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This psychologist has passion for the human mind

MIND MATTERS: Tania Begg has spent years working with people and companies to figure out how we can get the best from ourselves and now runs her own business.
MIND MATTERS: Tania Begg has spent years working with people and companies to figure out how we can get the best from ourselves and now runs her own business. Lee Constable

WORKING out how people think, act and interact might seem like the impossible, but for Tania Begg it's been a lifelong passion that's become her profession.

From a young age she remembers thinking she would grow up to be a psychologist.

"That's from watching Day's of Our Lives...isn't that nuts. I've always been fascinated by how people think and interact," Ms Begg, 43, said.

Ms Begg was raised in the days when jobs were about paying bills and putting food on the table.

"When I was in high school, you did your shorthand and you're typing and you made sure you could do those really well," she said.

Leaving school in grade 11 she went straight from St Patrick's' College to a solicitor's office across the road.

"I was a legal secretary. You worked hard, it was stressful, but it was a good grounding," she said

Working alongside solicitors, she was often encouraged to study law but working weekends didn't interest her.

"I got to travel a lot during that period. To the States and Europe...to New Zealand and I've been back to Scotland ... where Dad's parents were from," she said.

Coming back to Australia, Ms Begg started working at Dalrymple Bay Coal Terminal in an operational role. "I was there for nine years...that's where I started this road. I was working within the production and maintenance teams," she said.

She got to look at how the processes and procedures worked, or didn't work. Under a new boss, and a change of business culture Ms Begg got the opportunity to explore her passion for how people operated.

"Lots of opportunities came my way then. We went through a massive change...we learnt about how teams worked together and it was a great time to be there. You had to think on your feet. Being a female in a male-dominated industry for the last 15 years also made you toughen up," she said.

After her interest had been piqued at Dalrymple Bay, Ms Begg went overseas meeting her partner Darren just a few weeks earlier.

"I was going to stay indefinitely, but I met my partner... and that changed that," she said.

She worked on a mine site and then an opportunity came up at QR National, being brought into challenge the status quo

"That was one of the hardest places to work in. You're looking at a 140 years of culture. It was a real challenge," she said.

Deciding to venture out on her own, with her business Impact Improvements, Ms Begg studied at the Australian College of Applied Psychology.

"I go into businesses to help them improve their performance by focussing on their people, processes and systems. It's based around organisational development and behaviour, team and leadership development and change management. I've worked within a neuroscience framework. What people can see within the brain now and how it works is amazing.

"We are complex. If our brains were so simple we could understand them, we'd be so simple, we couldn't. It's the hardest part of your business, dealing with people,".

To wind down Tania spends time with the family, do yoga and reading.

"It's still always that growing and learning. I did a lot of yoga... it's about quietening things down," she said.

She is on the board of Zonta, a club devoted to empowering the rights of women and children and has plans to impact indigenous issues.

"I've grown up in a family, that was always helping somebody... we've always had a very conscious awareness of social justice issues," she said.

Topics:  brain mackay mind passion psychologist


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