From being featured in TIME Magazine alongside Greta Thunberg as a Next Generation Leader, and write-ups in CEO Magazine and WIRED, Launceston-born entrepreneur Amanda Johnstone has an impressive resume.
The founder and chief executive of Transhuman, Ms Johnstone is the creator of the 'Be a Looper' app.
Inspired by seeing friends struggling with their own battles with mental health, Be A Looper is a world first daily mental health check-in and peer support app to keep users "in the Loop" with up to five people globally.
However, her journey to success started from humble beginnings.
"I proudly grew up in Ravenswood then moved to George Town when my parents separated," she said.
"We then later moved back to Launceston, where my mother Leanne was, and still is, a teacher. I had a wonderful childhood, surrounded by the love and encouragement of my family and my hard working parents Leanne and Rodney."
Ms Johnstone said that with hardworking parents, a strong worth ethic was instilled in her from an early age.
"Both of parents both always worked hard to ensure we had enough for ourselves and our family always had the spirit of giving back to the community," she said.
"I worked from a very young age, starting with excellent mentorship at Allen's Garden Centre Prospect from Mark and Jenny Hay, who are the definition of success in small business here in Tasmania."
At age 17, Ms Johnstone co-founded local retail clothing store Sebachi, the success of the business meaning she didn't get to complete Year 12.
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Despite the success of her first business, Ms Johnstone vividly remembers wrangling with what career path to take
"My career ambitions as a teenager always were centered around innovation, community and somehow making the world a better place, but I had no idea what I wanted to do," she said.
"I didn't have the 'a-ha' moment until my mid-twenties, which is when I started my technology company."
Ms Johnstone said she encouraged school-leavers to consider all their options and not feel constrained to "traditional" pathways to success. "To be someone who didn't finish year 12, to this year being asked to speak to students at Stanford University also shows that the traditional route of education and innovation is not always the only route," she said.
To the Year 12 leavers and graduates of 2021, Ms Johnstone said to follow your passions and seek mentorship and find a way to commerialise your interests.
"Lean into what you love," she said.
And please, please be gentle on yourself. Success isn't just a score or a piece of paper. The greatest leaders I've met stay curious for their lifetime and continue to learn each day.
"Education and being a student is infinite, it doesn't stop once the final bell rings."
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