Starting out in the Law
After several years of study, and then more study, I graduated from a sandstone University with an eclectic mix of letters after my name - BSc (Hons), LLB (Hons).
My first 'real' job was in the Law at a prestigious law firm on Collins Street, Melbourne.
There, ensconced in a cocoon of glass, marble and mahogany, I threw myself into the world of corporations, takeovers, financial deals and intellectual property.
For my friends and family, I had arrived at the ‘big league’. Success and fame seemed inevitable.
Expanding to Business and Brand
But for me, I felt there had to be more. I was not content to advise clients as an observer; I wanted to help them grow their businesses from the inside. So I took a risk and jumped ship to the Commercial world.
There, I got a real taste of business and – after a few years of bluster and bravado – I decided to get serious about it. I completed an MBA from a famous B-school that cost me a small fortune and most of my hair... but I loved it becuse it opened up my world.
I leveraged it to get an interview at a global Brand agency that forever changed my mindset. For the first time in my career, I found myself doing work that was both strategic and creative. I found it profoundly interesting and deeply satisfying, and I never looked back.
Mashing up Media and Creative
Branding is not for everyone. When I'm asked to speak on the subject, I say branding is like viewing the world from the top of a mountain. The air is rarefied, but most of the world lives way below the peak, surrounded by the sights and sounds of life. Down there, the connections amongst people seems, to me, deeper and more tangible.
My desire to make myself a well-rounded brander led me on a tour of duty at various Creative and Media agencies where I learnt the art and science of Communications. There, I tried valiantly to break existing models and fashion new ones by mashing-up branding, creativity and technology in experiments called Advertising campaigns.
I'm not sure the Creative and Media agency folk knew why I was constantly messing with the system. But I think they appreciated my energy and forthrightness, so they asked me to stay for several years.
A different and better approach to Strategy
These days, I am running an independent strategy consultancy, ThinkAhead Consulting, based north of the river where all the cool kids are.
ThinkAhead Consulting works with organisations on strategy projects that require a multi-disciplinary, thoughtful and fearless approach to solving problems.
We help our clients see the issue in a different way and, together, plot a course for higher ground.
In addition to working directly with companies, we also collaborate with Brand, Marketing and Communications agencies (as long as they let us tinker).
I am forever grateful to those firms and agencies who took a chance on me and encouraged me to always think ahead. :-)