For one Kwinana man, his journey to success and happiness has been a long and, at times, challenging one.
With a passion for sport and wanting to help others, Tilman Lowe is kicking goals as the senior sports development officer for Noongar Wellbeing and Sports.
The 25-year-old father of one was recently named the Parks and Leisure National Emerging Leader for 2016 after winning the State title.
“I didn’t expect to win the State award, let alone the national one, so to have my work and accomplishments recognised like that was a pretty big thing,” Tilman said.
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“It was a bit of a surprise, but it was pretty humbling and gratifying — recognition for the work I have been doing.
“We’re all about doing what we need to do and being there for the right reasons, we’re not there to get awards, we’re there to put in the hard work and really want to help our community and our people.”
Starting as a development officer for the not-for-profit organisation five years ago, he now creates, develops and implements youth programs that are making a real difference in communities.
“We do 32 programs a week between seven delivery staff — in the morning, we could be doing a traditional Aboriginal game for a breakfast club, at lunch I could be doing a mentoring session and then in the afternoon some coaching and fitness,” he said.
“So it’s pretty crazy. I do a lot of community development at the moment and I’m the co-ordinator for a program called Beatball.
“The idea behind it was to create social inclusion between antisocial groups. For Kwinana, it was about developing the Aboriginal youth — it has been quite successful, we average about 70 young people.”
Tilman describes the past few months as a whirlwind, with only 10 days between winning the State award before flying to Adelaide to accept the national title.
Two weeks later, he flew to Queenstown, New Zealand, as part of his prize for a national conference where he also celebrated his birthday.
“Moving into the future for me is building on what I’m doing now, having a bigger role and start moving more into management, so I can implement my own ideas,” Tilman said.
“Hopefully, I can do that in the workplace I’m in because I love what I’m doing; it’s been so rewarding for me.”
Tilman believes his journey as a leader began as a teenager through a variety of sporting programs and opportunities he took while living in Alice Springs with his family.
“I took the wrong tracks sometimes but early on, when I was about 15, I pulled my head in and started making better decisions and started playing sport quite intensely,” he said.
“I was in the State squad for soccer, touch rugby and for darts — I was quite busy young and sport kept me levelled and grounded, so I didn’t get carried away with my family nonsense.
“Looking back on it, I’m glad I made those decisions — everything that has come my way I’ve really grasped and used to my full advantage.”
After having successful jobs in Alice Springs, Tilman moved to Perth in the search for something bigger and brighter.
“I didn’t have any qualifications coming to Perth, but I felt Alice Springs was a dead-end sort of place for me and not a place I could grow,” he said.
“My partner and I were homeless for a while, which was pretty hard, and just before I ran out of money I got the job that I have now, so that was pretty good timing.”
From homelessness to being the first indigenous person to win an individual Parks and Leisure Award, Tilman has come a long way with plans to keep learning, growing and helping others.
“It has been a pretty big last few years for me, I’ve become a father — he’s almost two now, which is incredible and life-changing,” he said.
“I think that's the biggest leadership journey you can take ... my biggest priority is him. I’ve also become a home owner and am ticking off those major things in life. It has been a long journey ... for me to say that at 25, it shows just how early you have to start and how seriously you have to take yourself. You have to take every opportunity and learn from it, whether it be bad or good.”
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