20 years ago today – August 11th, 1997 – TEC chair Barry Upfold gave me the opportunity of a lifetime: to present to his group of seasoned and high profile business leaders about intellectual property (IP). These gentlemen ran some of Queensland’s most significant private and public businesses, which I knew would be bursting with valuable and vulnerable IP assets.
Just one problem: none of them wanted to be there! But Barry, being the legendary business mentor and growth magician that he is, saw that one coming and worked the phones. So it came down to this: attend the meeting or leave TEC. This stuff’s important, he said. Barry knew this firsthand from his time as a senior executive with Kimberly-Clark, one of the world’s biggest companies and brand owners.
And so began a 20-year association with The Executive Connection (aka TEC) as their intellectual property speaker.
In that time, I’ve criss-crossed Australia and New Zealand talking to some of our best and brightest CEOs, company directors and other business leaders about intellectual property, including trade marks, copyright, confidential information and more. It has, as ever, been an honour and a privilege to be a part of this dynamic and wonderful community.
I thank all the chairs of TEC groups who have chosen me and my topic (the broccoli of business topics!) out of a very interesting and capable crowd of speakers to present to their groups; and a huge thanks to the hundreds and hundres of TEC members who have listened and absorbed my message that IP is key to the value in their business.
I am forever indebted to Barry Upfold because from that first presentation grew an entire career, an award-winning business, and some personal accolades I hold dear. Thank you also to Nigel A Stoke, chairman of TEC and a dear friend; to Stephanie Christopher, who has helped guide TEC as its CEO over the last few years; to Suzi Hislop, who has been popping lovely speaking invitations into my email inbox for umpteen years; to Amy Davies, who now heads up the team that includes speaker engagement. And a special thanks to Rebecca Toczek, who although she is now on sabbatical, was my great connector and pal for around 13-14 years or so.