusive and diverse work environment. During his 25-year career, Harris has worked across many industries, but is known for his public sector, energy, agribusiness and consumer product knowledge and experience. Harris has a two-and-a-half year-old daughter who he says ‘runs the house’.

- Christine Black, MyRoad mentor and director of public affairs, communications and sustainability at Coca-Cola South Pacific

Is there any advice looking back that you would give your 15 year old self?

“Don’t box yourself in. When you’re young you have a more limited world view and you don’t yet understand your role in it. Take a big view of yourself and the world.”

We often hear, you can achieve anything, you can do anything, the sky’s the limit.

They’re great sentiments and aspirations, but I find that for women in particular, in the moment when it matters most your confidence can falter.

So, work on your confidence deep inside and know, “I CAN do this."

When you were young, would it have been helpful if you'd have had access a programme like My Road?

Everything is big when you're young. Things that people say are big because you haven't been out much, you haven't heard much, so things can impact you a lot when you're young. I think access to a formal mentoring opportunity would have broadened my horizons. 

In the workplace, you don't own your role and you don't own your position. You borrow them for a period of time. You do them for a finite period of time before you move on or it moves on and you just borrowed your position and title for a period of time. You don't own it. What you do own, is who you are as a worker. Who you are as a staff member. Who you are as a person.

Christine Black has worked in communications for almost 20 years. Black is now responsible for driving the global ambitions of the brand, such as sustainability, sugar reduction targets and importantly, ensuring gender equality is a priority for Coca-Cola and all feature leaders. A champion of Coca-Cola’s global mission to economically empower 5 million women by 2020, Black is an active MyRoad mentor. In her spare time, Black also enjoys travelling, and spending time with her two Lhaso Apso’s Tashi and Dolma.