SES Volunteer and Masters Powerlifting Champion – Always Open To Opportunities

This Master’s Powerlifting Champion and SES Volunteer has achieved things that she never would have imagined by changing directions as opportunities arose.

Marion Baird started her career as a book-keeper, but even that was by accident not design. And that is how her life has evolved.  As Marion said in the interview,

“Things find you.  If the door’s there, just open it.  Most of us are too scared to open the door. Not so much scared of what’s behind it; we’re too scared to open it. Just open it and have a look. Life has so many surprises for you.”

Training as an actor changed her life

Marion Baird Masters Powerlifting Champion and VolunteerOn a whim, Marion decided to do a 12 week acting course at the Ensemble Theatre in Sydney in 1993.  She continued with the studies to complete a 3 year Diploma course, and the theatre has been part of her life ever since then.  But most importantly she gained personal growth – skills for public speaking, overcoming shyness, handling emotions, and sticking up for herself.

When her acting agent considered retirement they discussed Marion buying the agency. Enthusiastically she embarked on learning all she could about how to run this business.  However the agent decided not to sell, so Marion changed direction and set up an agency for actors.  That business continues to this day.

State Emergency Service Volunteer

Marion Baird SES Volunteer
Marion Baird with other SES volunteers.

Around 15 years ago Marion moved to a new area and wanted to become part of the local community.  She had not done volunteer work before, but a State Emergency Services stand at the shopping centre caught her attention. Marion followed her instincts.  She has been a committed volunteer since that time, including being the current local SES Commander. Her extensive training has included the opportunity to complete a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment to become a trainer for the group.

She has helped in many emergencies such as storms and floods during her years with the SES. I’m sure her powerlifting strength has been valued during natural disaster cleanups. She has also had the opportunity for many interesting experiences such as being a ‘spotter’ on a plane search and taking part in rescue competitions. Most importantly Marion has made many great friends through her community involvement. She recommends becoming a volunteer as a wonderful way of expanding your life through friendships, training, and new experiences.

A Marriage Celebrant

In 2009 she added Marriage Celebrant to her array of roles, and I can attest that she is a delightful celebrant, bringing the right combination of seriousness and humour to the role. The first wedding where she officiated was an engaging occasion which she remembers with fondness. She married an African refugee couple in a small apartment crowded with people in colourful national dress and punctuated with spontaneous outbursts of singing.  This was a cultural experience that will always remain a delightful memory for Marion.

How a TV segment led to powerlifting and 40 kg weight loss

Marion Baird powerlifting
Marion Baird powerlifting, supported by the trainers from SydneyStrengthTraining.

Randomly watching a TV segment with two young men explaining the benefits of strength training was all Marion needed to explore this new sport.  She took it up with enthusiasm. As her strength increased, and encouraged by her trainers at Sydney Strength Training, she started training for powerlifting competitions.

She was just out of hospital after having a knee replacement when she had an unexpected phone call from Channel 9.  They said they would like to proceed with her application to be part of “This Time Next Year”. In a testament to the power of post-knee-replacement drugs, Marion doesn’t recall filling in the application which she had sent the day after her operation.

Over 2018 – 2019 Marion competed in and won several Master’s Powerlifting competitions. She broke the Australian Master’s record for her age and weight category twice in her first competition.

Marion Baird powerlifting Karl Stefanovic
Marion Baird powerlifting Karl Stefanovic on “This Time Next Year”

A year after her first appearance on “This Time Next Year” she reappeared.  This time she was nearly 40 kg lighter, and demonstrated her powerlifting strength by lifting 125kg and, to the amusement of everyone, Karl Stefanovic!

She has continued on her powerlifting winning streak, winning the Masters powerlifting competition again earlier this year.

Looking to the future

Marion’s philosophy of ‘opening doors’ and changing direction when opportunities arise has led to varied and interesting challenges for Marion. She may withdraw from her volunteer position next year, however she intends to pursue powerlifting and her theatre interests for many years.

She is hoping to represent Australia in the World Master’s powerlifting championship in New Zealand in January 2021 and we wish her good luck in this endeavor.





Jenni Proctor