Empowering youth and fostering change in Bundaberg
9 February 2024 at 9:00 am
Elisha Taderera has always been determined to build something big – and the enthusiastic Bundaberg entrepreneur hopes his work can grow community and resilience for Wide Bay’s young people too. Elisha is on a mission to support and build businesses and brands that live out their values and have a strong social purpose.
Elisha is a CQUniversity student and founder of the Home of Champions, a start up mentoring organisation, Elisha is helping change how the region tackles social issues, thanks to his role in CQUniversity’s iActivate regional social enterprise accelerator. As an entrepreneur focused on creating social impact, and an experienced marketer/storyteller Elisha aims to work with people to help them be sustainable whilst making a positive impact on people and planet. Elisha Taderer is this weeks Pro Bono Australia change maker, read on for our interview with him!
Describe your career trajectory and how you got to your current position.
From a young age, I’ve always been driven by a passion to help others and create social impact even if I didn’t know what that looked like. This innate desire has fuelled numerous projects and business ideas over the years, shaping my journey. From my early teen years I entered the digital freelancing world and started freelancing by taking on various design and online jobs and learning hands on as I went. This experience, from learning coding to troubleshooting and solving complex problems, was crucial in building my technical foundation and digital skills.
I undoubtedly caught my entrepreneurial spirit from my Father who has run multiple businesses. This has driven a lot of what I do, such as owning my first business at 18 years old ‘House of Zenn’, a retail clothing store in Bundaberg. This is where I continued developing my business acumen and other skills before I had to close the store down due to making a couple of poorly timed business decisions, however the hands-on experience and the lessons I learnt were invaluable.
I took some time after that to complete further studies in Business and in Leadership Development and spent time volunteering in my community as a Youth Worker for several years amongst it all. From there I decided to continue honing in my digital skills and gaining a deeper experience in the world of marketing, branding and entrepreneurship which eventually led to my role as Director of Smart Site 4u (An Australian digital marketing agency), where for the last few years I’ve been focusing on the agency’s growth and developing innovative ways to better support small businesses in Australia.
Around this time I stepped further into the Queensland social enterprise sector and helped deliver some projects around Ecosystem Mapping and contributed to building the profile of Social Enterprise in the Wide Bay Region where I live in QLD.
Each step in my diverse and ongoing professional journey is a stepping stone towards a larger goal – creating real social impact in communities through business. Through all of this my heart has always been set on making a difference. This innate desire and the culmination of all my experiences drew me recently to develop a startup called Home of Champions which is focused on creating programs and resources to champion and up-skill young people.
My career trajectory isn’t a typical one but it is a blend of innovation, entrepreneurship and a persistent drive to make a meaningful difference in the world.
What does this role mean to you?
This role as the founder of ‘Home of Champions’ is incredibly significant to me. It represents an opportunity to empower and support young individuals and amplify their voices. It’s about providing them with a platform to find their path in life, engage in meaningful work, and develop essential skills needed in our changing workforce. This role is not just a position for me; it’s a chance to make a real difference in the lives of upcoming generations and provide more of the support that I wish I had earlier on.
Take us through a typical day of work for you.
Each day brings new challenges and opportunities, particularly as I continue to develop Home of Champions. I face a lot of the challenges that startup founders face in the early stage when they are refining their business model. I am still involved in leading the digital marketing agency but my focus is increasingly moving to nurture this new venture as I release more responsibility to others within the digital marketing business. Under Home of Champions, I’m currently working with a young, enthusiastic team member, guiding and mentoring him as we work on various aspects of the startup.
My days are a blend of planning, mentoring, connecting with community members/leaders/educators and hands-on work to grow Home of Champions and prepare to launch a second pilot program. I also set aside time weekly to focus on completing my Graduate Certificate of Social Innovation Leadership at CQUniversity.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve encountered in your career, and how did you overcome it?
Looking back I think my biggest challenge has been being underestimated and struggling to find people who would take me seriously because of my age. Initially, In the past I felt overlooked at business and networking events due to my age. My strategy was persistence: I kept showing up, even when I felt out of place or felt like I didn’t have the experience or knowledge to be in a room. I focused on building relationships with those few people who saw something in me and would ‘champion’ me and I sought out mentor-mentee relationships wherever I could. This experience has not only shaped me but also inspired the vision for Home of Champions and my drive for supporting young people.
If you could go back in time, what piece of advice would you give yourself as you first embarked on your career?
I would advise my younger self about the importance of the company you keep. Surround yourself with people who lift you up and inspire growth. This has been a crucial lesson in my journey which I wish I learnt sooner, understanding that the people around you can significantly influence your path and mindset and they can pull you down or lift you up.
How do you unwind after work?
I LOVE anything to do with nature or water. You’ll find me at the beach regularly, or hiking a mountain. I also enjoy running, hitting the gym and cooking to help me unwind and maintain my version of a healthy work-life rhythm.
What was the last thing you watched, read or listened to?
The last thing I listened to was an audiobook ‘Building a StoryBrand’ by Donald Miller, which provided valuable insights into branding and marketing. I also recently read ‘The Diary Of A CEO’ by Steven Bartlett, which offers some great perspectives on life, leadership and business management.