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Irish Chamber

2019 Finalist - Michelle Barrett

Irish Australian Business Awards Peoples Choice 2019

Michelle is someone who is kind, caring, driven and inspiring – she has progressed successfully throughout her time in Australia and has overcome a number of hardships, demonstrating resilience throughout. Arriving in 2012 with minimal work experience, Michelle arrived on a working visa with every intention of returning to her home town of Clonakilty after the year was up.

As an active member of the Irish community and of her industry, as well as someone who is constantly supporting everyone in her team, she is someone who absolutely leads from the front and is a fantastic representative of Irish in Australia.

In Michelle’s 2 years at Lotus People, she has made incredible headway. A business focussed on creating an ethical, positive and memorable candidate experience, Michelle’s values align perfectly with the businesses and she has gone from strength to strength.

As the person responsible for the most business development in the company, she is one of the reasons the organisation has grown its revenue year on year. We utilise an external survey platform for candidates and clients to rate our team and Michelle has an aggregate score of 96.41% for candidate experience and 94% for client experience.

As well as her professional success in the office, Michelle has been pivotal in developing a career program for disadvantaged youth through Stepping Stone House, where members of Lotus are partnered with a young person to deliver career advice, support and encouragement. Michelle spends time every two weeks working closely with her mentee, as well as taking part in two fundraising sleep-outs for homelessness and also running the city-to-surf to raise money for this charity. As well as this, Michelle is an active participant in the Irish community, attending most IACC events, completing charity runs through the Ireland Funds and volunteering for Christmas in July with the Irish Support Agency. Michelle was also a finalist for the Sydney Rose in 2015 - her first involvement in the Irish community in Australia and, although she didn’t win, she took so much from this experience and vowed to become more involved with the community here.

In her time in Australia, Michelle has had a number of setbacks, including having to leave the country for three months when visa regulations changed resulting in uncertainty about whether she could stay for good. Although she has had consistent visa issues, happily, she was granted PR last week after 2 ½ years of being on a bridging visa. As many of us know, this can cause a lot of uncertainty and can leave you feeling ungrounded and unsettled, however, Michelle handled this situation with dignity and grace.

In her time in Australia, she also lived through her brother’s serious illness, where he was hospitalised for 2 months. Whilst her family were by his bedside every day, she longed to hear the news that he was making a recovery. Thankfully he did make a full recovery, but it was a testing time for Michelle, being so far away.