genYOU Story No. 35 – McKeeley Makin

genYOU Story No. 35 features McKeeley Makin, who is a go-getter, aspiring marketer and entrepreneur! McKeeley’s story reminds us that it’s okay to change study directions, to slow down and to take our career journey’s one step at a time.

Name: McKeeley Makin
Current Role: Bachelor of Business, Marketing & Entrepreneurship Student at QUT, Digital Content Assistant at QUT

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

I’m a 21-year-old marketing and entrepreneurship student, aspiring to use my developing skills to become a sought-after and respected name in the innovative-marketing industry, while ensuring I leave the world in a better place than how I found it.

Has this always been my dream? Hell no!

I went through my quarter-life crisis at 18. I was at the end of my first year studying musical theatre when I realised the dream I worked so very hard for (and was on the way to realising) was not truly my dream. Bugger.

Looking back, ‘crisis’ might have been a strong term. Whatever you want to call my experience, I can safely say I’m now in a really positive space. I’m starting to find opportunities to apply my studies in the industry, mainly through work experience and a casual professional role in Web Content development which I secured earlier this year. I’m on the path to achieving great things, while learning to balance my casual work, living out of home and navigating this crazy time they call your 20s (and I’m only one year in!).

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

While my studies are providing me with knowledge of the marketing industry, and even sometimes opportunities for work experience, I still feel lost when it comes to the seemingly basic, yet crucial, skills such as presenting my CV, networking with professionals or even defining who I am as a professional.

Personal branding is a key part of modern business, however answering the question ‘Who am I?’ isn’t easy! I found the genYOU Inspire “Building an outstanding personal brand” event to be really enlightening. The two speakers discussed their own real-life, no-bullshit experiences in building their personal brand.

Since attending my very first genYOU event which focused on using effective and authentic networking as a career tool, I’ve found myself more confident to reach out to people in person and via LinkedIn. While I’d never call myself shy, talking about the latest Games of Thrones episode and enquiring about internship opportunities in a polite and professional way are two very different skills! My very first encounter with genYOU built up my professional confidence, which has led me to take up challenges that I never would have considered before.

Who is your biggest inspiration and why?

My biggest inspiration is my family. We’re a tight unit of four; Mum, Dad, an older sister and myself.

When I was seven, my parents moved from South Australia to Queensland to provide us with more opportunities and new experiences. While Queensland has provided us with great new options for education and work, it was a massive sacrifice for my parents to make, leaving behind not only their family, but their lifelong friends.

As I’m maturing into an adult and learning about the gains and sacrifices that come with every major life decision, I’m more and more thankful to my parents. I want to make the most of every opportunity that I have been given as a way of saying ‘thank you’ for everything they went without.

Throughout heartbreak, financial struggles, changing times and massive crossroads, we’ve always stuck together as our unit of four. And I truly believe that who I am and every success I’ve had in life is thanks to where I started; with them.

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

“Stop is the advent of intelligent choice” – David Appelbaum, 1995

Life for as long as I can remember has been ‘go, go, go’. It’s hard to make sense of the scenery when you’re whizzing by. It’s only when you stop the car can you really take it all in and understand where you’ve been, where you are and where you want to go.

I think there is great power in reflection but our modern society doesn’t really afford us the luxury of stopping long enough to bring things back into focus. My best piece of advice (and the advice I myself am trying to adhere to) is to stop at least once a day so that your next choice can be an intelligent one.

Don’t expect your frazzled brain to make the right decision for you. Allow it to settle, reassess and ask questions (like ‘what do I really want from today?’) before leaping into the next thing.