Inspiring People: Paulette McCormack, Fresh HR Insights

We love stories about people. There are so many things we can learn from other people’s experiences and achievements that inspire us to achieve great things ourselves – especially when we are going through a rough patch. Following the popularity of the our Inspiring Women blog series, we have started a new series, Inspiring People, where we will share lots of inspiring stories like this one from Paulette McCormack:

1. Tell us your story:
I am Paulette and I am originally from New Zealand, lived in the UK for 17 years and moved to Australia where I have now been for 4 years. I am a single mum of 2 daughters and Human Resource Specialist and business owner. Was it always easy? Hell No.
10 years ago I was in the UK and destroyed. Three strong women in my family passed away, including my mother, I had a baby and my then husband walked out. I had no job, my so called friends vanished, I was alone, devastated, grieving, no qualifications to get a job and two mouths to feed. Fast forward and I have AMAZING daughters, one and almost two Masters in the Human Resource Management/Employment Relations field, Diplomas in Business and in Management, TAE Training qualifications. I also have my own home, my own business of four years, have been accepted onto the sessional lecturers list at Griffith University, and am working towards a public speaking accreditation. I am also a host mum to international students – very different from being in an empty house with deck chairs and beans on toast for tea each night. 

2. How did you identify the goal/s you wanted to achieve?
It was not a conscious decision to start with but I knew I couldn’t stay where I was. I needed to provide for my daughters. Human Resources were one of those things that I feel into purely by chance, and was really good at. Once I got into it I completed one qualification and looked what was next and went for that. When I moved from the UK to Australia I was “over-qualified, had no local knowledge, no local experience or was under qualified” – so I looked at what jobs were asking for and set out to get it. I did go overboard but I didn’t know many people – actually I knew one when I got here – so I studied to fill in the time. I also networked heaps and that’s how I met all the AWESOME people I now know here on the Gold Coast. 

3. How did you work towards achieving your goal – did you have a plan and a deadline to achieve your goals?  
I achieved my first Masters by giving up 2.5 years of my life to work, being a mum and studying. As soon as the girls went to bed I would study. I didn’t know a lot of the words used at Masters level, so I had a dictionary next to me as I read and read and read. I studied or did assignments on the weekends when I didn’t have my daughters. Was it all worth it? YES. My deadlines were set by the course schedules. Each day I put one foot in front of the other. 

4. What was the biggest challenge you encountered along the way?
The biggest challenge was the self-belief that I could and can actually do it. I wanted to give up so many times but I knew that there was no one else to blame but me if I did not do it. 

5. What inspires you and keeps you going when you encounter obstacles?
My daughters inspire me to keep going. I want to give them the world and more. I read a lot of self-help books and listen to motivational speakers whenever I can. When I decided to move to Australia I had to get permission. I could not just take the girls (that is actually abduction) BUT I did it, and we left on a new adventure. 

6. What advice do you have for anyone wanting to achieve a goal?
If you have a goal that you want to achieve I would advise anyone to picture the future they want and how that feels to have achieved it. When you have hard days – close your eyes and really feel what it will be like to get there. And go again. Take time if you need time to rest and surround yourself with like-minded people – you are the product of the 5 people closest to you.

7. What are the next goals you hope to achieve?
My next goals are to finish my last unit for this Masters, get my public speaking accreditation and continue to build my business to be successful. I am not 100% sure what successful is but I will keep putting one foot in front of the other till I find it. When we believe we can succeed. 

Paulette McCormack is a driven, passionate and pragmatic Human Resource Specialist helping business owners with their workplace compliance. Learn more about what Paulette does at

Read more stories about other inspiring women here…

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