genYOU Story 07 – John
Name: John Gappi
Current role: Graphic Designer, online student and ex Marketing Coordinator of generationYOU
How did you get involved with generationYOU and how did you find this experience?
This is pretty crazy, but I was there from the very start.
We’re talking back in November 2014 when Nadine and Lisa first floated the idea of ‘generationYOU – a one-day event for millennials’ … talk about a #ThrowbackThursday, right?!
Being given the opportunity to be the Marketing Coordinator for two and a half years, generationYOU has taught me so much about myself, how I can be a part of creating a positive change and getting to work with an incredible team of game changers. From the Co-Founders, my team mates, the crew in our training program, to the speakers and attendees each person has made their mark on me and I couldn’t be more grateful.
Getting to witness the evolution of the brand back from our first ever Facebook post and live event to where it is now, I couldn’t be more stoked and happy. Let’s move onto the next question before I get all gross and soppy lol.
Could you tell us a bit about yourself and where you are headed in your career right now?
Like most millennials, my career and life is a combination of education, funny memes, fate and pure dumb luck.
I started off studying a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Visual Arts with a Diploma in Education to become a high school art teacher, but decided to drop out of my last year after (no joke), thinking that I was physically too short to teach 6ft something grade 10 students.
Secretly though, the real reason is I enjoyed taking photos and promoting my photography on social media that I decided to do an online marketing course that wasn’t nationally recognised… I know this is where the funny memes part comes in. After completing this course whilst freelancing, I did a paid writing internship for a marketing company and eventually became a part of the team. One of my biggest wins working there was writing an infographic which happened to make its way to Buzzfeed… we also had free breakfasts on Fridays which was the second big win.
After 6 months of writing SEO articles and blogs, I wanted to pursue a career in digital marketing and walah… the door to Bright Conferences opened up for me! I was so enthusiastic, I rocked up 30 minutes early to my interview, I thought this would impress them… it didn’t. Tip: Guys, if you’re ever going to a job interview, please don’t come in 30 minutes early! Just come in on time.
After 6 months of writing SEO articles and blogs, I wanted to pursue a career in digital marketing and walah… the door to Bright Conferences opened up for me!
It wasn’t all smooth sailing following the interview though. Fast forward one week and I get an email saying I wasn’t successful in the process. I thought it was over. However, fast forward another week, and I get a call from Lisa saying that although I didn’t make the cut, they liked me enough to give me a shot in a slightly different role.
Two and a half years later, and I am sad but happy to close this colourful chapter in my life.
After studying graphic design last year (this one is nationally recognised, woo!), I decided to change career paths again and have been offered a full-time role as a Graphic Designer for an international company that specialises in the delivery of education, training and labour services. While I pursue this creative career path, I also decided (just this week actually), to study an online course in HTML, CSS and web design to add new skills to my toolkit… because why the f*ck not?!
It’s all happening and I’m still trying to keep up with it all. But I’m excited to pursue the new opportunities that are out there for me, and I’m also stoked to see what the new Marketing Coordinator will inject into generationYOU. I’ll always be the biggest advocate for the brand and what it has done for me on a professional and personal level.
What inspired you to do what you are doing now?
My family. As a Filipino with (obviously) Filipino parents, it’s easy to question why I’m not a Registered Nurse. And as stereotypical as that sounds, one thing I love about my family is their positive encouragement for me to take my career wherever I want it to go, an opportunity they weren’t fortunate enough to pursue themselves.
Of course, I put pressure on myself to be really really ridiculously good (looking) at what I do, but they always tell me as long as I’m happy doing what I love, they’re happy too.
I’m also inspired by fried chicken, burgers and chips and need to make money to fulfil my daily #FoodGoals
You have the attention of over 1000 millennials. What is the one advice you would give them when you reflect on your own journey?
Don’t be afraid to be your biggest fan.
As RuPaul always says, ‘If you don’t love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else.’
I was always so hard on myself that I let my potential sit on the bench. If you feel like that right now, uninvite yourself to your own pity party and change your mindset one day at a time. Open yourself up to new experiences, opportunities and people because if you can build yourself up, you can and you will build others up too.
Lastly, being your biggest fan isn’t about being narcissistic or self entitled. It’s about having the confidence to be your best self without the validation of others or your Instagram followers. Take superficial things and noise for what they are and know that it doesn’t make up your worth or dictate your journey.
Once you take the first, most difficult step to doing what you absolutely f*cking love, it will be hard to walk back. I bet you 100 chicken nuggets.