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Voices of Bendigo Optimism

"At its simplest, optimism is an expectation that good things will happen and that things will work out in the end."

We are supporters of the City of Bendigo's Voices of Optimism campaign and the Bendigo Invention and Innovation Festival.  The Centre for Optimism was going to pop-up in Bendigo during the festival and support the optimism theme for the festival.  However, the COVID-19 curfew and "state of disaster" prevented that happening.  These sentiments below belong to Optimists in Bendigo and the voices of Bendigo optimism.  Will you share your case for optimism too?

Read about Bendigo's Voices of Optimism Campaign

Bendigo's Virtual Optimism Cafe

Episode 1: Victor Perton presented Voices of Optimism - a conversation with Mayor Cr Margaret O’Rourke and her close friend and leadership expert Mary Dwyer who talked frankly about their longstanding friendship and how being optimistic has helped them both to cope with some very difficult times in their personal and work life.  

Episode 2: Victor Perton presents "Voices of Optimism" in conversation with Coliban Water Managing Director Damian Wells who broke his neck in a cycling accident a week before starting his new role at Coliban Water last year. Mr Wells believes optimism helped him to overcome this life-changing moment.

Paul Chapman, Chair of the Bendigo Invention and Innovation Festival

"Every innovator, inventor and change-leader, inherently use optimism as their energy and sustenance. It is the never-ending supply of 'fuel in the tank' that allows them to persevere and succeed."

Read more on "Optimism and Innovation"

Bendigo Senior Secondary College Purpose and Values

"Our ROLE is to empower learners for individual, community and global leadership. We value: Respect, Optimism, Learning, Environment.

Optimism means:

  • Being enthusiastic in our living, learning and contributing. Embracing opportunities to make a difference.
  • Being resilient and persistent in adversity.

Bridget Bentley, Manager, Bendigo Foodshare

"Times are tough right now. For me, it’s important to acknowledge this and to give myself permission to feel sad, angry, disappointed, lonely, uncertain or helpless.... and there’s nothing like a good cry! Feeling these things doesn’t mean I’m not optimistic or that I’ve failed at optimism.

"For me, it’s never been more important to have a bag of tricks to help me. It’s hanging over my shoulder at all times. I find I’ll rummage around and pull out something different at different moments to suit the situation and my mood. First thing this morning it was a quick walk with the dogs, enjoying a glorious sunrise when a flock of yellow-tailed black cockatoos flew overhead. Later in the morning, it was reaching out to help a fellow colleague work through a difficult situation. At lunchtime, it was to receive a generous donation of food from a member of the public. This afternoon I called my Pa to say hi and let him know he’s not alone. Right now I’m at the hairdresser making myself look young again! And tonight it will be sitting on the couch with my family watching tv.

For me that’s the essence of optimism, especially in a time where things feel out of control; knowing that for every bump and challenge thrown at me, I do have some control and I can rummage through my bag to find something to help.

The Honourable Bob Cameron, Board Chair, Bendigo Health

“At times the world can seem a dark place, such as the current COVID deaths and global warming.    But it's the drive to change and improve things that matters and that takes real energy and vision that only believers in the future - the optimistic - can really engender”

Charlie Munday, Actor  -  Singer - Dancer - Choreographer

"For me, I believe that being optimistic is the fastest way to achieving your dreams. 

"If you’re dreaming of something, keep wishing for it… wake up every day with optimism in your mind and gratefulness in your heart and you’ll be surprised how easily you will overcome the obstacles on the way to your achieving your goals.

"When all the world seems to be against you, be optimistic and remember that the universe is on your side. What is meant to be, will be."

Craig Niemann, Chief Executive Officer of the City of Greater Bendigo

“Optimism is focusing on the end goal, regardless of the hurdles that are in the way. It is knowing that while the challenge may be great and the decision making hard, the result will be rewarding. 

"Optimism is what keeps you buoyant when the chips are down and is the ultimate partner of success; a success that is always shared because through optimism you have managed to engage and inspire those around you to join you in making a difference.” 

Paul Henshall, CEO, ActionCOACH Asia Pacific Region

"What makes me optimistic is the ability of human beings to 'find a way' to overcome obstacles to live better lives. Exploration excites and connects us, it always has."

Dale Pearce, Principal, Bendigo Senior Secondary College

"What makes me optimistic is our students. Their desire to ‘do good things’ and their empathy towards others shines out every single day. If we can nurture and sustain their good intentions we will make the world a better place."

Julie Green, Board Member, RACV

"The attitude you choose is in your control. You can choose pessimism but what is the point of that? Or you can choose to be optimistic and inspire others to be the best they can be. The choice is obvious."

"We are human and sometimes we have to rant a bit to get something off our chest. Then we can choose to be optimistic and inspire others again."

Mili Thurgood, Bendigo and Adelaide Bank

"Life has shown me that things will always work out in the end..."

Ann Lansberry

"The power of community makes me optimistic. The way that individuals come together and achieve more as a collective than they could ever do on their own"

Darren Kerby, Coach SupportAction COACH Australia & New Zealand

"During challenging times whether it be floods, fires, drought or even a virus I'm always impressed by how a small group of optimistic people will pull together and work as one to achieve an optimal outcome.

"An outcome energised by the community. Thanks, Bendigo"

Myl Duffy, La Trobe University Bendigo Campus

"What makes me optimistic?  Knowing I can take action and make changes however small to make things better. Not in a grandiose world conquering way, but in everyday life and work for the people I encounter, even in circumstances where the most  I can contribute is a smile or a word of encouragement."

Read More on "Smile Like an Optimist"

Kay Graves

Simon Egerton, Deputy Head – Department of Computer Science and Information Technology, La Trobe University

"Be optimistic! It frees the mind and nourishes the soul of innovation."

More "Optimism and Innovation"

Nathan Carkeek - URNOONEEK

“You can’t have innovation without creativity and collective creative often lays dormant in people at the heart of organisations through fear of failure. Key to unlocking that creative is removing the fear. This at its core requires a mindset of optimism” 

Read "Optimism and Innovation"

Andrew CooneyDirector of Corporate Performance, City of Greater Bendigo.

For me, optimism is about creating a sense of excitement and at times hope. It’s allaying fears of the unknown, supporting others through uncertainty and affirming that the future is bright. It is essential to set a scene of positivity ahead and engage others to help design the path of how we reach where we are going."

Andrew Cooney: A Voice of Optimism in Bendigo

Associate Professor Melanie Bish, Director of Academic  Partnerships La Trobe Rural Health School

"The belief that no matter the challenge before you, a positive mindset, willingness to be innovative combined with a healthy dose of self-belief enables you to find success."

Anne Henshall, Bucket List Coach

"What makes me optimistic? That human creativity is around us every day. Whether it’s music, dance, singing, story-telling, the design of a building, a beautiful garden, the creativity of science, engineering, business, sport, technology - it’s always there to admire and be grateful for. I recently read that “creativity is life making. It’s anything we do that turns us on, invigorates us, or offers a simple moment of pure merriment. Life is a canvas, throw as much paint on it as you can.” This makes me optimistic."

Nathan O'Neill, CEOBendigo Stadium Limited 

"The necessity of remaining relevant in business is determined by how leaders act in the moment.

"Demonstrating optimism in everyday life will significantly shape your mindset always to find a way, enable you to be agile in your decision making. It will instil confidence in others around you.

"I look for the character in our people during adversity, as their action will define them as an authentic leader."

Read other "Inspiring Voices of Optimistic Leadership"

Dr Brad Hodge, La Trobe Rural Health School 

So, what makes me optimistic?

"I am optimistic because whenever I look for the good, I find it. In the middle of even the toughest stuff there is beauty and wonder. I remember sitting in a crappy little apartment in Russia many years ago, all I could see that was natural (not drab grey concrete) was a small square of sky about the width of my arm,  in that patch of sky was a small branch without any leaves, it was beautiful. I sat their drinking my cup of coffee enjoying it for quite a while. This is optimism. The act of searching for the benefits of a situation. 

"What makes me optimistic is the ability of humans to intentionally and creatively find and create good things in the middle of the messiest situations. If it were not for this ability, perhaps there would be very little hope in difficult times."

Clare Fountain, Director, Sorted

Feeling in control makes me feel optimistic about being able to create change.  I get excited and motivated about the things I can influence and make happen.  When I feel that I have no control in a situation I feel less confident and lose hope of being able to make a difference.  Sometimes it takes stepping back from the situation, thinking outside the square, being creative and innovative in my approach to problem-solving.  A cup of tea, a chat and time often help to restore my optimism!

Verity Lougoon, The Thrivery

"I'm so optimistic about Bendigo because there are so many warm-hearted, kind and inspiring people doing amazing things here. No matter where you look in the community, in every nook and cranny you can always find inspiring initiatives and businesses popping up, and there is an endless supply of fun activities to do." 

Nathan Carkeek - URNOONEEK

“Collective creative often lays dormant in people at the heart of organisations through fear of failure. Key to unlocking that creative is removing the fear. This at its core requires a mindset of optimism” 

David Sheehan, Coliban Water

"What makes me Optimistic? Because the reverse is soul-destroying, unproductive, and leads to poor outcomes."

Jenny Delaney, Life Coach

“Being optimistic makes me feel better. If I feel better, I do more, give more and be more so why wouldn’t I be optimistic?”

Marc Smith, General Manager at Australian Turntables

"My optimism comes from surrounding myself with like minded people, people who look at the positive side of situations and can turn things around when they don’t work.  Another thing is to be happy and laugh everyday, especially at yourself."

Surround Yourself with Optimists

Jo Daly

“It makes more sense to be optimistic and it draws people to you.”

Jeff Rigby, then MD of Coliban Water now Western Water

"Leaders do what needs to be done when it needs to be done. Optimistic leaders have the self-belief and conviction that they can do it"

More "Optimism in the Australian Water Industry"

Melissa Neal, SPA

"What makes me Optimistic?  I am always thinking about/planning for/creating a brighter future"

Terrie Dempster 

"You do the best you know how at the time and when you know better, you do better"

 Beth Benbow, President of Bendigo Health’s Combined Auxiliaries 

"I am more of an optimist"

Una Pianta

“I choose to be optimistic. It makes me feel happy.”

Keith Sutherland, Sutherland Property Consulting

“ Those of us who have grown up or lived in Bendigo are extremely fortunate to understand what a caring and sharing community it is. I am very lucky to have been involved in many activities more particularly in philanthropic fundraising events and know full well how fantastic that level of support has been over many years.

"Bendigo offers an amazing history from the early gold rush days with the Chinese still playing an vital role as we celebrate the 150th Anniversary of the Easter Festival being the oldest Festival in Australia.

"It now boasts the Ulumbarra theatre one of best performing theatres in Australia along with the Art Gallery which has had some unique exhibitions, first class Sporting & Education facilities.

"It also offers an amazing array of eateries and some of the best wineries in Australia.

"And what makes our community so sought after are the incredible hospitals and health services.

"Bendigo is lucky to have a progressive Council and local politicians and it’s the people and their attitudes that make Bendigo great.

"And what makes me optimistic? Living in a caring and sharing community of Bendigo surrounded by positive people underpins my optimism. “

Sachin George, Australian Turntables

"I believe optimism is the hope that everything we endure today would lead towards something better in the future. Optimism is a fundamental driver to keep motivated and move forward in life, especially during these tough times."

Nathan O’Neill, Chief Executive Officer, Bendigo Stadium Limited in the Strategic Plan 2020-25

"We approach the upcoming five years with optimism, excitement, and pride.  Our future is limitless, and excelling as leaders will enhance our reputation."

City of Greater Bendigo "#COVID-19 Relief and Recovery Plan"

"The mission of this plan is ‘working together to ensure the Greater #Bendigo community is safe, resilient and thriving, fostering a collective sense of #optimism, empowerment and adaptability’."

Bendigo South East College

The following factors enhance a person’s wellbeing:

  • A network of close friends
  • Regular exercise
  • A nutritional diet
  • Sufficient sleep
  • Fun hobbies and leisure pursuits
  • An optimistic outlook with realistic and achievable goals

Strathfieldsaye Primary School

Our CORE Values are:

  • Caring
  • Optimism
  • Respect
  • Excellence

 Bendigo Health Staff Capability Statement 2018

"Remains calm and optimistic, even when things don't go as planned."

The Hon Maree Edwards, MP for Bendigo West

It is with a real sense of optimism that we are conquering this virus that I acknowledge the work of Brett Sutton, our chief health officer, whose measured and sensible approach is leading Victoria out of danger. Clearly, we are not out of the woods yet, and vigilance must continue to prevent any outbreak of the virus that would see catastrophic numbers of deaths and infections similar to what we are seeing on our television screens every night in countries such as the USA, Italy and France.

April 2020

The Hon Maree Edwards, MP for Bendigo West

More towns in my electorate than ever before have seen investment in infrastructure and community projects, including sporting grounds and facilities; community events; upgrades and improvements to community facilities and buildings, including heritage-listed buildings such as town halls and mechanics institutes; new and improved showgrounds and horseracing facilities; upgrades and extensions to primary school buildings; new police stations; and renewable energy. What has this meant for the people who live in these communities? There is a sense of renewal, a sense of optimism for the future and a sense of security. Each time I visit and meet with people in these communities, whether it be in Newstead, Fryerstown or Baringhup, I am amazed at the level of resolve the residents of these communities have to ensure that their town, their facilities, their lifestyle, their environment and their ideas are maintained and improved upon.


Rae Turner

“There is always something good around the corner and the bad doesn’t last.”

Morva Rule (88 year old)

“Dying is OK.”

Peter Dowling

“If you put in you will get returns.”

Friends of the Bendigo Invention and Innovation Festival

Julie Brinley, Burbank, California, USA - MBA Candidate at UCLA Anderson

"25 years ago, Dolly Parton created the Imagination Library in her hometown in Tennessee to help foster a love of reading in young children by increasing their access to books. "Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is a book gifting program that mails free, high-quality books to children from birth until they begin school, no matter their family’s income." Since its inception, it has expanded across the US and internationally and gifted over 140 million books to young children around the world. I would not be who I am today without the love of reading I developed as a child, so I am inspired by Dolly's gift of books to so many children and optimistic about the positive impact she is having on so many young lives."

Angelo Lo Piccolo, Portfolio Associate at Oaktree Capital Management and MBA Candidate at UCLA Anderson.

"I am optimistic that local governments and nonprofits around the world are beginning to embrace microfinance as a means to support small and independent businesses. Although in my local community this is currently only an immediate response to mitigate the effects of the COVID19 pandemic, I am optimistic that microloans can also help foster the long-term and equitable economic health of local communities and that local governments and nonprofits have an innovative role to play.  I am also optimistic that small businesses and a universal entrepreneurial spirit will outlast the effects of the pandemic in communities across the world."

Natalie Katzka, Engineer for The Walt Disney Company, MBA Candidate at UCLA Anderson

"I am optimistic by the accessibility of information. The world is more connected than ever, through continued innovative discoveries providing immediate access to information. We are no longer only as educated or as optimistic or as inspired as those around us, but now we have access to the world's diverse knowledge, optimism, and inspiration for a prodigious effect."

Hadley Stork, MBA Candidate at UCLA Anderson School of Management.

"I’m optimistic about the increasing literacy rates across the world. The world literacy rate was up to 86% in 2015. Compare that to 1960, when the literacy rate was only 42%. That’s an average increase of 4% every 5 years!  I’m optimistic about the continued growth of this trend and the implications for the development of young generations across the world."

Dhairya (Drew) Patel, Process Development Engineer at Heraeus Precious Metals North America LLC & MBA Candidate at UCLA Anderson.

"Despite the levels of income inequality we see within countries, globally, the number of people living in extreme poverty has decreased from 50% to 10% within the past 50 years. Moreover, 189 countries, connected through The World Bank, are dedicated to further reducing this number down to 3% by 2030."

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