Explain your role at CVCheck
I was brought in just over a year ago as a business consultant to review and upgrade the CVCheck operations systems and procedures, to better manage the huge growth the company is going through. This included the establishment of a dedicated Client Services Team, which led to my new role as Chief Commercial Officer.
I’m now responsible for Operations, Sales and Client Services teams, and for getting everyone working together in a cohesive way. My mission each day is to help the teams be more effective, and deliver the best product and customer service possible. I know I’m doing things right when people are embracing and feeling confident about change.
Tell us about your life before CVCheck
I’ve had a highly varied career, and I could never have predicted the journey I would take when starting out. It was a tough time for agriculture when I graduated from the University of Melbourne with my Honours degree in Agricultural Science in 1985, so I was on the lookout for something more exciting.
I spent two years working as a Pararescue Officer jumping out of planes and helicopters offshore and around Australia to save people. When the National Safety Council went bankrupt that adrenaline inducing role was over, and I was looking for another job.
I thought this might be the time to revisit agriculture when I spotted a job ad for an ‘Adventure Manager’, and thought ‘wow that sounds more like me’. I got the job, and relocated to Margaret River, having never visited WA before.
Outdoor adventure was beginning to be embraced by corporate companies because they could see the team building and leadership skills it taught, and the value that it brought to their business. I bought into the business, built three training centres in Perth, and developed a range of training programs specifically for these clients.
I sold the business in the early 2000s because I was burnt out and knew the business was at its peak. I took some well-earned time out 4WDing around Australia, camping, kayaking, and spearfishing.
When I returned home, I was approached to become a Project Manager for an oil & gas safety training business. I knew nothing about the resources sector or Africa, then the next thing I know, I’m flying to Angola just six weeks after the 37-year civil war had ended, to run a project there for Chevron.
I quickly grew to like Africa and worked in that industry for the following nine years. Again, I bought into the business, and we grew it into the second largest offshore safety training company in the world.
The aim was always to sell the business and after a year of negotiations, very fortuitously for us, the sale went through just days before the Lehman Brothers crash that started the global financial crisis.
At another fork in the road, unsure of what to do next, I bought a yacht and sailed around Indonesia.
Since then I’ve been helping others grow their businesses as a consultant, and that’s how I began my CVCheck journey.
Describe the culture at CVCheck
People work hard, but have fun at the same time. There’s a lot of contagious laughter around the office, but there’s a deep-seated passion to get it right for the customer.
What’s the most rewarding part of your job?
Leading and working with a team of dedicated professionals who are always looking for ways to go above and beyond for our customers. It’s also inspiring to me to see the way our product is constantly evolving to better meet the needs of our clients.
What career advice would you give your younger self?
I’d tell myself – a little uncertainty is a good thing, as you don’t always know where your career journey is going to take you. I could never have planned for all the wonderful work experiences I’ve had, and being open to new and varied opportunities has been the key to my success. Look for what’s fun, interesting, and beautiful, then make your own luck, by putting yourself out there, and being prepared to be uncomfortable.
I also did a whole lot of reassessing a few years back and realised that the experiences you share with the people that are important to you, and the difference you make to others, are the only things that really matter.
What does innovation mean to you?
I see a lot of parallels between my work and outdoor adventure. Embracing adventure and uncertainty opens up new experiences and opportunities. It makes you think more about the big picture and helps you find solutions for the challenges you face in your day to day work.
How do you relax?
I love being out on the water. I’m often sailing or kayaking after work or on the weekend. I’ve kayaked around the Subantarctic South Georgia Island, which is how I won the Australian Geographic Adventurer of the Year Award in 2015.
I also enjoy experiencing new places and being surrounded by nature. I recently took a six week trip to the US to white-water kayak through the rapids within the Grand Canyon. It really was a once in the lifetime experience.