Insights

Episode 96 – Merren McArthur – CEO – Virgin Australia Regional Airline & Virgo Australia Cargo

Merren McArthur is Chief Executive, Virgin Australia Regional Airlines (VARA) and Virgin Australia Cargo, one of Australia’s ASX100 public companies.

Episode 95 – Lincoln Hopper – CEO – MS Queensland

Lincoln is the CEO of Multiple Sclerosis Society of Queensland (MS Queensland).

For the last 27 years he has been working in the health and community service sector. He began his working life in the finance industry as a chalkie at the Sydney Stock Exchange and, in a short space of time, progressed to being a licensed stockbroker for Pembroke Securities. A stock market crash and a reality check later, he turned his back on a very promising career in pursuit of “something more”.

He commenced working with the Sydney City Mission in 1990, firstly in Kings Cross with disadvantaged and homeless young people and then in a diverse range of roles from front line social work, program management, policy and advocacy, fundraising and executive leadership including national leadership of 2,000 staff and an annual budget of $180m.

He has more than 20 years management experience, including the last ten at Executive level, and is currently the CEO and Company Secretary of MS Queensland.

He has been extensively involved with other community organisations through directorships of ACOSS, Mission Australia Early Learning Services, MA Housing Ltd and Aboriginal micro enterprise nonprofit Many Rivers Microfinance. He is also the Founding Chair of the award-winning NeuroCare Network collaboration.

He holds qualifications in Conflict Resolution, post graduate qualifications in Commerce and am a non-graduate member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD). He became a Fellow of the Vincent Fairfax Ethical Leadership Program in 2011.

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Episode 94 – Prof. Paul Lever – CEO – Mining3

Prof Paul Lever was appointed the CEO of Mining3 in May 2012. He is also the Professor of Mining at the University of Queensland.

Paul has extensive research experience in the fields of robotic and automated mining systems, smart mining machines and systems and intelligent data analysis techniques. He has worked on projects that include intelligent control algorithms for an automated (robotic) excavator and developing the science of bucket/material interactions to improve the performance of large excavators.

He held several positions at Mining3 prior to becoming CEO that included Research Director, Vice Present for Business Development and Program Leader. Before joining Mining3 in July 2000 he was head of the Mining and Geological Engineering department at the University of Arizona.

Prof Lever obtained a BSc in Mining Engineering from the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, and received his MSc and Ph.D. in Mining Engineering from the Colorado School of Mines.

Paul lives in Brisbane with his family.

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Episode 93 – Jamie Wilson – Founder & MD – Your Digital File

Jamie Wilson — Founder and Managing Director of Your Digital File — talks cyber security, the journey, staying focused, honest conversations and taking to the farm.

“Follow your passion, I follow my gut a lot as well. Don’t turn around and second guess it because half the time you come back and think, ‘I should not have done that,’ just keep on driving forward, learn by the lessons.

The challenges somedays that you have in front of you, they will be different tomorrow and you’ll be over that obstacle,” Jamie Wilson.

Launched in March 2014, Brisbane based tech start-up Your Digital File was founded by former accountant Jamie Wilson after he noticed a gap for a niche cyber security product on the global stage. After his father passed away, Jamie had the difficult task of locating and managing his father’s documents, files, and media and chose to search for an online solution that would be easy to locate and manage, highly secure, and able to prevent the same situation from happening again. After a long search, it became clear that no online cloud based product could meet his expectations. His experience led Jamie to collaborate with software security experts to develop Your Digital File and its patented Cryptoloc technology.

Over the past six years, Arete Executive’s Richard Triggs has seen Jamie’s business flourish and sat down with him on the Arete podcast to hear his personal journey and what is a very exciting story of motivation, challenge and perserverance. In 2011, Jamie spent a year travelling the globe, sourcing information and the know-how from experts before returning to Australia, where a fateful encounter with a cafe waitress motivated him to finally develop what is now one of the most superior and unique cyber security products in the world.

“I suppose the reality that came to me and hit me in the face was seeing Dad in his final days and I thought, ‘you know what, there is so much more to life than just money’. So a lot of my challenges these days is to have a look and go is it really that bad? Put your energy in going in the right direction and you attract it to be able to move forward.”

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Episode 91 – Fiona Berkin – CEO, Morris Corporation

Fiona Berkin, CEO of Morris Corporation on delegating, having a vision, being driven, integrity and the three Bs.

“There are no shortcuts, it takes hard work, and eventually you will reap the rewards. It’s not so important how you get the results as long as there is integrity; the processes aren’t so important it’s the results that count,” Fiona Berkin, CEO Morris Corporation.

Fiona Berkin is the CEO of Morris Corporation, Australia’s leading privately owned remote village and asset management specialist. Arete Executive Managing Partner, Richard Triggs, has known Fiona for many years and sat down with her to hear her fascinating story of cutting her teeth in the hospitality industry before joining Morris Corporation in 1997 as a marketing assistant. Just a year after  joining the company, Fiona was promoted to the role of Group Business Development Manager and in 2004 was appointed CEO. Under Fiona’s stewardship, the company experienced vast growth, in some years experiencing triple digit growth percentages, in revenue, profit and employee numbers. Between 2005 and 2011, Morris Corporation skyrocket to number seven on the Q400 (Queensland’s Top 400 Privately Owned Businesses) list.

Fiona has now worked for Morris Corporation for almost 20 years. She has a Bachelor of International Business and achieved an MBA from Griffith University with distinction. She also has a postgraduate in Korean language from Korea University, a private university in Seoul. Fiona is a member of Safer Together’s senior leadership group and sits on the board of the Mines and Metals Association Australia. In early 2017, Fiona was named as a finalist in the Women In Industry Excellence in Mining award.

The eldest of three children, she was raised on a farm in South Australia where she finished school dux of economics, biology and english. The death of a close friend when Fiona was 16 prompted her to leave school and move to Queensland to pursue a business career.

“I got off the plane and knew I wasn’t ever going home.”

The move proved fateful for Fiona: she kicked off her career as hotel receptionist but in just three months, 17-year-old Fiona was promoted to a management role.

“I’ve always had an inherent drive…in any job the decisions I’ve made have always been based on what’s best for the business. It’s just a natural thing that I do…”

Fiona lives in Queensland.

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Episode 87 – John O’Hara – Managing Director & CEO of Sunny Queen Eggs

John O’Hara, Managing Director and CEO of Sunny Queen Eggs, talks: the food business, playing to your strengths, analysing your weaknesses, walking the talk, and not putting all your eggs in one basket.

Arete Executive Managing Partner Richard Triggs first met John O’Hara when he spoke at an Australian Institute of Management function in 2009 and since then has watched Sunny Queen grow tremendously under John’s leadership. John has been the Managing Director and CEO of Sunny Queen Eggs since 2002. A privately owned company, Sunny Queen generates its revenue from the manufacturing, marketing and distribution of egg and egg products throughout Australia. When John assumed his role, Sunny Queen was an unlisted company that predominantly sold eggs in Queensland and turned over barely $50 million. 15 years later, the company has a major retail presence across the country, including contracts with a number of major retailers, and has grown to a $270 million business with 130 employees. John is also a Non-Executive Director of SunPork and Swickers.

Episode 86 – Clive van Deventer – CEO – Bartercard Australia

Clive van Deventer, CEO of Bartercard Australia, talks business to business, being in tune, instilling confidence, never dropping below the line and giving back to the community.

Marina Vit – CEO – Urban Development Institute of Australia

Marina Vit: CEO Urban Development Institute of Australia talks building communities, being on a mission, spotting road blocks, following your dreams and exploring new things.

Marina Vit is the CEO of the Queensland division of the Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA). UDIA is the peak body representing the property development industry nation wide, and is a membership based organisation which assists the industry build quality and liveable communities  through knowledge based events, research, professional development and advocacy. Marina is also the Director of Seqwater and has previously been the Deputy Chair of the Queensland Museum Board, the CEO of Young Care and the Board Director of Jupiters Casino Community Benefit Fund. She earned a Bachelor of Business in Communications with Distinction from Queensland University of Technology (QUT) and later studied a Strategic Perspectives of Non Profit Management at Harvard Business School.

Marina grew up in Brisbane the youngest of two children to Italian migrant parents who relocated to Australia after World War Two. From a young age, Marina was challenged by her parents to think differently and she credits her mother’s decision to secure her a part-time job as soon as she was legally old enough to work as the beginning of her independence and her longterm career success.

“Mum and Dad always told me I could do whatever I wanted to do — to never limit my decisions, to think outside the box.”

Growing up in a family who shared robust and “purposeful” discussion around the dinner table about politics and current affairs was central to Marina’s decision to become a journalist and upon finishing university she moved to Cairns in North Queensland to work for a radio station. Marina, however,  is a self-confessed opportunist who has never made solid career plans and she soon found herself back in Brisbane working for the Australian Labor Party (ALP), which marked the beginning of a young Marina’s journey into leadership roles.

“You need to be brave. You have to back yourself in your decisions, you have to confident in being able to do that and that’s hard at times.”

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Episode 84 – Andrew Bycroft – Founder & CEO – The Security Artist

Cyber intelligence expert Andrew Bycroft talks building cyber resilience, the importance of education, avid reading, passion-purpose-pivot and his love of Sunday roast.

Andrew Bycroft is a cyber risk and cyber crime specialist, and the founder and CEO of Security Artist, an agency which helps companies secure their online presence, and negate the impacts of and manage public image in the event of a cyber breach. Andrew began his career studying physics before moving into information technology. After graduating from La Trobe University with a Bachelor of Science with honours in upper atmospheric physics, he held a number of operational roles in the IT space and business development roles, before deciding at an early age he wanted to start his own business. Andrew now consults to a broad range of organisations including a number of ASX 200 listed companies, leading them on a path to cyber resilience.

“Typically I believe we’ve thrown a lot of technology at the problem of cyber crime, we’ve actually tried to fight it with science, and I see that as a failure. I see the problem as being more cultural and therefore we need to take an artistic approach.”

Born in Melbourne Australia, Andrew was the eldest of three children and was raised in a poor family. Struggling economically throughout childhood was an experience which formed Andrew’s career aspirations and the path he ultimately followed.

“There were times when we struggled to get enough food to eat and we certainly didn’t have any of the standards which were apparent at the time (in the 70s), for us they were luxuries; things like TV and radio – I actually saw them as being an aspiration. I wanted to be a part of that and also seeing the potential for creative freedom to be able to express yourself however you liked, especially when I first witnessed what a computer could do, that really fascinated me,” he said.

Andrew founded Security Artist in 2013 and is also the author of The Cyber Intelligent Executive. He is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

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Chris McCarthy – CEO – Hear and Say Centre

headshotNoble man, Chris McCarthy – CEO of Hear and Say – talks: The non-for-profit space, awakening the senses, delivering on the greater good and living a blessed life.

Chris McCarthy is the CEO of Hear and Say, a non-for-profit organisation and one of the leading paediatric auditory-verbal and cochlear implant centres in the world. The centre was established 25 years ago and across six centres in Queensland offers services for children who are deaf or suffer some form of hearing loss. Chris has had an interesting career working over a number of different sectors, before joining Hear and Say as General Manager in 2007. He assumed the role of CEO  in 2012. Chris previously held roles with Suncorp Metway and SMS Management and Technology.

Born in Rockhampton, Queensland, one of two sons, Chris spent most of his childhood living in regional Australia – his father’s work as a school principal meant his family relocated regularly. From Dalby to Goondiwindi, Mt Isa and Townsville to Ballandean, throughout his childhood Chris adapted and lived in many different places, an experience which profoundly shaped him. During his teenage years, his family finally settled in Brisbane where he finished his secondary education. Chris is a self-confessed “bush kid,” and says while he has spent most of his adult life in the city “his roots are in the bush”. Upon finishing school, he began a degree at university but after some time trying to “find his feet,” decided to leave university and ultimately joined the Australian army, graduating from the Royal Military College, Duntroon, in 1993. Chris attributes his leadership ability to many of the skills he acquired in the military. He says the leadership skills he learnt in the military were “second-to-none,” and that gave him scaffolding to build upon, teaching him the basic skills he needed to transition out of the military and into a civilian career space successfully.

Chris lives in Brisbane with his wife and three children.

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Julia Davison – CEO – Goodstart Early Learning

headshotJulia Davison, CEO Goodstart Early Learning, talks: Early education, taking sabbaticals, learning through failure, being authentic and jumping ship.

Julia Davison is the CEO of Goodstart Early Learning, one of Australia’s largest social enterprises. She drives the strategic direction of Goodstart, which has over 615 early learning centres across the country in each state and territory, with more than 15, 000 staff educating over 70, 000 children. Goodstart is committed to working with children, families, communities, governments, and sector stakeholders to lift the quality of early learning in Australia, as international evidence proves the first five years are pivotal to how a child develops into adulthood.  Julia became CEO of Goodstart at a critical time. In 2009, Goodstart Early Learning was ultimately established after ABC Learning, then Australia’s largest childcare provider, collapsed and went into receivership in 2008.

Julia was born in Sussex, England. Following  high school, she had a gap year in Germany, where she worked as an au pair, before attending Durham University in the north of England. She holds a Bachelor of Science with Honours in geography and began her career in the health industry with a graduate training scheme with NHS. After working in the sector for many years, Julia decided to take a year off to study a Masters of Public Administration at the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government, before relocating to Australia to become the CEO of Flinders Medical Centre in Adelaide. Julia has extensive senior management experience and has also been the CEO of Workcover South Australia and the Chair of non-for-profit organisation Catherine House, an organisation which assists women experiencing homelessness.

Julia lives in Brisbane with her husband.

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Bruce Vandersee – CEO – Vanderfield

bvBruce Vandersee CEO of Vanderfield Pty Ltd talks: Agriculture, the future of farming, being able to follow, kicking up the dirt and landing planes in cotton fields. 

During his conversation with Richard on the Arete podcast, Bruce Vandersee, CEO of Vanderfield Pty Ltd, refers to a passage about Moses from the bible, “Moses was the greatest man and the most humble”. It was fitting for Bruce to share the quote as humble is a quality that comes to mind when you sit down to talk with him. Bruce is modest, down-to-earth and genuine, and seemingly unaffected by the role he has played in the success of Vanderfield, the largest and most respected agricultural machinery and truck dealership in regional Australia.

Originally known as Farm Equipment Pty Ltd, Vanderfield was established in 1963 in Toowoomba, Queensland, by Bruce’s father, Gordon Vandersee, who designed and manufactured front-end loaders. Since then, Vandefield has grown to be a large John Deere dealership operating across Queensland, the Northern Territory and at the top end of Western Australia. The business now has 350 employees and 14 dealerships in Queensland alone, selling pieces of farm machinery in the million dollar price range.

Born in Clermont in Central Queensland, Bruce is one of five children, all of who are still Vanderfield shareholders. He joined the business as a young man after dropping out of a rural management degree. Bruce began his career in the spare parts department and worked in a variety of roles across the entire organisation before working his way through the ranks to assume the role of CEO. He is an astute salesman who genuinely enjoys working with clients and the company’s people. Bruce truly knows who the Vanderfield customer is and take great pleasure from collaborating with people in the agricultural industry and watching them develop new projects and ideas.

Bruce lives with his wife in Toowoomba but has recently purchased a small farm near the Bunya Mountains to live out his dream of being a farmer.

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Frank Gannon – CEO – QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute

headshotGlobal wanderer, Professor Frank Gannon, CEO QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, talks: Setting goals, expanding possibilities and potential, engaging the community and knowing what the heart wants.

Professor Frank Gannon is CEO of QIMR Berghofer, a world leading medical research institute which focuses on four areas of research: Cancer, infectious diseases, mental health and chronic disorders. Established 70 years ago, it is one of Australia’s most successful medical research institutes and has around 700 scientists, students and support staff. Frank is the institute’s 7th Director and CEO after assuming the role in 2011. Previously, he was the Director General of Science Foundation Ireland and from 1994 to 2007, was the Executive Director of the European Molecular Biology Organisation (EMBO), and Senior Scientist at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) based in Germany. He has also previously been the Director of the National Diagnostic Centre and Associate Professor in the Department of Microbiology at University College Galway, Ireland.

In 1970, Frank earned a Bachelor of Science from the National University of Ireland in Galway, followed by a Phd from the University of Leicester, England in 1973. Later, he was a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Madison Wisconsin in the USA and Chargé de Recherche in INSERM at the University of Strasbourg, France from 1975 to 1981, after which he returned to Galway, Ireland, where he was born and raised.

Throughout his career Frank has travelled and worked all over the world including in the United States, France, Germany, and now here in Australia. Sit down with Frank to discuss his is career and the words ‘opportunity’, ‘challenge’ and ‘potential’ arise time and time again. Indeed, Frank is someone who like to push the boundaries; someone who is driven by his work and dedicated to the cause and ethos of the institute. He is at the peak of his career internationally and Brisbane is fortunate to have him working within the domains of medicine, research and science.

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