Real purpose, real global impact: How Tania Fitzsimons found her greatest opportunity in her own backyard
As a flight attendant, Tania Fitzsimons travelled the world: Japan, Germany, Africa, the United States … the impressive list goes on. Yet, south-east Queensland is the place that’s made the biggest impact on her life and career. Tania emerged from the turbulence of COVID-19 to discover an incredible opportunity at Maverick Bio. Today, our Regional Production Leader supports our production teams to create a real global impact right from the heart of regional Australia.
Rising to the challenge
Tania Fitzsimons is the kind of person who takes challenges in her stride. She has every reason to look upon the year 2020 as one of hardship: after all, COVID-19 led to her husband being stood down as an international pilot. Yet, Tania brushes it off as a mere “spanner in the works”. It’s this enduring positivity that’s helped Tania succeed so swiftly at Maverick Bio.
Growing up on a cattle property in the South Burnett region of Queensland, Tania is no stranger to challenges and honest, hard work. She began studying agribusiness at university, but the world beyond the Bunya Mountains was calling. So, Tania hung up her farm boots and became an international flight attendant.
Ten years and 33 countries later, Tania bid farewell to global travel and settled into farm life once again, this time with her husband, Rick, and their two children on their cattle farm at Yarraman. But when COVID-19 hit, and her husband’s career as a pilot was grounded, Tania decided it was time to re-enter the workforce.
“I thought maybe I should get a job to hold us over the month or two this COVID thing would last,” Tania laughs. “I saw a job ad for Maverick Bio on SEEK. It said, ‘Do you want to help save lives?’ And I thought, ‘I wonder what that’s about?’ Saving lives really struck a chord with me.”
Tania joined Maverick Bio as a Production Operator in May 2020, collecting animal-derived biomaterials for life-saving medical procedures and vital health research. Little did she know it was the beginning of an unexpected and incredibly rewarding career.
“COVID forced me to go back to work, but saving lives makes me stay,” Tania says. “I loved being at home with my kids, but I’m happy to give up some of that time if it means I’m achieving something. I’m passionate about Maverick and its values, and I can’t wait to see it continue to grow.”
A true people leader
Although Tania had no prior experience in production before joining #teammaverick, she received the one-to-one support she needed to thrive. And with her trademark can-do attitude, Tania relished the challenge of learning new skills with a close-knit, collaborative team.
After just two months, Tania went from Production Operator to 21C. And in November 2021, she became Regional Production Leader for Queensland. It may be a world away from being a flight attendant, but Tania says she’s found real purpose, real people and great opportunity at #teammaverick.
“I never thought I’d be leading teams in an abattoir, but it’s amazing. I’ve received support every step of the way, and I now cover multiple production sites in regional Queensland. Each site is different, so there’s been a lot to learn. I’ve loved getting in there and helping to build our teams. That’s what I enjoy the most – the people.”
As Regional Production Manager, Tania ensures our production teams have everything they need to be their best. She enjoys travelling between sites, and is a humble, hands-on leader who seizes every opportunity to work alongside our team members on the production floor.
“The teams I support daily in Queensland supply a range of products to multiple clients throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia. I find it truly amazing what innovative, smart people in the healthcare industry can achieve with the raw material we can collect.”
Tania also travels throughout the year to our production sites in New South Wales and Victoria, with whom she has a friendly rivalry!
“We’ve got a bit of a competition going with the southern sites as to who is the A team,” Tania laughs. “But I think we’re all one big A team. There’s a great camaraderie between all the Maverick sites.”
A shared passion for saving lives
Tania is the first to admit that working in a slaughterhouse environment isn’t easy. It can be challenging, and the work requires strong attention to detail. But what drives Tania and her teams is knowing that their work makes a real, lasting difference in people’s lives.
“We’ve had workers and abattoir staff who’ve needed heart valve replacements, and some of the products we collect help people in the same way. What we do makes a difference. I’m always happy to come to work because our work matters.”
For now, Tania is excited about the vast growth ahead for Maverick Bio. She looks forward to helping our Australian success story expand into new, innovative products and welcoming more passionate people to our production teams.
“If you’re interested in science and the agricultural industry, there’s a lot you can learn. We’re also pretty flexible – if you’re willing to put in the hours and want to do something that’s interesting and a bit different, you can get a great work-life balance in production. The people are fantastic, and it’s a wonderful company. I feel very lucky to have joined Maverick when I did. It’s been the greatest opportunity I’ve ever had.”