Like many proud Victorians I was born overseas – in Hamilton, a North Island, New Zealand town in the middle of the world’s greenest and richest dairy farms, as one of six, post WWII, baby boomer children. My dad, from Wellington, had been a pilot in the war. My mother was a kiwi homemaker extraordinaire, also from a very large but later successful, depression era family. Her father was a shepherd and farmer.
We grew up in a simple, innocent and happy, pre electronic, pre digital, pre internationalisation environment. We had little money but excelled at sport and felt like kings. Our only picture on the wall was of Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria, Germany. My mother’s maiden name was Brant, the German “d” having been dropped in WWI.
On being naughty when taken late night shopping on Friday nights, Mum would often put us back in our old VW Beetle car, and leave us for what seemed like hours. “What are we going to do while we wait?” we would ask. The answer, which turned me into a life time observationist, was: “Look at every person who comes along. Who are they? Where have they come from? Where are they going? What do they do? What are they like – are they are a good person or a bad person? Are they happy or sad?”
Decades later, after time working in New Zealand and Singapore, I found myself living as an expatriate in Munich, and discovered both my mind and heart are really German. That wasn’t the only transition because although I studied finance at university and became a chartered accountant, I went on to gain qualifications in languages, marketing, aviation (a pilot like my father), and more recently freelance journalism.
Along the way I gained Australasian, Asian, US, and European experience in finance, marketing, communications, management, and director roles with the world’s leading companies including: Allianz, Aetna, Compaq, Bellsouth, Elders, Fletchers, and as CFO for ASX listed technology companies, and government. I operated franchised businesses and am now the principal of a leading consultancy in business and communications.
Now I write regularly for multiple leading business and aviation publications, edit a leading business magazine, consult on communications, and serve as a director for many commercial, not for profit and charity boards.