UnLtd – the organisation for disadvantaged youth – is one of media’s best loved support groups. Here, B&T talks to its general manager and former Media Of Australia (MFA) executive director, Carol Morris, about role models, public prejudices and summer in Europe…
We’re sure working with disadvantaged youth can be very rewarding, but it must have its testing times too?
Probably heartbreaking rather than testing. Fortunately through my role at UnLtd I get to connect with young people that are getting the help they deserve to overcome extraordinary challenges they’ve had to face, so I get to be inspired by some truly remarkable young people. On a tough day, they keep me going.
What was your route into the role at UnLtd?
Serendipity and timing. I stepped out of my role at the MFA wanting to pursue something that connected me with a cause in a meaningful way. Henry Tajer was on the UnLtd board at the time and they were looking for a new GM, so he connected me to Kerry McCabe. As soon as I heard about the UnLtd mission I was completely sold. The rest is history.
What’s been your greatest success at UnLtd thus far?
Growing the number of charities UnLtd supports from nine to 63 in two years.
What makes good leadership?
Being a really effective listener is an important quality that tops my list, but sadly it is a quality that often gets lost in desire to direct.
Who has been your career hero thus far?
Are you kidding, how many people would I disappoint if they weren’t mentioned? Besides it’s more about, a little bit from many, rather than everything from one.
What lessons can we learn from working with difficult people?
How not to be.
What don’t the general public understand about disadvantaged young people?
We humans have a tendency to be quite judgemental. I strongly believe that young people are wrongly judged by their appearance, their actions and their attitudes so they are labelled as ‘having made bad choices’. Take the time to hear their stories, to understand the circumstances in their lives that has lead them to where they are now and I promise you the next time you see a kid out on the streets you will smile at them rather than cross the road.
What advice would you give your 20 year old self?
Don’t doubt yourself, buy a property in Yallingup (in WA) and get into yoga now.
Where do you see yourself in 10 year’s time?
Still breathing would be a great start, doing more volunteer work and spending summer in Europe – dream big.