Matthew Flinders Anglican College welcomes Mrs Heidi Müller to our College Executive Team as Director of Business and Operations. Heidi’s role is to provide strategic direction and leadership to the commercial activity of the College.
We asked Heidi to share some of her story through this Q&A profile – from growing up in the UK and Africa, to her love of travel, settling in Australia, building a diverse career in finance and education, the left-field projects she's been challenged with along the way, and what she loves about life here on the Sunshine Coast.
What skills, passion and vision do you bring to your role?
My vision is to provide the finance and business management skills which allow educators to focus on the core business of educating and preparing young people for their futures, keeping Flinders at the forefront of education. I have a curious nature and a keen desire to continuously seek improvement. I love to know the finer detail of how things work to focus on how the big picture can be better. Finance and Education is a place where my passions intersect.
How are you keen to contribute to our College?
Being the Director of Business and Operations in a school is rewarding in multiple ways. I look forward to leading the various teams, the breadth the role offers and the multitude of relationships to be developed. I aim to ensure that funding decisions and allocation of resources have the biggest possible impact on children’s learning and help to improve their overall school experience.
What is your background? Can you please share some of your history and experience so our students and families get to know you as a new member of our Flinders staff.
I was born in Manchester (City, not United!) in the UK. In the early 1980s I immigrated to South Africa with my parents and three siblings. I relocated to Australia just over four years ago. I am married to Markus and have two children, Jacqueline and Sebastien.
What roles have you previously worked in and what have you enjoyed about your career to date?
I wanted to be a Chartered Accountant from the age of 14. I often spent Saturday mornings and school holidays tagging along to work to help my Mum count stock or cash floats. I qualified after completing articles with KPMG where I spent a further three years as an Audit Manager. I left Public Practice to join Microsoft where I spent nine years in various roles with responsibility for the finance functions of the South African subsidiary and later West, East and Central Africa and Indian Ocean Islands region.
Just over 11 years ago a desire for less business travel led me to exit the corporate world. I happened upon the education space quite fortuitously at the time and have since worked at St Peter’s Schools in Johannesburg and Masada College in Sydney. My love for lifelong learning led me to complete a Postgraduate Certificate in Education in 2015, which enables me to teach Economic Management Sciences to Years 7-9 and Accounting to Years 10-12.
A career spanning audit and finance allows one a broad spectrum of experiences, and mine has included counting pigs and cattle during a stock take, debt collection in Senegal and Nigeria as well as feasibility studies for school expansion. My career path has afforded me the opportunity to travel to 20 new countries, meet Bill Gates, attend the 2010 World Cup final, summit Mount Kilimanjaro and walk in the footsteps of Jesus on the Via Dolorosa.
What do you love about living on the Sunshine Coast?
I have lived on the Sunshine Coast for six months, having spent four years in Sydney since arriving in Australia. I love the blue skies, hinterland, beaches and friendliness of the people. For me it represents a perfect balance of regional but not rural, far enough from the bright city lights but close enough to visit my children who remain based in Sydney.
What hobbies do you enjoy on the Sunshine Coast?
I love outdoor activities and have met some amazing women through running with a local group. When not training for the next half marathon I also love to hike and also hope to find some time to take my bikes out on the roads and trails soon. A good book is also high on my list.
What do you enjoy about working in a school community?
I love being able to apply my profession in the foundation of our society. Nelson Mandela once said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” My role allows me to contribute to this indirectly while also watching it firsthand.
What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
“A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle.”
Who gave you the advice and how has it helped you to grow as a person?
I wish I could recall where I heard it but, like many things, the details fade. Essentially it reminds me that success in life is based on providing support and receiving support from other people. Much like the African philosophy of ‘Ubuntu’ or ‘I am because we are’.
Welcome to our College community, Heidi! We are thrilled to have you on board, bringing such strong skills, expertise and a positive approach to our Flinders staff team.