Hero Town, Sylvia and Karli

‘Training everyday heroes.’ Hero Town Geelong believes every ordinary person has the power to do extraordinary things. ‘Too often knowledge sits in publications, practically unused. Hero Town delivers workshops based on psychology research, most notably that of Social Psychology , Dr Philip Zimbardo.’ We hear from its Founder and President, Sylvia Gray, and Karli Mynott (Learning and Resource Coordinator).


‘After the controversial Stanford Prison Experiment,’ (the experiments findings have since been called in to question) explains Sylvia, ‘Dr Zimbardo understood how easy it is to create environments that cause good people to do bad things. He’s since devoted his life to fostering heroic behaviour. We are extremely grateful to count him as one of our advisors.’

‘Our vision is to empower individuals to make change in the community. We support ordinary people to become everyday heroes by building social resilience, self-awareness, and mindsets to face challenges. These challenges can range from nervousness about an upcoming presentation, standing up against something they are uncomfortable with, to protecting rainforests and the world’s refugees. We encourage everyone to be brave enough to fulfil your potential, overcome challenges, and re-write your story. Become an everyday hero.

‘We are about creating positive change. Karli and I are just two of a very dedicated team of passionate locals who are all community-minded, and we’re supported by a knowledgeable, experienced team of advisors.’

Sylvia describes herself as an ‘American by birth, Australian by choice,’ who moved to Australia 10 years ago. In addition to Hero Town, she is a supervisor at Lifeline and a psychology student at Deakin University. Karli also completed an undergraduate psychology degree before becoming a teacher. As a casual relief teacher, Karli loves the challenge of variety in each new day and classroom.

‘Hero Town Geelong launched Nov 2015,’ she says, ‘with the Hero Round Table conference about inspiring change and promoting heroism. Ellie Jacques, the world leading heroism trainer adapted Dr Zimbardo’s work for an Australian audience, and we now deliver curriculum in schools and professional development for businesses.

‘We present four topics: Hero’s Journey – self-awareness and insight. Mindset – resilience, strengths, and redefining failure and success. Social resilience – overcoming the bystander effect and other social pressures. Mindfulness – being truly present in the moment so you’re better prepared for action.

‘A new project is to train an instructor in Mental Health First Aid for young people and those who work with them. This program will help individuals recognise and respond to mental health problems, with a view to help reduce suicide rates.

‘We’ve run a two-term pilot program with Surf Coast Secondary. It is a collaborative process as the philosophy is embedded in learning by all staff. We hope to run this program with other schools in the region soon.

http://www.facebook.com/HeroTownGeelong/ ‘Our simple message is: It starts with you! If you see something you aren’t comfortable with, take responsibility. Take action. Everyday we see and share incredible heroic stories from our community. You’re never too young or old to make a difference.’