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KRISTEN.

Head of Legal. Virgin Active. Asia Pacific

Sydney. Australia

On what she does

I look after all the legal issues for Virgin Active Health Clubs in Australia, Singapore and Thailand.

I also sit on our Executive Committee which is the senior leadership team for the business in Australia and I head up Communities which means I coordinate all of our charity efforts in Australia.

 

I also recently qualified with my Cert III in fitness and will taking group exercises classes at Virgin Active in my spare time.

(this girl is go go go awesome! She also manages to be an amazing wife and wonderful friend to so many all over the world )

Do you remember what you wanted to do with your life when you were a teenager?

I was very confused as to what I wanted to do.  It changed all the time. I remember wanting to be an artist, a hairdresser, a doctor, a physiotherapist and a lawyer – I’m sure there were others too!

What was the best advice you’ve ever been given?

Find something you are passionate about and then work will not feel like “work”.

My parents taught me the value of hard work and having a positive attitude. Hard work will always shine through, even if at times the value of the effort may not be immediately apparent.

 Which part of your job gives you the most satisfaction.

As an in-house lawyer my role is quite commercial and managerial, rather than just giving legal advice and not seeing how it turns out (like in a law firm where you are not working within a company).

I genuinely feel that the business I work for makes a difference to people’s health and wellbeing, and ultimately their happiness. I love that I work for a company and an industry that puts the customer first and tries to help people as much as we can.

Through my job I have also had the opportunity to live overseas (London, where I lived for 4 years) and to travel a lot which I am incredibly grateful for as I’ve found this to be something that has taught me so much about myself and the world.

For someone who wants to do your job what skills, experience or qualifications would you recommend?

To be a lawyer you need to have a law degree and to have done the prerequisite practical training – it takes many years to become a lawyer so you have to be committed to the process. 

Good communication skills, tough skin and the ability to work hard are also highly valued in the legal industry. The hours can be very long and at times and you need to be confident and have the ability to stick up for yourself.

While you are young have fun and explore different things. 

Read lots and be inquisitive about the world and what your role can be in it. Ask questions, seek out work experience and try to meet people that you look up to. 

People are so happy to share information and their experiences with you, so don’t be afraid to have a go. A good mentor is a beautiful thing.

Click on the above link to go to the Bond Uni scholarships page

year 12 scholarships close 31st July 

Kristen was a scholarship holder @Bond

Click on the below links to help you figure out where and what you might like to study

Tell us briefly how you ended up doing what you do. Did you do many other jobs before this one?

I received a scholarship to attend Bond University. As I was quite confused as to what I wanted to “be” I decided to study law as I felt this would be a useful degree, no matter what I ended up doing.  As it turned out, I really enjoyed studying law and have never looked back.  

I have had loads of jobs through school and university. My career as a lawyer started by doing lots of work experience which lead to a graduate role in a large law firm in Australia and from there I moved to a law firm in London and then in-house with a big insurance company in London.  When I moved to Sydney I worked for Vodafone and now Virgin Active.

 

While I was working in a law firm in Australia, I also lectured at University as an Adjunct Assistant Professor - I lectured in Sports Management.

What one piece of advice would you give to your 15-year-old self or younger generations still at school today?

Try hard but also enjoy school for all the fun stuff: sport, friends and opportunities to try different subjects and learn different things.  I loved sport at school and I’m so grateful for that now that I’m older as it is a great stress relief.

Don’t put too much pressure on yourself for year 12 marks, while they are important, if you really want to follow a specific career path there are always ways of getting there. 

 

Did you have any jobs as a teenager?

Sure did – I worked at McDonalds and then at a local surf shop. I have been employed pretty much since the day I could work which in Queensland when I was growing up was 14 years and 9 months. I have always loved working and feeling independent. 

How do you believe schools and or universities might be changed to be more relevant or effective?

I think the rise of online education platforms will change the face of education. The availability of information on the internet means there are so much information available for free online. You don’t need to go to university to be well educated or “smart” these days and there are so many great careers that don’t require a university degree. I think schools and universities should also be more focused on education on life skills and emotional intelligence.

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