What fulfills you?
Back in June, my agent called and asked me if I wanted to MC a charity drive for the Halberg Disability Foundation. She said the job was unpaid, but it would be an awesome experience. Of course, I happily agreed. After all, what a cool event to be a part of! Plus, I thought the challenge to MC an event, which to be honest scared the sh*t outta me, would be great for my character building. The things we do..
You may only know the name Halberg because of the annual NZ sports awards, but they are so much more than this. The foundation aims to enhance the lives of physically disabled New Zealanders by helping them participate in sports and recreational activities. They are about sport for all New Zealanders. And you could say that being able to participate in sports should be a fundamental New Zealand right, since our very souls are active outdoorsy keeno’s.
So along I went to the Vector Arena at 7am on a Friday morning to MC the Halberg tri-challenge, 2015. Across the day, over 80 teams of three participated in a 20 minute ‘triathlon’ – one rowing, one running and one cycling. Now, you may think 20 minutes isn’t that long but.. When you are competing for a trophy which is awarded to the team who does the best distance, there’s a lot at stake. And going hard is the only option.
There to participate and help raise money for this awesome charity were school kids, company sponsors, celebs (Guy Williams did a moon-walk lap), and best of all, people who benefit from the Halberg Foundation’s awesome efforts.
It was at this event that I met Bonnie. And she. Was awesome. I was totally inspired by her selfless passion, which was clear from the moment I met her. You could see her genuine enthusiasm and excitement for what she does throughout the entire day. From the way she interacted with people at the event, to the way she described the purpose of it, you could tell she just loved everything it stood for.
I had to interview this woman. And luckily for me, she added me on Facebook so I tracked her down and found out exactly how she came to be doing what she does!
Bonnie has a solid work history in PR. She has worked for several awesome Auckland based PR agencies, where she honed her skills in media, writing, events, client relationships and multi-tasking.. This girl’s a pro, right.
Now one of the agencies Bonnie worked for held the account for the Raukatauri Music Therapy Centre in Grey Lynn (which helps people with a wide range of special needs to communicate and express themselves through music). Because she was across the account, Bonnie was able to go and hang out at the centre, where she met the people they help, and witnessed the amazing things they do. And that experience had a massive impact on her.. You could say, it even sowed a seed!
Bonnie eventually decided to go on her OE and moved to London for a while. She said this experience was never, ever easy, especially since she was there looking for work during the recession. Not surprisingly, she thought about coming home as that would be the easy option; but, being the driven strong minded human she is, she decided that she wasn’t giving up. She devised a strategy which would set her apart from all the London locals and kiwi expats also looking for work. With her industry know-how, she wrote a press release about herself, which she then sent out to the every PR company she knew. It worked. She got a job within weeks. She had conquered London.
She came back to NZ feeling really content, and went back to work at a PR agency in Auckland for a while. It was great, but she couldn’t shake the feeling of wanting to use her skill set to help others, to give back.. And her mind kept flicking back to the amazing experience she had at the Raukatauri Music Therapy Centre.
She saw a marketing/communications manager role pop up at the Halberg Foundation. And she knew that was it. She worked hard to pitch herself as the perfect person for the job – which wasn’t easy as a young person working in media. However, with her passion and skill base, she managed to convince them, and the rest is history.
She has been there since 2013, and has enjoyed every challenge, every opportunity, every moment, even when it’s really busy. Because she is working for something bigger than herself. She remembers receiving a compliment from Sir Murray Halberg himself about the great work she does, which was sign enough for her that she had made the right decision.
Bonnie now gets to work day in day out doing something that not only fulfills her, but enhances the lives of so many others. She is hard-working-hustler, who has used her awesome skill base to end up in a space where she is totally at peace. She trusted her heart, and is now living her dream by helping other people every day. What a legend.
I loved being an MC for the Halberg Tri-Challenge. The amount of pure joy and humble gratitude given from those who will now be benefitting from the event, is something that money could never buy – and something that will stick with me for life.
If you want to donate, or just know more about what the Halberg Foundation does, check out their website here. Otherwise, feel free to share this article because awareness is everything! And it really is a wonderful cause.