I am a British South African brought up in Zimbabwe. I have lived a life less ordinary and continue to be inspired by motivated people who inspire themselves and others through positive attitude, courage, determination and perseverence. I went to a school in the Matabeleland bush called Falcon College and was privileged to be part of an extraordinary year group who completed secondary school in 1990.
In 1991 I travelled Australia, Thailand and the UK. I did this largely on my own and learned a great deal about myself. There were lonely times where I struggled to come to terms with life outside school and there were exhilirating times when I understood that I was free to choose my future and seize the opportunities that came my way. My father played a key role at this stage in guiding me towards a military career; I successfully completed Royal Marines Officer selection at the age of 19 and commenced Young Officer training in Devon, UK in 1992.
My time in the RM was akin to an 8 year professional rugby tour in all the best ways! The camaradarie was of the highest possible order, the experiences were unforgettable, the challenges were significant but the rewards exceptional. It set me up for the real world with a network of outstanding people, a confidence borne of unshakable self belief, a bagfull of stories and a financial platform on which to build…
In 2001 I completed a one year MBA at the GSB in Cape Town. That was one incredible year in which I harnessed my transferrable skills from the Corps and refocused them in a commercial context. I learned a lot about myself and realised how one dimensional I was but I also learned the significance of strong military values in the outside world. Attributes I took for granted like congruency, loyalty and determination immediately became a differentiator and even a value proposition due to their rarity…
I dabbled in the field of commercial risk and security consulting but never felt authentic enough to pursue a career there. My passion has definitely always been in the realm of performance improvement so looking back, I have found it interesting to track my progress post MBA.
First I started a company called ‘Gameplans’ which offered mental skills development to the sports industry, this took the form of tailored programs for the Springbok Gold Squad and WP Netball. I then realised that the sports industry is pretty niche so I sought to broaden my horizons by joining a Joburg team building company. There I gained valuable exposure to business principles and SME development, I also met my wife!
Grateful for the mentorship I gained from the founders of ‘Elephants on Main’, I moved on with my wife Ange to start our own company in Cape Town in 2006. Our focus was on leadership development at all levels and we were lucky enough to serve several significant companies over the ensuing years. Our approach integrated experiential learning with classroom theory and follow on coaching, and laid the foundation for future opportunities to come our way.
Whilst on a professional coaching course, I was introduced to an Aberdeen based Oil and Gas consultancy called Exceed. Ange and I met the founder Ian Mills and we agreed to work together from 2007.
With Exceed I have had a great adventure; I was a Performance Coach from 2007 – 2012, working with clients in the Offshore Diamond Industry as well as the Oil and Gas industry. I love the challenge of converting cynics to champions and providing servant leadership whereby you have no rank on your sleeve but through commitment and delivery on your promises, you earn respect and steer a culture towards high performance. I also enjoyed contributing to the implementation methodology as we evolved our value proposition through project experience.
I briefly spent some time as a Project Manager before accepting the opportunity to head up the Performance Coaching Division at Exceed in Aberdeen. This involved a move from South Africa to Scotland in return for a share of the business.
In May 2010, Ange gave birth to Leola Rain, and in Feb 2012 Zachary Jonathan arrived. Cayla Sky has been our most recent addition in Oct 2014. Our children are true miracles in that we had every reason to believe we could not have any. However through faith and fertility treatment, we have been immensely blessed.