Tanisha and her NanWhen 15-year-old Tanisha Lafitani applied for her 2015 GO Scholarship at Sydney’s Loreto Normanhurst, her goal was to become the first in her family to finish school and go to uni. Fast forward to 2020, and 21-year-old Tanisha is in her fourth year of her Bachelor of Commerce degree, majoring in marketing and HR, and living on campus at UNSW. “GO has had a very big impact on me,” says Tanisha. “At the start, I was so hesitant to get involved with mentoring days, but I went to my first Twitter Day and didn’t want to leave. I’ve changed so much, and now I love the GO events. I was on stage helping showcase the Indigenous art at last year’s Big Lunch, and it was such a proud moment for me”.

Nan with TanishaTanisha is a proud Yidindgi woman, whose roots are in northern Queensland. “Growing up in Sydney, I didn’t know much about my heritage, and I really wanted to know and understand our story,” explains Tanisha. “School gave me that opportunity. For my major work in Year 12, I chose my grandma. We travelled together to where she was from in Far North Queensland and created a time capsule.  Nan was part of the Stolen Generation and grew up in Townsville.  We retraced her life and I learnt about her as we went along.”

From Loreto, Tanisha went straight on to UNSW to start her degree. “At the beginning of uni, I didn’t know what to expect,” she says. “What helped me was having an internship. I heard on the grapevine that the Sydney Swans were offering a marketing internship, so I applied and got it. I worked with the marketing team a day a week during my first year of uni and it was great. The Swans fuelled my love for marketing, and I really don’t think I’d have made it this far without that opportunity.”

After the Swans, Tanisha won a second internship in the ABC’s marketing department.  Her year-long position morphed into a real job with the marketing team working on creative, and she’s been working at the ABC for three years now. “Having that outside work has given me perspective,” she says. “I tell myself ‘Okay Tanisha, you can do this – and you can do better at this’.

“After I graduate, I am interested in a career in the not for profit sector. I know now that whatever I pursue after uni needs to have purpose.  Life needs to have purpose, and I need to have purpose as well,” she says.  “GO has shown me that.  Meeting Adam (Goodes) and Mick (O’Loughlin), I loved how humble they were and how they related to us GO scholars. It was a lesson in life.

“Being a GO Scholar has changed my way of thinking,” Tanisha explains. “I’ve learned that you are capable of whatever you want when you put your mind to it, and don’t be ashamed.  I would never have have had the opportunities I’ve had if I’d not taken that first step towards winning a GO scholarship.”