Post school journey
I took a gap year and travelled to Northern Japan to work at a hotel. This was an amazing and at times challenging experience as I was one of only 3 foreigners living in the northern region of Honshu. That year gave me a lot of self-confidence that I could make friends, work really hard and survive as an independent adult in any new environment. After returning to study Business at UTS in Sydney, I took another trip (this time as a Ski Instructor in Aspen with my CCGS school-mate Michael Seton) which was just lots and lots of fun.
I returned home and built a career in business while working for Nestle and Coca-Cola. It was rewarding to work for big brands because I like seeing people enjoy our products in every part of the country, every day of the year. Also, big companies like this provide employees with lots of opportunities for personal development, including travel and also support flexible work. Most recently I've started my own consulting company (creatively named Jon Stokes Consulting) and I'm enjoying the challenges of small business ownership. During this time, I found my wonderful wife (Jade) and, together, we're raising two boys (Sammy - 5 years and Matty - 2 years) in our humble home (our "Castle") in Sydney, spending as much quality time as possible with our boys.
The CCGS experience that most prepared you for where you are now
In the face of COVID-19, political and corporate buzz words like "Agility" and "Pivoting" are everywhere. As we face more uncertainty than ever, it is important that we can handle big changes in our lives and we have the confidence to thrive in whatever circumstances arise. With that in mind, rather than any single experience, I think the variety and breadth of experiences available at CCGS had the biggest impact on me.
While at school, I tried to be involved in as many different teams/groups as possible from Outward Bound, to Orchestra, Rugby, International Exchange, Debating and School Musicals. All of these experiences taught me so many different skills and helped me build friendships with diverse people. This gives me the confidence that I can make the most of any situation.
Proudest moment post-school
While I'm proud of what I've achieved in my working life, I'm most proud of my role as a really active dad. Rather than prioritise my career at all costs, I chose to step back from full-time work to focus on shared parenting over the last 5 years. This has allowed my wife (Jade) to maintain momentum in her Medical career, and it has also given me priceless time at home with my boys before they start school and grow older. As more companies support parental leave for both mums and dads, I encourage all young men to take the opportunity... it's been one of the best decisions of my life!
Advice to your Year 12 self
Work hard and chase your dreams. But, don't get too hung up on exam results, job titles or money. Life is about so much more!