21 March 2012

Follow The Leader

(Picture source: http://www.afrboss.com/emergingleaders/)
For us here at the Business School, taking up an invitation to sponsor the Financial Review BOSS Emerging Leaders Program was an easy decision.

With the initiative offering participants the chance to not only hear from some of the business world’s most inspiring characters, but to also spend time with and be mentored by senior business leaders (like former Microsoft and current Telstra board member Steve Vamos), we felt the concept fitted beautifully with our own maxim of assisting smart and ambitious people achieve their maximum potential.

The first event (held back in December) featured Saatchi Australia CEO Michael Rebelo as keynote speaker. Having taken over the company’s London office right in the middle of the GFC, his recollections and insights were highly illuminating. The idea that really emerged was the need to be confident and unafraid of devising innovative new approaches during extremely difficult times. He also spoke about the need to be pathological in thanking people for their contributions to your organisation. For young leaders in particular, it was a really important message.

The program’s second event focused on career planning and drew on the expertise of Barclays Australia CEO Cynthia Whelan. She talked about how she left school early to pursue a career as a classical ballerina, only to be forced into retirement a few years later due to chronic back injuries. Undaunted, she went back to school, got qualified, and started again. It really went to the point of resilience; the idea that if something doesn’t work, you need to draw on all your reserves and move on to the next challenge. The central message was that successful people haven’t always enjoyed easy rides.

The next event will focus on doing business in China. With Asia becoming increasingly central to the future of our own economy, I can’t think of a more timely or important topic.

Article: http://sydney.edu.au/business/news/afr_boss_emerging_leaders_event

Author: Associate Professor Nick Wailes – University of Sydney Business School

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