Flying high for those who dare | UniSC | University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Flying high for those who dare

At 17, I moved from Bundaberg to the Sunshine Coast to study at UniSC. I was heavily involved with surf lifesaving and wanted to continue it while I studied. Moving to Varsity and going to UniSC meant I could do both! And like many at that age, I had no idea what I wanted to do or the person I wanted to become so a Bachelor of Business seemed like a degree I could broadly apply to almost any career path. Luckily, my parents had encouraged me throughout high school to intern at companies during my school holidays so when it came time to choose a major, I knew I was at least interested in Human Resources.

The power of inspiration
I was fortunate to connect well with all my lecturers, tutors and peers, but I was particularly inspired by one HR lecturer who had achieved so much, personally and professionally. When I met Caroline Sorby, she was a confident, successful and independent woman who, at the time, was the Director of Human Resources at Hyatt Regency Coolum, a wife, mother of two, and a captivating lecturer and tutor at UniSC in her ‘spare time’.

I immediately idolised her, observing how one person could positively influence the culture and morale of the people around her. I knew that I wanted a similar career for myself. She had encouraged me to apply for a job at the Hyatt Regency while I was studying and, to this day, I credit much of my career to Caroline and many other incredible mentors I’ve been fortunate to learn from. Their leadership has taught me the confidence to lead exceptional teams with integrity, to never shy from an opportunity and to always dare to do more.

Those who dare
Over the previous 10 years, my career (and heart!) led me across the world. During my final years of study, I was the Human Resource Manager of a large labour hire company in Western Australia, and I also worked alongside a brilliant CEO of a publicly listed telecommunications company, assisting him to head hunt international talent. I then fell in love and found myself moving to Italy to jointly build and manage an award-winning 250-seat restaurant for 4 years.

In 2019, I returned to Australia and worked for an international software development company in the construction industry, project managing multiple million-dollar developments which ultimately came at a price to my health. Within two years, I was suffering from extreme burnout and eventually came to the difficult decision to resign as Managing Partner, with no clue as to what I would do next.

After a few months contemplating my next move, I realised I didn’t need to apply for a job but instead could create my own! And so, Those Who Dare was born combining my two passions of business and helping people realise their potential. Within a day, I had registered my business, set up a website, organised my banking and got my first client. My intentions were firstly to support female start-ups by helping them to conceptualise, build and launch their products or services, and secondly to work alongside small to medium-sized businesses in Australia providing external HR services. I have to say, it was some of the most meaningful work I’ve done in my career, which has ultimately led me to my new challenge.

Flying high
One of my clients was aerospace technology company HeliMods, based in Caloundra on the Sunshine Coast, who have world-leading capabilities in advanced digital design, engineering and manufacturing. They provide innovative products and solutions to support complex and special mission aircraft, including emergency medical retrieval, search and rescue, aerial policing, defence, and special operations. Their clients include the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS), the Victorian Police, LifeFlight, and Canadian organisation Ornge, who also provide critical care patient transportation and services.

An example is the new RFDS Beechcraft King Air 360 fixed-wing aircraft currently in our hangar. One of several we’ll be modifying, we begin by removing almost all of the internal pieces of the aircraft cabin. We then use digital engineering tools including advanced Computer Aided Engineering, modelling, advanced simulation and augmented, virtual and blended reality to design the solution that meets our customer’s specific needs. As a vertically integrated organisation providing end-to-end service and solutions, we’re then able to leverage our advanced manufacturing capabilities to produce products that fit the required configurations. These are then certified, integrated and assembled onsite, ready to be installed. One of the designs in the RFDS aircraft features our unique interlocking flooring system which allows the ability to fit two patient stretchers instead of one – saving twice as many lives.

When Managing Director Will Shrapnel recently offered me a role in Corporate Growth, I couldn’t say no. I’m now responsible for corporate strategic engagement within our teams and across government, industry, education and the community. Challenged with an international skills shortage, I’m looking forward to leading their talent acquisition and supporting an ambitious strategy as we have many exciting projects on the horizon.

Giving back - Young Chamber of Commerce
I’ve been so fortunate to have had some exceptional mentors during my career, and now it’s my turn to give back as an executive member of the Sunshine Coast Young Chamber of Commerce (SCYCC). Founded in 2020, the SCYCC is a network created by local, young professionals to support other young and driven professionals, wanting to make an impact in the business community on the Sunshine Coast.

My greatest joy comes from connecting great people with others and supporting them in any way possible, which I find incredibly fulfilling. I encourage others to prioritise connection in both their personal and professional lives because after all, those who dare, win.


Miranda McLennan

Miranda McLennan

Miranda credits a UniSC lecturer with inspiring her to lead with integrity, to never shy away from an opportunity and to dare to do more. After some life-changing experiences and roles since leaving uni, including living abroad, Miranda created her own business to help others realise their potential. Recently accepting a new challenge heading up Corporate Growth for former client HeliMods, Miranda is "flying high" whilst giving back to the next generation of leaders.

Miranda graduated with a Bachelor of Business (Human Resource Management) in 2017.

RFDS Beechcraft King Air 360 fixed-wing aircraft
RFDS Beechcraft King Air 360 fixed-wing aircraft in the HeliMods hangar
Sunshine Coast Young Chamber of Commerce event
Miranda presenting at a Sunshine Coast Young Chamber of Commerce event

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