Guru In The Spotlight: Sam Garner

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Q: What area of KWM do work in and what is your specialisation?

A: I work in the national graduate team, recently my focus has been on strategic projects. The projects have mainly been on Innovation/Technology, Community and Global Recruitment.

Q: How long have you been with the firm?

A: Not sure I should answer this - since 2001. That means some of the summer clerks I hired are now partners (and have been for a while).

Q: Why are you passionate about our Community Impact programme?

A: I had never previously worked at an organisation that was so clear and focussed on how it cared about the Community. Therefore, from my first day, no matter what my working or personal situation has been, I have been able to participate in some way. I think that's because no matter what role you have within the firm you can get involved.

Q: What projects or programs have you been involved in recently?

A: The Waiwa Mudena (previously Pathways) pilot program. ​​Waiwa Mudena is KWM's uniquely flexible, immersive work placement and professional skills development program, co-designed with and specifically for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander law students. Having piloted the program with UTS in Sydney it is so exciting and rewarding to be able to help the Community team (Megan in particular) roll it out nationally.

Q: Any stories you can share?

A: Not related to Waiwa Mudena, but quite a few years ago through the firm I participated in the 'Starlight Wish Granting' program. My wish was from a young boy who had acute lymphoblastic leukemia. All he wanted was to go and see the snow. I managed to put a holiday together for him and his family in Thredbo. Two weeks before they were due to leave he broke his leg. I was devastated as I knew what it meant to him and his family having been through all the planning with them. Thankfully we got him there the year after.

Q: Why did you/do you get involved? What were/are your motivations?

A: I feel very blessed and feel it's important to give back. I also love that my children have always seen me working as part of the KWM Community Impact team are now following suit through their school.

Q: What skills or experiences have you gained through this work?

A: Being from the UK I had no knowledge of Australian history. Through my work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander student programs I have learnt so much, not just about the past but what is needed in the future.

Q: What tips do you have for others thinking about getting involved in the Community Impact program?

A: Don't even think about it. It will be the best thing you ever do.

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