Why we set up Aunua
Hi, My name is Karina Murray
Founder & CEO of the Aunua Academy
Let’s start with my school days, which I found challenging. There were no allowances for day dreamers, for the child that got lost in what was happening outside the window, for the child held back by an academic environment one she felt trapped in. Schools just didn’t work like that and I just didn’t work like schools. I guess things became easier to accept as the years passed, although I learned a lot more than I had realised, I still carried my doubts and insecurities. Acceptance and fitting in was another problem for me, as for so many others over the years, always being that square peg but not knowing how to embrace it. So many children face the longing for that best friend and the dismay and disheartened feeling of going it alone in what feels like isolation. When you are struggling to catch up, this all adds to the challenge of the school days.
Life after school became a happy release, movement into a new environment, one that I felt I could control at my own pace and make my own choices. At last I was free and I felt that the chains of being institutionalised had been lifted! I could now use my imagination to create the life I wanted to live without being told what to do, where when and how to do it! Nothing held me back as this was my time to explore the world and to find my space. Having left school a little early I managed to get into the college I wanted and studied fashion design and art for three years, I explored many different jobs over the years, had fun and travelled, life was good, exciting and challenging.
Jumping years ahead, I am now in my mid-forties and a mom of two beautiful children. After nine years spent at home raising them, my world changed completely when my son started school and I faced the daunting task of retuning to the working world! I wanted to find my space, find my place and stay being me! This is when my imagination ran riot again and my gut instinct kicked in and this is when I gave birth to my new baby AUNUA which is an Irish play on words for A NEW U! It was certainly an opportunity for A NEW ME! I took a leap of faith and created this personal development program for adults and in February 2017 we launched successfully with 140 attendees and the Lord Mayor of Dublin Gus O’Connell.
In February 2017 I became a radio presenter and hosted my own weekly Aunua show on Together FM. This was an amazing opportunity for me to interview some incredible guests, meet new friends and build a team for my next venture Aunua Academy. In September 2017 I trained and qualified as an NLP Practitioner. In October 2017, I was incredibly fortunate to win a scholarship to Entrepreneurs institute in Bali and became one of the founding members of the Genius School which is one of Roger James Hamilton’s global movements on ‘ignite the genius in every child’.
My journey started out as a path of personal development one for me to find my space, and with AUNUA I discovered my own personal path, my passion and purpose which is ultimately to represent children and be their voice.
The instigation of my change of direction from Aunua being a personal development course for adults to being a global online platform for children was inspired by the son of a close friend. He inspired me so much through his own story and his life’s events; at the age of 11 years he was bullied and struggling so much he wanted to take his own life. I could see the ripple effect of what was happening and see his pain and his family’s pain as they tried to help. This boy compelled me to drive forward and I made a promise to his wonderful mom and to myself that I would stop at nothing to make changes. Children today face many of the same challenges that I faced in school 35 years ago, but we are in a different world today. With each generation comes a sea of new information, new technology, new challenges and changes and we need to resource ourselves to teach our children how to arm themselves to face these challenges.
To build these resources I dedicated the past year to building the best and strongest team of professional experts that I could find. I reached out and spoke to political representatives, health service representatives and individuals from all different walks of life, working relentlessly to bring Aunua to life. I wasn’t sure how to impact children all over Ireland let alone globally but I knew we had to make a change. As a mother myself the fear we face for our children’s future can be crippling, especially with outside influences that too often take hold and destroy young lives. I felt compelled to bring this change so that every child can have their voice and feel that what’s possible is possible for them.
I feel blessed to have this opportunity to make a difference and I know and understand my life’s purpose now, to represent children and to be their voice. I hadn’t envisaged my role as being so public and at times have felt completely out of my comfort zone but I know if I want to give children their voice I have to be willing to use mine and speak out.
I’ve been asked so often what is my background as so many think I have some fancy title but the truth is I’m a mommy and I can understand with compassion what this means and the responsibility it involves. I’m a communicator & networker that brings great people together so I’m just me, someone that leads from the heart pushes through to make the necessary changes, to be that voice, and yet still I’m that day dreamer that believes anything is possible when you believe.