Adrian Zaknich Project Everest Ventures

Adrian Zaknich

Macquarie University
Social Enterprise Intern
Adrian studied Bachelor of Commerce (Finance Major) and Bachelor of Arts (Psych Major) at Macquarie University

What's your job about?

I worked in Fiji addressing one of the Sustainable Goals for development, and aimed to solve poverty by using business education. I was part of a team of team of 8 interns over the month I spent in country, completing a variety of activities and executing our objectives for the months. The tasks I usually completed were aimed at stakeholder engagements, and executing meetings in order to progress and move the project forward. However, as to ensure I didn’t pigeon hole myself into only looking after stakeholder related issues, I also completed more laptop orientated jobs, lead-generation activities, and inter-project communication. As a whole, the team I was part of aimed to solve the UN’s sustainable goal for development around reducing poverty, and the team aimed to do this by providing Business Skills workshops to SME businesses all over Fiji. We often partnered with a major micro financing organisation called SPBD (South Pacific Business Development) when we ran the workshops. Due to the somewhat unpredictable nature of the work I was completing, explaining my job to my peers and other teenagers often was a challenge. The common conception about majority of internships is the relatively repetitive tasks that most people complete, so explaining the dynamic set of tasks I completed usually had varied reactions. Some people seemed confused as to how we could be given such a large amount of responsibility, whereas other were enthusiastic and also wanted to have a similar experience.

What's your background?

I grew up in the Ryde area of Sydney, and went to the local Primary School, Holy Spirit North Ryde, and then to Marist College Eastwood. I was incredibly fortunate to be exposed to traveling from a young age, both internationally and domestically, where I started to gain a thirst for exploring outside of my own backyard. I travelling through South East Asia after my first year of university, and this was an important stage in my development as I properly came to appreciate the true economic disparity present in the world. This lead me to enquire further into what internships and opportunities were available, especially in the social enterprise field, as opposed to working for charity organisations. Project Everest offered the internships that I felt would allow me to actually attempt to solve this social issue, whilst also developing the soft skills of my development to accompany the hard skills learnt at university.

Could someone with a different background do your job?

My job, whilst intense and sometimes completed in uncomfortable settings, is a job that can be completed by people from a wide disciplines of study. Perseverance, adequate level of hustle, and the ability to work through humid conditions is the main requirement. Creative thinking is another element to my job. Whilst it is very much centred on the social skills of the individuals completing the tasks, this job does tend to people who have high EQ, and it is definitely applicable to people of majority of degree background. A business mind is helpful, however can definitely be adapted along the way.

What's the coolest thing about your job?

The part of my job that I found the most rewarding was the fact I could actually firstly see that the hard work and groundwork I was initiating could actually be executed within the timeframe given. Whilst this is typical of a 21st century graduate, who requires instant gratification, it was rewarding to mainly see that our hard work was actually really having an impact on the people. What made this internship so rewarding was seeing a potential course of action to solving a bigger problem, and having the team with you to help you follow through on this.

What are the limitations of your job?

Limitations are only what the team places on themselves. The team around me strived to achieve some really impressive results, and by focussing our attention to the finer details, and not forgetting the bigger picture, we were able to achieve beyond what we expected. Working in the context of a developing country brings with it some problems, surrounding the overall inefficiencies that exist due to poor infrastructure and social systems. These are sometimes unavoidable, but flexibility usually allows for a solution to be found.