High Achievers Conference inspires Senior Students


OneSchool’s High Achievers’ Seminar was held on September 16 at Qudos Bank Arena in students from Years 10-12. The purpose of the event was to inspire and inform business leaders and budding employees about the secrets to success. The occasion also gave students the opportunity to network with community business members and potential employers.

A key message to attendees was that persistence in rising to the challenges of both business and life are important both academically and personally. With that in mind, the guest speakers all had a common theme – overcoming adversity in order to accomplish a goal.

It was an opportunity for the speakers to pass on words of wisdom and lessons that the students will take with them as they prepare for their next journey in life.

Lisa McInnes-Smith – sports psychologist

Lisa McInnes-Smith is a sports psychologist who specialises in raising the performance of individuals. With more than 25 years’ experience connecting with people from all aspects of life, Lisa knows what it take for people to change – whether it be their attitude, behaviour or direction of their life. Lisa told the audience that there are many things that can help you change the direction of your life if you think you need to do so. Lisa’s two main points were:

  • If you change your language you can change your world
  • What you throw out (what you give out) will always come back to you.

James Castrission – kayaked across the Tasman Sea

James Castrission, who along with his friend Justin Jones, kayaked across the Tasman Sea from Sydney to Auckland. He told a captivated audience how it took four years of careful planning and risk management to make sure that the crossing went as smoothly as possible. However, even the best preparation didn’t stop things going wrong. As well as being hit by a storm, the duo became trapped in a current for almost two weeks whereby they were literally paddling on the spot. So they stopped paddling, reassessed the situation and decided to paddle back a hundred kilometres and use the current as a slingshot to take them out of their predicament. It worked. Once the journey was over they sat down and looked at the lessons learned. The four main points were:

  • you need to build a great team;
  • you have to test and trial your ideas;
  • you need to execute your ideas well; and
  • you have to celebrate the victory when you succeed.

Tony Mowbray – sailed around the world solo

Another speaker was sailor Tony Mowbray. He had a dream to sail in the Sydney to Hobart race in 1998. Little did he know that the race would have some of the worst weather conditions ever experienced in the annual regatta.  Cyclonic gales and waves that reached as high as 60 made for 15 hours of a terrifying life-and-death struggle. The race ended up costing six people their lives. Although rattled by the experience, Tony set himself another challenge – to sail around the world solo. It took him a long time to prepare, but he successfully completed the goal in seven months.


Similar to James and Justin, Tony said that if you have a problem that is going to be a roadblock to your endgame, you have to come up with a different plan. This may mean going off course from your goal and heading in the other direction to achieve your ambition.


There are five motivational words that Tony uses whenever he thinks about his next adventure:

  • Dreams – what are you going to do? What’s your dream?
  • Think – research what is required to achieve your dream.
  • Talk – share your dreams with someone talk about them.
  • Commit – make the commitment to your dream.
  • Act – put your dream into action.

Tony’s last two pieces of advice were:

  • Success is out there waiting for you but you have to get it for yourself. It’s not going to come to you.
  • When you set a goal you have to be 100 percent committed, and with 100 percent commitment, you will achieve it.   


Major Matina Jewell (retired) – most decorated woman soldier in the Australian Army
Major Matina Jewell (retired) has had a colourful and prestigious military career. Having enlisted in the armed forced at just 17, Matina rose up the ranks quickly. She has accomplished a lot in the armed forces including being Head of the Ship’s Army Department for two years aboard HMAS Kanimbla, then Australia’s largest warship – at just 23 years of age.

Matina’s career ended abruptly during her service in Lebanon. She was in charge of a convoy when she was thrown into the bullet-proof window of a tank, breaking her back in five places. Days later, the base where Martina had been staying was bombed, with four fellow servicemen dying, leaving their wives and families grieving.


Throughout Major Matina’s war service, she frequently was discriminated against, working in a male-oriented field, but she managed to rise above obstacles put in her way. Her lessons for potential leaders included:

  • Delegation – don’t be afraid to hand out tasks.
  • Communication – make sure the whole team is on the same page and has the same mind set and goals.
  • Know your team – you have to know who is best at what so you are able to use everyone to their best ability.