Hands Heroes is a podcast dedicated to everyday heroes doing extraordinary things. We all need a hero to look up to and each of our guests are creating magic in what they do. Leaving a positive impact as they embark on their own journey inspiring us all along the way. Each of our heroes confirms that you don’t need to wear a cape to be a hero but if you do, wear it with pride.p:

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Sean is a high performance and leadership consultant to professional athletes, performing artists, and successful CEOs.  He comes from a background of elite sport, having competed at national and international levels in rowing and windsurfing and he combines 30 years as an athlete in competitive sports with a PhD.  So he has got some cred when it comes to talking about performance. 

In this chat with Sean I put to him that achieving more with high performance athletes, on the face of it, would seem to be easier than working with employees who are disengaged and don’t have the ambition at work the athletes do.  I ask him what are the keys for leaders, who’s job it is to motivate those without a clear or shared purpose.  

Finally we explore the topic of recovery and what that can look like for those who did it tough during Covid and what time frame is about right for a recovery after two years hard and unrewarding work. 

Heidi Dening is anything but what you expect when you first meet her.  She has a list of life experiences that read like a script for a James Bond movie.  There is a line that we tread between living on the edge and challenging the status quo and then there is just making dumb decisions.  Heidi has done both, come to think of it haven’t we all.  Her tail of adventure is an intriguing one that gives her a unique perspective when it comes to living a resilient life.  

In her role as an international, award-winning TV & Film Producer, Maz led the biggest brands on earth, with the biggest teams, budgets, audiences and stars. She's worked with the most successful people on earth and if you've watched it, she probably made it and won an award for it. Her content has been watched more than eight billion times and she's produced everyone from pop stars to politicians, scientists to socialites, Hollywood A listers to Astronauts.

Maz now uses that TV psychology, research and expertise to give individuals and businesses that extra something that gets you noticed. They call it The X Factor - she knows how - she should, she made the show and won a Logie for it.

Darren Hill who is a country boy turned Corporate advisor.    He is a behavioural scientist and Executive Director at the company he runs with his wife Alison, Pragmatic Thinking.  

When he is not assisting leaders and business perform better he spends a lot of his time lifting those up in society who need a bit of a hand.  A true advocate for the under represented or those living without equality.  

And when he is not changing the world in his own way he is likely to be found with Patty his young bloke pulling mud crabs out of the Warrell River at Scotts Head.

A good mate and a true champion of the people.

In October of 2022 Hands is leading a walk along the iconic Overland Track in Tassie taking us along the magic of the Cradle Mountain Huts walk over six days and 68kms. During our chat Dan shares the magic of the walk and the memories it leaves with those who embrace the experience.

Life isn't meant to be easy, but surely it doesn't have to be cruel for us to learn the lessons that are on offer.  We have a choice when presented with loss; how we respond.  Annie Love sets the blueprint for dealing with the most heartbreaking loss of all. 

Dan Murray was on the inaugural Hands ride in 2009 and like many of us believed it would be a one off event.  How wrong he was.  Having ridden for more than a decade for Hands in Thailand and Australia, he shares the learnings he has taken, how it has helped shape his view on life and how he has applied that to business. 

Tiff will tell you that everyone gets punched in the face at some point in their life.  It might not be literally, more a metaphorical punch in the face, but having taken plenty of both Tiff knows how to respond.  

In 1995 Paul left university with $8 in his bank account and a sky blue Holden Gemini with beige upholstery. A little over a decade later he found himself hitching a ride on a reconditioned Russian military cargo plane out of Argentina on his way to the heart of Antarctica. He was an unemployed, self-confessed nerd suffering from a serious case of 'imposter syndrome' as he embarked on an unsupported polar expedition to climb the highest peak on the Antarctic continent. 

Despite being a self confessed non-athlete and scientist - Paul has managed to compete in and win some of the worlds toughest races, as well as build multi-million dollar businesses. He has also managed to race in some of Australia and the world’s toughest ultra-marathons - including being one of only eight people in the world and the first Australian to finish and win the 614km 6633 Arctic Ultra. Strap yourself in for this conversation with Paul Watkins.

Dr. Madhu Tamilarasan puts down the stethoscope and shares with us the journey that took her from practicing medicine in England to finding love and her home in Lithgow, a regional town a couple of hours west of Sydney.  

Madhu details for us how she has very purposefully created a life by design that sees her enjoy the balance of living and working as a general practitioner  in rural New South Wales.

Along the way we explore the impact of childhood obesity within society, mental health in light of the pandemic and the value of giving hugs. An insightful and thought provoking conversation.

Paul Grimes who is Operations Manager for Central West Helicopters and  a CASA approved Flight Examiner.  Paul spends his days in the air either instructing student pilots or examining those who are undertaking their flight tests. 

Whilst we discuss Paul’s personal career and love of aviation it is the responsibility that sits with him when he decides to send a student pilot solo for the first time that is fascinating.  How does he find the balance between confidence and skill in the students as he sends them on their initial solo flight knowing if things turn bad, they can turn real bad and the responsibility will be he on his shoulders. 

A born adventurer from humble beginnings to a world traveller, international outdoor guide & pioneering adaptive adventure consultant.

Jezza Williams has over twenty years of experience, guiding internationally on spectacular rivers & canyons, adventuring into lost jungles, Patrolling steep and deep mountains. Working in wild environments: a life of risk taking and exploring limits. Jezza believes your only limitation is yourself.

After a life changing canyoning accident in 2010, there was no holding back. Two years of rehabilitation after losing all independence and coming within an inch of death Jezza now, as a tetraplegic, has never let his disability take control. He has never stopped pushing the limits.

Julie Cross is many things, but a masterful storyteller has to be her gifted super power.  From balayage to boardrooms her story is one of humour, sadness, admiration and inspiration.  From a comfortable and somewhat predictable life to one of adversity and challenge few will face.  You will laugh, you will cry and you will rejoice in Julie’s story. 

Michael is the Chief Executive Officer of Narta a retail services group that few outside of the industry would have heard of.  However, with an annual turnover of $6.3billion it rates as the third largest buying group globally in the industry and the leading retail services provider.

Michael discusses the value in negotiating with integrity and ensuring all sides feel valued and respected in the process.  He also discusses what Hands Across the Water has meant to his industry and to him personally. 

In this episode of Hands Hero podcast I sat down for a chat with a mate of mine Troy Sachs OAM. I first met troy a number of years ago at the departure gate in Bangkok as we both boarded a flight from Thailand to Australia and quickly became mates.

Troy is an Australian wheelchair basketball player. Who competed at five Paralympic Games from 1992 to 2008, where he won three medals. Two golds and a silver.

Troy was inducted into the New South Wales Hall of Champions in 2014. In 2017, Basketball Australia announced that he would be inducted into its Hall of Fame in 2018 and In October 2017, he was inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame as an athlete member.

His sporting feats on the court speak for themselves but it is what happened between the 40-45km mark of the 2021 Ultra Trail Australia 100km run that he has competing in which blows my mind the most.

When things turn bad, they can always get worse….
 
Graduating from university with an engineering degree it seemed that Anthea’s career would be one of finding solutions to problems or maximising opportunities. As the 3rd generation member of the Hammon family to take control of Scenic World, the last two years have tested all of her problem solving skills and then some.
 
Anthea is the Managing Director of what is the most visited, privately owned attraction in Australia, attracting over one million visitors annually. Set within the World Heritage-listed Blue Mountains, the company is a third generation family business. Established in 1945 when Harry Hammon converted the abandoned Katoomba Colliery into the Scenic Railway, it continues to be owned and operated by the same family.
 
Anthea shares the challenges that have been presented to her on a business level since the outbreak of Covid, the joy that she gets from creating meaningful shared experiences for families and amongst all of the work in finding a way to keep a tourist business going through months of lockdown.. her family home burnt to the ground…I trust you will enjoy this conversation with a remarkably resilient woman. 

In Part 2 of the conversation with Randall Smith we hear that upon his return from the US where he was working with the DEA as part of his role as a Detective Sergeant with the Queensland Police things take a different turn than expected.  His career that he loved started to unravel as what would ultimately be a long and painful exit from a career he loved.  

Hitting the lowest point of his life everything is on the table and needs to change as he starts the climb back.  The journey is a remarkable turn around once he took control.  Founding a company that would go on to employee over 100 staff and shedding over 60kg that led to his completion of an ultra marathon in 2021.  

As the challenge of dealing with mental health rises in our community the journey of Randall serves as a reminder that there is a way out of the darkness.

Randall Smith, a country boy from Walcha in northern NSW went from kicking in doors leading the investigation into Clandestine Labs as a Detective Sergeant with Qld Police to battling the Black Dog of depression. His weight ballooned to 130kg and his self worth plummeted, as one went up the other went down. Until he took control, turned his life around founded a company employing over 100 people and then decided to run an Ultra Marathon. A conversation over two episodes is inspiring to all of us as he battles the demons he could see and those he couldn't, until the colour returned and life again found meaning and purpose. 

Jen Brown is a former corporate lawyer who left a safe and steady career behind to pursue her passion in helping others achieve their best. From a passion of running trails she quickly found herself sought out to help others achieve their goals and before long she was doing it full time.

Jen shares the joy she has at seeing others achieve their goals that were once well outside of their belief system and she also talks about taking care of our mental health and how movement and exercise might not be the ultimate solution but is a great place to start.

An insightful, funny and engaging chat.