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You’re on this section of the site because you want to know more about me. So here you are.
I was born in Rabaul, Papua New Guinea – one of four boys. My parents were stationed up there for work, my father being a partner with what is now the international accounting firm, KPMG. When I was the ripe old age of 4 my family travelled back to Sydney and from there to Tamworth. In the country towns of northern New South Wales, the teachers and students were pretty used to kids coming down from PNG for school – it’s just that they were more often black. My arrival caused some surprise – I came home at the end of that first day of school and asked my parents when I had turned white! That was probably the start of a very long period of learning and questioning.
From Tamworth we moved to Perth for a few years and then returned to Sydney. Constant through this whole period till I left school was swimming training. For years we trained from 5am to 8am, were driven to school (thanks Mum), went from school to the gym for an hour, and then returned to the pool at night for another two. Somewhere in this regime we also had to fit in school work and everything else that goes on in childhood life. I developed a discipline of focus and achievement from an early age – to concentrate on what mattered and get things done in the time I had.
Swimming was particularly great because in amongst the discipline and focus that it demanded, it also taught me about coaching, about setting goals, and ticking them off, about moving in one direction, and if things don’t quite work, tweaking them till you achieve your aim. A lot of the same principles that I now focus on in business and in this website, were drilled into me years ago, and I have practiced them ever since.
My working life began with the Chartered Accounting firm of HLB Mann Judd, and I undertook my university studies largely part time. Life was pretty good and I had commenced the very demanding professional qualification studies to achieve admission into the Institute of Chartered Accountants when suddenly everything changed.
Our family was struck with the news that my father had a life threatening cancer. By this stage he had left KPMG to run his own practice as a sole practitioner with one team member.
We were devastated; but so also would be his business (and our family livelihood) unless someone did something, and I was the only one who could.
With the consent of HLB I worked for 6 months in two offices, mornings in one, afternoons in the other, and many hours outside of that to stay on top of my studies and keep everything else on the boil, whilst also dealing with the fact that my father may not be with us anymore. At 23yrs old, I was working in one business full time whilst running a second full time, (the mobile phone was new then, but certainly well used by me). It wasn’t a great chapter for anyone in our family, but the business was sustained through a lot of hard, tough effort.
That period taught me a lot about people, friends, family, and about myself. It taught me about loyalty, and that what you give out often comes back. I can only ever thank both HLB and the clients of both businesses for their help throughout that time. It also taught me to focus on what I was good at, and get help from others where I needed it; we all need support.
After 6 months I stepped over the line into the family business. It was something I had never planned on doing, but you can only keep up two full time jobs for so long – and my father, who was thankfully recovering, wasn’t yet able to come back to work.
When he finally returned to the office, what was a tiny business swiftly needed to support more people and more salaries; our only option was to focus and grow. And we did.
In the process, I discovered that I was both really good at, and passionate about, helping clients do better business. I stepped up my research and intense education in all areas of business. It’s not often now that you won’t find me reading one book or another, trying to squeeze the next little bit out that will help me add value to you.
My interests led me to connect with other skilled people and organisations who shared my passion for helping private businesses grow and achieve their potential. In 2004 at an international conference we formed ROCG, (www.rocg.com), a global practice that provides accounting and business advice to growth businesses. I have the honour of being CEO of ROCG in the Asia Pacific region, and that’s another story you can learn more about here.
I am also CEO for Sky Telecom (Aust) Pty Limited and work with telecommunications companies in the South Pacific Islands to help their communities keep in touch.
Our family business is no longer a family business; we transitioned it into a business of which I am part, but not the sole, key.
Throughout all these years I’ve experienced the good and the bad in the business world. There is not much I haven’t seen or come across, from people making fortunes, to those struggling to keep their house. I’ve been picketed by disgruntled protesters in a small country town when working on the transition of a business, and attended the funeral of a good client who got too frightened to tell me when his business was in trouble, and I know I could have helped him sort it out. I’ve seen some amazing successes too; ordinary people who didn’t think they could possibly make it to the next financial year end, who’ve built fantastic businesses.
So when I talk to you about business, whatever it may be, I have been through it myself in one form or another.
And the best part is that I still love it and I am still passionate about helping others to develop their businesses too.
I hope to be able to help you …. And if you have questions don’t hesitate to ask.