Tell us a bit about yourself – where were you born, and where else have you lived?

I was lucky enough to be born here in northern New South Wales and my first home was actually a little house on Terranora Road, which I drive past every day on my way to school. When I finished high school, I moved to Brisbane with three of my best friends from school to study Commerce and Economics at The University of Queensland.

I continued to live in Brisbane when I graduated and got my first job as an accountant in External Audit at Ernst & Young.

A few shorter overseas holidays gave me the travel bug and I took a six month sabbatical to travel through Europe with my now husband; exploring Italy in a little campervan, walking the Camino de Santiago in Spain and sailing off the south coast of Turkey.

On our return, we moved to Melbourne and completed the Teach for Australia program, teaching on the beautiful Mornington Peninsula and gaining my Master of Teaching.

After braving a few chilly winters we decided to return to northern New South Wales.

Where have been some of the highlights of your working life prior to coming here?

As an accountant in a large firm like Ernst & Young, I was able to work with and meet some amazing people and work on clients such as the ASX and NYSE top 20 listed companies.

It also allowed me to travel, experience different cultures and environments and they had fantastic social functions which were a reward for the very long hours.

While this was wonderful, some of the most rewarding parts of my work life have been working with young people and watching them achieve things they didn’t think possible — whether that was a student being awarded as a top five scholar in Australia by UBS Bank, a student getting a job they dreamed of, achieving a scholarship or being able to triumph over adversity and complete Year 12.

What attracted you to Lindisfarne?

Lindisfarne centres education in its key values and this is evident in the daily life of the School. Students and their wellbeing, engagement and progress is at the centre of everything.

I was attracted to Lindisfarne because the School is constantly pushing itself to become even better, to evolve, adapt and grow in providing the highest quality education for students.

This is evident in every aspect including subject offerings, the use of technology, the wellbeing support offered to students, the extracurricular opportunities and the amazing hard working staff.

What are you looking forward to most about your current role?

In my role, I am so fortunate that I get to build relationships with so many students across the Senior School — I get to know their hope for their future and support them in opening up as many opportunities as possible.

I also relish the opportunity to work with and get to know so many of the fantastic staff here at Lindisfarne.

What do you see are some of the biggest challenges for today’s young people as they leave school?

Young people today face a rapidly increasing rate of change, whether that be in technology, climate, socio-economic factors or, as a result, in employment opportunities. This challenges young people to be resilient, and by that I do not mean stoic but rather that they need to be able to bend, adapt, move sideways, up and down depending on the winds of change.

There is much uncertainty for our young people and the best tool to cope with this prospect is a holistic and well-rounded education. It is the skills and knowledge that our young people acquire that will give them a tool kit to face this uncertainty and rather see this as a world of possibility.

What is your advice to them?

One of my favourite quotes that I like to remind myself of is “feel the fear, and do it anyway”. Just because something may be a little scary, whether it’s taking on a new job, moving to a new area, studying something unfamiliar, we can often let fear take over and we, therefore, hold ourselves back. Some of our greatest learning and growth happens just outside our comfort zone!

Lauren Ward, Lindisfarne's Director of Careers and VET

Lauren Ward, Lindisfarne’s Director of Careers and VET

What are some of the big opportunities for young people today starting a career or business?

The opportunities in business and careers are changing all the time, the most successful businesses are able to adapt and learn quickly and I think in careers those that can recognise the need for change and become a leader in that change are those that see the most opportunities.

There is no shying away from the fact that technology will dominate many industries in the future, however some very successful people have been able to recognise this and, therefore, move in the opposite direction and carve out a unique niche for themselves. I think opportunities come from a willingness to risk failure, as there is always something to learn.

What do you do in your free time?

Living in an area of such natural beauty, it is hard not to love going to the beach and spending time outdoors. I love hiking and exploring new places off the beaten track, although the lighthouse walk at Byron is where you’ll find me many early mornings on a weekend and in the school breaks.

I love cooking, especially baking, so I enjoy catching up with friends and family and having an excuse to share my creations. My husband and I have a beagle named Pippi, so lots of our free time is spent taking her on adventures. I also teach pilates and love to practise when I can fit it in my schedule.