Senior Credit Officer
"I wish more people would ask for help. It’s absolutely ok to not be ok."
I grew up as a child actor, came out as gay at 16, attempted suicide at 19, lost a parent and then survived brain surgery. Through my life I’ve learnt a lot about empathy, patience and the importance of speaking up when you need support.
Ever since I was a kid I was considered outgoing. I enjoyed acting in theatre and TV and even got to work with Hugh Jackman - which was awesome! With a multi-cultural background (my mum was of African heritage) and seeing her work in disability services, I was taught from a young age to get along with everyone and include people. I do not tolerate discrimination. When I see it, I call it out.
My belief in equality is a reason I joined the Allianz Pride network. Also to share my voice and help others find their voices too. I’ve been openly gay since I was 16. While I didn’t have any work issues to do with my sexuality, I know others might. So being part of the Pride network I can hopefully showcase there is always light, and support can be found. I enjoy the Pride information sessions and especially talks by external speakers. Like when my friend Daniel who promotes health and wellbeing in rural high schools, shared his own amazing story of coming out back when he was at school, and reflected on how different the experience is for kids now.
Mental health is also something I care about a lot. As a child I was very confident, but by the age of 19 I was in a dark place. I attempted to take my life. Having overdosed on medication, I started feeling unwell and quickly reached out to my family. After being in hospital for a few days, feeling the gravity of it all, I decided to speak with a psychologist. Reaching out for help was the best thing I ever did.
I wish more people would ask for help. It’s absolutely ok to not be ok. I’ve been at rock bottom. I’ve harmed myself. I can see the warning signs. When I see people in a dark place I know how they feel and I share my story with them which really helps. I also appreciate how Allianz supports our wellbeing at work with free access to counsellors, flexible work times and the ability to access additional types of leave. All of this helps people to feel grounded and calm.
More recently I was diagnosed with mild epilepsy and was told that I also had a brain tumour. It was operable but before my surgery my mum passed away, never knowing what would happen to me. In 2017, on what would have been mum’s 60th birthday (helping give me a sense of calmness), I went through a 9-hour surgery and the tumour was successfully removed. Through the experience I learnt a lot of humility and it grounded me completely.
Thankfully I’ve thrived since then. I’ve recently got back into acting with some voiceover work which has been great. While life can throw challenges your way, having a positive attitude and helping people when they need it, has helped me to be grateful for what I’ve learnt and how I can give back.