Heroes of The Heart
Tiny Hearts Paediatric First Aid has on its Instagram feed an image of its co-founder, Nikki Jurcutz, holding a candle labeled “Like A Boss”. When asked how those three words resonate with her, Jurcutz smiled at her publicity manager, Olivia White. “Ask her. She got it for me.”
White’s anecdote began with the 2015 NAB Women’s Agenda Leadership Awards luncheon in late February where Jurcutz was a finalist for the Emerging Entrepreneur of The Year award. “Nikki was certain she wouldn’t win but we in the office knew she totally had it,” White said, laughing. They were right.
“I got Nikki the candle after that because it sums up how we see both her and (Jurcutz’s sister and co-founder) Rachael (Waia). They’re our mentors and they’re so inspirational. Anyone can teach first aid but they have set themselves apart.”
And they have done that not just within the industry but also within their corporate culture.
Teaching An Old Industry New Tricks
The first aid training industry has an unfortunate reputation of being stale and stodgy. As Jurcutz wryly observed, employees were habitually missing from work on the day of a training session. Of greater concern was the large number of certified first aiders who were at a loss during a medical emergency.
A former paramedic with Ambulance Victoria, Jurcutz, 24, battled frustration each time she arrived at a scene where first aid could have saved a life. Over in Queensland Waia, 26, was noticing the same worrying trend among parents. As the sisters traded stories one question kept surfacing – why didn’t people remember their first aid training? Because it just wasn’t fun, they concluded. And within that answer was a business waiting to be born.
Once this realisation hit, the girls immediately set the wheels in motion towards registering a training organisation. Those wheels very quickly came to a grinding halt.
“We had no idea what was involved in a registered training organisation (RTO),” Waia chuckled. “Apparently we couldn’t just go out and teach people first aid! An RTO is completely different to any other business and the audit has extremely high standards. It was a steep learning curve for us. But as soon as we understood what was involved we said, ok challenge accepted!”
Within four months, Waia had relocated her family to Melbourne where she and Jurcutz committed the next two years to meticulous research and planning. It was a grueling time but not without its reward. Priority Training – recently rebranded as Hero HQ – sailed through its first RTO audit in 2013. And with that, Jurcutz and Waia became the youngest women in Australia to own an RTO. That impressive tag is a bonus to the real victory of being given the green light to train “first aid heroes” and save more lives.
Hero HQ encompasses Priority CPR which runs first aid programs in the corporate sector, and Tiny Hearts Paediatric First Aid which trains new and expectant parents and provides them with specially designed first aid kits for children.
“Our interactive sessions definitely make learning fun and memorable but we’ve also rebranded first aid as a life skill rather than an obligatory or nice-to-have certificate,” Waia added. The statistics speak for themselves. At the time of writing, Hero HQ has sold 500 kits and equipped Victoria with 4,000 competent first aiders including celebrities like Megan Gale, Kate Ritchie and Hamish Blake.
Hero HQ’s success may have been swift but hardly surprising considering that the sisters have always had a penchant for ambitions bigger than themselves. As preschoolers, they proposed and vetoed the idea of running a childcare centre. As young adults they discussed and decided against opening a nightclub.
Hero HQ is by far their biggest ambition. Reaching it however was only the start of living their dream. Part two was finding people who shared that vision with the same passion. So they began their hunt in the one area where their corporate culture already had a voice – social media.
“Your vibe attracts your tribe”
“Our loud personalities really come across in social media,” Jurcutz enthused. “We really enjoy it and in putting ourselves out there, we’re saying that this is who we are and how we do business. Most of our people were hired through social media because your vibe attracts your tribe.”
“When we announced on Instagram that we wanted a publicity manager, we received hundreds of video applications! We don’t hire on qualifications. We hire on vibe and creativity. Thinking outside the box was what led to our success so that’s what we look for in our people.”
Jurcutz and Waia take their corporate culture very seriously and true to their nature, the incentives stretch beyond the conventional growth opportunities. There was, for example, the two-day Christmas getaway to Daylesford in place of the expected dinner and drinks. There was also a recent Friday lunch break spent jumping on trampolines.
“The girls went back to the office and made six sales that day,” Waia said. “It’s about valuing and taking care of them the way they’ve done for us.”
White, who was nodding enthusiastically, leaned forward to add to her earlier anecdote. Within minutes after texting their team about Jurcutz’s win, the sisters were on the phone thanking the team for helping them get there.
“That’s just the way they are.”
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