Griffith Alumnus Inspired to Help Others and Make a Difference
HR Director Retha Du Plessis is using her Griffith MBA to give back to the community. After initially enrolling with the aim of diversifying her skillset, she ended up discovering new meaning in her career beyond her day job.
“I first decided to go back and study because I realised I knew a lot about HR but not about general business culture,” she says.
“That is what motivated me initially.”
The opportunity for Retha to make a difference presented itself at a networking event when she happened to cross paths with both the CEO and the HR Board Director of Suited to Success/Dress for Success Brisbane.
About Suited to Success/Dress for Success
Based in South East Queensland, Suited to Success is a not-for-profit organization that aims to eliminate unemployment by helping individuals get job-ready. Some of the services offered provide participants with professional clothing, a strong support network, and career development tools.
Using her HR skills, Retha started working with Dress for Success Brisbane, a program run by Suited to Success, on a volunteer basis to help them through a major restructure. In addition to her full-time job as HR Director, she now volunteers her time as the Board Director.
Retha credits the Griffith MBA with changing her perspective on how she could apply her skillset.
“My Griffith MBA opened my eyes, as there are so many opportunities to get involved in something that isn’t just your day job,” she shares.
“Following on from the Sustainability module and the amazing ideas that came out of that particular subject… it was mind blowing. I realised that simple ideas could make such a huge difference to people.”
In her role as Board Director, Retha helps provide jobseekers with the resources and confidence they need to find employment.
“Seeing people’s whole demeanour change when they walk out of here – they just light up and stand a bit taller – it’s really rewarding.”
A Winning Partnership
As Suited to Success doesn’t receive any government funding, it relies on donations and organisational partnerships to support job seekers. Griffith University is proud to announce a partnership with the charity, a move that Retha says will work because of the values shared by both organisations.
“Griffith connects to the business world much more than other universities do, I think,” Retha explains.
“And we both have the same end goals – to make a difference in the world, and to set people up in the best way possible for them to be able to enter the workforce.”