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Irish Chamber

Mentoring, Resilience and Global Mobility

Sunday, June 23, 2013

This week we had a full house for the first mid-term session of our mentoring program, hosted by our sponsors Grant Thornton in their amazing Rialto Tower offices. It was great to see such a turnout of young Irish professionals in Melbourne and members of the wider Irish Australian business community.

We did things a little differently for a Melbourne session and rather than having a speaker we put together a panel of business leaders who are actively involved with the chamber and participating in the 2013 cohort.

Our panellists were:

Michael Burke – MD of Burke Corporate Advisory Group, a Melbourne-based organisation specialising in corporate strategy and executive mentoring. Michael has been a successful advisor to the Corporate, and Public Sector since 1985. His corporate clients include: Amcor Flexibles Asia - Pacific, Amcor Closures, Amcor Research and Technology, Metricon Homes, Qantas, Stanley Tools, A G Coombs Group, Newoak Ford, Draeger Medical, Peter Stevens Motorcycles, Kempe International, Skilled Group, and major players in the Victorian Surf and Food Processing Sector. He has also worked with many independent businesses, sporting clubs and associations.

John Harte – Principal of Integrity Governance, John is a professional business manager and non-executive director. He                                                                   specialises in the professional services, healthcare and Government owned businesses. John has over 20 years experience in business management, including head of business, chief executive, Chairmanship and directorship roles in a range of companies from multinationals to SME in Europe, Australia and the US. John gained significant human resources, strategic planning, product and service development expertise plus further specialisation in communications, business management, governance, investment and stakeholder engagement at Mars Incorporated, Goldman Sachs, Schroder’s and Capital International.

Bill Winter – Principal of Point North Consulting, Bill is a trusted advisor to directors and owners of private companies. Bill has enjoyed a successful international career  which has seen him start and grow his own business, sell it to a large global brand and then join them to experience life in that environment. Nowadays, he focuses on sharing the knowledge that he has built up during his journey and his core purpose is to help private business remain profitable, improve performance and ensure everyone associated with the business is heading in the same direction with a positive internal culture. Bill is active in Melbourne and regional Victoria as a business consultant with a strong interest in family businesses.

The insights and expertise shared by our panel were valuable indeed. When talking about his views on leadership, Michael described those who he “Trusts”, “Instructs”, “Supervises” and “Motivates”. As he went through his reasoning, I found myself thinking of times when I fitted each of the four titles so looking forward to catching up with Michael soon to find out how off the scale I am!

I was very interested to hear about how John had helped some clients go from being so busy they “lived in their business” to their current position of working less, making more money and having driven value increases within the company that they have a valuable and saleable asset.

Bill shared an insight with us that made me reflect on the human aspect when he talked about the various responses he gets from the question “What do you think about when you’re travelling to work in the morning?” Personally, I raised a smile at the person who responded “I think about how I’d like to go home again!” given we have all had days like that. The fact that the person in Bill’s story didn’t just go home again says something about their resilience.

Resilience was a topic that came up a few times and particularly when considering the reputation of the young Irish professionals in Australia. The collective view from the Australian guests and those who had been doing business in Australia for some years was that the young Irish enjoy a very strong reputation as talented, well educated, great team contributors and having taken proactive steps in their career during the GFC, their resilience was beyond doubt. Michael spoke on the topic very well as he described how, many years ago, Australians travelled globally for work and enjoyed a similar reputation but that Ireland were now ahead of them. It was good to hear a local view that valued our contribution to business in Australia.

What are your views on global skills mobility? Do you see it as mutually benefitting both the home country and destination of those professionals who are in a global or regional market?