Be. Talent Story - Meet Lauren

Discover how through our Tertiary Internship Programme, Lauren found a role where she could utilise her skills and strengths, and gain the confidence to launch into a people-focused career.

Text on a navy background, reads: Be. Talent Story Series: Lauren Dewhirst. Has a picture to the right of Lauren smiling in a black and white checkered blouse.

Meet Lauren 


Relentlessly positive and enthusiastic, Lauren is a self-proclaimed people person.


Alongside her outgoing personality, kindness and community is at the core of her identity. She spends her time volunteering for various organisations and has recently set up “Lauren’s Brick Library” -- a charity making Lego accessible to teenagers and young adults with health conditions and disabilities.



The right timing to make the most of the opportunity


Lauren first discovered Be. while studying at the University of Otago. She attended an information session about our Tertiary Internship Programme for Kiwis living with disabilities, access needs, health or mental health conditions. 


Only at the beginning of her degree at the time, she knew this opportunity was something she’d return to in a couple of years.


Between navigating health challenges and Covid lockdowns, Lauren's degree took longer than anticipated to complete. But at the end of 2022 with her degree under her belt, Lauren knew it was the right time to apply.



Utilising her unique strengths and skills


Lauren connected with Be. Relationship Manager Michael Stevens. After exploring her aspirations and many strengths together, Michael facilitated an internship for Lauren as a Student Advisor with Otago University Disability Services.  


With lived experience of studying with a chronic illness, she offered a unique perspective to students facing similar challenges. “I wouldn’t have got through my degree without the support of Disability Services, so I couldn’t have asked for a better role”, Lauren claims.   


The position was a perfect fit for her social and uplifting personality and community-mindedness. It also provided her with valuable work experience and the opportunity to figure out what she needed to excel.


An understanding employer


At one point, Lauren was experiencing exhaustion at the end of each day. Determined to make it work without burning herself out, Lauren opened a dialogue with her employer, and was able to come to the solution of taking a longer lunch break – a small support when you experience all Lauren has to offer!


“The internship was the perfect environment to learn about what I needed to succeed in the workplace. I knew I had the support of a great team, so I felt confident that I could explore options that would enable me to do my best work.”


A leader at heart 


Michael recognised Lauren’s leadership qualities and suggested she also apply for the Be. Leadership in Governance programme. 


It was a unique opportunity for Lauren to be involved with Be. on multiple levels. She met the entire Be. Team which provided an additional layer of support.


“The roles fed into each other and made both experiences far richer,” says Lauren. “It was a lot to juggle, but it was such a great opportunity – and I’m so proud I achieved both”.  


A future of possibilities


Thanks to her warm personality and the skills from her internship, Lauren quickly secured an exciting new role once her placement finished.


She now works as a House Supervisor for a girls’ boarding school, fulfilling her dream of working with young people. Directly linked to her studies, she also helps run their Health & Wellbeing programme.  


“Without the Be. Tertiary Internship,I wouldn’t have had the confidence to go for a job like that – it helped me realise what I’m capable of. Lauren 12 months ago wouldn’t believe where I am now!”, she exclaims.  


Lauren dreams of eventually becoming a nurse, and of course, seeing “Lauren’s Brick Library” expand throughout Aotearoa. 


With her infectious personality and leadership qualities we have no doubt Lauren will achieve all her dreams – and more!  


If you're a motivated job seeker with a disability, health or mental health condition or access need, and would like to learn more about our Tertiary Internship programme or New Start Work Experience Programme, visit our employment page. 


Or to get in touch with our friendly talent team today- e-mail


+64 9 309 8966
The Be. Lab Office
Suite 204
Level 2
48 Greys Avenue
Auckland Central
Auckland 1010
(Visits by appointment only)

Please e-mail for details.

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