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14 bullets later.


In 1994 Derrick McManus was shot 14 times in less than 5 seconds with a high-powered semi-automatic rifle.

Two and a half years later he returned to full duties.

Current work
Derrick’s history epitomizes durability. Derrick shows you how you too can go beyond resilience to durability and create sustained optimum performance; greater success for your people, leaders and your organisation.

Derrick has also gone onto found the Australian Centre for Human Durability and is collaborating with the University of South Australia’s School of Psychology to continue his world-first research.

As a keynote speaker Derrick is powerful, charismatic and discerning in his message. He draws from his amazing and inspirational story of surviving 14 bullets, his time as a Police STAR Group operative, detailed below, and the learning from his research. Audiences are captivated by the detail and drama while entertained by his cheeky sense of humor and empowered by his remarkable insights. Importantly, every story and every laugh has either a direct or subliminal connection to improving personal confidence and performance.

Human Durability goes well beyond resilience. Sustained optimum performance builds stronger people and organisations.

Resilience is the ability to bounce back. Human Durability is a simple yet powerful concept to ‘sustain optimum performance’. Optimum performance is neither peak performance nor perfection; both of which are impossible to sustain as personal circumstances change, markets change and clients change. Sustained optimum performance is the very best you can do in any given circumstances and especially under pressure. The process for Durability is what Derrick employed to survive the shooting and return first to the family he loved and then to the job he adored.

Previous experience
Derrick was trained in counter-terrorist operations by the military Special Air Services (SAS). His role was a sniper, diver and counter-terrorist operative in the elite South Australian Police - Special Tasks And Rescue (STAR) Group when he was shot 14 times. Following his shooting, he lay on the ground for three hours before being rescued. Despite losing so much blood that he saw the ‘white light’, he defied all physical and psychological odds by surviving and then thriving. The first doctor to reach him saw the massive injuries and blood loss and thought he was already dead. He later said, “I actually don’t know how he survived, he’s an incredible human being.”

Derrick was not without mental health challenges upon his return to STAR Group and is happy to openly discuss them. His challenges were not brought on by the shooting itself. A single 3 hour appointment with a world-renowned trauma psychiatrist and he was psychologically clear to return to full duties. Of course he had a long road of physical rehabilitation to go. However, his clinical depression was diagnosed when roadblocks to his success were surreptitiously put up by people he thought were supportive. This didn’t prevent his drive for success and again he returned to the elite level of STAR Group following his diagnosis of depression. Derrick is now proud to be trained specifically in Mental Health First Aid.

Derrick’s story and success is pure inspiration in its own right and has wowed audiences around the world. Now, combined with the Human Durability philosophy, it’s one of the most powerful presentations you’re likely to see. Yet Derrick is grounded, authentic and with quick wit and humor has the ability to connect and engage everyone.

He has been featured on A Current Affair (Ch 9), I Survived (Fox) and Good Morning Australia (Ch 7) and others, as well radio in almost every state.

He has spoken at conferences all over Australia, USA, New Zealand and Singapore. Whether it’s opening or closing a conference; a mid-conference workshop or breakout, as a panelist or delivering an in-house program, Derrick will have audiences thinking and acting differently within minutes and will ensure your event is remembered for years to come.

Talking Points

Human Durability - sustaining optimum performance

Get Your Head in the Game - Attitude and Belief determines results

Decision Making Under Pressure - make tough calls without the stress

Changing ‘Back to Basics’ into ‘Know Your Base Line’ - reset for success

Open, Honest and Confronting conversations - Nelson Mandela said “one cannot prepare for something while secretly believing it will not happen

Mental Health/PTSD/Depression

A Thousand Possibilities - problem solving

Managing Risk - Derrick loves risk but survival was dependent on risk management not risk taking.

So powerful that we booked Derrick for conferences in four states. Austbrokers Holdings Ltd

Westfield was looking for a speaker who could demonstrate the importance of (1) operating as a professional team, (2) planning and preparing for all eventualities, (3) setting and delivering goals. Derrick’s life experience was a natural fit and in addition he was able to structure his speech to touch on our corporate objectives. The audience was inspired by his courage, tenacity and honesty and having listened to and/or engaged over 20 motivational speakers I rate Derrick as one of the best we have encountered.

Security Westfield

You'll get a lot out of Derrick. He holds your interest. He will inspire you. He is so energetic and enthusiastic. Most importantly, he shows a genuine interest in you and what you need

Macquarie Wealth Management

Derrick’s situation was such that I felt many parallels could be drawn to illustrate goal setting, teamwork, perseverance and determination, training, focus and courage. He delivered his talk in a very natural, open and insightful manner. It had a very positive effect on my staff.


If Derrick could conjure up all the will power to endure what he did, and win through, then so can we.” This is exactly the commitment we were looking for in our people.

Mitsubishi Motors Aust.
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