What Catholic school/s did you go to?
St Joseph’s Primary School in Taree and then St Clare’s High School in Taree.
Why did your parents choose a Catholic education?
Both schools were chosen for their commitment to quality education here in the Manning Valley.
What is your fondest memory from your school years?
Meeting my future wife Jill on my ﬁrst day of Kindergarten back on 30 January 1984. We both started on the same day at St Joseph’s in Miss Teasy’s class.
Apart from Jill it would be the lifelong friends, some of whom I still speak to daily all these years later. I have been privileged enough to spend life’s greatest moments with these friends, as well as the joy of the everyday. I also have fond memories of some of the teachers who helped shape me. I recently took delight in stopping to chat to Sr Ellen Shanahan who was my principal at St Joseph’s for a while. To this day she is still so kind and genuinely interested in me, Jill and our three boys.
What has been your greatest or most satisfying career achievement to date?
I have been extremely lucky to experience some unique and amazing experiences. My greatest career achievement would have to be my current role as CEO of Club Taree. The role offers diversity, allows me to work with the most amazing team and affords the opportunity to make a positive difference within our local community – all in my hometown. No two days are the same, and while challenging, it is also extremely rewarding.
Ironically, as part of my Year 10 curriculum at St Clare’s High School I completed my week-long work experience at Taree RSL Club, a pre-amalgamated part of the present-day Club Taree.
I started at Club Taree in September 2010 and have worked across numerous roles.
Before being named CEO of Club Taree, you gained a wealth of experience working at Uluru and then in New Zealand. What advice would you have for people seeking to work and live in a new destination?
I completed a Bachelor of Business in Hotel and Catering Management before taking my ﬁrst industry job at Uluru. I really wasn’t certain what to expect. I was in essence a young, protected and incredibly shy 20-year-old who decided to take a make-or-break moment leap.
Luckily for me it was a make moment. It was an incredible learning experience, professionally, personally and culturally. I landed at Uluru in July 1999 to take up a role at Ayers Rock Resort. It led to a strong network of incredible friends and associates. There is no greater learning experience than having enough faith to immerse yourself in the unknown.
From Ayers Rock I spent some incredible time in New Zealand as food and beverage manager of the Stamford Plaza, then back to Australia to Cape Tribulation, then to the Hunter Valley, and back home to the Manning Valley. My advice is “go for it”, search for the unknown, and always ﬁnd joy in the little things.
Back in your hometown of Taree, how do you hope to give back to your community through your new role?
It has been many years since I returned to Taree, and in that time I have been involved in a number of initiatives, projects and organisations. Currently my greatest connect to our community is through the Club Taree Community Team. I also created an opportunity about seven years ago for Club Taree employees to engage and support our members and our community. To date this initiative has resulted in our Team volunteering in excess of 8,000 hours across a large number of projects and initiatives as well as raise in excess of $480,000 for our community.
I am incredibly proud of the team for what they have achieved, and it is a true indication of the type of difference that a group of likeminded and committed people can have on their community.
Why should the Manning Valley be on people’s holiday lists?
I have been lucky enough to enjoy living in some pretty amazing places, however nothing ever felt as homely as the Manning Valley. It has so much to offer – amazing waterways, incredible National Parks – it is a gateway to the coast or the hinterland. The Manning Valley is also home to some of the most genuine, and interesting people that you ever will meet. Take some time out to enjoy.