Derrick McManus

In 1994 Derrick McManus was shot 14 times in less than 5 seconds with a high-powered semi-automatic rifle. Two years later he returned to full duties.

Derrick’s history epitomizes durability.

Why are some people able to manage challenges with ease and yet others struggle? Shouldn’t everyone be able to manage the challenges in their life and career?

Derrick believes everyone has the ability to succeed and his Human Durability philosophy, systems and training help people do just that. Derrick believes these systems are part of the reason he not only survived the shooting but also thrived afterwards; physically, mentally and emotionally.

Human Durability is more than just bouncing back after mistakes or failure. Human Durability gives us a process to follow that enables us to foresee the challenges, avoid the need to bounce back and go on to sustain optimum performance. This is efffective for individuals, leaders and organisations that want to take on bigger challenges or make bold, confident changes.

Human Durability is such a significant step beyond resilience that The University of South Australia’s School of Psychology is collaborating with Derrick in research. He has also founded the Australian Centre for Human Durability.

Derrick’s was a Police sniper, diver and counter-terrorist operative in the elite Special Tasks And Rescue (STAR) Group. He was trained in counter-terrorist operations by the military elite Special Air Services (SAS). During a high-risk arrest Derrick was shot 14 times and lay on the ground for three hours before being rescued.

Despite lost so much blood that he saw the ‘white light’. The first doctor to reach him thought he was already dead. But then, the doctor said, “he took a last gasping breath and I thought maybe we could do something … I actually don’t know how he survived, he’s an incredible human being.”

The story and success is pure inspiration and has moved audiences around the world to laughter, tears and making significant changes to attitudes and behaviours. 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 with every audience.

In the Mental Health space – Derrick met with a psychiatrist just 3 months after the shooting. After a single 2 hour appointment, Derrick was told he did not need any further psychological follow up and was psychologically cleared to return to full duties immediately.

Derrick is also the founder of the Australian Centre for Human Durability.

As a keynote speaker or trainer Derrick is articulate, powerful, charismatic and discerning in his message. Through his amazing and inspirational story he draws metaphors and similes to the challenges of every day life and business. Audiences are captivated by the detail and drama, entertained by a cheeky sense of humor and empowered by his remarkable insights and the Human Durability systems. Importantly, every story and every laugh has either a direct or subliminal connection to improving personal confidence and performance.

Derrick has been featured on TV shows such as 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 around Australia and in USA, New Zealand, Fiji 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.


  • Human Durability – go beyond resilience to sustaining optimum performance
  • Get Your Head in the Game – Attitude and Belief determines results
  • The Journey – From Fragility to Resilience to Durability
  • Decision Making Under Pressure – making tough calls without the stress
  • Know ‘Your Base Line’ – reset to 100% reliable for success
  • A Thousand Possibilities – problem solving, solutions focus and decision making
  • Mental Health/PTSD/Depression – Human Durability is preventative medicine for the brain. Derrick suffered depression and yet still went back to the elite STAR Group. This story and his attitude are very powerful for the Mental Health space.
  • Open, Honest and Confronting conversations – Nelson Mandela said “one cannot prepare for something while secretly believing it will not happen” … have that conversation
  • Risk Management – Derrick loves risk but survival and sustained optimum performance is dependent on risk management not risk taking.



“One of the most powerful presentations I’ve ever seen and truly remarkable life lessons” –Cathie Crampton, Head of Property Management, Harcourts International

So powerful that we booked Derrick for conferences in four states. – Manager Training and Development, Austbrokers Holdings Ltd

In a room full of people I know to be social and restless I was astounded at the rapt attention being paid. The “Get Your Head in the Game” workshop made it possible to look at ways we confine ourselves by our assumptions and how we can change to be more creative and successful.  – Recreation and Human Services Director, San Leandro, California

Derrick’s motivation and self-belief is infectious and life changing. Our managers are different people” – Amanda Schultz, Business Manager, ANZ Bank

He was exceptional –CEO, Q-Comp (Queensland Compensation Scheme)

What Derrick has to say is directly transferable and usable when you walk into the office on Monday morning. It’s very practical and very powerful. – President, Australian Property Institute

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.  – General Manager – Security Westfield

Not only is Derrick’s presentation a strong metaphor for many facets of organizational life, it goes much deeper, evoking strong emotions that question the meaning, value, quality and ultimately purpose of ones life. – Human Resource Manager, Lifeplan Funds 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. – Executive General Manager (SA), Hudson

Derrick’s workshop at our leadership conference was amazing. From the moment he opened with his personal experience he had us fully engaged. Not only were the sessions so empowering, he delivered the content with humour, compassion and total respect for individuals. Feedback shows that Derrick’s motivation and self-belief is infectious and life changing.  – Amanda Schultz, Business Development Manager, ANZ Bank

Previous clients also include:

Telstra BHP OMV Oil – New Zealand
California Parks and Recreation Society Portfolio Planning Solutions Risk Management Aust
Several California cities QBE Insurance Queensland Rail
Connective (Insurance Aggregator) CPA Australia Capstone Financial
Dixon Asia Pacific University of Adelaide Proteus Leadership
Mortgage Choice Australian Institute of Management SA Dept. of Premier and Cabinet
Local Government Assoc. Queensland The Professionals (real estate) Sth. Aust. Institute of Sport
Housing Industry Assoc., BankSA Primary Industry and Resources SA.