Game changer

Pierre Johannessen

Basketball is more than just a game for Pierre, it’s a way to change the world. He’s CEO of NGO Big Bang Ballers, an organisation that’s supported more than 8500 children in Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal, Afghanistan and the Philippines, building basketball courts and donating thousands of dollars’ worth of equipment and resources to orphanages, schools and charities aimed at youth.

As well as being an Australian Human Rights activist, Pierre is also a journalist, recipient of the ACT Young Australian of the Year award for 2010, a Partner at Johannessen Legal, an accomplished speaker and speechwriter, and a board member of several charities. For him, it’s the connections he’s made here in Canberra that have really helped him achieve his goals.

“What many people don’t realise is that Canberra has a huge international cross section and a diverse range of incredibly interesting and influential people. The community here is also like one giant family. Everyone wants to help you succeed. So that gives you the opportunity to learn from some of the best minds and hearts in the world.

I’ve lived all around the world and Canberra has all the benefits of a small town. I can walk to work in five minutes, not stand in line to get lunch, and drive a leisurely seven minutes to court. But then it has all the infrastructure and establishments of a big cosmopolitan city. There’s always something going on here but it’s not in your face. It’s all about quality over quantity.”

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Pierre Johannessen