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The GIFT that keeps on giving

Values are like fingerprints, nobody’s are the same, but you leave them all over everything you do.

By Justin Huang

No matter the size of the entity, from individuals to multinational organisations, a distinct identity is molded from their values which reflect what is important to them. These values determine the journey taken to reach their goals as well as the key decisions that are made throughout. While the thought-process during decision-making involves weighing the benefits and downsides, it is ultimately one’s values that allow for reflection on how to approach new situations and help shape their desired future career.

From Marketing Manager in 2018 to RSE’s Business Development Associate, Justin Huang is a longstanding member of the RSE team who has agreed to share how values can shape your career and create a path to success.


Justin Huang, Final Year Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering student

“Ever since I can remember, I’ve always loved participating in practical activities that require problem-solving and am interested in sustainable strategy, technology and digital platforms.”

Humble Beginnings

“Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, and today is a gift. That is why it is called the present” — Master Oogway, Kung Fu Panda

The beauty of life is that the best things are those that are least expected. This idea is epitomised by my time with Real Skills Education (RSE).

Starting out as a curious student, I wanted to explore all the opportunities that were available to me. But I found it challenging and draining as I was facing rejection after rejection after rejection. This soon came in the form of the STEM Leaders Program. When I joined the program, I came in with the mindset that I was there to taste test of what the Mechanical Engineering Industry would be like in the form of a project.

But the reality is it was so much more than just a project. The expected experience turned into an unexpected transformation where I learnt to apply transferable interpersonal skills and interact with industry professionals and mentors. Some whom I still keep in touch today. It’s a learning experience that I hold deeply in my heart.

A few months down the line, I was approached by then-president William Wu in December 2018. Mind you that this was our very first interaction and at the time I didn’t make much of it. He recognised my potential within Marketing due to my previous achievements with the UNSW Mathematics Society and he pitched his vision for RSE. This was only the beginning.

Taking Flight and Reaching New Heights

“RSE didn’t only offer me a plethora of opportunities but also challenged me mentally. With a completely revamped team containing unfamiliar faces, it became an opportunity for fostering growth.”

My experience was guided by the four following values which stand for GIFT.”

  • Give before you take
  • Inspire others to succeed
  • Fail forward, not backwards
  • Trying all the flavours of the ice cream

Give before you take

Emotional Intelligence workshop run by People Builders at the STEM Leaders Program

One of the most valuable lessons I learned was from my favourite anime.

Humankind cannot gain anything without first giving something in return. To obtain, something of equal value must be lost…In those days, we really believed that to be the world’s one, and only truth.” — Alphonse, Fullmetal Alchemist.

If we all thought of taking actions with the intention of receiving benefits in return, society wouldn’t be able to progress. My decision to join RSE was to revamp the marketing strategy and benefit as many students as possible. I saw the value that the organisation could bring but I knew I could take it to the next level. The experience I gained wasn’t just limited to developing a ‘marketing mindset’ but also interpersonal skills. It taught me empathy and how I could connect with introverts and extroverts together, as well as foster a growth mindset through collaboration. This also unintentionally became the focus of our marketing strategy: relatability through our unique selling point.

“By students, for students”.

Having the intention of not receiving benefits can lead to surprising results. By the end of June 2018, the revitalised marketing strategy had increased our previous number of applicants by 113%. I was ecstatic by this result but I didn’t notice the sheer amount of returns until interviews came around. When the interview stage of internship applications came around, I noticed a question that popped up in the first handful of interviews: “How did you end up achieving that 113% growth?”. This worked in my favour as it allowed me to refine my response to the question with which subsequent interview until I landed a role. This was an experience I’m incredibly grateful for.

Inspire others to succeed

Interview workshop run by Darren O’Brien, Fujitsu General Air Conditioning People and Culture Advisor

I’m a firm believer that everyone should share one similar purpose: to inspire others. The importance of empathy and vulnerability in leadership is emphasised a lot in one of my favourite books: “Dare to Lead” by Brene Brown (You can find her TEDx talk here). It not only humanises the experience but also inspires people around you to achieve more.

Inspiration is so valuable because it’s rare. Simply understanding the importance of inspiration and making a conscious effort to inspire is often all it takes to make a difference. In a world filled with negativity, learning to inspire others will never lead to a lack in work, money, or friends. Knowing that you have inspired someone gives you a sense of purpose and fulfillment that can never be replaced.

Fail forwards, not backward

Prototype from STEM Leaders Program Spring 2019

A major reason why the first half of 2018 was such a success was due to experimentation. Due to lackluster performance from the previous period, we knew we had to try things out. As an engineering student, I always loved to tinker with things until they work. And once they work, I ask myself: Why?. Having this mentality allows us to develop not only a growth-mindset but also the mental resilience to overcome barriers. If I had a perfectionist mindset, I would have never figured out what would have worked and the organisation would be stagnant. I’ve become resourceful and now consistently explore other methods to lead to sustainable growth.

Trying all the flavours of the ice-cream

Trying new things can be undoubtedly daunting. Unfamiliarity makes us nervous, as the act of leaving our comfort zone puts us in a vulnerable position. We often let the fear of the unknown stop us.

However, pushing ourselves beyond our comfort zone is critical for personal growth. Trying new things not only helps us vanquish those fears but allows us to explore new opportunities. An easy example is selecting your favourite ice cream flavour. How would you do it? How would you select one out of thousands of flavours each with a different scent, texture and flavour? My point is that you would not know what your favourite flavour of ice cream was until you’ve tried them all!

What you can take away from Justin’s GIFT values

The values by which an individual lives by reflects what’s important to them and shapes the journey towards their goals. Justin has reflected that his values served him in breaking new milestones and supporting growth. Real Skills started off the GIFT values, though as the organisation grew, so did our values. Real Skills came to REALISE there were many other values instilled within our team, and as such our values grew to become:

  • Recognise effort
  • Engage through collaboration
  • Act on Feedback
  • Lead towards a better tomorrow
  • Innovate through experimentation
  • Show sincerity through openness
  • Empathise with one another

Relate to these values?

We’re looking for passionate students from all universities across Sydney to join our team. Interested? Apply here:

If you’d like to contact us or learn more, check out our socials!



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Offering professional development and a mission to cultivate self-sufficient and confident young individuals who in turn will lead and teach future generations.