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 85 – Tracy Vieira – CEO, Screen Queensland & Non Executive Director

Tracey Vieira, CEO of Screen Queensland, talks film and television, business acumen, building a personal brand, living with passion, sticking your hand up, and having self-belief.

Tracey Vieira is the CEO of Screen Queensland, a government organisation which works to grow the screen industry and contribute to the economic and cultural well being of Queensland. Screen Queensland’s role is to develop, fund and support the local screen industry, attract production to Queensland, and celebrate an active screen culture across the State. Tracey assumed the role of CEO in 2014 after spending ten years working for AusFilm in Los Angeles in the United States, where she attended the USC Marshall School of Business. At Ausfilm and Screen Queensland Tracey has been in pivotal in attracting a billion dollars in production investment in Australia. As well as her CEO responsibilities, Tracey currently holds positions on five different boards. She is a Non Executive Director of MediaRING, Board Director of the Sunshine Coast Arts Advisory Board, an advisory board member of Australians in Film, Non Executive Director of QMusic, a steering committee member of the Brisbane Asia Pacific Film Festival, and a Non Executive Director of the RSPCA Queensland.

Tracey was born in Lismore in New South Wales, the third of five children. Her family later relocated to Queensland and she was raised in Brisbane where she attended Sunnybank High School. From an early age Tracey had a passion for the arts and she later attended Queensland University of Technology where she earned a Bachelor of Education majoring in Film and TV and English. Tracey’s parents raised their children on a modest income and often faced financial challenges, a childhood experience which developed Tracey’s work ethic and desire for financial independence, leading her to secure a part-time job when she was just 14. In 2016, Tracey was awarded Telstra Queensland Business Woman of the Year Award and winner of Telstra Business Women’s Corporate and Private Award. She is also a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Tracey lives in Brisbane with her husband and young son.


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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. Kevin is someone who is highly educated and who has completed a number of the best management courses around the world, including Harvard University’s Advanced Management Program and the INSEAD AVIRA Organisation Leadership course. He also has a Bachelor of Arts and a Graduate Diploma of Business in finance from Monash University.

Born and bred in Melbourne, Victoria, Kevin’s strong belief in gender equality stems back to his childhood. The youngest of two brothers, surrounded by his aunt and six female cousins, Kevin was raised by his mother after his father left the family when he was just a few days old.

“I very much believe in gender and gender equality. I have a daughter so there is even more reason to feel that way. I think when you stand back and look at it,  for so many reasons, the right thing to do is to have gender equality. There is certainly a moral compass that should be applied, but even if you don’t accept that…performance is much greater (in a company) when you have that balance,” he said.

Upon graduating from university, Kevin secured a position with his beloved AFL North Melbourne football club before later joining the ANZ Bank graduate program. During his career, Kevin has held numerous senior roles with National Australia Bank and the Suncorp Group.

“From a very young age I always envisioned myself with a brief case for some reason… I always had an interest in banking and finance. Banks have such a profound influence on communities generally, and the economy more broadly, and I was always fascinated by how that worked,” Kevin said.

Kevin lives in Toowoomba, Queensland, with his wife.


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John Kotzas – CEO – QPAC

John Kotzas: CEO of Queensland Performing Arts Centre talks firing the arrow and hitting the bullseye, thinking outside the box, belonging and walking the floor.

John Kotzas is the CEO of Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC) in Brisbane. QPAC is one of Australia’s leading centres for live performance and the arts, with over three million visitors attending over 1200 performances annually. John is also on a number of boards including being Vice President of the Executive Council of Live Performance Australia and a member of the Griffith University Conservatorium of Music Advisory Council. He has a Bachelor of Arts and a Diploma of Education and in 2015 was awarded an Honorary Degree of the University by Griffith University in recognition of his contribution to the cultural and artistic life of Queensland. Since joining QPAC as Artistic Director in 2002, John has been instrumental in the growth of QPAC’S brand and international profile.

“I see myself as responsible for the overall health, welfare and artistic program of the organisation, the reason for that is… I think it’s one conversation. I don’t think the arts conversation and the business conversation are separate. I think the business is our arts and the arts is our business, that’s why we amalgamated those roles,” John said.

John was born in Innisfail, North Queensland and grew up in the 1960s as one of two children in a Greek, cane farming family. His “creative bent” was fostered from an early age and he always had a passion for music, cultural performances and the arts. From the age of four, John dreamt of being a producer but before he could finish his senior exams, he left school and went to work in a cheese factory, saving enough money to relocate to Brisbane. He fondly recalls a time when he lived with his grandmother in Brisbane and indulged his love of the theatre by volunteering at the iconic La Boîte Theatre. John ultimately studied teaching at university and worked in the education field for many years but fate had other plans; it wasn’t long before opportunities began to present themselves and John was lured back to his first love — the performing arts.

“One of the things I love about the arts is that when you embrace the arts they give you the opportunity to walk in someone else’s shoes and in doing that you expand your mind and you become a better person and you see the other opportunities to help others.”


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Prof. Donna Pendergast – Education Executive & Chair

Professor Donna Pendergast, Dean and Head of the School of Education and Professional Studies at Griffith University, talks: Hearing others and shaping ideas, being a lifelong learner, growth mindset, collaboration over competition and diving into different worlds.

First and foremost Donna Pendergast is a born teacher, an education leader who is passionate about the possibilities and transformational qualities of learning.

Teachers and education have such a vital role to play in so many ways and I am focused on giving students capabilities to carry through life… education as a field is so crucial to the success of business and social enterprises,” she said.

Following an illustrious career in the education sphere, Donna is now the Dean and Head of the School of Education and Professional Studies at Griffith University in Queensland, and recently assumed the role of Chair of the Queensland Educational Leadership Institute (QELI) — a non-for-profit organisation which assists teaches and school leaders reach their full potential.

Donna has conducted a number of national research projects of significance including Beyond the Middle, which investigated literacy and numeracy in middle schooling; and Lifelong Learning and Middle Schooling. She has also published several books pertaining to contemporary teacher work, including Teaching the Middle Years, The Millennial Adolescent, Groovy Chicks and Blokey Blokes. Donna has a Bachelor of Applied Science, a Graduate Diploma of Secondary Teaching, a Masters of Education and is a Doctor of Philosophy.

Born in Chinchilla in South West Queensland the second of three children, Donna spent her formative years in Charleville and her parents instilled within her the transformative nature of education. Her mother was one of 10 children and Donna and her siblings were the first in her family to attend university. Inspired by the young teachers who completed their country service in Charleville, Donna knew from a young age she was destined for a life in education.

“Growing up in Charleville there was always young teachers, bringing new ideas all the time, so growing up in a country town is a real asset as a student because you get energetic young teachers and that’s what appealed to me.”


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Campbell Newman – former Premier for Queensland


Campbell Newman, former Premier of Queensland, on: Future economies, robotics, life after politics and reconnecting with friends.

 In the lead up to interviewing Campbell Newman, Richard was a bit nervous. He’d never met Campbell before and he is a man with a strong reputation and somebody who has achieved many things for Brisbane and Queensland throughout his career. But Richard was delighted by Campbell’s humbleness and openness. He found him to be a man of great intentions and one who strives to live a life of service.

Born in Canberra to parents who both represented Tasmania in Federal Parliament, Campbell’s father was in the Australian Army and his family moved around a lot when he was a child. Interestingly, both of his parents voted for Gough Whitlam in the 1972 election but his father later went on to serve in the Fraser Government and his mother in the Howard Government.

Campbell joined the Australian Army as a staff cadet at the Royal Military College Duntroon in 1981. He spent 13 years serving in the army before eventually leaving with a Bachelor of Civil Engineering with Honours from the University of New South Wales.

Campbell later moved to Queensland to complete an MBA at the University of Queensland, which led him to a role consulting for PA Consulting Group and then working for GrainCorp. Campbell inevitably followed a path into politics, first as Lord Mayor of Brisbane and subsequently as Queensland Premier. He has since left politics and currently has an interesting career in the board space.

He is the Director of Arcana Capital and LinkSprite Australia and the Chairman of Swarmfarm Robotics. Campbell said that post politics, after considering what he wanted to do professionally, he decided he wanted to restart a business career particularly within future economies. He is also enjoying reconnecting with friends and having free time following the demands of political life.

“It’s liberating, how fantastic it is to be able to do the things I want to do,” he said.

Campbell and his wife Lisa live in Brisbane and they have two daughters.



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Steve Greenwood – CEO – Queensland Futures Institute

aaeaaqaaaaaaaatzaaaajgnmzde1zdmyltixnzktnde4ms05zmizltliy2vlm2iwognkywSteve Greenwood — CEO Queensland Futures Institute— Talks Ideas for the Future, His Love of Queensland & Why You Should Always Have a Go

Together over a few red wines, Queensland Futures Institute (QFI) CEO, Steve Greenwood, and Founding Chairman, Jim McKnoulty, hatched ideas to create an organisation committed to improving Queensland. A relatively young organisation, QFI was established in 2013, and is an independent, apolitical, public policy body, which generates new ideas and solutions for the economic and social growth of the state’s community. QFI brings together a number of Queensland leaders and innovators from a diverse range of backgrounds to form the Queensland Futures Institute Council, an independent body which sets the organisation’s strategic priorities and policy agenda. Steve has a wealth of experience building and leading strong teams which deliver results. His extensive leadership experience includes the public sector, industry organisations and the commercial sector; strategy and transformation; corporate governance and external relationships.

Born in Far North Queensland, Steve enjoyed a “fantastic, very relaxed” childhood growing up with his brother on Mossman’s Northern Beaches. His family later moved to small town Malanda on The Atherton Tablelands, where Steve completed his secondary education. Upon finishing school, he made the leap to the city, relocating to Brisbane to study a Bachelor of Environmental Science at Griffith University. Steve recalls moving from a small community to the “the big smoke” as a significant milestone — every Sunday a young Steve would wait in line at the campus payphone to call home, his pockets full of twenty cent pieces. Throughout his degree, every holiday period Steve would return to Malanda where he worked packing cheese in the local milk factory.

Steve went on to earn a Diploma of Education from The University of Queensland, before moving into the Brisbane City Council Graduate program and later, local government. He eventually moved into the role of Executive Director Queensland for the Property Council of Australia, followed by CEO at Canegrowers Australia. He has also completed a Masters Degree in urban and regional planning and the Company Directors Course with the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

He lives in Brisbane with his family and he is a devoted fan of the Queensland Cowboys rugby league team.



Steve on LinkedIn

Griffith University

The University of Queensland

Property Council of Australia

Canegrowers Australia

Kathy Hirschfeld — Former Executive Director BP Australasia & Non Executive Director

1a98322Kathy Hirschfeld — Former Executive Director BP Australasia & Non Executive Director — On Gender Diversity, Running a Refinery & Creating Your Own Future

Arete Executive is eager to feature a much greater representation of female guests on the podcast, especially those who have successfully moved from an executive to a non-executive or portfolio career. It was wonderful to sit down and have a conversation with Kathy Hirschfeld, a civil engineer and accomplished women, who forged an impressive career in senior roles in an often male dominated industry. Kathy is genuine and down-to-earth and was forthcoming with fascinating stories from what is a remarkable number of diverse roles throughout her career.

Kathy was born in Brisbane, a self confessed “bossy” eldest sibling of three children. She attended Ascot State School and completed her secondary education at Brisbane Girls Grammar, while maintaining a part-time job as an assistant to a local hairdresser. Upon completing school, she was offered an apprenticeship in the salon but Kathy had bigger plans and chose to study a Bachelor of Chemical Engineering at The University of Queensland (UQ).

Kathy’s career with BP spanned almost 20 years and took her overseas to Turkey and the UK before she returned to Brisbane to assume the combined roles of Managing Director and Refinery Manager of BP Bulwer Island Refinery, and as Executive Director of BP Australasia. In 2010, she exited BP and set off on a six month journey around the world before pursuing her portfolio career.

Kathy is currently a Non Executive Director of both InterOil Corporation and Toxfree Solutions, a Board Member of UN Women Australia; works with Merryck & Co as an Executive Coach and Mentor and is also a Member of Senate at UQ. Kathy is a lover of the Arts and enjoys attending the ballet and the opera, and is also a member of the Foundation Committee of Queensland Art Gallery and GOMA. A proud supporter of the Queensland Reds Rugby Union team, Kathy is the Red’s Number 1. Ticket Holder. She lives in Brisbane.



Kathy on LinkedIn

BP Global


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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Chris Ward, Managing Partner Cooper Grace Ward Lawyers


Chris Ward Chris Ward – Managing Partner Cooper Grace Ward Lawyers – Reflects on his Career & Talks Fostering Internal Culture & Putting Your Chin Out.

As Managing Partner of Brisbane based law firm Cooper Grace Ward, Chris leads the overall practice, management and day-to-day operations of the firm. Chris has been a litigator for almost all of his 37 years of law practice, focusing on the areas of commercial litigation, insurance, family and de facto law cases. He’s a qualified solicitor with the Supreme Court of Queensland and over the last 35 years has litigated substantial cases in the High Court of Australia, the Federal and Supreme Courts of Australia and the Family Court of Australia.

Chris was born and raised in Brisbane, the youngest of three brothers. He began attending St Joseph’s College Gregory Terrace in Grade 4 where he finished his schooling before completing his degree part-time while working at a law firm. Chris is both humble and personable and hard work is at the core of his story. As a young man, he delivered telegrams for the local post office and worked as a bookmaker’s penciller at Eagle Farm and Doomben Racecourses. Chris fondly shares his early experiences, speaking of a “different time” when “you put  in long hours and didn’t have much.” He recalls pitching a tent with his mates at Main Beach for their take of Schoolies in the early 70s.

Chris’ made career inroads early on. At just 22, he became a Senior Litigation Partner at a now defunct firm but soon moved on to establish Cooper Grace Ward with two fellow lawyers, after the trio devised a loose business plan on the back of an envelope. Cooper Grace Ward began in 1980 when Chris was just 26 and is now a $40 million dollar business, one of Brisbane’s largest independent law firms with a team of more than 220. Chris has been the Managing Partner since 2005. Chris is also a Practice Group Coordinator for ADVOC Asia, an international network of independent law firms which share international expertise in jurisdictions globally. Chris lives in Brisbane with his wife and three sons.


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Nigel Chamier, Former Chairman Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Corporation


Nigel Chamier photoNigel Chamier on Chairing the 2018 Commonwealth Games & feeling honoured & privileged to serve the Brisbane community.

Nigel Chamier is a highly accomplished individual who genuinely feels privileged to engage in a wide range of portfolio roles, particularly those which serve the community. He is a passionate champion for both Brisbane and Queensland and has proudly contributed to the advancement of both across a number of areas. Nigel is particularly invested in developing Brisbane landmarks and preserving its historical architecture. It was fascinating to hear what Nigel has achieved within the Brisbane landscape and his experiences really resonate given Arete Executive is also based in Brisbane. It must be amazing for Nigel to be able to look across a city and observe what an influential role he’s had in developing and growing Brisbane into a sophisticated city.

Nigel is the Former Chairman of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Corporation and the Commonwealth Games Infrastructure Authority. He’s been the Honorary Consul for Sweden since 2000 and is a proud member and the immediate past President of The Brisbane Club. Nigel is a Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, a Fellow of the Australian Property Institute and a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. Nigel is a recipient of the Medal of the Order of Australia for Services to the Property Industry and in 2008 was awarded the Royal Order of Polar Star for Services to Sweden. Most recently, he was awarded an AM – a Member of the Order of Australia. In the Australian honours system appointments to the Order of Australia confer the highest recognition for outstanding achievement and service. Nigel was instrumental in the highly acclaimed $215 million restoration of Brisbane City Hall and has played major roles in the development of Brisbane landmarks including Eagle Street Pier. Nigel is also a Non Executive Director of Queensland Airports Limited.

Nigel was born in London but grew up in Bundaberg in Queensland in the 1960s, after his parents relocated to Australia and packed up a Land Rover with Nigel and his younger sibling, setting out on an “adventure” up the East Coast. After his schooling, Nigel returned to London where he secured a position at Lloyds Bank, while studying banking at night school. Nigel joined Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) in 1972, became partner by the age of 26 and remained with the firm for 20 years, retiring as Joint Managing Director in 1991. When Nigel turned 40, he decided it was time to “sit back and reassess things” and relocated to Tuscany in Italy for six months with his wife and two daughters, before moving on to his impressive portfolio career.


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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.

I sat down with Rob Goudswaard 12 months into his role as CEO of Credit Union Australia. It was a great pleasure to have Rob on the Arete Podcast. He is an extroverted individual, an engaging story teller who shared his career experiences and milestones with both energy and passion. Raised in Melbourne, Rob is the eldest son of two immigrant parents from Holland and spoke only his native Dutch tongue until he was five.

Religion was at the heart of Rob’s childhood, an upbringing which continues to underpin his big picture approach and inform his role as Director of World Vision Australia. Serving the community continues to be central to Rob’s story. He is a dynamic individual who has an impressive portfolio of  involvement in various community and industry initiatives. Rob is a Former Non-Executive Director of a number of committees such as Places Victoria. His keen interest in the agri industry extends to managing his own 1200 acre cattle and sheep farm and tree plantation in Alexandra, Victoria.

Rob has extensive experience in the banking and financial sector in Australia and overseas. Prior to joining Credit Union Australia he was the Director of the Rural Finance Corporation Victoria and Chairman of the Young Farmer’s Finance Council. He studied a Bachelor of Economics at La Trobe University before building his career from the ground up, starting out as a lender with ANZ, completing many professional development courses as he’s progressed through his career. Rob went on to hold a number of senior positions at ANZ over many years including: Managing Director Regional, Rural & Small Business Banking, General Manager, ANZ Pacific and Personal Banking Asia, and Chief Operating Officer, Small to Medium Business Australia and New Zealand. Rob is also a Director of Cuscal Ltd.


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Ray Weekes, CEO in Residence QUT Business School & Chairman CEO Institute of Queensland

Ray Weekes – CEO in Residence QUT Business School – on Taking Time to Reflect, the Power of Education and Why You Can Never be too Optimistic.

Ray Weekes is currently an Adjunct Professor and the CEO in Residence of Queensland University of Technology Business School. He is Chairman of the CEO Institute of Queensland and a director and advisor of various organisations within both the community and commercial and academic sectors. Ray is the former Managing Director of Castlemaine Perkins and former CEO of major, multinational company Rothmans Holdings Limited. Ray has also previously been a member of the Royal Children’s Hospital Foundation Board and is a member of the Queensland Business Leaders Hall of Fame Governing Committee.

Ray is dynamic and highly engaging, someone who I was really excited to host on the Arete podcast. He was open and genuine throughout our conversation and was all too happy to reflect on his career, sharing his insights and accomplishments with honesty and humility. I’ve known Ray for a long time and he’s been a tremendous friend and mentor not only to me but to Arete Executive. It was a welcome opportunity to return the favour by giving Ray the space to share his fascinating story. Ray is a great example of someone who has used his success as a platform to give back, by mentoring young CEOs and senior executives emerging through the ranks; as well as showcasing the achievements of those who have walked the path before him.

Born in Sydney’s Bondi, Ray started boarding school at just four years of age and later attended Canterbury Boys’ High School before completing a Bachelor of Commerce in Accounting at the University of New South Wales. After university adventure beckoned and  a young Ray travelled extensively through Europe in a Volkswagen van. He spent a significant time in Canada before returning to Australia to become a chartered accountant, and complete post graduate courses in business administration and education.

Ray was raised by his Mother in a single parent household on a modest income. Ray’s Mother was a senior executive at a time when it was unusual for women to hold top-tier positions. She taught Ray the power of education, and instilled him with an understanding of the opportunity for financial security and independence a career in business presented. They are values which still ring true, inspiring Ray’s role as Chairman of QUT’s Learning Potential Fund – a scholarship which provides assistance for financially disadvantaged students to help them achieve their academic goals. Ray can count many milestones along his long and diverse career, but cites being married to wife Penny for 46 years as one of his greatest achievements.

Ray is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and the Australian Institute of Management, and is also a member of The Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia.


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