Merren McArthur (1981)

Queen’s College was my gateway to independence in the critical transition phase from secondary school to university.   I met many of my best friends at Queen’s, including my partner of over 30 years, Murray Dowty (Wyvern 1981).

I partied so hard that my marks were not good enough to get me into my dream job in the Diplomatic Corp, so I had to settle for a career in law. No regrets.  I ended up satisfying my travel bug through aviation rather than diplomacy, which was probably a better fit in hindsight. 

One strong memory is from the 1982 Queen’s Ball featuring Cold Chisel, who were at their peak at the time.  As a member of the ball organising committee, I had the privilege to slide down a plank of wood (in my ball dress) to below stage, where I met and kissed Jimmy Barnes.

While women now represent more than 50% of university graduates, they are still underrepresented in senior management and executive positions in most large companies and professions.  Progress seems to have stalled in the last two decades.  I hope that we see some real progress over the next two decades towards gender equity and diversity in our leadership positions across Australia.  

After 20 years practising law in a major national law firm, I took a couple of unorthodox career steps before discovering my passion for aviation. I was an executive at Virgin Australia for 10 years, including roles as CEO of Virgin Australia Regional Airlines, Virgin Australia Cargo and Tigerair Australia.   I am now the founding CEO of Lynx Air, a start-up ultra-low-cost carrier based in Canada.  The airline launched in April 2022 and we carried our millionth passenger a couple of months ago.  Within two years we have grown our team from 20 to 450 people and our network spans 16 destinations across North America.

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