Building a healthier, more active Kiribati: Marebu
Marebu Flood boasts a distinguished sporting career; having captained Kiribati’s national volleyball team, and as a leader and teacher to young sportswomen.
Combining her experience with skills learned on-Award, she hopes to build healthier communities and address cultural restrictions that prevent married women from playing sport – whether recreationally or up to international level.
We asked Marebu about her Women's Leadership Initiative (WLI) experience and how it will help her accomplish these goals.
Did you already see yourself as a leader when you applied for the program?
Yes. Though I'm not that experienced, I have always seen myself as a leader and will grab chances and opportunities to improve my leadership skills.
You attended a week-long ‘intensive’ learning session in Canberra with fellow WLI scholars. What were some of your highlights?
The activities that were delivered during the trainings were awesome. The highlight was the opportunity to walk in the wilderness and to reflect on my past experiences and focus on what I would love to achieve in future.
Retrieving my past was shocking. I was determined to point out my weaknesses that I had never thought of before that time. After all the activities we did, I was able to eliminate all the values I considered no longer appropriate for me. This activity was uplifting and powerful enough to pull me out from my old self.
It's like I'm being reborn again. I love the new version of ME.
Another highlight was hearing our fellow women's stories, who I look at as my idols.
And how they overcome fears and challenges in their lives when making their way up the ladder to become who they are today. Their stories were very inspiring and I would say that they are challenging us. If they can achieve their goals successfully, why can't WE? Something to think about.
What did you learn and discover about yourself through the intensive session?
I learnt and discovered that there are times that I took advantage of my leadership responsibilities in eliminating people that I don't like even though I know that my organisation needs them. It is funny and embarrassing but I am grateful to this program - I have realised it is not too late for me to adjust myself and to set boundaries for my personal problems.
Having gone through one intensive and one month on the program, what have you learnt about leadership so far?
I learnt that leadership is not a career, but it is a choice that you will honestly accept and value wholeheartedly.
How was it meeting your mentor, and what do you expect you will gain from her in the next 18 months?
Before meeting my mentor, Olympic Gold Medalist Lara Davenport, I did have high expectations that she would be the right person for me and my project in a way that she would be able to understand what I really want to do. I was relieved to know that we have a lot in common and are both passionate about sports. I know that she will assist me with my project and to be able to contribute more from her own experiences to make my project a successful one.
How will the WLI program benefit you, as an Australia Awards scholar and in your leadership journey?
This program will be a guide and my pillar to strengthen my leadership skills. It will help me in developing my leadership exposure, to broaden my vision and expand my networks, which will benefit my future career and the development of my country, Kiribati.