- Sydney chartered accountant Kristine Vergara is Head of Finance and Operations at One Big Switch.
- She performed as one of 4,000 volunteers who took part in the Commonwealth Games opening and closing ceremonies
As a passionate community volunteer, she offers tips here to other CAs on how to get involved in extra-curricular activity, which employers view favourably
By Kristine Vergara.
Dancing has always been a part of my life. Agnes de Mille, a famous dancer and choreographer once said: “To dance is to be out of yourself. Larger, more beautiful, more powerful.” This is the quote that has always epitomised the joy and happiness I have experienced through dancing.
I have been involved with BJP Physie since I was seven years old. BJP Physie, also known as Physical Culture, is a not-for-profit dancing association that has been in Australia for 125 years. BJP Physie is a dance sport that incorporates jazz, ballet, hip hop, contemporary, aerobic dance and yoga. I am part of the Kensington Club in Sydney.
I found out about the Commonwealth Games performance opportunity through the national BJP Physie Association in August 2017 and decided to apply. The Commonwealth Games opening and closing Ceremonies included 4,000 volunteer performers aged 16 and over.
I have always been a strong proponent of cultivating my passions and interests, and using these skills to contribute to the community
Being part of the Commonwealth Games Ceremonies was a chance for me to combine my love of dancing and performance with my interest in volunteering and community involvement and to be part of a large-scale production viewed by millions across the globe – a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
I was invited to audition in November 2017 and found the whole audition process to be a fun and enjoyable experience, as I was able to meet other great volunteer performers.
After a few months of waiting for the results of my audition, I received the great news that I had been selected to become a Commonwealth Games volunteer performer for the closing ceremony. Being part of the Commonwealth Games closing ceremony is an achievement that I will treasure.
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My employer, One Big Switch, supported my decision to take part in the Commonwealth Games Ceremonies, which allowed me to fly to the Gold Coast for rehearsals when required. Being part of the Commonwealth Games as a volunteer performer has given me a greater appreciation of the planning and preparation involved by the amazing production team in organising such a large-scale performance. My rehearsals began in March 2018 and my cohort practised about twice a week, with the frequency of rehearsals increasing in number closer to the event.
I had a fantastic time at rehearsals, seeing the ceremony come together. All volunteer performers were sworn to secrecy to keep all elements of the show a surprise for the audience. On the night I focused on having a lot of fun and enjoying every aspect of this unique experience. I definitely had Fred Astaire’s famous saying in mind: “Do it big, do it right, and do it with style.”
Tips on finding time
Many people ask me how I find the time to fit everything in and get involved in various extra-curricular activities outside work. I have always been a strong proponent of cultivating my passions and interests, and using these skills to contribute to the community.
My first tip for others in this area would be to spend some time to get clear about what you are good at, what interests you or the skills you may want to improve. I found I was happiest when I was physically active and the activities I enjoyed the most included dancing, running and trail walking.
Once you decide on the interests you want to pursue, research local associations or community groups you can join. They are a great way to make connections. In my case, I joined my local Physical Culture Club for dancing, Parkruns for running, and trail walking socially with family and friends.
Contributing to the community through volunteering is also a great way of honing your interests. Local associations and community groups keep you abreast of other opportunities to contribute in the broader community. With this in mind, I also volunteer as a Blind Runner and Trail Walking Guide for Achilles Sydney.
My experience has always been that employers look favourably upon extra-curricular activities. If you are unsure, start small with one interest at a time and add more into your schedule once you master how to manage your time in balancing these interests with your career. My purpose for getting involved in my community is to seek enriching experiences that I can draw on to improve and help those around me, but most importantly, just have fun and meet great people along the way.
- Get clear about what you are good at, and what interests you or the skills you may want to improve. This is a good starting point to identify your passions and interests.
- Once you decide on an interest, find a local association or community group you can join.
- Find out about other ways to contribute to the broader community in events or productions through local associations and community groups.
- Start small – with one interest at a time and add more interests once you master time management.
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