• 12 Oct 2017 12:30 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Honourary Consul General of Canada in Melbourne, Mr. Rene Lalande

    The Melbourne Committee of the Canadian Australian Chamber of Commerce (CACC) fêted René Lalande on his appointment to Honorary Consul of Canada in Melbourne at a gathering of business leaders at PwC, Riverside Quay, Melbourne on 3 October.


    In a show of support for Canada’s newest Honorary Consul in Melbourne, the CACC’s Melbourne Committee hosted its inaugural event by congratulating René Lalande, CEO of Transdev Australasia on his recent appointment.


    Lesley Gillespie, OAM, CACC Board Member and Chair of its Melbourne Committee, launched the event by introducing Mr. Lalande to a gathering of approximately 40 members from Melbourne’s business community.


    Also in attendance were dignitaries Charles Reeves, Deputy High Commissioner of Canada and Myriam Boisbouvier-Wylie, Honorary Consul-General of France in Melbourne.


    “On both sides of the Pacific, René is a recognised business leader,” said Mrs. Gillespie.


    “We, the CACC, and the Melbourne Committee in particular, are very excited about working with René to advance economic opportunities between our two countries and of course, doing our part to support him in his role.”


    Mr. Lalande, having moved with his family from Canada to Melbourne four years ago, presented a keynote address on the topic of living in the world’s most livable city, after having lived in one of the world’s most livable countries.


    “Australia and Canada share some deep similarities – high quality of education, good infrastructure and other positive factors – which make them great places to live and great places to do business, “ said Mr. Lalande.


    Mr. Lalande also spoke to the great relationship shared by Australia and Canada. “We have strong mutual respect and shared values such as ‘having a fair go’, a passion for sports and an unshakeable desire to maintain our democratic, inclusive societies.


    “There is much scope and opportunity to strengthen ties between Australia and Canada; much scope to learn from each other…and much scope to strengthen the business ties for the mutual benefit of our most livable cities.


    “Geographically, there’s a great distance between us, but by our societal values, we are very near.


    “I look forward to playing my part, as Honorary Consul of Canada in Melbourne, and working with you to bring our two livable countries that little bit closer together, merci beaucoup,” concluded Mr. Lalande.

    Before the official proceedings concluded, Managing Partner at PwC, CACC Director and host, Mike McGrath, personally acknowledged Mr. Lalande.


    “Congratulations to René as he weaves together his commercial expertise with his consular appointment.


    “As a diplomatic businessman, René personifies the CACC’s mission, which is a commitment to driving growth between two of the best countries in the world.


    René, we are excited about what you’re going to do in your role and we are committed to supporting you wherever we can,” he said.


    In closing, Mr. McGrath invited Melbourne’s business community to lend its support, assistance and counsel to the CACC’s Melbourne Committee.


    “This is a committed team, driven by Lesley Gillespie, that is going to bring something special to Melbourne’s business community. I invite you all to participate in the committee’s events, especially as we support our new Honorary Consul, René Lalande.”


    Article Written By:

    Angela Smith

    CACC Copywriter, Melbourne Committee

  • 27 Sep 2017 3:00 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    More than 1,000 business leaders and chambers of commerce members from 100 countries descended upon Sydney 19-21 September for the 10th World Chambers Congress, held at the International Convention Centre in Darling Harbour.

    Under the theme “Where Business Connects” delegates had the opportunity to discuss some of the world’s most pressing challenges. It was also an opportunity for members to meet and strengthen existing business relationships.

    New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian officially opened the Congress noting that in this time of disruption and rapid economic change, “chambers of commerce were vital as partners for governments and the community in pursuing economic opportunities and generating investment, innovation and jobs.”

    Chambers must promote global stability

    How can businesses with limited time and resources make a difference when it comes to peace-building efforts? This was a question raised in the first plenary session of the Congress which focused on business, conflict and terrorism. Session moderator Steve Killelea, president of the Institute for Economics and Peace, honed in on the interplay between business, peace and economic development and urged chamber members to be pivotal in communicating this relationship to governments.

    Delegates also attended sessions on infrastructure, changing chamber business models, and alliances on day one. The second day, presenters turned their attention to sustainability, global mobility, tourism as a driver for economic growth, workplace diversity, SME finance and working with media.

    Enlightening the audience with ways to attain sustainable business models, author and ZERI founder Gunter Pauli called on delegates to ditch business planning in favour of taking concrete action, which got delegates going on Twitter. “Scan for opportunities to implement new business models that will transform economies,” he urged.

    Chambers members need to encourage refugees

    In a talk about how protectionism around migration is leading to missed opportunities delegates were called upon to give refugees a chance to integrate and contribute as this makes good economic sense.  Volker Treier, deputy chief executive officer of the Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce, said chambers could take the lead on informing and advising business on the benefits of migration, identifying and assessing refugee skills, and providing training.

    Meanwhile, day three’s themes focused on leadership and also technology.

    In the opening plenary session, Umit Subasi, president of Campbell Arnott’s Asia-Pacific business, told members that “leadership isn’t about our egos, it’s about our ability to learn, then unlearn so that we can re-learn again. If we want to keep growing, we have to let go of the ‘achieved’ and move on to the next thing.”

    Also talking leadership was Esko Aho, the former Prime Minister of Finland, who made the points that…“good leaders are conceptual but are able to change concepts quickly in times of crisis” and “political leaders really needed to understand the business environment.”

    Mr. Aho quoted hockey great Wayne Gretzky on leaders: “A good skater goes where the puck is. But a star is skating where the puck is going to go.”

    In an afternoon session on human-centered leadership, Anthony Howard, CEO of Confidere Group, said research showed organisations that focus on ‘people and purpose’ outperform organisations that focus purely on profit.

    He called profit-driven companies with dysfunctional cultures “caterpillars” while companies that honed in on people were more likely to be “butterflies.”

    In the second plenary session, Cedric Chehab, head of global strategy for BMI Research, talked about global trends with a particular focus on China’s rising economic star. He noted that with rising urbanisation during rapid population growth there could be huge business challenges but also opportunities in countries like Ethiopia, Nigeria and Pakistan.

    In a session called the 4th industrial revolution, Robert Wickham, regional vice-president, innovation and digital transformation at Salesforce, told the audience “we’re moving from reactive to proactive to predictive processes, otherwise known as intimate computing” and “we’ve entered the spring of artificial intelligence.”

    Fellow panelist Ken Kroeger executive chairman of Seeing Machines, talked about driverless cars noting they will change the way cities work, how governments take in and spend money, and that “full automation, while we don’t know how long it will take, we know it will change our lives.”

    In his closing remarks, International Chamber of Commerce First Vice-Chair John W.H. Denton AO called on chamber and business leaders to champion cross-border commerce and communicate the benefits of trade, leveraging ICC’s #TradeMatters campaign. Mr. Denton also urged Congress delegates to engage and collaborate to an unprecedented degree to achieve the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

    During tea breaks and at lunch time, delegates were able to visit the exhibition area to meet sponsors like the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry; Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture; NSW Government; Qantas; the University of Sydney and Torino Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Crafts and Agriculture. Iconic firms like Akubra Hats were also doing a brisk trade with delegates.

    This was the first time Sydney had hosted the Congress. In 2019, the baton passes to the Brazilian Confederation of Trade and Business Associations who will host the 11th World Chambers Congress in Rio de Janeiro.

    Written by:

    Kim Carter

    CACC Communications Committee

  • 14 Sep 2017 8:00 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    PICTURE: Jack Cowin, CACC Patron and Michael Bacina, Chair of SME Committee

    A lifetime of business success in Australia hasn’t taken the quiet Canadian out of Jack Cowin.

    As icy winds battered the windows of KPMG’s Sydney offices, the Chairman and Managing Director of Competitive Foods Australia was quietly reflective and self-deprecating as guest speaker at a recent CACC lunch.

    Touching on his frugal, but warm-hearted upbringing by Depression-era parents, his experience selling plants as an enterprising teenager and the highs and lows of business life, the 75-year-old got laughs from the 70 people in attendance when he joked: “Life is like a football match. We’ve got quarters and unfortunately I’ve just entered the last one.”

    Last quarter or not, he’s not planning on retiring just yet because the myriad of business opportunities that have come his way continue to keep him “occupied and entertained.”

    An Australian Financial Review Rich Lister and CACC’s Patron, Mr Cowin is best known for his fast food investments, including Hungry Jack’s, KFC and Domino’s Pizza. This is where the bulk of his wealth has been created.

    But after his initial success in the industry, he wanted to diversify his holdings to see if he could make money outside of the fast food sector. This started with shares in Network 10 where he was an investor, buying the television station out of receivership in 1992.

    Mr Cowin invested $4.5 million and sold his shares in the TV network for $72 million just five years later. He remained a Network 10 director for 20 years until 2015.

    Today, Mr. Cowin has shares in Fairfax Media, investment bank Moelis Australia, technology firm Bailador and Sydney’s BridgeClimb.

    At one time, he even invested in the largest cattle company in the world, but after a disagreement with one of his partners he sold his shares, causing the Australian Financial Review to dub him “Australia’s shortest-lived cattle baron.”

    Born in Windsor, Ontario, Mr. Cowin’s parents encouraged their son to work hard and be frugal. Like many entrepreneurs, Mr. Cowin started earning money from an early age, mostly through paper routes, shovelling snow and selling Christmas cards. As a university student, he sold trees and shrubs door to door to farmers each summer to fund his studies.

    “My parents gave me the confidence that I could do whatever I wanted to if I worked hard enough. Even if it wasn’t true, it gave me the confidence to have a go at things,” he said.

    “I developed an interest in selling and found I was good at it. It annoyed my professors when they learned I was making more money in my summer job than they were teaching,” he added.

    He was also good at sport. Mr. Cowin was a champion wrestler at university and even had a short stint playing football with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. Realising the professional athlete’s life wasn’t for him, he applied to take an MBA at the University of Western Ontario, but was rejected.

    Not long after, a job at an insurance company beckoned and the 22-year-old learned he was just as good at selling life insurance as he was at selling plants. “You don’t have to stay there for 35 years to get a gold watch. You’re measured from day one for your results,” he said of the insurance sector.

    Go to the land of milk and honey + (money)

    But after five years, he wanted to do something different. His dad, a lifelong Ford employee had visited Australia for work and told him that this country was “the land of milk and honey, and if he was young again that’s where he’d go.” And Mr. Cowin didn’t hesitate.

    Along with some friends who worked at KFC in Canada, he began exploring the developing fast food industry in Australia, thinking he could make his mark there. Working up a pitch, he borrowed $10,000 each from 30 fellow Canadians to form his privately held Competitive Foods Australia Ltd (CFAL) business.

    “I’m not sure how many 26-year-olds with no experience and no collateral would get $10,000 each from businessmen today to go off and start a business at the end the world. Seriously, how long before you would throw him out of your office? Thank goodness for those people who backed me with venture capital,” he said.

    He noted those investors got their money back with plenty of interest as the business soared from a single KFC outlet in Perth in the late 1960s to more than 60 outlets. CFAL later sold the KFC business in 2015.

    Today, CFAL has ownership of the Australian Burger King franchise trading under the Hungry Jack’s label. There are currently 420 stores producing $1 billion in sales.

    In addition, CFAL owns a manufacturing business with five plants producing hamburger patties, steaks and pizza toppings as well as a vegetable processing salad business. The manufacturing business has sales of $500 million and exports to 27 countries. CFAL total sales are currently $1.5 billion.

    In addition to his CFAL interests, Mr. Cowin owns shares in the publicly listed Domino’s Pizza Enterprises operations in Australia, New Zealand, Japan, France, Holland, Belgium and Germany, (worth $1 billion). He has also invested $150 million in the Domino’s USA franchisor.

    He admits he has made and lost millions on his Domino’s shares, noting at that level it’s just “paper”, but his Domino’s shares are still worth a cool $1 billion today, up considerably from a 1986 investment of $440,000.

    It is now almost 50 years since Mr. Cowin followed his father’s advice and moved to Australia with his family, although he still holds some tourism assets in his native land.

    In Canada, he has invested in both the Lone Star Texas Grill and Jack Astor’s restaurant businesses. He owns 60 per cent of RCX, an American company in the business of crew transportation servicing the railways. He is also a controlling shareholder in Apache Ltd., an industrial services business based in Houston. These two companies have revenue of $500 million.

    In all, Mr. Cowin has had a lot of business success, but he’s mindful of other things: Importantly, all of this been an adventure. Best of all, my wife and my four kids still talk to me and to each other.”

    And what of the University of Western Ontario which turned him down for their MBA program back in the 1960s? He became the university’s chancellor in 2015.

    Jack Cowin’s lessons of life

    Mr. Cowin wound up his talk with his top lessons for life. From keeping your integrity to being nice to your kids.

    Written by: 

    Kim Carter

    CACC Communications Committee

  • 14 Sep 2017 5:30 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    1.     If you lose your health, nothing else matters, regardless of your success. How much money would Kerry Packer have paid to get a new kidney? Include techniques such as meditation or physical training into your life to maintain your mental and physical health.

    2.     If you lose your integrity, no amount of success will be meaningful and it will produce a hollow feeling when you look in the mirror. What would Alan Bond, Eddie Obeid, and Rodney Adler say on this subject? What would they say is important to them today if they were around?

    3.     Control your own destiny – most satisfied people I know have control over their own lives and affairs. We are probably all seeking the independence to do what we want to, when and where we want to do it. How many unhappy people are there? Ninety percent of the population are in jobs, activities or relationships out of economic necessity? They stay in a job they hate. Have a vision or dream of where you want to go. Develop your passion / work and play.

    4.     Be prepared to take some risks. Life is an adventure and a challenge. When you are young, you can afford to fail because you can start over again. When you are old, you need the stimulation.

    5.     Caveats to risk:

    a.     Don’t bet the farm. Things go wrong with the best-laid plans. Spread the risk. In cricket terms, you don’t have to swing for a six on all occasions. Singles and doubles will get you there. Don’t underestimate the power of compound interest / 50 yrs.

    b.     There is no shortage of good deals or ideas. Don’t fall in love with a business. Don’t put yourself in peril chasing something / Ego Dangerous.

    c.     The number one priority of a CEO is to make sure that the company stays in business and survives. What threats can take you out of the game? What decisions, if wrong, could be terminal? What is your margin of error?

    d.     Think through the worst-case scenario action plan. Accept that without risk, and the possibility of failure, maybe success will be limited.

    e.     Don’t wait until the dogs are barking at the door to do things. Banks don’t give out umbrellas when it's raining. When they pass around the bickies ($) take some, as they probably won’t be passing them when you want or need them.

    6.     Get some money out of a business that is risk or market adverse. Counter balance the existing investment in your business. You will sleep better at night.

    7.     Keep some powder dry: / $1,000 start

    a.     So that you have an opportunity fund, or the capacity to raise money when the right deal presents itself.

    b.     Be prepared to model / test / prove that people will pay real money for the product prior to a boots-and-all commitment. Take a step-by-step approach rather then putting it all on the nose to win.

    8.     Family:

    a.     Find a tolerant wife/ husband who can appreciate your search for success and fulfilment.

    b.      Be good to your kids as they will be the ones checking you into the nursing home.

    c.     It can be very unfulfilling trying to enjoy yourself when nobody else likes your company.

    9.     Never, ever give up if you think you are right. Big companies operate on the basis that the little guy will fold. Showing up eliminates 85% of the competitors who won’t go the distance. The flip side of this is don’t die on your sword in pursuit of mission impossible. Be prepared to cut your losses. As Kenny Rogers sang – you got to know when to hold them and when to fold them.

    10.  Don’t get caught up on your own self-importance. Try to be humble even if you don’t believe it. Be able to laugh at yourself.

    11.  Life is about dealing with people. You can solve the biggest problems if you can maintain a smile and a sense of humour.  Try and surround yourself with smart people who complement your skills.  Pay attention to the big stuff.  Delegate the mundane.  Delegate, but don’t abdicate.

    12.  Focus: / Warren Buffett : Bill Gates

    a.     Get a mainstream business that produces cash flow.

    b.     Be a rifle not a shotgun.

    c.     The tax man helps share in losses instead of capital.

    d.     Beware of new girls/ prettier theories and diversions.

    13.  Understand the business.  3 great bubbles: The paper deals of the mid-80s; the dot.com boom; and mid-2000 USA housing fiasco. Greater fool theory defied logic. Understand the fundamentals.

    Everyone wants to live on top of the mountain but all the happiness and growth occurs while you are climbing it. It’s all about the journey / not the destination.

    Richard Branson / via Hunter Thompson – Journalist – Rolling Stone Magazine

    “Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a ride!” 

    Life is an adventure.

  • 25 Aug 2017 12:06 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The Canadian Australian Chamber of Commerce (CACC) welcomes René Lalande, CEO Transdev in his role as Honorary Consul of Canada in Melbourne.

    “On behalf of the CACC, I would like to congratulate Mr. Lalande on his appointment,” said Brian Hansen, President of the CACC.

    “As CEO of Transdev’s Australasian operations, Mr. Lalande has significant experience in international operations, trade and relations”, said Mr. Hansen.

    “We look very forward to collaborating with our new Honorary Consul General in Melbourne as together we support trade and business connections between Australia and Canada.”

    Originally from Québec, Canada, René Lalande first came to Australia four years ago. During his time in Australia, Mr. Lalande has held senior executive positions including Managing Director at Bombardier Transportation Australia, prior to joining Transdev.

    “I acknowledge and respect the work of the CACC,” Mr. Lalande said. “In my role as Honorary Consul General in Melbourne, I am particularly delighted to have the opportunity to connect with its Melbourne Committee and find ways to collaborate and further the important work of the CACC in the Melbourne market.”

    “I am fortunate enough to live in the most livable city in the world, having come from one of the most livable countries in the world. There is much scope and opportunity to strengthen ties between Australia and Canada.”

    CACC Director and Chair of the Melbourne Committee, Lesley Gillespie OAM said, “Mr. Lalande is a recognised business leader in both Australia and Canada and we are very excited about how we, the Melbourne Committee in particular, may work with Mr. Lalande to advance economic opportunities between our two great countries.”

    The CACC will formally welcome Mr. Lalande at a special event in Melbourne later in 2017, details to follow at a later date.

    The Canadian Australian Chamber of Commerce (CACC) is a not-for-profit organisation whose focus is to build and strengthen trade and business connections between Australia and Canada. The CACC maintains relationships with senior and operational level resources of Government in both Canada and Australia as well as providing members with access to an extensive and growing network of individuals and organisations with an interest in the Canada-Australia business relationship.

    Written by: 

    Angela Smith, CACC Copywriter

    Communications & Membership Committee

    Melbourne Committee

  • 02 Aug 2017 2:09 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Brian Hansen, Director and President of the Canadian Australian Chamber of Commerce (CACC), is pleased to announce the organisation’s first Honourary Member, Dr Sophie Galaise, and welcomes her to the CACC’s Melbourne Committee.

    “Dr Galaise is an internationally recognised leader in the Arts who we are fortunate to have contributing to the leadership of our country’s cultural community,” said Mr Hansen. “I am particularly thrilled that Dr Galaise will also be contributing to the CACC’s Melbourne Committee as an Honourary Member.”

    Dr Galaise joined the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra as its first female director in April 2016. In 2015, Dr Galaise was a winner in the Australian Financial Review and Westpac 100 Women of Influence, in the category of Culture.

    “As an Honourary Member of the CACC, I look forward to supporting the organisation in representing Australian interests in Canada, and likewise, representing Canadian interests here in Australia, especially the cultural aspects of these two countries from my new home, Melbourne, one of the world’s most livable, most cultural cities,” Dr Galaise said.

    Originally from Montreal, Canada, Dr Galaise started her career as a flautist. As a professional musician, Dr Galaise played with the German Orchestra in Bremen and in time worked as a Musicologist in Basel, Switzerland before moving on to Paris.

    Following her success as a Coordinator of Music for the Quebec Arts Council and completing her PhD in Musicology (University of Montreal) and an Executive MBA (McGill University/HEC Montreal), Dr Galaise was appointed Executive and Artistic Director of the Orford Arts Centre (Orford, Canada). In time, Dr Galaise was appointed Executive Director of the Quebec Symphony Orchestrea before being appointed in 2013 as Chief Executive Director of the Queensland Symphony Orchestra.

    “The Melbourne Committee welcomes the involvement of our first Honourary Member, Dr Sophie Galaise whose renowned, extensive experience is a beautiful balance of art and economics,” said Lesley Gillespie, OAM, Chair of the CACC’s Melbourne Committee.

    “Honourary Member Dr Galaise is an extraordinary business woman with international expertise and I am so appreciative of her involvement in our Melbourne Committee,” said Mrs Gillespie.

    Dr Galaise also sits on the board of Symphony Services International and is a member of the Advisory Council of the Harvard Business Review, the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD), and The CEO Institute.

  • 01 Aug 2017 10:03 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    PICTURE: Lesley Gillespie, Director of Bakers Delight Holdings Ltd 

    Brian Hansen, Director and President of the Canadian Australian Chamber of Commerce (CACC), is delighted to announce the appointment of Lesley Gillespie OAM to the organisation’s Board of Directors.

    With this appointment, Mrs Gillespie becomes the second female Director on the CACC’s Board.

    “Mrs Gillespie is a recognised business leader in both Australia and Canada, the CACC is privileged to have her involved,” said Mr Hansen.

    “With a successful family business (Bakers Delight) that has expanded across Canada, Mrs Gillespie’s entrepreneurship is a testament to the work of the CACC, which is to forge trade and business activities between the two countries.”

    Currently, Mrs Gillespie is Director of Bakers Delight Holdings Ltd which overseas all bakery operations across four countries (Australia, New Zealand, Canada and USA).

    “My relationship with Canada goes back to 2003 when I relocated from Melbourne to Vancouver with my husband and children to launch our first Canadian bakery, COBS Bread,” said Mrs Gillespie.

    “Since then, the Canadian aspect of our business has expanded to nearly 100 locations across four provinces.

    “I am proud to represent the CACC, promoting and encouraging business connections between Australia and Canada.”

    In her role as Chair of the CACC’s Melbourne Committee, Mrs Gillespie will specifically focus on furthering the work of the CACC in the Melbourne market.

    Melbourne-based CACC Director, Mike McGrath said of Mrs Gillespie’s appointment, “The CACC overall will benefit from Mrs Gillespie’s significant international experience, as will Melbourne, in particular."

    “Mrs Gillespie’s business reach is international, however her roots are here, in Melbourne. I am thrilled to have Mrs Gillespie here, supporting the local perspective of the CACC,” he said.

    Mrs Gillespie has been recognised for her many achievements with:

    • Fellowship from Monash University in 2013, where she earned an Honours Degree in Science and a Diploma of Education
    • Recipient of the Order of Australia (OAM) in 2006 in recognition of her work in business and commerce and philanthropy
    • Finalist in the 2004 Prime Minister’s Award for Community Partnerships
    • Recipient of the 2002 Boroondara Citizen of the Year (an award shared with her husband, Roger)

    And, Mrs Gillespie’s extensive and generous philanthropic commitments include:

    • Partnership between Bakers Delight and Breast Cancer Network Australia
    • Patron of the Margaret Pratt Foundation
    • Patron of the Hawthorn Community Chest
    • Chair, Business School Industry Advisory Board, Swinburne University.
  • 29 Jul 2017 12:17 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    In July, the CACC had the pleasure of hosting Andrew Ireland, CEO Sydney Swans and Mike Pyke, Canadian and ex-Sydney Swans player, to talk about business in sport.  Members were treated to an intimate and honest discussion about the ins and outs of running an AFL team and insights on being a professional athlete.  The Old Growler in Woolloomooloo hosted the event and members were treated to chicken wings and poutine to kick off the evening’s festivities.

    Monica Lunin, Director of Mojologic, CACC Director and CACC Events Committee chair, began with a warm welcome to Jack Cowin, CACC Patron and Chairman and Managing Director or Competitive Foods.  Monica also highlighted the mutual love of sports that is shared by both Australians and Canadians with the colours of the Sydney Swans being close to the “hearts of Canadians”.

    Jesse Landry, Founder and Publisher of The Australian Business Executive and CACC Events Committee member, moderated the event and started the discussion by recapping the careers of both Andrew and Mike and how they both ended up meeting at the Swans.      

    In talking about the business of running a sports club, Andrew highlighted how the AFL has been successful at making the competition between teams as equal as possible. He remarked that purely on membership and attendance numbers, some teams would never be able to match the game revenue of the Swans - even if they filled the stadium for every game. 

    The AFL has been successful at getting high levels of participation. Mike sees it as a family-driven thing: “If you don’t get the basic drivers of participation, generationally, you’re going to struggle.”  The discussion continued with how the AFL has been better at filling stadiums than other codes.  Andrew puts it down to several factors - the long-term investment that the AFL makes at the grass roots level, and that as an Australian-based game, the best players are not interested in going anywhere else.  Andrew also states: “At the of the day, it’s an entertainment vehicle and you need to put the best game on … It’s about having a good team and an attractive sport that [people] can come to in a safe environment.”

    As in any business, the success of a sports team depends on the quality of the product.  When the Swans started the season with six losses, Andrew noted that while there was an impact of ticket sales, he was confident that they had the right team to pull through and “to play well for a number of years”.  Mike remarked that the team’s record reflected a “a change in mentality” and credits John Longmire, Swans coach and Josh Kennedy, Swans captain, for turning things around. 

    Both Andrew and Mike attributed the success of the Swans to the player-ownership culture within the organisation.  Andrew described how in the distant past, everyone on the team was treated the same way.  Now, everyone is treated as individuals, with their own self-defined “trademarks”, and where the standards are “set by the players themselves”.  Mike also mentioned that the Swans have been good at defining clear roles for everyone in the organisation and entrusting them to do that job well: “We all had our trademark games, that week in and week out, we could realistically perform.“      

    When asked where the money comes from in AFL, Andrew described the valuable contribution of the Swan’s corporate partners and the importance of delivering measurable results to them: “The old ‘sponsor’ doesn’t exist … You go and have a serious conversation with people running serious businesses and they’ll invest money into you, if you can deliver outcomes that will drive their business.”  

    During the Q&A session, Mike, who is now an investment banker with Moelis Australia, talked about his career transition and provided some advice to the audience: “The hardest thing for athletes and I suspect probably just for people more generally - is to be patient.  Any change that you are going to make in your life, no matter how big it is – it always takes time - time is always the best judge.”  In talking about the challenges of his new career, Mike said, “It’s a matter of how you react to those challenges, the attitude you apply on top of that, and then also the ability to consistently keep putting in that effort and keep going, and over time, you’ll get an outcome.”

    Written by:

    Karen Clark, CACC Copywriter

    Communications & Membership Committee

  • 23 Jul 2017 8:40 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    To mark Canada’s sesquicentennial anniversary of Canadian Confederation, Her Excellency, the Honourable Linda Dessau AC, Governor of Victoria and Mr Anthony Howard QC hosted more than 100 people, including special guests His Excellency Mr Paul Maddison, High Commissioner of Canada and Mrs Fay Maddison at Government House on Friday, 21 July in Melbourne.

    The theme of the celebrations was recognition of the ties that bind Australia and Canada.  The Governor spoke about the good friendship between the two countries, in particular how Australia and Canada have fought side by side in wars across more than a century; share commercial connections by way of two-way trade substantial investment ties, and shared priorities for sustainable economic growth, global health and gender equality.

    Above all, the Governor commented that it is the personal connections between the two countries that are the most important. With both countries having in common their respective Indigenous Peoples, each with proud and dignified histories.

    Her Excellency highlighted several Canadians who have made significant contributions to Australia such as Alexander Robertson and John Wagner who made their fortunes on the gold fields of Victoria and were behind the famous Cobb & Co. It was Wagner who designed Stonnington House that was home to seven Governors of Victoria in the early part of the 20th century.

    Another interesting Canadian connection shared by the Governor was the story of Captain Henry Ross who designed and was the standard bearer of the Southern Cross flag that flew over the Eureka Stockade.

    Being Melbourne, there is of course, an AFL connection, too. Andrew McGrath, originally from Ontario, plays Half-back Flanker for the Essendon Bombers Football Club. In fact, His Excellency Mr Paul Maddison has been a supporter of the Essendon Bombers since he attended a Bombers match at the MCG back in 2007.

    In his remarks, His Excellency Mr Paul Maddison spoke to the four themes of the sesquicentennial celebrations: Diversity, Reconciliation, Environment and Youth.  These themes would certainly resonate for Australians and Canadians alike, again highlighting the shared values and interests of the two countries.

    Several CACC members had the distinct privilege of attending this special celebration. CACC Director Mike McGrath representing the Melbourne Committee said, “For those of us Canadians who weren’t in Canada on Canada Day for the actual 150th, tonight’s event really is the next best thing. Thanks to Her Excellency and Mr Howard, tonight we honoured and truly celebrated Canada and the positive contributions both Canada and Australia have made and continue to make to one another.”

    Reflecting on the festivities, Doug Wright, Chairman of the CACC’s Communications Committee said, “One of the highlights of the evening was the quartet from the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra who managed to tug at the heartstrings of Canadians and Australians alike by performing the national anthems of our two countries. It’s a great time to be Australian and it’s a great time to be Canadian. What a wonderful celebration of Canada’s 150th here in Melbourne, at Government House.”

  • 01 Jul 2017 9:09 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Thanks to the time difference, Australia was one of the first countries to celebrate Canada’s sesquicentennial. And the CACC was no exception, co-hosting a member cocktail party two days ahead of schedule with staff at the Canadian Consulate in Sydney.

    Just over 100 CACC members attended the event to mark Canada’s 150th birthday, including Chamber Patron, Jack Cowin, and guest of honour, Amarjeet Sohi, federal Minister for Infrastructure and Communities.

    Mr. Sohi was in Australia for four days to attend the Australian Financial Review Infrastructure Summit and meetings related to his portfolio.

    While CACC members drank Ontario wines and enjoyed Canadian-inspired nibbles, Mr. Cowin opened the formal portion of the evening, noting the high turnout and praising founding members of the chamber for having the vision to establish a business group representing Canadian and Australian business interests many years before.

    PICTURE: Doug Wright (Chair of Communications & Member Engagement Committee) & Helen Shephard (Altus Group)

    “You don’t have to walk too far to be able to see the inroads Canadian and Australian businesses are making every day and the great relationships that are being built between the two countries,” he said.

    In his speech, Mr. Sohi noted that Canada 150 was an opportunity to reflect on what makes the country great and for Canadians to make the next 150 years even better by building a more inclusive and fair society for all. He talked about the importance of engaging young people, celebrating the country’s diversity, reconciliation with indigenous peoples and environmental sustainability.

    The former Edmonton city councilor drew from his own experience as a 17-year-old, when he immigrated to Edmonton from the Punjab in 1981, sponsored by an older brother. He said Canada changed its immigration system for the better 50 years ago and he sees the positive effects across the country through its diverse society, strong workforce and vibrant communities.

    “We can all learn from each other and that’s what we’ll be celebrating on Saturday,” he said.

    Mr. Sohi talked about the warm welcome and assistance he had received from consular staff in Australia, praising them for their service to Canada. He touched on meetings arranged with government officials to discuss investments Australia and Canada are making in sustainable infrastructure and clean energy, and the need to share best practice.  

    He said Canada was pushing to be at the forefront of innovation when it comes to infrastructure.

    PICTURE: Mike Bacina (Chair of SME Committee) & John Williams (Trade Commissioner, Queensland Representative for Trade & Investment)

    Angela Bogdan, the Consul-General of Canada in Australia, thanked Mr. Sohi for making time in his busy schedule to attend the cocktail party. She said she remembered him walking up to Rideau Hall as part of Prime Minister Trudeau’s first cabinet, noting she had been moved by “the congeniality of the team members as well as the cabinet’s unprecedented diversity and gender balance.”

    She also took the opportunity to promote the consulate’s growing role in showcasing Canadian food and wine at trade and consumer shows.

    Ms. Bogdan then presented Jack Cowin with a memento for his services to the Canadian and Australian business community.

    The evening concluded with a prize draw with several lucky attendees walking away with door prizes including hockey sticks, Montreal-style bagels and wine.

    On July 1 there were many other Canada Day celebrations in Australia, including a dinner dance organised by the Canadian-Australian Club in Sydney and a pancake breakfast and flag-raising ceremony in Canberra organised by the High Commission of Canada in Australia. Eighteen iconic buildings across Australia were lit up in red and white, including Sydney’s Town Hall, Canberra’s Old Parliament House and Brisbane’s Story Bridge.

    PICTURE: Marc-Andre Hawkes (Consul & Senior Trade Commissioner), Diane Yanire (Founder, Quebec Oz) and Dave Young (Owner, Smoking Guns Bagel)

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