Kia ora! My name is Isla and I am a Pinnacle graduate from Te Whanganui-a-Tara, Wellington.
The whakatauki: ‘Nāu te rourou nāku te rourou, ka ora ai te iwi’ means ‘with your basket and my basket the people will thrive’ and to me, it encapsulates finding the unique contribution you can make to your community.
My journey to find where my unique contribution lies has involved throwing myself into a wide range of pursuits from mountain bike instructing to environmental activism and studying pharmacology, I find it hard to say no to opportunities to create a positive impact. My blue sky thinking and ambition sometimes leave me running from meeting to meeting but I get a kick out of having something to look forward to and testing my potential.
I have just finished my honors year in biomedical science and am now moving onto my next adventure as a Therapeutics Policy Analyst. In the future, I see myself as a connector. In the world of science, this looks like communicating complex research ideas to challenge policy makers and advance climate justice because from my place in the world, the need has never been more obvious. My work as an activist has taught me that in order to achieve climate justice, every sector including the pharmaceutical industry must play their part and after seeing how my actions can bring about effective change, I am determined to be a part of the solution.
The Hyundai Pinnacle Programme has opened so many doors for me. Opportunities to experience Spirit of Adventure, Outward Bound and Kai Waho have helped me to reaffirm my ‘why’ and reflect on what leadership I can offer my community. However, I think the most valuable aspect of the Pinnacle Programme is the connections you form, to other Pinnacle students and to inspiring mentors. Being surrounded by so many high achievers inspires me to aim higher and has helped me become less afraid of swimming in the deep end. I feel very lucky to be a part of the Pinnacle whanau and am excited to see where the next stage of my journey leads me.