Stephanie Amir

FPS component and years of involvement: GIPS Jr Division (to National Finals), 1996; GIPS Sr Division (winning National Finals), 2001; FPS evaluator, 2002 – present; FPS National Committee Member, 2003 – present; National Finals Action Plan Presentation Coordinator, 2004 – 2012

Education: Bachelor of Arts/ Bachelor of Science (Hons), University of Melbourne, 2008; Postgraduate Certificate in Social Inclusion, University of Melbourne, 2012

Current employment: Project Manager, Safe Schools Coalition Australia, Foundation for Young Australians

How FPS has helped shape career success: After my team won the Senior Division of the National Finals in 2001, I was given the opportunity to become an FPS evaluator, and then to join the National Committee and become the Action Plan Presentation Coordinator. Being only 18 at the time, the opportunity to be involved in management-level decision-making, event management and training delivery was an opportunity I would not have otherwise had at that age. It was both startling and exciting to be taken seriously while so young, and definitely gave me a head start in gaining transferable workplace skills and feeling confident in my abilities. For the following decade, each of my successful job interviews included reference to my work with FPS, in regards to problem solving, lateral thinking or working with others.

When I finished university, I worked for four years as a policy advisor for the Victorian government. I realised that my job was a real-life application of FPS: look at the situation, identify the main problem, and then generate a range of solutions across different areas. In my case, the problems were the extinction of threatened species, public concern about street violence, the increasing number of women in prisons, and the lack of equitable access for people with a disability.

When I evaluate FPS booklets, I am struck by how the solutions by younger students are often very creative, but that ideas often become more pragmatic as students become older, sometimes leading to the curtailing of the diversity of ideas. Now as a project manager in the community sector, I try to not replace creativity with pragmatism, but to try to find a balance between them so that the best possible decision can be reached.