Students encouraged to choose their path

By John Lewis

You can choose your own path in life was the message brought to Shepparton students yesterday when entrepreneur and inspirational speaker Heather Joy Bassett fronted a class of Wanganui Park Secondary College students.

Year 11 student Grace Smith brought Ms Bassett to the school to address a class of economics students after attending a La Trobe University Dare to Dream one-day workshop.

Ms Smith’s business ideas at the workshop won her the chance to bring a guest speaker to her school.

‘‘I like the idea of creating different ways to earn a living and take charge of your life,’’ she said.

She had been inspired by her parents Ros and Alan Tattersall, who run their own self-help business in Shepparton.

After spending 10 months in Arkansas in the United States on a student exchange last year, Ms Smith had her eyes set on travel when she left school.

‘‘That really broadened my horizon and I saw how big the world is. I’d thought of doing midwifery, but I don’t see myself doing shiftwork or regular hours. I really want to follow my own path,’’ Ms Smith said.

Ms Bassett said she had a sickly childhood growing up near Castlemaine, but went on to play in the Australian women’s lacrosse world championship winning team in 1986.

She then went on to buy a podiatry business, which she ran for 35 years before selling up last year to become a motivational business speaker.

She speaks to schools and businesses through the international Ambisie and Share One Hour storytelling programs.

‘‘I have had great highs and lows in my life and I like to tell young people that there are always different possibilities — if something is not working out, you can choose again. Entrepreneurs often choose many businesses,’’ Ms Bassett said.

‘‘I like to encourage kids to speak openly about fears and anxieties and encourage them to take ownership of what they want to do — giving kids the freedom to choose for themselves.’’