The Greatest Advice Some Of Australia's Top CEOs And Execs Received From Dad

As Father’s Day approaches we decided to reach out to some of Australia’s top CEOs and executives to ask them about their relationships with their dads.

They’re the bloke you start out wanting to be when you grow up, so we asked them the greatest lessons they learnt from their dads and the best advice they’ve received.

Here are their responses.

Vaya CEO Ben Pullen

How are you and your father alike?
We both genuinely enjoy people, having a laugh over a cold beer.
How are you different from your father?
I think I'm more impatient than my father, which is perhaps a good and a bad thing.
What is the greatest lesson you learnt from your father?
He would rarely give me money for the sake of it, which was great. Instead, when summer came, he taught me how to sell and I sold boxes of mangoes door to door to fund my holidays.
What is the best advice your father ever gave you?
In regards to how to work with employees, suppliers and customers and gauging their motivations, he would shrug and say, 'everyone's gotta live.'

Okta Australia Vice President Graham Pearson

How are you and your father alike?
My father and I are very alike when it comes to motorsports, especially motorbikes, which we are both very passionate about. We now spend most weekends together supporting my youngest son who races motorbikes as well.
How are you different from your father?
When my father was growing up, it was common to make your career the same as your fathers. My father chose to leave school and follow his fathers career as an electrician. He has been an electrician all of his working life. I left school at 15 and decided to be a salesman, this was something at the time that was frowned upon, although my father always supported me in my decision.
What is the greatest lesson you learnt from your father?
If you are going to do a job, do it properly and always have the correct tool for the job.
What is the best advice your father ever gave you?
Never give up, practise makes perfect.

Australian Literacy and Numeracy Foundation Co-founder Kim Kelly

How are you and your father alike?
Even though he was not my ’biological father’ we share many similarities. A huge lust for life! Compassion for those in-need and actively doing something about it. A great sense of humour, a love of exotic foods and travel.
How are you different from your father?
I was given up for adoption by my Irish Catholic mother and Italian Catholic father and was raised by Hungarian Holocaust survivors. I adored my vivacious, charismatic Hungarian father. Obviously we were very different in many ways, physically, ethnically and he was over 50 when he adopted me. He was a very impatient man and could be quite intolerant of the people around him. I am more even tempered and I have quite a lot of patience for the people in my life.
What is the greatest lesson you learnt from your father?
The greatest lesson I learnt from my father was independence. He brought me up to think for myself and to stand on my own two feet. Maybe it was due to his life experiences or his age. I have tried to teach my own four children the same lesson as being able to look after yourself when there is no support is important when life isn’t going to plan.
What is the best advice your father ever gave you?
The best advice my father ever gave me was ‘people can take everything away from you but they can’t take away your education, its what helped me in bad times and what gave me a future’. As the Co-founder of a national charity that helps Australia’s most marginalised to read and write – I too believe that nothing is more important.

The Coffee Club Director John Lazarou

How are you and your father alike?
Our family values are the same, family comes first, be successful at home and success everywhere else will follow.
How are you different from your father?
In many ways we are completely different and in others we are so similar.
What is the greatest lesson you learnt from your father?
Never regret a decision or an action you’ve made if you can’t change it, if it was wrong, learn from it.
What is the best advice your father ever gave you?
Think carefully before you act, string the sentence in your head before you speak, if you can’t say a positive comment then offer advice on how to turn a negative into a positive.

Tipi HQ Director of User Experience Dave Acton

How are you and your father alike?
As far back as I can remember we have both loved technology and had a fascination with how it can change the world. Thanks to this we've always had a lot of exciting things to talk about.
How are you different from your father?
My Dad is very logical naturally. Growing up, my interests were more to do with creativity. When I was twelve, I asked my Dad to teach me how to program so I could create a video game. It turns out that I was more interested in designing it than building it. As I've gotten older, my interest in left-brain subjects has increased dramatically and his interest in right-brain subjects has increased dramatically. This has brought us even closer together and allowed us to have long and interesting discussions, which I’ll cherish forever.
What is the greatest lesson you learnt from your father?
He taught me that you can tackle any problem by logically breaking it down into smaller pieces. He also taught me the skill of creative visualization. As a kid, my Dad would play classical music and ask me to describe what I imagined.
What is the best advice your father ever gave you?
I have to mention my grandfather, “Pepe” here. He recently passed away at the grand old age of 100. When facing a problem either personal or professional, his advice was to reason from first principles. In other words you boil things down to their fundamental truths and reason from there. I recently watched a TED talk staring Elon Musk and he also attributed this technique to his success.

Web Marketing Experts Managing Director Nick Bell

How are you and your father alike?
Apart from looking quite similar, we both have a passion for business, sport and life. Growing up and still today, I look up to my father and that’s why I followed in his foot steps and started my own company.
How are you different from your father?
In business we have two main points of difference. My father is very analytical, he takes his time and looks at the numbers before making decisions. I’m very impulsive and I tend to make decisions quickly. It’s great to have a balance of both, that’s why I bounce ideas off my father on a regular basis. He has helped me build a multi-million dollar organisation and I will always be in his debt.
What is the greatest lesson you learnt from your father?
In life, he drilled into me as a kid, be focussed and treat everyone with respect. In business, analyse the numbers and watch your cash flow.
What is the best advice your father ever gave you?
Blood is thicker than water.

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