So few women see themselves as inspirational. At Lumi, we want to show the world that all women are inspirational and have an inspiring story – even and especially those women that we don’t see on the cover of magazines or the TV.
Marilyn, who has achieved so much, is one of these women! Read her inspiring words below!
Describe yourself in one word
Committed! (not in the institutional sense!)
Tell us about how you got to where you are today. Do you see yourself as an inspirational woman? Why/Why not?
I think I have realised my dreams of making a difference through my work and faith by having a clear vision and the passion and persistence to achieve it. I am not sure that I am an inspirational woman, but I have been told I am one of a fairly rare breed who is both visionary and operational. I love to initiate a new program that will positively impact a community. I also like to stay around to see it firmly established and operating on best practice principles.
Describe your most important values and those things that are most important to you. Why are these so important?
My values are based on the recognition that we are not here to live a self-focused life. I value the gifts of life, family and community. I want my life to bring positive impacts to the lives of my family and my community. I value the transforming power of relationships. I value my faith which teaches me that love is the greatest gift we have received and must be given to others.
What in your life are you most proud of? What do you see as your biggest achievements?
I am proud of the two not-for-profit organisations that I established and that continue to impact thousands of lives. Twenty-three years ago I founded LinC Yarra Valley in the Upper Yarra region – an initiative to provide support to vulnerable people in the community. The organisation has thrived and assists hundreds of people each year. I remain a Board member of LinC Yarra Valley. I also managed LinC National for more than 8 years and saw many other communities around Australia establish LinC Networks to serve marginalised people. I guess I am most proud of founding and establishing KIDS HOPE AUS – a mentoring program for vulnerable Australian children. In just 11 years, 10,000 children have been matched with caring mentors able to develop strong, sustainable relationships with kids who need support from a significant adult friend. I am very proud of the team that have worked with me over the last 11 years – they have all shared the passion and have been instrumental in developing KIDS HOPE AUS to become Australia’s largest mentoring program.
On a personal level, I am proud of my family – there have been significant health and other challenges for each, but I have seen such strength and determination in learning to manage and overcome these challenges.
What is the biggest struggle you’ve faced that has shaped who you are today? Why was this the biggest struggle?
I think the biggest struggle has been to believe in myself and to take control of who I want to be and what I want to achieve. In my earlier years, I was quite negative about myself and although I had dreams, I believed that they were beyond anything I could ever achieve. Learning to believe in myself was the step I needed to take and the one that shaped my future.
What have you learned from these experiences?
I have learned that we set our own limits. I have learned to think about my goals, evaluate what is really important and what is not. I have learned to follow my passion and dreams with all that I have.
What message or advice would you want to give people that may read this?
Take time to discover who you are and what your passions are – then follow them.
Marylin has been married to John for 45 years, and has 2 grown up sons and 4 grandchildren ranging in age from 17 years to 14 months old. In retirement, she plans to expand on her interests in cooking, reading and having fun with the grandchildren, as well as participating in volunteer work.