Karyn Hinder started her Defence Career as an Army Reservist Pay Corp Clerk which gave her a taste of the Australian Defence Force. Wanting more, she transferred to the Australian Regular Army.
That was 23 years ago and Karyn has had a “fantastic career” since it kicked off at RAAF Base Townsville at 5 Aviation Regiment.
She was a soldier in the fulltime Army for 12 years. And then made a seamless move across to the Royal Australian Air Force in 2005, moving into a People Capability Officer role in 2011.
“I’ve been posted all over Australia and involved in military exercises here and overseas. My operational deployments include East Timor, Iraq, Afghanistan and the United Arab Emirates.”
Karyn says she’s been fortunate to work with “exceptional male and female leaders, in extreme situations.” Her first deployment was to East Timor where her esteemed commander was then Major General, and now Governor General, Sir Peter Cosgrove.
Currently based in Perth at the Number 2 Flying Training School, Karyn is preparing to transition to the RAAF Reserves in January 2017.
She’s also just launched her own business, after completing the Prince’s Charities Lead Your Own Business Program. The program recognises that the skills employed by serving personnel give them the potential to be highly successful business owners, consultants and entrepreneurs after their military career.
The program targets transitioning Defence personnel who are seeking to start, or who have recently established their own small business. Successful applicants must have a business concept worthy of development. They’re then assisted in building a formal business case and provided with valuable mentoring and networking sessions, while completing a Certificate IV in Small Business Management from RMIT University.
“I know of so many talented people who struggle to find employment after transition from the ADF,” explains Karyn. “My business, Working Spirit, aims to capture that talent and assist them in building the confidence and connections to gain civilian employment. Through our Corporate Fellowship Program we work with businesses to place transitioning members into work in a field of their choice.”
“I have a friend with PTSD and finding employment seems totally overwhelming for her at times. But she is of value and has skills to offer. Working Spirit aims to help her and others like her suffering anxiety, stress, depression and the effects of physical injuries.”
Karyn says so many veterans just don’t realise their worth to an employer. “Working Spirit is here to help them gain employment, confidence and hope,” she says.
Working Spirit also recognises the sacrifices made by military partners who must uproot their employment every three years when the family is posted. Karyn wants to build relationships with industry to support the employment opportunities for military partners too.
Karyn says she’s incredibly grateful for her scholarship with the Prince’s Charities program. “The program is world class and the lecturers are amazing,” she says. “I’m really passionate about Working Spirit and the program has given me the confidence and courage to give back and help veterans and colleagues who are transitioning from the ADF.”
Defence Health proudly supports the Lead Your Own Business Program. CEO, Major General Gerard Fogarty AO (Ret’d), shares his experience as part of the Prince’s Charities Australia advisory panel.