“Life is all about balance, which I am pretty ruthless about; ensuring I'm neither lost in my studies nor outside contributions,” Brendan explains. “There were so many great opportunities at Swinburne, and I tried my hand at a lot of them. I'm deeply humbled and grateful for all the awards were a happy by-product of my efforts.”
Swinburne also reinforced Brendan's passion for volunteering and advocacy. While at university, his commitment to making an impact through Neurodiversity Advocacy resulted in him being recognised as a Rotary Youth Leader. “I’m a firm believer in the value of diversity,” says Brendan. “For too long, neurodivergent people were met with apprehension right through to exclusion; neither of which really made sense – they’re just people. Contributing to these de-stigmatisation conversations was eye-opening and something I still try to highlight in less direct ways, such as advising to consider diversity when selecting vendors.”
Driving affordable housing for all
In 2021, Brendan took on the role of Corporate Projects Manager at Common Equity Housing Limited (CEHL): a co-operative housing association helping its members deliver effective and affordable co-operative housing programs.
“The opportunity to combine my love of strategy with indirectly helping some of Victoria’s most vulnerable was a unique opportunity,” says Brendan.
A year on, Brendan is driving Corporate Services’ implementation of CEHL’s five-year Towards 2025 strategy to create an environment for stable growth and a greater capacity for positive impact. According to him, the housing association strives to provide more than just housing. “It’s our vision to empower people, to create thriving co-operatives and offer better housing solutions,” he explains.
“For many of Victoria’s vulnerable, it’s easy to fall into feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. By using a co-operative model run by members, for members, they are able to play an active and valuable role in the process.”
Reinvesting in the trailblazers of tomorrow, today
When Brendan isn’t busy supporting those who drive affordable housing, he spends as much time as possible continuing his volunteering and advocacy work. Passionate about Swinburne’s role in creating innovators of the future, Brendan has been providing career advice to countless students at the university for almost two years.
“Charlie Chaplain once said that we should be giving our youth a future and old age a security,” says Brendan. “Not knowing is fine for a time, so if a little perspective helps students with raw potential pave their own path forward, I know I have helped make the world that bit more inclusive, sustainable and cohesive.”
“Not knowing is fine for a time, so if a little perspective helps students with raw potential pave their own path forward, I know I have helped make the world that bit more inclusive, sustainable and cohesive.”
Among many other positions, Brendan also volunteers at two other universities, provides strategic and project advice, and career coaches those in transition because of COVID.
When asked how he is able to maintain such an impressive drive to create a positive impact, Brendan says the answer is simple.
“I believe that we all have what it takes to make an impact,” says Brendan. “The key is finding a cause you align with, and prioritising it; the biggest investment is time and taking your ego out of it for someone or something else’s benefit. Once you’ve done that, the journey will take care of itself.”