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Tales of Starting Out: Who Gave You Your First Break?

By Jake McKay | Posted: Friday June 3, 2016

We recently spoke to Darren Jennings of Otago Sheet Metal who reminded us that everyone's career has to start somewhere. Often all it takes to set off a cascade of personal and career success is for one employer to give a young person their first break. We reached out to our Facebook followers for some origins-themed inspiration - check out some of the highlights here.

Kate Boreham:

"I feel totally blessed to have been given an opportunity to join the Planet Media Sales Team around 10 years ago. The General Manager at the time, Stephen Alexander, was an incredible mentor and supported me and believed in me when I stepped up to be Sales Manager at the tender age of 21. A huge learning curve ensued with lots of great challenges that pushed me outside my comfort zone and gave me the chance to grow both professionally and personally. Every job after that has been a stepping stone with new challenges to face and skills to master... I wouldn't be where I am today without being given that first opportunity when there was nothing on my CV except my University Degree"

Chelsea Cain:

"Cooke Howlison took a huge gamble on me when they took me on as Marketing Manager at 23 (my first full-time proper job after Uni and some part time work) They could have hired a number of far more experience and older candidates but their vision of the future gave me an invaluable chance to prove myself and I am extremely grateful to John and the rest of the management team!"

Andrew Kilsby:

"ANZ Bank gave a hopeful young soul with a BA and not much of a plan a start back in 1996. Broke the mould a bit away from the BBS and BCom's normally associated with banking. Really enjoyed my time in finance and management, set me up well to make the step to the NGO sector. Sometimes it pays to look a bit different and stand out from the crowd!"

Brydie Meinung:

"The incredible and inspirational Ian Taylor gave me my first break. After my first job with him, in no time I was working on one of the largest sailing events in the world ...He was extremely supportive and made me believe I could take the position and make it my own. It is definitely something I will never forget."

Rebecca Twemlow:

"Personally, I have a few 'stories' - the first was a tutor at the Dunedin Academy (not with us anymore) John was his name, he held my hand when I first turned a computer on and the following 12 weeks doing an Intro to computers with his lead changed my life. The second was thank you to a phenomenal lady Ruth Fisher - then the owner of a training company, she gave me my first job - at 19, teaching Youth (basically my peers) how to use computers - create CV's in particular for the now gone Youth Skills and Conservation Corp training groups. Ruth took a big gamble on me - I was more than a little lost, a bit of a rough diamond shall we say and she saw through the facade. I am forever grateful to both John and Ruth for their belief, support and mentorship"

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