Cameron Mitchell

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Cameron is an energetic leader who enjoys corporate strategy and finding ways to grow. He is passionate about people and thrives off what teams can achieve when they work and develop together. Cameron has been on an interesting journey to his role as COO of Trademark Vision. Setting out to be an engineer then moving into aviation, Cameron soon found that his strengths and passions lay elsewhere. In this episode we discuss:

-       Resilience that was built in the military;

-       Working in a law firm in London without a law degree;

-       How keeping an open mind can turn a competitor into an ally; and

-       The journey of Trademark Vision;

 

Cameron values trust and places high importance on fun environments. His story is inspiring – I hope you enjoy it!

Chris Adams

Chris Adams is the man that has done it all. From humble beginnings growing up on a farm in Pennsylvania, Chris has gone on to work with the likes of entertainment and media industry pioneers – Steven Spielberg, Al Gore and Jeff Scholl of Ebay to name a few.

Listen to Chris as he recounts his experience at Facebook in its infancy – and what it’s like to work with Mark Zuckerberg (and stand next to him at a water bubbler). He also talks through working in industries that were completely new to him, and trusting your gut.

We discuss:

-       How to be both creative and commercially minded

-       Learning to recognise burnout signs and juggling 4 balls instead of 15

-       Different ways of working – why office 9-to-5 isn’t for everyone

-       How to identify a problem, and create an outcome that makes a difference.

Jock Fairweather

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Jock Fairweather is no run of the mill guy. Having grown up in PNG, excelling in his studies at the London College of Fashion, working as a shoe designer in Geneva and then founding Little Tokyo Two in Brisbane – it’s clear that whatever Jock puts his mind to, he will succeed at.

That’s not to say it’s all been smooth sailing. Trying to forge his shoe designs as a luxury brand in Europe nearly mentally broke him, and now he wants to share his experiences to ensure startups at LT2 don’t have to go through the same thing. This episode is a must-listen for those who want to be inspired by Jock’s tenacity and ability when knocked down to stand back up taller than before.

Jock is a self-confessed ‘take him or leave him’ type of guy so he doesn’t hold back on anything in the interview, which makes for a gripping Executive Story.

We discuss:

-       The importance of being a big thinker and a creative thinker;

-       The belief that whatever you can envision, you can become;

-       Working hard and fast at your passion;

-       Picking yourself back up at your lowest point; and

-       Being ruthless with your time and finding happiness in discipline.

Sharon Doyle - Managing Director InterFinancial

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Sharon is a lawyer turned deal maker and now MD of InterFinancial. Whereas some of my guests are only too willing to jump down the microphone with their story, Sharon was a reluctant guest at first.  As we discover, the reason for this is that Sharon is a very humble person looking to sing other’s praises before her own. Sharon has had a wonderful journey finding her niche in mid market M&A, private equity investment and funds management. Sharon provides us with a genuine insight into career paths and how learning your strengths and following a career that plays to those strengths can be extremely rewarding and beneficial.

In this episode we discuss:

-       Sharon’s life as a single mum and lawyer at the age of 24;

-       Her career progression and transition; and

-       Her thoughts on social enterprises and her experience wither Foresters Community Finance.

InterFinancial has become a hugely successful company not just in its market and for its size, and seems very comfortable in its own skin with Sharon at the helm. Thank you Sharon for taking the plunge and coming on Executive Stories and giving us all a glimpse into the woman behind the MD of InterFinancial.

Dominic Holland

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When I pitched Dominic for this interview he knew little about me or what I would publish from our interview.  Most guests are a little self conscious about how they may present when played back.  Not Dominic.  He is a savvy operator who believes that if you are open and honest and only talk to topics you know about there is nothing to fear!  Dominic seems to have it all, being a young dad and capable software engineer who possesses a rare technological aptitude for a highly commercial business executive.

Dominic launched Tow.com.au in 2014 in Eagle Farm, pitching it as "The Uber for Tow Trucks". In its first year of trading, the business finished with seven figure revenue with that continuing to grow. Tow.com.au is now operating nationally, having grown from four to 34 staff in less than 18 months. Setting this evident success aside, Dominic also embraces leadership with open arms and has openness with his employees which is indicative of his generation.   You’ll have to listen to learn how old Dominic is -  suffice to say he certainly has a “young guy charm”!

Before starting Tow.com.au Dom knew nothing about towing. What he did know was that technology is shaking the foundations of every industry. In this episode we delve into:

  1. Growing a successful business from a young age;
  2. Managing people; and
  3. Tech and startup companies

Dominic is passionate about technology, emerging markets, innovation, disruption, startups and entrepreneurship. This is evident not only in his success so far but that the passion he speaks with. I hope you can feel it too!

Anna Guenther

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Anna is a vivacious, fun and the perfect guest to kick off Executive Stories for 2018. She has experience in events, finance, project management and startups and has completed her Masters in Entrepreneurship through the University of Otago where she wrote her thesis all about crowdfunding and her startup, PledgeMe

Her official title is PledgeMe's 'chief bubble blower.' Anna is clever and energetic. She knows what’s going on in the world and business and keeps her finger on the pulse in the face of changing technology. In this interview we decided to have a little bit of fun chatting about Anna’s biggest f*ck ups. Yes, there’s some expletives that could be beeped out but I decided to run with it in its raw form – maybe skip this episode if this might not be your thing.  But do tune in if you want front row seats as we discuss some of Anna’s biggest mistakes, what she learnt from them and how we can learn from our mistakes as well. We also delve into the world of crowd-sourced fund raising and its benefits.

There is certainly a little tongue and cheek to Anna’s personality but when we delve a little deeper into the conversation you see she is a super smart business woman who takes a very honest and open approach to life and business - and was willing to share her f*ck ups for us all to learn from. I hope you like it!

Jade Collins

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Jade Collins is on a mission – to successfully run a profit making business that aligns with a social cause. Her website, Femeconomy, achieves this and more. As Co-Founder and Director Jade encourages women to use the power of their purse to support brands with women in leadership, in order to create gender equality.

Jade discusses what it’s like to have informed consumers, re-establish your identity outside a corporate environment, and be deeply personally invested in your job. For Jade, this episode is all about that customer focused conversation and trying to understand what people’s stories are – something which closely aligns with Executive Stories at its core.

We discuss:

-       The criteria needed to be listed on Femeconomy and the types of businesses already on the site;

-       The importance of consumer activism and where it fits in the startup space;

-       Driving a small business – choosing between growth and profit; 

-       Changing Femeconomy’s business model; and

-       What it’s like to align your brand with your identity and personal values.

 

Ben Korst

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For a lot of CEOs, the financials of their company is what drives them. For Ben Korst, CEO of Montserrat Day Hospitals, his approach is different. Ben recounts what it takes (with no prior experience) to step into an industry of highly skilled medical professionals, grow a relationship with them, and do so with his signature larrikin humour. Ben takes it all in his stride, providing insight to adapting to different management styles, limitations of the job, and ensuring decisions are right 100% of the time for the benefit of patients – without being serious 100% of the time!

We discuss:

-       The importance of listening to everyone’s point of view for the best possible outcome;

-       Juggling responsibility of seven day hospitals across Australia and rapid expansion;

-       Knowing when to take a break; and

-       Not taking life too seriously.

Mitch Lally

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Mitch Lally, Managing Director and creative genius at Mitch Lally films, is an award winning wedding cinematographer. He has a unique vision for crafting powerful wedding films which has given him opportunities to work with passionate clients and capture celebrations all over the world. Mitch provides youthful insight into his journey from freelance filmmaker to presiding over a multi million dollar film company – and what drove him to start in the first place. Don’t let Mitch’s age deceive you: his business acumen and wisdom are well beyond his years.

We delve into:

-       The influence Mitch’s dad had on his choice to start a business;

-       The sacrifices Mitch has had to make;

-       Making business smart promises;

-       Recruiting the right people into a business where honed creative talent and attention to detail is everything.

Eddie Chung

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Eddie is a BDO Tax Partner in Brisbane but he is also a non-executive director at numerous companies and not-for-profits.  Eddie’s role as a non-executive director sets him apart from all my others guest who are founders or executives.

The differences don’t just stop there.  Eddie isn’t your standard accountant or non-executive. He prides himself on being intuitive and has became an accredited Myers Brigger Type Indicator Certified Practitioner due to his passion of understanding different people’s personality types.

In this episode we discuss:

-          How to find board roles;

-          What it’s like to be a non-executive director in a room full executives

-          How understanding personality types can help bring cohesion to dysfunctional Boards

-          Determining your career from your natural skills vs preferred career.

Jane Thomason - CEO Abt Associates-Australia

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Dr. Jane Thomason is the CEO of Abt Associates-Australia but many listeners will know her better for her relentless pursuit Janes.

Jane has ridden a wave of success establishing JTA International in 1999 and later merging into Abt Associates while never losing her passion for wanting to improve the lives in under developed nations including Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and Mongolia.

It can be a case of ‘catch her while you can’ while Jane jet-sets around the world but the importance of family in her life is unmoving and a key reason why she can honestly say she has a fulfilling life.

In this episode we delve into:

  1. Working out what’s important in life
  2. Balancing the duties of being a CEO and having passion projects
  3. Blockchain in developing countries
  4. Why Jane doesn't need any hobbies – her life is her hobby.

Jane lives a life that is as colourful as her daily repertoire of delightful outfits and truly stands out as the flamingo in a flock of pigeons! 

Paul Gapes - General Manager of Pacific Data Solutions

Paul is the General Manager of Pacific Data Systems, a company that provides solutions in the areas of environmental monitoring, data acquisition, scientific and industrial instrumentation remote computing and systems integration.

Paul’s general to the role of General Manager is an interesting one as he was more or less thrown into the position when the founder of Pacific Data Systems suddenly passed away. Paul highlights the importance of family to help you through the tough times and he is incredibly honest about the trials, tribulations and the joys of his journey.  Paul isn’t afraid to hold himself publically accountable to very high standards of leadership and excellence, which is why his Executive Story is so rich and engaging.

Katrina Donaghy

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Katrina is a Co-founder of Civic Ledger, an Australian start-up that uses the best of emerging technologies such as block chain to transform a wide range of business process challenges faced by public sector markets. 

What’s great about this episode of Executive Stories is Katrina’s ability to explain what a blockchain company does and what it’s like to be involved in a blockchain startup pioneer.

Katrina has extensive experience in public policy and early stage commercialisation having worked in both public and not for profit sectors for over 20 years with a specific focus on business development, project management and revenue diversification.

Katrina talks to Executive Stories about:

  1. What the blockchain is in terms that we can all understand and relate to;
  2. Blockchain, tokens and coins as a means of raising capital;
  3. A day in the life of a co-founder of Civic Ledger;
  4. Growing up and finding yourself.

Katrina’s energy and passion is obvious when you hear her speak, which is what makes this such a great Executive Story. 

Phil Smart - Chairman of Workpac

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Phil Smart started his professional career in 1976 by completing a Carpentry Apprenticeship and then held a General Builders License in both Queensland and New South Wales.

After starting off as a builder Phil's foray into the recruitment industry began in 1994 as the financial backer and strategic adviser to a recruitment organisation, which is still in existence today. In late 1996 Phil sold his shareholding in that company, however, he had developed an affinity for the industry and decided to establish WorkPac in February of 1997.

Today Phil remains a driving force behind WorkPac’s success but in his wisdom sees the value in allowing others to drive the company’s direction and values which continue to be hallmarks of who WorkPac is as an organisation. 

In this episode we delve into:

  1. Scaling by leveraging other people’s time and not just your own;
  2. Cultural fit and recognising when someone isn’t the right fit;
  3. Investing heavily in your people: it’s just good business;
  4. Taking a step back from the business; and
  5. A touch of philosophy and red wine!

Phil is generous with his time and his conversation. I’m sure you will enjoy it.

John Bourke - Managing Director Kitchen Connection

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John Bourke is the Managing Director of Kitchen Connection, one of the largest suppliers of kitchens across Queensland, New South Wales and South Australia. John has a long and successful history of turning under performing companies into successful and thriving businesses, not just in Australia but overseas as well.

In this episode we delve into:

  •  Honing your skills at a big corporate
  •  The difference between strategy and execution
  •  Dealing with set backs in your life
  •  The importance of and to deliver an outstanding customer experience
  • Being passionate

John has an innate skill of reading people. He has applied all of his years of training in a corporate environment to delivering on corporate turn arounds. But John is equally passionate about the customer experience and wanting to ensure his customers receive the best service from start to finish.

This is an emotional episode with John re-tracing and sharing personal struggles with leukaemia and his road to recovery. John’s Executive Story is in deed a remarkable one and I am grateful to him for sharing it with me. 

Matthew Horton Cofounder FoundU

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Matthew is not only cofounder of foundU, he is a really down to earth guy that is passionate about his industry and his clients.  His decision to pursue a goal of building from the ground up a world class end-to-end tech solution for labour force management has lead him on a wild journey.  Matthew’s journey began about three years ago when the founders of foundU saw a problem they all agreed needed to be  solved, and their journey since has been quite remarkable.

This episode touches on:

  • The importance of loyalty and trust
  • Making money as a startup and staying sane at the same time
  • Being grateful
  • Taking time out with the family
  • The benefits of having a development team in house

Like me, Matthew is a firm believer in not compromising on the quality of client service while remembering not to take yourself too seriously.  Plenty of gems in this Executive Story for everyone.

Wayne Gerard - CEO RedEye Apps

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Wayne is the cofounder and CEO of RedEye, a Brisbane software as a solution tech company with offices in Brisbane and Las Vegas. You are unlikely to meet another CEO with as much passion for startups, his people, his family and his home town Brisbane.  

Wayne doesn’t pull any punches and calls it as it is, meaning we get right to the heart of topics such as:

  • choosing the right people to do business with and having the right people on your team
  • being authentic - online, offline, in social media and in business
  • what keeps him awake at night
  • how important it is to him to have the support of his wife to let him create something great from nothing
  • why going on 7 day off road motor bike adventure was a form of meditation for Wayne.

Wayne is authentic, influential and generous with his time.  Wayne is living proof that when you give before you take great things will come your way.  I am grateful to have him as my first guest on Executive Stories. Enjoy!