Aspiring to be the Average by Nicole Dunn

Aspiring to be the Average by Nicole Dunn

Screen Shot 2016-08-18 at 10.47.10 AMThere are very few spaces in which I can be myself and in which I am understood. There are very few people who dream as outrageously and courageously as I do. There are very few places I call home. The Allan Gray Orbis Foundation is one of them.

Jamboree is an annual opportunity for Candidate Fellows from all provinces to come together for an intense weekend of entrepreneurial and self-leadership development. Initially, each year group attends separate sessions designed to fulfill the specific objectives of their stage of the Fellowship journey. The theme for Year Explore is Future Focus – in part a reminder that it is time to start thinking about the future and in part a reminder that, no matter who you are and where you come from, your dreams are valid and you should not let them shrink in the face of adversity. The Candidate Fellows dedicate two full days to introspection and developing their future plans (yes, it is as daunting as it sounds) and are provided with expansive support and guidance from a number of inspiring sources.

This is a general trend at Jamboree. The Foundation, true to its belief in the value of mentorship, organises talks from various entrepreneurs who share their stories with Candidate Fellows in the hope of inspiring them to take the “Road Less Travelled”. This year, we were incredibly fortunate to listen to a diverse range of experiences, from Jabu Stone to Mthunzi Mdwaba and Toni Glass.

Though invaluable to hear such enlivening stories, these narratives often highlight the glamour of entrepreneurship. By contrast, the pitching process and Open Space sessions illuminate some of the risk and resilience that go into making that (apparent) glamour a reality. Candidate Fellows are given the opportunity to pitch their ideas to the entire Fellowship community (are you noticing a daunting trend?) and receive feedback from fellow Fellows and the esteemed Entrepreneurial Leadership Officers.

This year I took the plunge and decided to pitch in the Wildcard Pitches. Though the 30 seconds raced past faster than my heartbeat at the time, I am so glad that I put myself out there. The feedback that I received from the Fellowship community was both constructive and encouraging; I found myself marvelling at the talent in the room. As someone who is naturally and ferociously competitive, I have struggled to open myself up to criticism, for fear of seeming slightly less competent than I present myself to be. Jamboree is a reminder of the immense value of collaboration and that if we want to go far, we must go together.

They say that you are the average of the five people that you spend the most time with. If I am the average of any five Candidate Fellows, I count myself so lucky.

Screen Shot 2016-08-18 at 10.29.58 AMNicole Dunn, Year Explore, 3rd Year BSocSci PPE at UCT
Bio: I am an ambitious woman with an insatiable appetite for challenge and adrenaline. My passion for people and deep-seated commitment to social activism shapes my aspirations, interpersonal relations and outlook on life. As someone with an entrepreneurial and leadership mindset, I seek out opportunities for improvement wherever I am involved, and hope to contribute to a more equal, socially-just Africa.

 

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