Derrick McManus

Sniper, Survivor, Expert on Durability & Peak Performance

Derrick McManus is an expert on the durability of human performance. Having miraculously survived 14 bullet wounds delivered in less than 5 seconds, he knows the personal qualities and strategies required to respond decisively and positively to challenges, and to proactively make decisions and to take action.

Taking his experiences as a Police Sniper, Diver and Counter Terrorist Operative, Derrick has developed a world first philosophy of ‘Durability of Human Performance'. This philosophy goes well beyond resilience - it's about being able to sustain optimum performance under pressure. Durability is cutting edge research into human psychology and performance. His distinction between resilience and durability is so significant that the School of Psychology; University of South Australia is collaborating with him in research.

Through workshops and keynotes, Derek McManus delivers vital insights into these qualities, so that your people are confident and courageous to sustain peak performance, even under pressure.

Derrick McManus is the man best known for having miraculously survived 14 bullet wounds in less than 5 seconds. An Australian Police Sniper, Diver and Counter-Terrorist operative, he had no alternative but to lie on the ground for three hours waiting to be rescued. To this day, doctors don't know how he survived.

Derrick's team was tasked to arrest a high-risk offender. The offender started shooting and Derrick was the target. The 14 bullets ripped into Derrick's body shattering bones, severing arteries and tearing through organs.

The first Doctor to get to Derrick in the field said, "When I first saw him I thought he was already dead ... I actually don't know how he survived, he's an amazing human being".

Derrick clearly recounts the 14 bullets, the three hours on the ground and the years of rehabilitation. It is sometimes heart wrenching, sometimes hilarious but always an absorbing story of determination to survive, set goals, build personal belief and overcome challenges and changes.

In Derrick's line of work, his ability to respond decisively and positively to challenge, make decisions and take action under pressure and lead his team in high-risk and uncertain times make are the difference between success and failure. All medical predictions said Derrick would struggle to merely walk properly and he would never return to work. The fact that Derrick defied all the odds and made a full return as a Sniper, Diver and Counter-terrorist operative is pure inspiration alone.

Earlier in Derrick's career he was awarded the inaugural SA Police Bravery Medal for his actions when he and his partner wrestled a gun from the hands of a man intent on shooting them. During the fight Derrick put his thumb between the hammer and body of the pistol to prevent it firing - potentially saving his partners and his own life.

If you want a purely inspirational presentation of achievement over adversity - Derrick's story is one of the best you will ever hear.

If you want your people to gain more self-awareness and self-belief, make decisions and take action when the pressure is on, to set goals or just overcome the adversities of life and work - Derrick is the man to help your people develop durability and sustain their optimum performance under any pressure.

Client testimonials

Derrick’s situation was such that I felt many parallels could be drawn to illustrate goal setting, teamwork, perseverance and determination, training, focus and courage. He delivered his talk in a very natural, open and insightful manner. It had a very positive effect on my staff.


If Derrick could conjure up all the will power to endure what he did, and win through, then so can we. This is exactly the commitment we were looking for in our people.

Mitsubishi Motors Australia

So powerful that we booked Derrick for conferences in four states.

Austbrokers Holdings Ltd

Westfield was looking for a speaker who could demonstrate the importance of (1) operating as a professional team, (2) planning and preparing for all eventualities, (3) setting and delivering goals. Derrick’s life experience was a natural fit and in addition he was able to structure his speech to touch on our corporate objectives. The audience was inspired by his courage, tenacity and honesty and having listened to and/or engaged over 20 motivational speakers I rate Derrick as one of the best we have encountered.


As a CEO I have an attention span of two minutes but Derrick held me riveted for 90 minutes – he was exceptional.

Q-Comp (Queensland Compensation Scheme)

Derrick’s workshop at our leadership conference was amazing. From the moment he opened with his personal experience he had us fully engaged. Not only were the sessions so empowering, he delivered the content with humour, compassion and total respect for individuals. Feedback shows that Derrick’s motivation and self-belief is infectious and life changing.

ANZ Bank