New South Wales

NSW Leaders developing new pathways for business success

NEW SOUTH WALES Leaders is driving a new era of support for the state’s business leaders as it helps to develop the next generation of innovative Australian growth businesses.

Utilising the strong support of its Industry Partners and Industry Experts networks, NSW Leaders is extending its programs across the state to help business leaders drive their organisations to success. 

NSW Leaders is the latest generation of the International Leaders organisation, which began as Queensland Leaders in 2006 and has successfully extended to Victoria and New Zealand while developing the interlinked online Leaders Resource Centre that is assisting and connecting business leaders.

Members of the inaugural year of NSW Leaders, which met for the first time in February, are already tapping in to the mentoring, networks, online learning centre and investment banking framework for business growth, said CEO Dan Liszka.

“This is a very successful program, the likes of which has never been seen before in this state,” Mr Liszka said. “It works because people who are passionate about helping to bring through the state’s next generation of exceptional business leaders are personally involved and they are putting the resources of their organisations behind NSW Leaders.

“This program is led by many of the state’s top business leaders who are paying it forward by giving their own time and resources to help elevate businesses at an early stage of development. We have launched NSW Leaders here because we have seen the great results this program and its subsequent Alumni programs have achieved in Queensland. The potential in NSW is even greater.”

Mr Liszka said even in NSW Leaders’ inaugural year, there is a strong push to assist business leaders in regional areas, through Regional Leaders strand, along with the organisation’s new Future Leaders program that assists leaders of early-stage and fast-growth companies. NSW Leaders would develop at a faster rate than the program had in Queensland, because of the business networks already in place and with the power of the recently-developed online Leaders Resource Centre, Mr Liszka said. 

International Leaders executive director James Paulsen, who founded Queensland Leaders in 2006, said NSW Leaders was expected to play a pivotal role in bringing through fast-developing and innovative Australian companies – and their leadership – because of the unique characteristics of the state’s business environment.

He said the stewardship team of NSW leaders, led by Dan Liszka and supported by Darren Clarke, were vastly experienced in business mentoring and brought strong business, education and financial networks into the equation.

“What we have developed is a multi-various program to support business leaders and build capability, structured similarly to an investment banking platform,” Mr Paulsen said. 

“We are particularly pleased with the interest at the moment in our Future Leaders programs – which are now also starting in other states and New Zealand – for they are immediately helping business leaders who need a structure around them to help develop their companies rapidly,” Mr Paulsen said. “Our Future Leaders program has really hit the mark in these challenging times for early-stage businesses.

“The Future Leaders series is all about assisting the leaders of these young companies and helping them to tap in to the knowledge, experience and networks of NSW Leaders when they need it.”

Mr Liszka said, “NSW Leaders selects leading private or unlisted public New South Wales companies to become Members. Members undertake a structured program over a 12 month period where they receive the knowledge, skills, networks and capital necessary to become the next generation of leading companies headquartered in the State.

“New South Wales Leaders assists Members to achieve sustainable growth, manage succession planning and evaluate entry and exit strategies for their business. Each year, up to 25 organisations are selected to engage through the Executive Series, which also includes a further two years Alumni membership.

“Further to this, up to 100 regional members participate via the Regional Series, providing ongoing professional development and networking online in linking the Executive Series content with the opportunities to expand their business.

“In addition, New South Wales Leaders also supports up to 16 Future Leaders each year. They participate in the Future Leaders Series, providing the insights and skills to ensure the foundations of their business are sound while developing the strategies and resources required to progress their opportunity,” Mr Liszka said.



Mr Paulsen said the entire Leaders network was benefitting from the innovation and new potential markets that came with careful expansion. A good example was the planned Sports Leaders program, designed to develop business acumen and future pathways for professional sports people, which had come out of discussions with Victorian Leaders CEO Robert Ford and chairman and former Australian Cricket coach John Buchanan.

“Queensland Leaders has always been a highly innovative program that could react rapidly to changes in business conditions and in meeting the progressive needs of our members,” Mr Paulsen said. “We think NSW Leaders can take this to a new level.

 “Even though we have seen great success as an organisation – and our success is really in helping to facilitate the conditions that bring success to our members – we are seeing some great innovations come to fruition that will both attract new members and advance our existing members, partners and alumni.”

Mr Paulsen said the organisation was also now underpinned technologically by a versatile and rapidly developing online Leaders Resource Centre.

Apart from the online communication and networking capabilities of the system, its expanding information resource – in a mix of video, text and special report presentations – was proving to be a boon for members and partners alike. Special offers for products and services among members are also introduced through the Leaders Resource Centre.

“This platform is interconnected, so its content develops and becomes even more useful to the network as International Leaders expands,” Mr Paulsen said.

“This was always part of our strategy and we have been careful to under-promise and over deliver in terms of our digital strategy and in how we are building and delivering this powerful business knowledge resource.”

Now International Leaders is investing in a significant technology platform to assist its licensees with the roll out of their individual series.

“This will help greatly with ensuring the continuity of the structure, culture and philosophy of the initiative, and consistency with the content and outcomes delivered,” Mr Paulsen said. 


NSW Leaders has the support of many of the state’s most successful and visionary business people, such as its Advisory Board of Emma Forster-Mitrovski, Dan Liszka, Tim Rossi, Jonathan Rubinsztein, Melinda Snowden, former NSW Government Minister Carl Scully and former Deputy Premier of NSW Andrew Stoner.

One of the strongest supporters of NSW Leaders is Industry Partner Jamie Pherous, whose company Corporate Travel Management was the first to IPO through the Queensland Leaders system.

Corporate Travel Management has gone on to support the new Leaders organisations in other states, while the network regularly receives presentations from other luminary partners such as Graham ‘Skroo’ Turner of Flight Centre, Martin Ward of century-old automotive retail group AP Eagers, Peter Birtles of Super Retail Group, Adrian DiMarco of TechnologyOne and Maxine Horne of Vita Group.

“I have heard Queensland Leaders described as the ‘brains trust’ of Queensland business and you’d have to say that’s quite true,” Mr Paulsen said.

“It’s great to see how our business growth and development network, with its foundations in Queensland, is being so successfully  translated to other states and even international markets. Everyone is benefitting from the innovations being brought through.”

Go to the New South Wales Leaders section.


Why business owners don't ask for advice

FINANCIAL Wisdom representative Sam Carroll knows the value of taking advice – having helped transform the business with the help of a business coach – but he is worried about how so many Australian business owners refuse to counsel financial advice for their companies.

“For someone who gives advice for a living, I feel it is important to understand what it feels like to take advice,” Mr Carroll said. “We sought the advice of a business coach to optimise our systems and processes, our sales function and ultimately our long term business valuation and attractiveness to potential investors. 

“We’ve learned that there is discomfort involved – an initial daunting realisation of the size of the task in front of you.

“In retrospect this is one of the best decisions we have made for our business to date.”

Mr Carroll said while he observed most business owners had developed sound and often thriving businesses based on their own expertise or skill sets, few then went on to focus on expanding those skills set to encompass other vital business development areas.

“If you look at the typical business owner, we are experts in our field,” he said. “This doesn’t automatically grant us business acumen or the skills to run a successful business…and it’s okay to admit this.

“You don’t have to be good at everything, in fact I’ve learnt I can make more money and enjoy the journey more by outsourcing the stuff that gives me heartburn.”

Mr Carroll said the experience of Financial Wisdom consultants had been that business owners tended to face a few common problems: no clear strategy, no protection of assets, no rainy day insurance and no retirement plan.

“Issues they’ve no doubt thought about but perhaps haven’t known where to go to get the right advice,” Mr Carroll said.

“I often ponder why we (people) don’t seek advice – is it stubbornness; wanting to do things our way, fear of looking bad or incompetent, or having been burnt by bad advice in the past?”

Mr Carroll said people in business rarely extended their strategic planning beyond their business operations – but it was vital that they consider building wealth and planning for exit or retirement.

“One of the first steps in taking advice lies in education… finding out what you don’t know,” Mr Carroll said.


Vital to execute contracts by companies ‘properly’ – Maddocks

MADDOCKS Lawyers commercial group partner Andrew McNee said a recent legal case over the proper execution of a property contract is a warning to all business leaders about the vital importance of correctly signing these documents.

“Correctly signing a contract on behalf of a company is not a mere formality,” Mr McNee said. 

“The recent case of Knight Frank Australia Pty Ltd v Paley Properties Pty Ltd (Knight Frank Case) highlights the issues that can arise where a company does not correctly execute a contract.”

Mr McNee said the Knight Frank Case demonstrated that if a contract is incorrectly signed on behalf of a company, it may result in the contract being unenforceable against the company. It also showed that if a signatory signs on behalf of a company without the required authority, but represents that they have that authority, the signatory may be personally liable for fulfilling the contract.

In the Knight Frank Case, Paley Properties engaged Knight Frank Australia to sell a commercial property. The proposed purchaser of the property was De Chellis Homes Pty Ltd (De Chellis Homes), a family company with two directors, Richard De Chellis and his father, Mario De Chellis.

During negotiations, Knight Frank made representations to De Chellis Homes that development approval was in place for demolition of the existing buildings at the property. A sale of land contract for $1.5 million was signed by Richard De Chellis for De Chellis Homes as purchaser, and counter-signed by Paley Properties as vendor.

The court heard that the day after the contract was signed, Richard De Chellis discovered no development approval had been granted. He immediately withdrew the offer to purchase the property.

De Chellis Homes did not perform under the contract and the property was subsequently sold seven months later for $1.25 million.

Paley Properties instituted an action for breach of contract in the District Court against De Chellis Homes claiming the difference in the sale prices and associated costs. De Chellis Homes filed a defence denying the existence of a contract because it was not properly executed by them.

Paley Properties further pleaded that Richard De Chellis had committed a breach of warranty of authority in executing the contract and was therefore personally liable for damages.


“The court found that Richard De Chellis did not have the authority to bind De Chellis Homes to the sale of land contract for several reasons,” Mr McNee said.

He said Richard De Chellis had signed as a director of De Chellis Homes, and the words ‘sole director’ were struck out, indicating that the company had two or more directors. In the absence of a second signature, it was clear the contract had not been executed by the company under section 127 of the Corporations Act 2001.

A second execution box was designated, in the alternative, for execution by a company’s agent under section 126 of the Corporations Act, and was left blank by Richard De Chellis.

Furthermore, partial execution by the company did not convey to an objective person that the purchaser had determined to enter into the contract.

“Finally, De Chellis Homes’ constitution provided that where the company has more than one director, the board of directors could resolve that a single director be authorised to execute documents as agent of the company,” Mr McNee said. “However, no such resolution existed for the purposes of this purchase.

“Section 126 of the Corporations Act provides that a company’s power to enter into a contract may be exercised by an individual acting with the company’s express or implied authority and on behalf of the company.

“Section 127 of the Corporations Act provides that a company may execute a document if the document is signed by either two directors, a director and a company secretary, or one director only – if the company has a sole director who is also the sole company secretary.

“If a contract is executed correctly in accordance with section 126 or 127 of the Corporations Act, the company, not the signatory, will be responsible and liable to fulfil the contract.”

Mr McNee said this case showed how there were risks to the counter-party.

He said the Full Court was damning in its analysis of Paley Property’s conduct, stating: ‘It should have been apparent…that the purported execution of the contract by Mr De Chellis under section 127 of the Corporations Act was not in accordance with that section and that the company was not bound under section 127.’

Mr McNee said, “If a contract is incorrectly signed on behalf of a company, it will likely result in that contract being unenforceable against the company. Therefore, it is essential to check whether the company has multiple directors, or if it is a sole director company.

“Equally, if a contract (especially a large contract) is purportedly signed by an agent or a representative of a company, the other party should confirm the agent’s authority before treating the contract as being on foot.”

There are also risks to the signatory in such contracts.

“If an agent purports to enter into a contact on behalf of a principal, purportedly within the scope of the agent’s authority, and the other party relies upon this representation, the agent has warranted that it has authority to enter into the contract,” Mr McNee said.

“In this situation, the agent would be liable for damages to the other party for a breach of that warranty of authority.

“Fortunately for Richard De Chellis, he never purported to enter into the contract as an agent of De Chellis Homes. This was demonstrated by him signing in his capacity as a director under section 127.”

Mr McNee said according to section 129 of the Corporations Act, a person may assume that a document has been duly executed by a company if the document appears to have been signed in accordance with section 127(1).

“Therefore, if two directors – or one director and one secretary – or the sole director of a company execute a contract, the other party is entitled to rely on the assumption under section 129,” he said.

“As the discussion highlights, Paley Properties was not entitled to rely on this rule because a simple ASIC search would have revealed De Chellis Homes had more than one director.”

Maddocks is an industry expert member of NSW Leaders, the organisation helping to foster the next generation of leading companies based in NSW.



Misconduct outside – Livingstones reconsiders the ‘workplace’

By Nadia Taylor and Panashe Dube

WHERE is the line between what employees do outside of work and what they do at work?

Is there a line? Does it matter if the employee’s actions are impacting the workplace? 

To some extent, employees should be at liberty to enjoy their private lives free from scrutiny/intrusion by the employer.

However, this must be balanced with an employer’s right to regulate employees’ out of hours conduct if the conduct is likely to impact on the employer’s business interests.

The traditional concept of the workplace has now evolved due to social media, other technological developments and the increased blending of personal and work time.

Here are some key considerations to help you navigate this rapidly changing landscape:

1. Ensure policies clearly set out expected standards of behaviour.

Training in relation to the policy is recommended to ensure that all employees are aware of the expectations.

2. Employers can use policies to regulate the out of hours conduct of their employees where there is a relevant link to the employment requirements of the employee, for example:

 Drug and alcohol policies where it affects safety and/or performance. 

 Banking industry employees can have a policy targeting dishonest or fraudulent conduct, even when the conduct occurs out of work.

3. Consider whether the requisite connection or nexus between the conduct and the workplace/employment relationship is established before taking any disciplinary action.

4. Having established the requisite nexus with employment:

 Act on issues promptly when they occur;

 Ensure procedural and substantive fairness; and

 Apply Code of Conduct and disciplinary policies equally.

5. On social media activity issues, consider your policies and whether the social media platform is seen as an extension of the employee’s work environment.


  • Nadia Taylor is a director and Panashe Dube is a consultant with employment relationship advisory specialist firm Livingstones. Livingstones is an industry expert member of NSW Leaders. 


Personal branding: an emerging new economy says Perlinski

DAIS director and author of BrandMe, Jack Perlinski is witnessing the interesting ascension of personal brand development over and above corporate branding.

“Building a brand was once reserved for businesses and corporates,” Mr Perlinski said. “Today, more and more people are building personal brands, giving themselves and the companies they work for a real competitive advantage.” 

Mr Perlinski, whose company DAIS has specialised in corporate branding for many years, said there were many reasons for this shift in the modern business world.

“Our Gen Xs and Ys have a genuine appetite for fame: not necessarily a superstar kind of fame, but the kind of fame that comes from excelling socially and in life amongst the broader community,” Mr Perlinski said.

“Personal branding has just become the next competitive advantage building economy.”

From experience, he has identified three brand-building types: the career builder is crafting a profile in the early stages; the authority builder is expanding on an established career; and the legacy builder is consolidating what they have to ‘give back’ and create a legacy that they want to be remembered for.

“Developing a personal brand provides a true understanding of ‘who you are’ and clarity around ‘who you want to be’. It taps into your personal passions and ignites potential,” Mr Perlinski said.

“It’s a case of find, shape, build and then become your brand. People who do it live their brand 24/7 to reach goals and to deliver an unbeatable performance in every aspect of their life.”

While individuals are certainly investing in building their own personal brand, businesses are too, Mr Perlinski said.

“They are building the personal brands of their employees – their leaders and teams – in order to inspire them to work their passion, think differently about who they are, and connect these insights to what they do.

“Those who are investing to leverage the power of their people are reaping many tangible benefits, proving the return on investment pays dividends.”

DAIS is an industry expert member of NSW Leaders and DAIS is a graduate member of Queensland Leaders, since stepping up to support the Leaders organisations and help the next generation of leading Australian companies to develop.

Among other leading organisations, DAIS developed the brand strategy for Brisane-based International Leaders, the umbrella organisation for Queensland, NSW and Victorian Leaders, with New Zealand Leaders also set to launch.




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