Young Advocate's Ambition for Change
18 October 2013 at 6:28 pm
In 2012, Perth-based community advocate Conrad Liveris, 20, got together with one of his brothers and a group of friends to start up the volunteer-run Street Smugglers in Western Australia, a Not for Profit aimed at educating the community about homelessness issues. Liveris, who is also a Young Social Pioneer with the Foundation for Young Australians, is this week’s Changemaker.
Currently working on Street Smugglers’ summer donation drive for the homeless, Liveris said that although the Street Smugglers started in Perth, the group, which also collects the stories of people living on the streets has now connected with organisations in Sydney and Melbourne and compared stories with homeless people in those cities.
“The premise for my involvement is that I don't think that anyone should have to be homeless, and that we all noted that homelessness is on the rise – anecdotally and statistically,” he said.
Besides the volunteer work he does with Street Smugglers, Liveris is currently working in business development and policy with a focus on gender equality and intergenerational issues.
He was previously the Chief Policy Officer with Left Right Think Tank and sits on the Policy Advisory Council of Australian Youth Affairs Coalition.
What drew you to the Not for Profit sector?
I think the NFP sector brings together a wide-range of people and skills sets, and that’s important. I love that the sector gives people an opportunity to prove themselves in fields they may not have formal training. It is the highest bastion of the Australian “fair go”.
What has been the most challenging part of your work? And how do you overcome that?
Managing my time effectively can be difficult, but I’ve always found that lists help me a lot. I tend to be working on various projects and in a few different roles at once, so knowing what I need to achieve each day, week or quarter is both productive and fun.
I consider my greatest achievement to be …
Staying happy and healthy. I’ve met a lot of people who haven’t been able to maintain joviality and energy, and I realise how thankful I am that I can get up early and stay up late to do what I need to do and what I want to do.
Favourite saying …
Live a little: for all we know, we have one life, we might as well take the risk and jump at opportunities in front of us.
What are you reading/watching/listening to at the moment?
I’m reading research on three areas currently: business outcomes of LGBT supportive policies, superannuation development in Australia and housing inheritance for Gen Y.
It sounds boring, but this research and policies that emanate from them will guide serious debate going forward and provide opportunity for society and the economy.
Through your work, what is your ultimate dream?
I’ve got two tandem goals, I want to be the CEO of an industry group and the Sex Discrimination Commissioner.
Women are supremely under-utilised in corporate Australia and there are a host of issues facing gender and sexually diverse people.
I also want to help bring leaders of industries together and advocate for productivity growth and development, most Australian’s end up working for someone else, so companies and businesses need to learn and rely on each other.
School taught me …
That presentation is important, if you don’t feel confident: look confident, because people will trust you more. (Read: I was a fan of doing work last minute.)
What (or who) inspires you?
I’m inspired by ambition and capacity, while I think everyone can do what they like I really enjoy seeing people achieve and grow in their roles and lives.
I’m also inspired by Liz Broderick, the Sex Discrimination Commissioner, a talented and tenacious advocate who can deal with social issues and deliver the corporate results.