Episode 90 – Robert Baird – Sales Director Ezidebit at Global Payments

Robert Baird, Sales Director Ezidebit at Global Payments, talks: Measuring success, personal integrity, service of others before service to self, spirituality through performance and running off with the circus.

Robert Baird is the Sales Director of Ezdebit, now a part of Global Payments. Ezidebit has become a success story, growing from a private Australian company to being acquired by a global business based in the United States. Global Payments Inc is a leading world wide provider of payment technology services which delivers innovative solutions to its market, driven by customer needs globally. Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, the company has more than 8500 employees worldwide and is a member of the S & P 500, with merchants and partners in 29 countries throughout North America, Europe, the Asia Pacific and Brazil. Robert  joined Ezidebit in 2008 and has a fascinating personal story and a unique outlook on what defines successful leadership.

Episode 88 – Kevin Potter – COO, Heritage Bank

Kevin Potter, Chief Operating Officer of Heritage Bank, talks: leadership and gender diversity, self awareness, intent versus impact, listening to learn, and The Beatles over The Rolling Stones.

Richard sat down with Kevin Potter, the COO of Heritage Bank, when he was just three months into his new role but he shared some strong insights into leadership, business, finance and his championing of gender diversity. Heritage is Australia’s largest customer-owned bank, with a history dating back to 1875, when it was founded in Toowoomba in regional Queensland.

Episode 89 – Wayne Grant – Banking Executive

Wayne Grant talks digital transformation, imparting knowledge, intuition, resilience and putting out fires.

Wayne Grant is the Head of Strategy Delivery at Heritage Bank, Australia’s largest customer owned bank. Founded and based in Toowoomba, Queensland, but with branches nation wide, Heritage Bank has a long history dating back more than 140 years. In 2008, Heritage was awarded the Best Building Society by Australian Banking and Finance Magazine for the sixth time and in 2009, passed the $7 billion mark in assets under management. As Head of Strategy Delivery Wayne is instrumental in reshaping the Heritage Bank’s digital strategy, as it transitions from a branch network with a physical presence, to a digital presence with the aim of serving a broader clientele.

Hailing from the inner city suburbs of Johannesburg in South Africa, Wayne was raised in a “tough neighbourhood”. One of two brothers, he grew up on the construction sites his father worked on, an experience he credits to being a part of his later decision to study architecture. Upon graduating from university, however, South Africa was in recession and unemployment levels were high. Wayne couldn’t gain employment as an architect but eventually found himself working in a bank. Wayne has extensive experience in the banking sector and throughout his long career has worked for First National – one of South Africa’s ‘big four’ banks – and for Investec.

“For me it’s always been a case of don’t box yourself in, always see the opportunity in everything that you do. I’ve never been constrained by a job title. I certainly would say to younger colleagues, don’t chase a title, chase an opportunity because the opportunity is where you evolve your career and get your greatest learning,” Wayne said.

Wayne lives in Brisbane with his wife and three children.


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Allan English – Executive Chairman – Silver Chef

headshotAllan English — Entrepreneur, Philanthropist & Executive Chairman of Silver Chef — Talks Trend Spotting, Making Meaning of the World & Business as a Force for Good

Allan English is the Founder and Executive Chairman of Silver Chef, Australia’s only dedicated hospitality equipment funding solution. Silver Chef Limited listed on the Australian Stock Exchange in 2005; operates in three countries — Australia, New Zealand and Canada, and employs more than 200 people. Founded by Allan in 1986, Silver Chef has assisted more than 25, 000 clients achieve their business goals. Allan is also dedicated to a range of philanthropic work. He’s a Non Executive Director of the School for Social Entrepreneurs and he is currently a Board Member of Philanthropy Australia. He is also involved in his own non-for-profit, Opportunity International, and he is the Director of the English Family Foundation.

The eldest of four children, Allan was born in Western Australia in the small wheat belt town of Muckinbudin. His parents were second generation farmers and he spent his formative years on the family’s sheep and wheat property. Allan attended the local primary school before setting of to Perth to board at Aquinas College. Upon graduation, Allan was unable to return to the family property; after experiencing three years of tough drought, his father could not maintain the farm and was forced to let it go. His parents relocated to the city, while a young Allan began working as a railway ganger in Pilbara.

Allan is highly curious, an avid learner who has an innate business acumen and an eye for spotting trends. His path to success is fascinating, it gives a small snapshot of Australia in the 1970s and early 80s and is very much a story of talent meeting opportunity. Allan’s sales career began with him selling glory boxes to young women and later, Space Invaders arcade games and ice cream machines. It wasn’t long before Allan became the top salesman in Western Australia and was promoted to the role of state manager. When the ice cream company decided to franchise, selling to state managers by funding them in, Allan swiftly transitioned from salesman to owning his own business in just three months, marking the end of his Space Invaders days and the beginning of his entrepreneurial ventures.

In 2012, Allan was awarded the Queensland Community Foundations Philanthropist of the Year and the Griffith University Medal for Management Innovation. Allan and his wife live in Brisbane and have been married for almost 40 years. They enjoy travelling and visiting their three grown children all of whom live overseas.



Allan on LinkedIn

Silver Chef

Aquinas College

School of Social Entrepreneurs


Jason Bradley – Director, External Management Accounting – Pitcher Partners

headshotJason Bradley — Director of External Management, Pitcher Partners — Talks Emerging Technologies, Finding a Culture that Fits & His Love of Golf

Jason Bradley is the Director of External Management Accounting for Pitcher Partners, a national network of independent accounting firms. Pitcher Partner firms operate as a separate independent business but all are strategically aligned and committed to common values across client service, technical expertise and workplace culture. Based in Brisbane, Jason has established a new division within Pitcher Partners and Arete Executive was fascinated to learn more about their offerings and how Jason has approached building a new business unit.

Jason is a qualified Chartered Accountant who has worked both widely in Australia and internationally. He has a Bachelor of Business in Accounting from Griffith University and is a graduate of the Institute of Chartered Accountants Australia. Jason has previously held roles with Coffey International Ltd, Goodline and Consolid8 Business and Accounting Solutions.

Born on the Gold Coast, Jason is one of two siblings and attended Mount Saint Patrick High School. Growing up, Jason was a budding golfer and aspired to play golf professionally. He quickly realised in his early twenties “that was never going to happen,” and so turned his hand to accounting at university, working as a trolly boy and delivery pizzas part-time. Jason’s decision to become an accountant was prompted by an “emotional link.” He was inspired by his mother who always took pride in doing her own books and meticulously balanced the numbers of the household finances. After finishing his degree, Jason fumbled his way through the beginning of his career and headed to London for 18 months, before returning to Australia to persevere in the accounting field.

Jason still plays golf and lives on Brisbane Bayside with his family, where he enjoys renovating his home.



Jason on LinkedIn

Pitcher Partners

Griffith Business School

Coffey International Ltd


Consolid8 Business and Accounting Solutions

Mount Saint Patrick High School

Institute Chartered Accountants Australia


Matt Thomas – Former Managing Director & CEO – Collection House

matt thomas headshotMatt Thomas  Former CEO & Managing Director Collection House Limited on the Digital Age, Aligning Culture & Values, & Reflecting in the Wilderness.

Matt Thomas is the Former CEO and Managing Director of Collection House Limited, an ASX 300 listed financial services company, based in Brisbane. Established in 1992, Collection House is Australia’s leading receivables manager with over 900 employees operating in three countries, the company turns over in excess of $140 million. Matt has worked with Collection House in various roles, including IT management, and as CIO and COO. Matt is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, and is also a graduate of London Business School’s Proteus Leadership Program.

Adaptability and diversification are central themes to Matt’s life and work, something he attributes to his early experiences. Born in the UK in 1971, Matt was just a few months old when he relocated to Algeria in North Africa with his parents. He spent many of his formative years there before moving to Australia in 1981. The nature of his father’s work meant the family moved frequently and Matt attended five different schools throughout his education. It was a childhood which inspired a global curiousity in Matt and his lifelong love of travel. Upon finishing school, Matt earned a scholarship and began an engineering degree at the University of New South Wales, but fate had other plans. Struggling to make ends meet as a university student, Matt found a part-time job in a debt collection agency where his computer programming skills quickly saw him promoted. Matt left study soon after to establish his own business and the rest as they say, is history. Matt has enjoyed an impressive career with Collection House for 17 years but is due to depart the company in June 2016. He currently lives in Brisbane with his wife and young family.



Matt on LinkedIn

Collection House Limited

University of New South Wales

Paul Freer – Former COO of Collection House Limited

Paul Freer Taking the road less travelled – Paul Freer, Former COO of Collection House Limited, talks going global & leading with insight & integrity.

Paul Freer is an experienced CEO, COO and executive business leader in the banking and financial sector. Paul has extensive experience in leading financial services organisations and has enjoyed a global career, including roles in Africa, Asia, Europe, the Indian Ocean, the Middle East and the United States. Most recently, Paul was Chief Operating Officer with Collection House Limited, an ASX listed company. Paul led five operating business units within Australia as well as units in the Philippines and New Zealand.

Born in the UK in small town Taplow, Paul was educated at the local state school before deciding to leave school early, at age 16. A career in banking soon beckoned and Paul entered a training program at Barclays bank, where he learnt on the job while completing his tertiary education in financial services at The University of West London. Later, Paul completed executive development courses at Harvard Business School and London Business School, is an associate of the Chartered Institute of Bankers and a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Cutting his teeth as a junior officer and teller, Paul spent 17 years with Barclays working his way up to become a Managing Director in the corporate banking sector, in roles which took Paul to challenging locations such as The Seychelles and Africa. Paul has also previously worked for Lloyds Bank, National Commercial Bank and Alquity Group. Paul has decided to call Australia home and lives in Brisbane with his wife and young children.


Paul on LinkedIn

Barclays Bank

Harvard Business School

London Business School

Chartered Bankers Institute

Australian Institute of Company Directors

Alquity Group

Lloyds Bank

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Rob Goudswaard – CEO of Credit Union Australia

Rob Goudswaard – CEO of Credit Union Australia – on the importance of being vulnerable and having self awareness, managing a farm and his love of cricket.

It’s always fascinating to have guests on the Arete Podcast who are relatively new to their roles, particularly CEOs. The initial period of understanding the culture of an organisation and establishing and implementing strategy is an exciting time filled with many challenges and opportunities. Capturing conversations with CEOs and hearing their unique insights in the early stages is for me, highly enjoyable and of great value to upcoming executives and aspiring CEOs.

Richard Kennerley – Former Executive Director – University of Queensland Business School

Changemaker, Richard Kennerley – Former Executive Director of University of Queensland Business School Executive Education – talks diversity, innovation and holding true to your beliefs.

The notion of adaptability kept emerging during my discussion with Richard Kennerley and he is indeed an individual who is willing to embrace change. Richard relocated to Australia from his native UK in 2010 to undertake the role of State General Manager of National Australia Bank, Queensland.  In 2014, he became the Executive Director of the University of Queensland Business School Executive Education, transitioning to a new sphere after working in finance and corporate banking for over 30 years.

The eldest of three siblings, Richard was raised in a middle class family in north-west England where he attended Sir John Deane’s Grammar School. A qualified banker and corporate treasurer, highly successful executive and leader, Richard’s career got off to an unconventional start. Fuelled by a touch of teenage rebellion, a young Richard challenged his traditional upbringing and dropped out of his degree to sing in a rock band. It wasn’t long before he changed direction and decided to do something a little more “respectable.” Richard assumed a position at National Westminster Bank where his talent for banking was quickly realised and the rest as they say, is history.

Richard’s capacity to think outside the box has been pivotal to his success as a leader, and has seen him deliberately and successfully deliver strategy around diversity and equality. Richard is a Graduate of the AICD Company Directors program. He also has extensive experience in finance and corporate banking in various leadership roles, previously as the Head of Corporate and Structured Finance, Clydesdale Bank and Director of Corporate Banking, Hill Samuel Merchant Bank

In addition to his role at UQ Business School Executive Education, Richard is also Vice President of the Brisbane Broncos Leagues Club and is a board member of the Australia China Business Council and Youngcare Changemakers.


University of Queensland Business School

Chartered Institute of Bankers

Associate of Corporate Treasurers

Brisbane Broncos Leagues Club

Australia China Business Council

Youngcare Changemakers

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Manuel Garcia – Former CEO – Indue Limited

Manuel Garcia Manuel Garcia – Former CEO of Indue Limited – discusses what it means to be an influential leader and the importance of being able to execute strategy.

Manuel Garcia is a talented and accomplished leader who values inspiring people and nurturing a community culture among his team. Before sitting down with Manuel I wasn’t entirely familiar with Indue but after an insightful conversation about the business and Manuel’s career, I am confident Indue will continue to grow and succeed under his leadership in the future.  His ability to take risks and his people focused approach are central to Manuel’s achievements.

Manuel was born in Spain but relocated to Australia with his family in 1968 when he was five, upon his father seeking more opportunity for his young family. Manuel spent his formative years in Brisbane and after finishing school a keen interest in numbers saw him secure a position in banking.

It’s interesting that even as a young man, Manuel understood the role of banking within a country’s wider economy, and was motivated by the scope and opportunity to be influential. His natural ability led him to study a Bachelor of Business in banking and finance at the University of Southern Queensland.

Manuel has over 35 years experience in the finance industry. Prior to becoming the CEO of Indue Limited in 2003, Manuel worked across various industries for the National Australia Bank for 21 years both in Australia and abroad.  Manuel’s expertise is in payment products, strategy and finance, product management and wholesale and commercial lending.

Manuel has also completed a number of additional finance and leadership courses throughout his career. He is a member of the Financial Services Institute of Australia and the Australian Institute of Company Directors, and is a former Director of Eftpos Payments Australia Limited.


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John Nesbitt – Former Chief Executive Officer – Suncorp Banking & Wealth

John NesbittJohn Nesbitt, Former Chief Executive Officer of Suncorp Banking & Wealth, talks business and career, his country roots, and how curiosity is the key to successful leadership.

Sitting down with John on a Monday morning was a great way to start a new week. The insight John shared into his career was fascinating and his passionate approach to new challenges and opportunities was inspiring.

John grew up amid a fourth-generation family business in Inverell in country NSW, he began his career as an accountant at a local firm, managing accounting and tax returns for local farmers. It’s quite fitting he joined The Suncorp Group  in 2010, given Suncorp’s beginnings are rooted in the agri space, and one of its primary focus continues to be serving the unique needs of the agri-industry.

John’s skills and expertise are in the financial and wealth industry.  He left Inverell in his early twenties for Sydney, where he spent five years at PricewaterhouseCoopers  both in Australia and the UK.

He has previously held senior finance and business positions at Perpetual  and 12 years in various roles at Lend Lease Group  in Australia and the USA. He has also worked for MLC Limited.

He has a Bachelor of Financial Administration from the University of New England and is a member of a number of professional associations including the Australian Society of Chartered Practicing Accountants, Fellow and the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia, Fellow. John is also an Executive Advisor for QUT Executive MBA Business Leadership Practicum and is a part of the QUT Business School Executive Dean’s CEO Strategy Group. John was at the helm of the Suncorp Bank when it was awarded Money magazine’s Bank of the Year in 2015.



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