Nancy Loomba left her hometown of Jalandhar, Punjab, at the age of 17 after completing her schooling and in just six years of her stay in Melbourne, she has already won the Emerging Leadership in Multiculturalism Award, which recognises a newly-arrived migrant or refugee who is a leader in their community and volunteers their time towards initiatives which strengthen this multicultural state. In conversation with Loomba on what makes her a tireless young leader.
What has winning the award for Emerging Leadership in Multiculturalism meant to you?
I was delighted to win the award as it builds recognition for the tireless community work that I have been doing with the Youth, Sports, Autism, Disability Employment Services and Mental Health and also motivates me to bring even better and bigger project for my Victorians every day to make Victoria most healthy, engaged, multicultural state.
You are also People Leader at National Australia Bank, what is your role? What type of support do you provide?
I am a People Leader at National Australia Bank and as you know Leadership is not about a tittle, it’s about the impact, influence and inspiration you have on people. In my role I influence people to spread the passion for customer, quality service, effective community, best practices and also create pathways for people/business to achieve the desired goals aligning with Core Values. As a leader, I also participate in making future leaders who knows the way, goes the way and shows the way.
Could you elaborate on your other achievements?
I am President of FFCP- Focusing Framing Community Participation Inc. it’s a non-profit organisation which engages community in sports, social events, health and wellbeing etc.
Being the Multicultural Community Ambassador for AFL, Cricket Victoria and Gold Coast Commonwealth Games 2018 I have been an integral part for promoting sports and increasing diversity in Australian Sports.
I have worked on project with Victoria Police and Leadership Victoria to engage the diverse disengaged youth where I was the only South Asian presenting.
I have done projects in autism, mental health, and drug abuse etc. which was a great success and currently I am project officer for Disability Employment Services which focuses to assist the people going through physical or mental disabilities.
As media manager of Brothers and Sisters Foundation, I have been an integral part to raise awareness among key community issues concerning people.
As community ambassador, I have been actively promoting multiple community festivals.
I am community radio presenter, where I influence people to make positive impact in the community as people listen to me and label me as a Youth and Community Leader.
I am also a member of Women Advisory Committee for FIA- Forum for Indian Australians.
What according to you are the essential qualities of leadership?
Honesty, trust, empathy, delivering promises and positive outcomes, identifying key problems and brain storming potential solutions, positivity, being able to influence and motivate people, equality, voicing opinion, promoting engagement and, most importantly, being able to share your secrets to make future leaders.
Growing up in India and coming to study and work in Australia, tell us about your cross-cultural experiences.
I came to Australia in 2012 to commence my bachelor’s degree, I think everyone would agree that the first year is a struggling phase of life where everything is new. I was lucky that I had my brothers here but learning how to be comfortable being uncomfortable was my solo journey. Slowly I started to getting use to the culture in Victoria and I must say that this is the country of opportunities surrounded by amazing people, mesmerising nature and variety of cultures which increases my love and respect Australia every day.
On a separate note, there were few things that used to impact me especially when I would see migrants here that didn’t know much about the rules, regulations, their rights, facilities etc. available, that would also motivate me to educate and raise awareness among Victoria’s multicultural people in every aspect possible. Driving my motivation from there, I participate or introduced all the above-mentioned activities.
Is there a history of community service in your family background? What has inspired or motivated you to be the leader that you are?
Well, my dad Vipan Kumar and mum Poonam always taught me one thing that your core responsibility is to “give back to your community”, something they always practised, and it motivated me to establish the improved version of their leadership.
I was always taught that education and knowledge can never be separated from you and was urged by my family to always share it around rather than keeping it to yourself.
My Parents always said to me that as a human being, our responsibility is to uplift our fellow beings if you want to be happy in your life, it’s all about law of Karma, if you do good to someone today it comes around and I strongly believe that “we are the creators, the transformers and every action today will decide our pre-destined future.” Therefore, I am a leader who strongly believes in honesty, creativity, empathy, delivery uplifting, influencing, inspiring, motivating, being gentle and always being grounded, which, no doubt, comes from my parents and their value system.
What experiences so far have given you the most meaning and satisfaction?
Looking in my dad’s eyes after the award is something I will not forget. They were tears of pride which took my heart away that day. He said, ‘you are living and practically showcasing the true values’. Secondly, seeing development of people from communities where talking about health and well-being issues is a curse and now they openly say with me, ‘It’s OK to be not feeling OK’.
Do you see yourself continuing along the same career path with increasing responsibilities and leadership roles?
This is me, I want to bring positive changes but always believe that it first needs to start from me and leadership gives me a great opportunity to bring the much-needed changes in the community. I am born leader and would love to polish my skills along my life journey every day. Being able to positively impact, support and uplift people is my focus and I want to truly live that till the end of my life.
What are you doing to continue growing and developing as a leader?
Well, I am always engaged in leadership activities either as a leader/ introducer myself or making future leaders which are next level of leadership. So, my next focus is to see more women in leadership, hence soon you will be seeing an educational project aligning with this focus.
What advice would you give young members of the community?
Only thing I would like to emphasise is ‘anything is possible’ as the word impossible also breaks down as ‘I AM possible’ but you need to stay committed. There will be challenges but make those your strength, not a weakness. Show your commitment and you will achieve it.
Is there anything you’d like to share with our young readers?
Just that life is so beautiful if you wear your beauty glasses. Also, self-reflection is as critical to succeed in life, so make sure you are repeatedly doing the above two and this world will be a beautiful book that you would never want to stop reading
(As told to Indira Laisram)