1st May, 2014

Sydney Young Leaders Breakfast 2014

The Australian Ireland Fund Sydney Young Leaders gathered on Thursday 1 May for our ‘Lessons in Leadership’ corporate breakfast. The breakfast was graciously hosted by Young Leader John Gallagher and the Partners at Clyde & Co Sydney. Special guests included Consul General Caitriona Ingoldsby, Vice consul George O’Keefe and Executive Director Teresa Keating.

The first guest speaker was Michael Bencsik, Head of Strategy and Operations in the Investment Banking Division at Commonwealth Bank of Australia. Michael shared his love and passion of ocean racing focusing on the story of the 1998 Sydney to Hobart race (the most disastrous in the Race’s history with over two-thirds of the boats failing to finish and the loss of 5 boats and 6 lives) and the heroics of the team on board his yacht, Midnight Rambler. Michael shared the 10 lessons in leadership attributed to their success, captured in the book “Into the Storm” written by Dennis Perkins and Jillian Murphy, and how he credits those skills to the success he has achieved in his banking career. Michael’s story resonated with the Young Leaders in the room as he explored the foundations of success applicable to boat racing and our personal and corporate lives.

Jenny Dean, Pathways Director at the Australian Indigenous Education Foundation, took the opportunity to inform everyone to the wonderful work the AIEF facilitates for Australia’s indigenous children.  She described the impact and success stories the AIEF and its partners have achieved.  The Australian Ireland Fund and the Australian Indigenous Education Foundation have been provided $400,000 to indigenous scholarships over the past five years.

Sarah Treacy one of the scholarship recipients spoke about her personal story and how her life has changed so profoundly since receiving the support and opportunities provided by the AIEF, achieving things she had never dreamed.  She was an amazing speaker for a nineteen year old and we have no doubt she will continue to achieve great things. We wish her all the success as she continues her University studies.  

The Australian Ireland Fund would like to thank John Gallagher and the Partners at Clyde and Co for their generosity and hospitality in hosting the breakfast, as well as our guest speakers Michael Bencsik, Jenny Dean and Sarah Treacy. Thanks also to our Young Leader Committee, Brendan Sheehan, David Creaven, Ronan MacSweeney and Melissa Fisher. The breakfast provided an opportunity for networking, learning and experiencing the impact of the great work we are involved in with the Fund.