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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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Rob Seljak – CEO – TUH Health Fund

headshotTUH Health Fund CEO, Robert Seljak, talks: The green line, aligning values, being passionate and trekking and travelling.

Rob Seljak is the CEO of TUH Health Fund, a Brisbane based non-for-profit organisation established in 1972 by the Queensland Teacher’s Union. Since then, TUH has expanded to all union members and was one of the fastest growing health funds in Australia over the past two years. Prior to joining TUH as CEO in 2005, Rob was the General Manager of Insurance WorkCover NSW and General Manager of Workplace Health and Safety Queensland. Rob’s leadership strategy is underpinned by ideas around social justice, community service; aligning his values with those of the organisation he leads and the positive engagement of people. Rob sits on the board of four industry organisations also as Director of Hillbrook Anglican School and as Director of a community board in Sanford where he lives.

Born in Toronto, Canada, Rob’s parents were immigrants who fled Slovenia after WW2. The second eldest of five children, he was raised in a close family, however, after finishing a law degree travelled around the world for a long while before settling in Australia where he has remained for the past 25 years. Rob has an interesting story to share, one which sees him travel to Nigeria to teach at a carpentry school, then to Kenya and to many other third world countries as a young man before he met an Australian girl, his wife, while trekking through Nepal.

Rob is someone who believes studying a subject one is passionate about leads to bigger and better pathways. He earned a Bachelor of Laws at Queens University, Ontario, and has a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Toronto. He later obtained a Masters of Business from Queensland University of Technology.

Rob has two grown daughters who share his adventurous spirit — one is currently in Sweden studying a post graduate degree while the other has just returned home from living in New York. Rob lives in Samford with his wife.

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Raynuha Sinnathamby – Managing Director – Springfield Land Corporation

Raynuha_webRaynuha Sinnathamby Managing Director Greater Springfield talks: building cities, keeping it in the family, adapting, taking every opportunity, seeing what’s possible and embracing change.

Raynuha Sinnathamby is the Managing Director of Springfield Land Corporation, recognised globally for what it has achieved with its award winning satellite city project, Greater Springfield. Now in its 24th year, Greater Springfield is Australia’s fastest emerging city. Encompassing six suburbs over almost 3000 hectares, it is home to 32, 000 people. When Springfield began the land mostly consisted of forestry, had a community of about 600 people, and a small shopping centre was the only retail space. It’s received numerous accolades and awards including Queensland’s President’s Award Master Planned Community, the 2015 UDIA National Master Planned Community Award. In 2010, Greater Springfield achieved international recognition by receiving the FIABCI Prix D’Excellence Award for World’s Best Master Planned Community 2010. In addition, Greater Springfield was also recognised for its contribution to master planned cities in Australia receiving three National Awards in 2010 – UDIA Presidents Award, UDIA Master Planned Community Award and PCA Master Planned Development Award.

One of four children Raynuha was born in the 1970s in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, but moved to Perth, Western Australia, as a baby with her family. Her father, an engineer, had studied in Sydney and at a time of unrest in Malaysia and sought to return to Australia to provide a better life for his young family. When Raynuha was ten her family relocated to Queensland where she eventually completed law and arts degrees majoring in Japanese at The University of Queensland. After spending time in Sydney, Canberra and Japan, Raynuha began her career as a solicitor at Allen Allen and Hemsley in Brisbane, before her father offered her a position within the family business. She joined Springfield Land Corporation in 1998 as Director Corporate.

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Page Maxson – Former CEO – Australia Pacific LNG

3255b45Page Maxson Former CEO of Australia Pacific LNG and Non Executive Director Queensland Symphony Orchestra  talks the importance of community, following the rules, clean energy and finding a home away from home.

Page Maxson is the Former CEO of Australia Pacific LNG, the Director of the American Chamber of Commerce in Australia; Chairman of the business advisory council at the Ipswich North Precinct and is on the board of Queensland Symphony Orchestra. Page joined ConocoPhillips in 1988 and worked with the organisation globally for many years, including in Houston, Norway, Indonesia, West Texas and Libya.

Born in Oklahoma in the US in the 1960s, Page was raised as one of five children on a small property. His father was a research engineer at Conoco Phillips and his mother stayed at home to raise the family. After completing high school, Page attended Oklahoma State University and immediately after completing a Bachelor of Science and Civil Engineering moved on to a Masters of Business at the University of Texas. An entrepreneur at heart, Page self funded his way through university by working as a lab technician and with money he had saved from a small but successful agricultural business he began in high school. After completing university, Page worked as a consultant for many years before seeking out an opportunity at Conoco Phillips at the age of 28. Page relocated to Australia and joined Australia Pacific LNG in 2010.

Page is an avid golfer and loves to sail. He last lived in the U.S 17 years ago but plans to retire in the near future and will return to his home in Austin, Texas.

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Dr Fred Hess – Managing Director – PanAust

Fred Hess_169x172_0Dr Fred Hess Managing Director of PanAust talks: Striking gold, finding things you care about, getting noticed and his passion for collecting stamps.

Dr Fred Hess is the Managing Director of PanAust, a copper and gold producer in Laos with pre-development opportunities in Laos, Papua New Guinea, Myanmar and Chile. Fred has over 30 years experience in the mining industry across copper, nickel and gold operations and he has worked throughout Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea. He has held a range of roles within PanAust over 11 years and was promoted to Managing Director  in 2014.

Fred was born in Charleville in Western Queensland where he pent the first five years of his childhood before his parents relocated the family to Brisbane. Fred’s father worked for the Queensland railway and instilled in him to choose a line of work he would always enjoy. During high school Fred’s chemistry teacher inspired him and challenged him to push himself to achieve academically. Excited by the possibilities of chemistry Fred transitioned to university following high school, commencing his undergraduate in engineering with a major in chemistry at the University of Queensland. It marked the beginning of an eight year academic journey for Fred who eventually completed his Phd at UQ’s Julius Kruttschnitt Mineral Research Centre (JKMRC).

Prior to joining PanAust, Fred managed the Macreas Gold Mine in New Zealand and the Mt Gordon Copper Mine in Australia following a career with WMC Resources and Bougainville Copper Limited in Papua New Guinea.

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Melissa King – CEO – Surf Life Saving Australia

mkMelissa King, CEO Surf Life Saving Australia talks: Living a nomadic life, creating shared Value, putting yourself out there and swimming between the flags.

Melissa King completed a Bachelor of Arts in Recreation and Marketing at Victoria University before commencing her career in marketing and corporate sponsorship roles. Later during her career she received a Masters of Business Administration from the University of New England; a Graduate Certificate of Arts Management and she is a graduate of Stanford University Graduate School of Business. Melissa has worked for some iconic organisations including as the Director of Marketing and Development with the Chartered Secretaries of Australia; as Manager of Sponsorship and Business Relations with the 2007 APEC Task Force, and as Group Manager of Corporate Partnerships at Sydney Opera House. Melissa became CEO of iconic brand Surf Life Saving Australia in July 2015, it’s an organisation she lives and breathes and Melissa genuinely views the organisation’s success as her own.

Born in Far North Queensland, Melissa’s parents were both from Victoria and her father’s career in insurance meant the family travelled and lived in different places overseas. The youngest of three sisters, Melissa spent seven years of her childhood in New Zealand before the family relocated to England where she completed most of her schooling life. When her father retired Melissa returned with her family to Australia but soon after completing university found herself back in the UK. After travelling extensively overseas she finally settled in Sydney. Melissa attributes her nomadic upbringing to some of her key professional skills and in particular to her capacity for resilience.

 

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Melissa on LinkedIn

Victoria University

University of New England