The Network of Possibility



The Network of Possibility is hosting a cocktail reception on Wednesday 9 August. The event will raise funds for its charities of choice: Toora Women Inc., Karinya House, and YWCA Canberra.

Two guest speakers will share their views at the Network on Wednesday:

Former Secretary Mark Sullivan will lead a discussion on the role of leadership in creating ‘non-blokey’ workplaces. Mr Sullivan will unpack the issue of gender inequity with case studies and his personal insight.

Leading gamification expert Kerstin Oberprieler will lead a discussion on imposter phenomenon. Ms Oberprieler will share personal insight on how to let your experiences of imposterism guide you forward, not constrain you.


The Network of Possibility celebrates the unique talents of its members with Ask Me Anything (AMA) and the 9 August AMA will be as inspirational as ever with the following amazing women speaking:


  • Tara Cheyne, Legislative Assembly member for Ginninderra, a passionate advocate for Canberra, and especially for her home: Belconnen
  • Kristen Holzapfel, author of Selfless – A Social Worker’s Own Story of Trauma and Recovery and guest speaker at our November event


The Network of Possibility Founder Dr Kim Vella recently interviewed Kerstin to find out what powers this inspiring young woman.

Kerstin recently turned 30 years old and celebrated in a non-traditional way with face painting, a jumping castle, fairy floss, dinosaur decorations and a popcorn machine! She has always had an optimistic and positive attitude and desire to succeed but it hasn’t always been easy. She has faced lots of obstacles along the way.

Her positivity comes from the experiences that she had as a child and she was particularly influenced by her grandfather who was a great inspiration to her. Also, having been born overseas and realising how amazing Australia is, how much abundance there is and the opportunities here have given her the attitude that there is nothing stopping her except for herself. Kerstin says ‘If I’m lying down it’s because I can’t get up’. A fierce advocate for bringing game design and gaming out of the games cupboard, she is a co-founder of gamification company PentaQuest and is enrolled in a PhD in gamification and design at the University of Canberra. She has a black belt in taekwondo and has won medals representing Australia at taekwondo internationally. And Kerstin openly says she experiences imposter phenomenon but that it’s not a bad thing! Feeling like you’re an imposter doesn’t mean you are one!


KV: What will you be talking about next Wednesday at the Network of Possibility?

KO: I will be talking about imposter phenomenon (also referred to as imposter syndrome and imposterism) which is something that people feel quite often but don’t often talk about. It is very personal. About 70% of highly successful people experience impostor phenomenon at one point in their life. I would say most people experience it at more than one point in their life. But people don’t talk about it because it is tied up with their sense of self worth or sense of self belief and those are very touchy subjects. I will be sharing a little bit about what imposter syndrome is, some personal examples of when I experienced it, and I’ll be sharing a person example of where I’m feeling at the moment.


KV: What brought your awareness to imposter syndrome?

KO: I always try to push myself in whatever I’m doing whether it’s for business, my studies or my martial arts. When you try to push yourself and try something new it feels quite uncomfortable and so, I’m quite familiar with what it feels like to have impostor syndrome.

It’s important to talk about it and acknowledge that it is there and that it’s okay – you don’t have to stay there feeling like that. I think a lot of people feel it and they feels like frauds, like they don’t know what they’re doing and that they may let people down. It is very easy for people, especially women, to then step back into where it’s comfortable rather than to move towards the uncomfortable feeling.

It’s something that comes up a lot in the martial arts field when people are going for a grading or fighting in a tournament and they say to me, “Kerstin I don’t think I’m up to it”, and very often it comes down to imposter syndrome.


KV: What motivated you to get into design work and gamification?

KO: I have a background in commerce and psychology and have always been interested in people and business and how can we make people and businesses be awesome. I heard of ThinkPlace and thought wow they do amazing stuff but I never thought I was good enough to work there. I didn’t apply for a role there — I was actually headhunted by someone. Because [I] admired them so much I thought there’s no way I’ll be good enough or smart enough so what’s the point in applying for a job there. Luckily someone from ThinkPlace reached out to me and said, “hey come and work for us”. I’ve been there for six years. I love working there because at ThinkPlace you can be human and bring all of yourself to work. You get to apply your creativity and your own way of working to every project. You can give each project your own style and flavour and you’re working on nationally significant projects.


KV: What kind of work did you want to do when you were little?

KO: I wanted to be a teacher and a writer. With my martial arts I got to fulfill the teacher part of my dreams but the writing part is yet to be fulfilled.

Now my passion is gamification — using games to achieve goals. Someone asked me the other day, “why are you really into it?” I think right from when I was in my teens I was looking for ways to succeed in life. There are many ways like goal setting, affirmations, and vision boards – and I like all of that stuff – but gamification can bring human potential and performance to another level of greatness.

You can gamify almost anything and one of the things I do is look at how to use gamification to support professional development, team culture, and sharing knowledge. You can also gamify productivity and compliance but my work is looking at pushing it to how we can use gamification to create more meaningful interactions between people and get them to work together to achieve something great.


KV: What challenges have you faced?

KO: One of the biggest challenges I faced recently was having chronic fatigue syndrome. It’s a very little known, or rather little understood illness. It’s chronic because it lasts for many years. I had it for six years. Some people have it for 10, 20 or 30 years. It’s characterised by extreme exhaustion, muscle pains, inability to concentrate, and nausea. It’s horrible. It manifests differently for each person who has it. Worst of all you don’t know exactly what causes it, how to treat it, and some doctors don’t even believe it exists.

I got it when I was representing Australia internationally in Taekwondo. I was training every day, twice a day, while also studying and working to support myself so I could go overseas. On my way back from the tournament, I started to feel fatigued on the plane and I slept from Serbia all the way back to Australia. After while my friends had recovered from the jetlag but I continued to be really exhausted. It turned out I had gotten glandular fever so had swollen eyes, swollen glands, and had to go to hospital because the swelling and pain meant I was unable to stay hydrated.

Once I got out of hospital and some other symptoms had cleared up I was left with a persistent exhaustion. It wasn’t tiredness – it was exhaustion to the extent that lifting my finger was not possible. I was so exhausted I couldn’t finish a thought. Imagine you’re starting to think something and before you’re able to finish the thought you don’t have the energy to remember what you were starting to think about. You just cannot function. And I was stuck with this exhaustion. I was bedridden. I couldn’t go to uni, work, or do anything.

I became so desperate to regain my health, it I opened my eyes to different ways of looking at health and medicine and began to think about alternative treatments. And the alternative treatments started to make a difference. The biggest difference I found was that the alternative medical practitioners validated what was happening for me.

The online forms and everyone around me said that I would have to get used to living a subpar life with chronic fatigue. I refused to live with this negative energy. I thought, if I can’t be of service to people my life is not worth living. It’s either give up or fight. So I fought it.


KV: What can you tell people who might be suffering either from chronic fatigue or in another way that will help inspire them?

KO: I think it depends on what the challenges. If it is a health challenge it might be making it difficult for you to live the life that you had before or the life that you want but I think the important thing to note is that you’re not alone. Even if you have a really rare disease most of the time someone else will have had that disease or had something similar or had similar symptoms or experiences. Chronic fatigue has helped me connect with people who have had all sorts of different health issues because it has such a different impact on everyone’s life. From PTSD, to insomnia and rheumatoid arthritis, I’ve connected with so many sufferers. When you’re sick your body is trying to tell you something and that was, for me, a very hard lesson that took me many years to understand. It was like the universe gave me a multiple-layered gift that it wanted me to learn in one go. (You’re welcome!)

For me it was about letting myself rest, giving myself time to heal but also just reminding me to do what I want. We take for granted our health, our finances, our work, and people in our lives. Just enjoy what’s there and let yourself enjoy what you have, relax, enjoy and have fun.

I was lucky because I was able to completely cover from chronic fatigue but not all illnesses can be recovered from. I think it’s accepting that you have to make some changes and that’s okay and have the right people around you in your life.


KV: What three things do you do every day that help sustain your health and wellbeing?


  1. Be grateful and set an intention. I have a busy day today and my intention for today is to enjoy the day. When I get quite busy I can get stressed. So my intention is to approach it with ease and grace.
  2. Be very disciplined with myself and set aside part of the day for down time. I work hard all day and then go to martial arts training where I push myself hard. In my downtime I chill and hug my dog or just relax with my partner.
  3. Surround yourself with optimistic, positive and proactive people.


Hear Kerstin speak at the Network of Possibility!


Tickets are $65 plus booking fee per person (this include drinks and nibblies for 2 hours) and can be purchased via Humanitix. We have created a super secret discount code for Leiden readers — SHINE — use this code to get a 15% discount on your tickets!


Event Deatils

Wednesday 9 August, 6pm to 8pm

25 Forster Crescent, Yarralumla

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For more information about the Network of Possibility contact Kim Vella via or 0422749649.


Kim Vella

What you see is what you get with Kim – and that is why her clients love working with her. There is no corporate persona, just a personable executive coach who engages and empowers talented leaders to break through the “inner game” – self-sabotage and self-limiting thoughts. Her extended multicultural family warms her heart and her Whippet, Oscar, keeps her on her toes!

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