genYOU Story 27 – Iris

Our awesome 27th genYOU Story features recent law graduate Iris Rad! Iris has set her sights on undertaking a final law elective in Israel, to study Israeli and International Law. 

Name: Iris Rad
Current Role: Monash University Bachelor of Laws (Honours) Graduate.

Could you tell us a bit about yourself and where you are headed in your career right now?

After five long years of study, I have recently completed my Bachelor of Laws (Honours) at Monash University and will be obtaining a Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice in 2019, thus ‘coming full circle’ in my journey to practicing solicitor.

In continuous pursuance of combining my love of travel with my appetite for learning, I will be undertaking my final elective at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel, studying ‘Israeli and International Law’. I’m particularly excited about this academic venture as I’ve always considered Israel to be a fascinating country filled with rich history and culture, and there is certainly a lot to learn from studying there.

After reflecting on the past five years and completing a two-month internship at a tech startup, I have come to the conclusion that I would like to practice in the area of Fintech. While I believe that there will always be a place for traditional legal practice, I’m fascinated by the way emerging technologies such as blockchain and ‘smart contracts’ are shaping the way that lawyers perform legal services. It’s interesting to observe (it’s sometimes also funny) how tech firms view legal issues and how lawyers adapt to changing client needs and to the highly innovative tech sector.

As for the future of Fintech and blockchain, there are diverging schools of thought as to how (if at all) these technologies will change various industries. What is certain is that many industries are just now starting to react to these technologies and there will undoubtedly be some shift in how services are provided, although it remains to be seen to what extent this will occur.

How has or how is generationYOU helping you achieve your goals?

I found out about generationYOU from an email (from the one and only Saara Khan), during my time as President of the Monash Progressive Law Network. I instantly knew that it was a great resource for our members to be aware of, considering the ultra-competitive job market, and I jumped at the opportunity to attend the conference in Melbourne earlier this year, with one of our members.

During the one-day conference, I gained much inspiration from accomplished speakers such as Abigail Forsyth, the Co-Founder of KeepCup. I like that she started, as many successful entrepreneurs do, with a simple idea: sustainability. Abigail knew that there was a need for a sustainable product in the coffee industry and her brand succeeded in solving that problem by developing reusable coffee cups that anyone could carry around, thus dramatically reducing the burden of single-use products.

I think organisations like generationYOU are increasingly necessary in the modern era, as the rise in the level of education – many more people are obtaining Bachelor’s degrees – (ABS, 2017), has resulted in a more competitive job market, and an increasing focus by employers on ‘soft skills’ such as communication, teamwork and creative problem-solving. In order for students to distinguish themselves and their ‘personal brand’, they need to understand the importance of networking, of gaining access to the ‘hidden job market’ (most available positions are never posted online to the public) and knowing exactly what employers are looking for in order to add value as an applicant.

Who is your biggest inspiration and why?

My two biggest inspirations are my parents, who migrated to Australia in their early 30’s (with an energetic 6-year-old under their wing) and have worked tirelessly their whole lives to attain the highest level of success in order for me to have the opportunities I would not have had in Eastern Europe.

As immigrants, they knew the necessity of hard work in order to distinguish oneself, and one of the most important lessons they have taught me is: “Be so good they can’t ignore you.” Having both lived through the harsh times of a dictatorship, they understood the importance of education, and I recall being told: “People can take everything away from you but the one thing no-one can ever take away is your education.”

My parents have always inspired me to aim higher and stay true to myself. They are the most humble and hard-working people I know, and if I can achieve half of what they have, I will consider my life to have been a successful one.

What is the one piece of advice you would love to share with your millennial peers as you reflect on your own journey?

Life has taught me that it always takes you in the direction you need to go, even if it is not what you anticipated. My number one piece of advice for my peers is:

The path to your ‘dream career’ will not be a linear one, and that’s okay.

Rarely does someone follow a pre-ordained career path without any deviations or roadblocks along the way. In the 21st century, the idea of a ‘career’ is developing from what previous generations believed it to be. We now live in the age of online courses, ‘side-hustles’, casual jobs and ‘work/travel’, and I think it’s extremely important to embrace it.

Never in the history of humankind have we been so interconnected with each other. We live in a highly globalised world where it is possible to study abroad, work remotely from almost any country, and change careers and qualifications multiple times over the course of a lifetime. Despite some minor practical limitations, we have the opportunity to shape our lives according to our priorities, our curiosities and our desires, and I see this as being a freedom which we have never had in the same way before.