Speech to mark The Opening of the Andrew N. Liveris Building

13 Apr 2022
Speech to mark The Opening of the Andrew N. Liveris Building

by Amber Spurway, Liveris Academy Scholar

Amber Spurway

... "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you did not do than the things that you did."

I share that quote with you attributed to Mark Twain as it aptly describes the mindset that the Liveris Academy entrenches in our thinking. I am certain that 20 years from now, none of the Liveris Academy Scholars will have any regrets because we are taught to embrace every opportunity. 

Although it's hard to quantify the life-changing impact the Liveris Academy has had on me, I can describe what it means to me in three words, and the first of those is opportunity. I have been part of the Liveris Academy for three years now, and in that time I have been exposed to people and experiences I never could have imagined. Whether that's in our weekly workshops, where we have the chance to discuss a broad range of topics from sustainability to financial literacy and business skills or our focus topic for this year, digital transformation, or in our exclusive fireside chats with global leaders in their fields including some of you seated in this room. As Scholars we are provided with the opportunity of a well-rounded education that exposes us to fields and concepts outside of our degrees so that when we join the workforce we do so better equipped to embrace the opportunities that we are presented with.

The second word would be challenging - in a good way of course! Every day the Liveris Academy challenges my perspectives and ideas and forces me to approach things from new angles. One of the most important things the Academy teaches us all is the importance of never getting comfortable, but instead always being curious and seeking to understand what we don't already. A key example that sticks out to me was in our summer intensive school last year where we were placed in a crisis management simulation as a management team at a struggling hotel company. While having to fire wayward employees, juggle worker revolts in Guatemala or hold press conferences may not be the way most uni students spend their holidays, it is challenges such as this one that give the Liveris Academy Scholars such a well-rounded education. Other challenges such as being asked to record my own podcast or create a startup and pitch it to a panel of professionals may have been daunting at the time, but these challenges have helped me to grow and develop both personally and professionally and have given me invaluable skills I will carry with me throughout my career. 

The third and final word is community. When you join the Liveris Academy you become part of a family of like-minded people who are there to support you and help you grow. I have made friends for life, who I am excited to watch as they go on to change the world as I have no doubt they will, and whom I know are there to support me and help me become a better person. 

None of this would be possible without Paula and Andrew, whose generous support has allowed this to all take place. You have made an immeasurable difference to all our lives. The Liveris Academy is without a doubt a global leader in developing capability for the next generation of change-makers. 

Your legacy now becomes our responsibility as we take the opportunities you have given us at The University of Queensland into our professional careers around the world over the coming years. It is an incredible Academy you have created, and on behalf of all the Scholars, I would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart. 

I would like to leave you with the values statement that our cohort of Liveris Academy scholars wrote together to describe what being in the Liveris Academy means to us:

Together we catalyse change for a more equitable and sustainable future. 

We achieve this change by living every moment with integrity, approaching every problem with empathy, acting on our curiosity and having the courage to take the leap no matter the risks.

While that might be slightly more than the three words I gave you, it leaves me confident that as the Academy continues to grow and develop in the future, our collective drive for positive change will ensure it remains a reminder of the potential of young people and a force to be reckoned with. 

Thank you.