Community News

My Journey as a HYP Director

The Edwards was the place my HYP directorship was launched and ironically in a weird life circle fashion, it is the same venue at The Edwards, where my HYP journey came to an end. The 2016 Christmas party marked the end of a three-year term holding the role of Treasurer of the Hunter Young Professionals.

Rewind the clock and 3 years ago, I was an employee working at a local accounting firm who had a desire to connect with other like-minded professionals to broaden my horizons and ‘find other people like me’.

I can confidently say that I am not the person I was when I was lining up at the AGM to run for Treasurer. HYP has pushed me to grow and opened my eyes to so many opportunities that I have held onto with both hands and I will be forever grateful for these gifts, shared wisdoms and connections gained. These are the days where you build your network of people that stay with you for life, I believe it is so valuable to network and start building a rapport with a lawyer or an accountant as you might never know the day that you will need one and you can turn to a friend.

Professionally, HYP has pushed me outside of my comfort zone time and time again by having to present the figures each month at the board meeting, organising events with community partners and external organisations, forcing me to look at my fear of public speaking head on and tackle it into the ground, introducing me to the Newcastle Speakers Club (a hidden little society that meets on a Wednesday for anyone interested); and it has challenged my way of thinking and was a positive influence when I decided to take the leap into entrepreneurship.

It has exposed me to people in the business community who I would not have ordinarily crossed paths with had I not been involved with HYP. These connections have opened up opportunities with my business to be featured in local publications, to meet clients 2 years before they would actually become a client and hopefully in the future meet someone who will become part of my Booksmart family. It has been the starting block for building my personal brand and I can proudly say that I was a Director of the Hunter Young Professionals, an organisation dedicated to developing ourselves and our community through professional learning and social networking.

On a personal level, mentors have been met, best friends have been made and a raft of others whom I have met along my journey at school and University whom I have reconnected with at each of our events. I am a firm believer in the saying ‘You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with, so choose your herd wisely’. The HYP community has been a constant sounding board for me during the good and the bad days as there is always someone you can lean on for advice or help.

So, if you are questioning what you will get out of becoming a board member of HYP in 2017, my question to you is: what is it that you want out of it? All I wanted was to be surrounded by likeminded people and I have ended up with so very much more than I had bargained for.

Your future is up to you, so make it happen!

– Alex Nicolaidis