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Young entrepreneur

Walking the talk

winter 17

 
 
BEING THE OUTSIDER is a double-edged sword.
 
The acute sense of isolation can give you a unique perspective on the world – the tendency for an open mind, rather than a narrow one; a more inclusive world-view, rather than a prejudiced one.
 
Local entrepreneur and journalist Callum Gordon, 21, understands how to turn being the ‘outsider’ into a strength. “I never liked high school,” he says. “I just felt socially anxious. I was bullied and felt like the outsider.
 
“I had a lot of anxiety, which has now become a core issue in my writing: it reflects back on [my time in] high school. I used to hate it when I saw people being treated differently. Everyone walks under the sun.
 
You don’t realise how much inequality there is until you’re on the receiving end.”
 
The anxiety levels contributed to Callum leaving school at the end of year 10 to chase a (short-lived) apprenticeship as a pastry chef: a decision made even more significant by the fact he was leaving his twin brother, Tremayne, to complete years 11 and 12 alone.
 
But Callum has recently turned all that on its head, completing a Bachelor of Communication this year with a focus on journalism and PR through the University of the Sunshine Coast.
 
He even completed a bridging course to get up to speed on what he’d missed. All well worth it, he feels.
 
“Not graduating from high school has led me to this path. By not doing 11 and 12, I had to persevere more in what I needed to do to reach the career that I wanted.
 
“My underlying goal is to reach and connect with people, but I try to focus on a younger audience. Young people are so often misrepresented within society: we always focus on the bad things like drugs and alcohol, mental health, and self image.
 
We need to do something to recognise all the good things [young] people are doing within the community.”
 
Callum says that if he can use his voice as a journalist to help shine light on young people’s issues which need to be addressed, that will be rewarding enough. He understands the impact that real, raw stories can have to spark a conversation for change within the community.
 
“Everything has to start somewhere. If not me, then who?” he says.
 
“Journalism comes down to providing a service which is telling stories. When you’re drilling down on an issue it can affect so many other people, so you’re really reaching people. I get really passionate about it.”
 
And he’s already walking his talk.
 
As a media-savvy entrepreneur, he’s building a story-telling niche with a focus on using social media to reach as many people as possible.
 
Callum’s established his own Sunshine Coast-based online talk show,  Conversations with Cal, designed to tell people’s stories in a real way: a once-a-week in-studio chat about significant social issues such as mental health or domestic violence.
 
“Social media is such a big driving force. As a Millennial, social media is a big playing card.” He says he concentrates on issues that he believes need more attention, “but in a fun, engaging way”.
 
“We have so many local people with stories to tell.
 
I look at Humans in New York and transcribe that into a Sunshine Coast-based platform that tells people’s stories through video, while also covering events and lifestyle. All still with a focus on young people.
 
“We’re the future leaders of this country – if we can do things to change society now, it’s one more thing off the agenda.”
 
Callum was recently awarded semi-finalist (online achievement) at Queensland’s Young Achiever Awards for his work as a freelance reporter for Channel 7’s online initiative, 7Scoop.
 
And you can catch more of his work as presenter/host at this year’s Noosa Alive! festival in July. He’s already chalked up interviews with festival ambassador Naomi Price and Home and Away’s Lisa Gormley (who is performing in David Williamson’s Odd Man Out), launched via Facebook broadcast.
 
On the morning I catch up with Callum (instantly recognisable with his signature hair style and glasses), he’s philosophical about all he’s achieved so far.
 
“As a Millennial, you’re judged quite harshly by society and by people who already have a career. They think that we feel we’re entitled, but when I see stories about ‘avo on toast’ it makes me mad. It’s hard as a young person to get a career; you have to create your own opportunities. It makes us all entrepreneurs.”
 
Callum’s sage advice is that young people should do whatever they can to get a foot in the door, building up a portfolio of work, chasing opportunities and using social media to increase reach.
 

We can’t wait to see what you’ve got in store for us next Callum.

You can reach Callum at callumgordon.com or @CallumGordonMedia

words karina eastway photo maitland picozzi