Building Hope From Horror – QUT MBA Ideas Factory Lends Support To Sarz Sanctuary

Australian au pair Sara Zelenak, 21, was among eight people killed when a van ploughed into crowds before a knife attack in in London in 2017

When 21-year-old Australian Sara Zelenak was brutally killed in a terror attack in London in 2017, her families’ grief was indescribable.

It was a crime that shook the world and took Sara’s parents, Mark and Julie Wallace, on a journey of self-discovery that now sees them building a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to supporting other families facing the unimaginable.

The organisation, Sarz Sanctuary, was born in honour of their daughter and offers holistic healing to those who have suffered traumatic grief from the sudden death of a loved one.

“We want to honour Sara’s life and give purpose to her loss by helping others who have, like us, suffered traumatic grief. We are motivated to find a greater good from what has happened. We keep a positive outlook and want to build this positivity in others,” Julie said.

Mark and Julie Wallace set up Sarz Sanctuary to raise funds for traumatic grief healing centres.

In creating Sarz Sanctuary, Mark and Julie identified that healing was a very individual journey and their aim is to offer a wide variety of healing modalities for individuals to explore as well as a range of live-in programs.

However, like any new organisation, particularly a not for profit one, building the systems, processes, and culture to be able to meet the demand for their services has been challenging. This is where a group of QUT MBA and EMBA students and alumni stepped in.

The QUT E/MBA “Ideas Factory” provides Executive MBA and MBA associates and alumni the opportunity to leverage their experience, insights and collective efforts to solve y problems in a familiar and stimulating, but challenging MBA context.

The Ideas Factory offers to develop collaborative consulting engagements with businesses and nonprofit organisations assisting them to address existing and emerging challenges.

In late May, QUT hosted a full-day Ideas Factory event designed to offer fresh perspectives on strategy and opportunities to further develop Sarz Sanctuary. The events are structured to more than bringing a case study to life, but collaborating with businesses on real-world solutions and experiences.

With Mark and Julie’s involvement and insights, MBA students and alumni helped develop strategic models and potential business opportunities and solutions.

“The Ideas Factory not only challenged our way of thinking for the current business, it also developed great insight into opportunities, formulation of future business structure and development of network opportunities through collaboration of teams, of which each member offered their individual experience and knowledge,” Julie said.

QUT MBA Director Associate Professor Glen Murphy said working said the Ideas Factory was about creating opportunities to have conversations with people who students wouldn’t usually have worked with.

“This allows the partnered company access to the expertise of the Associates and Alumni and provides an extremely powerful outcome,” he said. “For Sarz Sanctuary, this is now the basis of countless new doors to be opened, and many more conversations to be had.”

Ben Ready
Ben Ready founded MBA News in 2014 and is the Managing Editor. He is a former business and finance journalist with Australian Associated Press (AAP) and Dow Jones Newswires in London. Ben completed his MBA in 2012 and was awarded the QUT GMAA Entrepreneurship Prize. He is also the founder and Managing Director of RGC Media & Mktng (