Yole L

My parents divorced when I was three years old, leaving my brother and I removed from our father and 8 other siblings for many years. By the age of 13 I had lived in 10 different homes, all within family. As a result of living in unstable environments I had feelings of resentment towards my culture and family. I also survived mental, physical and sexual abuse between the ages of 6-9 years old. As an adult I sought professional help as I knew that in order to help anyone else, I needed to heal from within. This has empowered me to lead my life from a place of hope and love.

Following my uni graduation ceremony, I recalled sharing the stage with only five other brown people. It was a light-bulb moment. I was in a position of privilege and I knew I needed to bring my people with me. How would I use this degree to benefit others? Success to me is leaving this world a better place than when we arrived. Every day I get to help my Maori and Pasifika people understand that they can take their whole selves into the corporate world; a world our ancestors dreamt of us navigating.

I had every reason to be categorised into a negative statistic or let my pain and suffering define me. However, I know my purpose is greater than anything I have overcome. Through all the adversity and obstacles we encounter in life, ultimately, you are the author of your own story.

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