PODCAST Talent Without Limits: Decoding the power of ‘I Will’ with World Surfing Champion, Entrepreneur and best-selling Author, Shaun Tomson

For the past 20 years, MitchelLake has worked with game changers, innovators, and leaders who have been on extraordinary journeys from diverse and sometimes challenging backgrounds. These are their stories that focus on ignoring convention to create their own pathways as improbable as those may have seemed to the rest of the world. Join hosts, Managing Partner Jon Tanner; Partner Michael Datta; and Advisor Patrick Blute as we explore Talent Without Limits.

Michael Datta: Thank you, Shaun, for joining us here on Talent Without Limits. For those that don’t know who Shaun Tomson is, legend, world’s champion surfer, entrepreneur, philanthropist, and on top of that, a best-selling author. And I don’t even think I’ve covered even a portion of really what it all is. So, thank you, Shaun for joining myself and Pat, on this podcast.

Shaun Tomson: It’s great to be with you, guys. You know, the world has become so much smaller, and in many ways, become so much more connected, but connectivity, as I see it over the last two years, has been a fundamental problem. So, shows like yours can really bring people together, bring different guests, like myself, from other parts of the world and really connect with listeners in a way that perhaps there’s something there that through the perspective that a guest gives that maybe it’s kind of like a mirror, where they’re out of their own lives. But it’s also like a window into different areas. Yes, thanks for having me on.

Michael Datta: Yeah, Shaun, when we came up with the idea of launching this podcast, it was really to give us a chance to meet amazing people like yourself, who have gone through so much change, the highs and the lows through life. And we wanted to create a podcast that went through, as we say, the ‘re’, aspects of re-energizing, re-structuring, re-grouping. You’ve seen so much and done so much. And we really love to go deep into what you see as being your ‘Re’.

Shaun Tomson: Well, that’s just more questions, Michael.

Michael Datta: [laughter] We’ve got about five hours, mate. 

Patrick Blute: We’ll break it down in chapters.

Shaun Tomson: It’s interesting that you use those two letters ‘Re’. And certainly, I think in today’s world, people are looking for something new, looking for a new path, looking for a new way to do business, looking for a new way to live life. And I do these presentations across the world to hundreds of thousands of people and all sorts of people, not just big corporations. I subscribe to a philosophy — I call it the Double Shaka philosophy. So, every time I do a paid organizational event for a big firm, I do a free one. And I asked the organization, you know I’m doing a free one. You can nominate a school, university, rehab clinic, PTSD survivors, community group, religious group, whatever, I say that, “If you don’t take me up on this offer to do one free, I’m going to do it anyway.”

Shaun Tomson: I did a super cool event last week for a great little Australian school called St. Edwards, which is near Avoca Beach. So, I really try to connect with a lot of people, but the thrust of what I do, it’s about a code for the next wave. So, in many ways, it’s like you’re re-coding your life. It’s like you’re re-coding your path. It’s like you’re re-looking at where you’ve been and re-looking at where you’re going. So, ‘re’ is I think a very descriptive word that encapsulates what I do.

Michael Datta: You encapsulate all of that, for sure. And when we first met, we talked about how I love the fact that you are giving so much of your time. You give people the opportunity to really look at so many aspects of their own life, where they’ve been and where they can go. Just through talking through your life experiences, can you share with us some of your experiences that has brought you to where you are now?

Sure, I think the important experiences for me, they’ve been a number of them, but I’ll keep it to about four or five. Number one is this incredibly close relationship I had with my mum and dad and my siblings. We had a very, very tight family group. In fact, my mom used to say to us, “You are not allowed to fight with your brother and sister.” I had one brother and one sister. I was the oldest. My sister is next. We are a year and a half apart. And my brother was about another year and a half. She said, “You’re not allowed to fight with your brother and sister.” That is how wars get started. Also my mum and dad got divorced when I was about 11. But they never spoke badly about one another. And they both of them had this wonderful relationship with us separately, because they weren’t together anymore, but they respected each other and they never said anything bad about each other.

So, I learned from them that even in the context of something terrible, like divorce, there could still be respect. I learned about the importance of connection and I learned about the importance of respect from both my mom and dad. I also learned from both of them about hope, and about resilience. So, my mom was a survivor. She lived on the island of Malta during her youth, it was the most heavily bombed place in the history of the entire world. She endured 3,600 air raids, two direct hits, four years lived in underground shelters, the whole island started to stop. And in fact, Winston Churchill gave every single inhabitant of that island to George Cross. So, my mum got the George Cross along with all the other inhabitants of multiple bravery. From my mum, I learnt that even in those dark times, she always was a hopeful woman and was a very optimistic, and a hopeful woman and I think she transmitted that on to her children, and ultimately, she was evacuated and ended up in South Africa.

And my dad, too. I learned a lot from him about hope and optimism, about positivity and resilience as well. My dad was one of South Africa’s top swimmers, and he won South African Junior Championships at 13. His dream was to go and swim in the Olympics. The Second World War intervened. He volunteered in South Africa. You didn’t have to go and join up during the Second World War. He joined up like many of his friends, he flew Martin Marauder bombers against the same Italians and Germans that were bombing my mum, in fact, in Italy, North Africa, in the mid. And then he came back after the Second World War and the 1948 London Olympics were coming up and it was his dream to swim. And then a few years before, he was out in the lineup at his little local surf break, with his little wooden board and a shark ended up underneath him and hit him so hard and nearly bit his arm off.

You see, a terrible shark attacked, nearly died, but survived, but he was never able to swim again. But he taught me how to swim and surf when I was born a few years later, about 100 to 200 yards away from where he was attacked. So, he had this wonderful love for the ocean. But also, he was aware of the dangers and he imparted that on to me and taught me how to swim and surf and told me about riptides and the dangers, but he also taught me about the joy of it. And he was a very joyous person, my dad love to be around young people and love to have fun and love to give and build young people up, not just me, he loved me to compete and loved me to be successful. But he loved other young people, to follow their dreams and be successful too and sponsored. He started up a surf shop and sponsored so many of South Africa’s top surfers, Michael [inaudible], Martin Potter, all these amazing surfers sort of got their first sponsorship from my father. So, he loved surfing.

And I think he, from an early age, showed me he wasn’t so much do this or do that, it was really by example. When I think back now, that’s one of the finest forms of education and leadership principles. So, all of us as dads, we learn about leadership through how we treat our spouse and how we treat our children. And both of them, I’ve learnt so many amazing lessons about the core precepts of leadership, about resilience, about engagement, about empathy, about respect, about passion, about joy, about hope, the key commitment, these key basic principles that the people I think may have perhaps in the busy lives sometimes they overlook. But actually, from my mum and dad, I’ve got so much.

So, my mum and dad were massive, massive influences. I got so much from them. And then from surfing, wow, I got so much from surfing. The beach was part of our life. My earliest memories of being in the beach with my mum and dad, my dad teaching me how to swim and body surf. We used to use these little, they had them in Australia too, they were used to be called surfer planes. They were like rubber inflatable mats and you know we used to go ride the backline, we used to call it, we used to ride the dumpers on our lalas. Then I got my board, my dad’s board, I got a board from a cousin Michael. And my cousin and I, we started surfing on exactly the same day, we both stood up on the same day together. I stood up the first time I ever tried it. And when I rode in and I got that feeling of stoke that I’d never had before, yeah, I had cool feeling from riding my surfer plane, but there was nothing like standing up and just seeing the world differently.

And that moment, it wasn’t like a moment, that went away. That moment has stayed with me. And that feeling of being stoked, I think has really driven me. It’s driven me as a surfer recreationally. It’s driven me as a competitor. It’s driven me in business. It’s driven me through my studies, through my entrepreneurship, through my books and films. This feeling of stoke is sort of, along with commitment. It’s at the core of what I do. So, my mum and dad gave me so much and surfing gave me so much.

Patrick Blute: That’s an incredible journey to from your father going through that experience, to then train you and pass that love of the sport along to you, especially after that. And that’s just a really powerful message for everyone in terms of not letting when we think about the concept of ‘re’, like that gift that he gave to you to kind of embark upon your journey with sport.

Yeah, he was very, very supportive and incredibly empathetic. But understood that an athlete must find their own path. And me being his son, I must find my own path. But he will give me everything I need to realize what I wanted to do. He would watch every heat of mine with his binoculars. And never once did he say to me, “You should have done that,” or “You should have done this.” All he wanted was for me to do my best. And that’s what satisfied him. He wanted me to do my best. He wanted to be the humble. He wanted me to accept losses. He would say to me, “When you win, win like a gentleman. When you lose, lose like a man.” And there’s nothing sexist in that comment, it’s just about when you lose, you just kaput. You don’t cry and moan about the result.

And when I work with athletes, and I work with a lot of athletes and business people, all sorts of those, I say, “You’re going to lose, man, you’re going to get your ass kicked, you’re going to fall down to the floor. Do you want to get up again? Accept the loss and move forward. Do you want to be like a crybaby and cry about that loss? You will have no respect and you will lose your self-respect as well. You kaput and you move forward.”

So for me, that’s the path that I followed because my dad inculcated in that with me. In sport, there’s honor. In defeat there’s honor. In winning is honor. You’ve got to accept it, and move forward and don’t dwell on it. Like when I used to lose, yeah, I don’t like losing, man, I hated losing, but I’d walk up to my competitor, shake his hand afterwards, give it a good solid squeeze. You know what I mean? Let the dude know I’m there. I’m going to be back next week or whenever. And then I go and I’d rationalize it over the next few hours and then I’d move on. I wouldn’t like, “I should have, would have, could have. What if I would’ve caught that wave? Man, I’d have been world champion. What if I caught that wave, I’d been a [inaudible] master.” I was like, ‘what is’, not ‘what if’. And I really took that philosophy throughout my life when my wife and I lost our beautiful son at 15 and a half to a bad choice. A beautiful son, Matthew.

And I had to accept what is, not what if. And you mentioned there, Michael, about me helping a lot of people. That process. It’s not just for other people. It’s for me. Because when you win, and every single one of us is going to go through extreme suffering, you Patrick, you Michael, all of us, there’ll be times when we will go through extreme suffering. We will lose the people we love, we’ll have a bad knock in business or sport. But there has to be that period of sorrow and grief and then there has to be that period of acceptance. And then there has to be that restart. What’s going to be next? And one way to restart is to help other people and to create projects for yourself — projects that inspire you. Like after I lost my beautiful son, I released my book The Surfer’s Code, I made the movie Busting Down the Door. I started speaking in all sorts of huge groups and companies, because I found that in that, when I help others, it helped me even more. 

Michael Datta: Tell us a bit about the joy you have now, for yourself and your family.

Shaun Tomson:  So, what happens with surfing? Surfing is an incredibly difficult sport. And when you’re young and strong, there is no real physical effort. The paddling is effortless, the riding the wave is effortless. You don’t feel physically debilitated. Now when I was on the tour, I used to serve more than anyone else on the planet. No one in the world, for those 14 to 16 years, no one’s surfed more than me. I surfed so much because I loved it. And I never even notice any sort of physical impairment until I got to 60. Then you really see that your physicality is really being impacted. Let me tell you, at 55, I was going, “Take me to Jay Baer. I want Kelly Slater man-on-man. I was 55 years old.”

Michael Datta: Oh, that’s awesome. Did you hear that, Kelly? [laughter]

Shaun Tomson: And at 60, I still have it. But then i becomes a lot harder. Of course, now you’ve got Filipe Toledo going into the stratosphere. He’s almost untouchable. Even though this year was good to see the Aussies come good, two Aussies are coming good again.

Michael Datta: We’re on our way back, buddy. It’s just been a bit of building. 

Shaun Tomson: Aussies are coming up [inaudible] again some sort of would have been out of the system. I’ve always thought that you can’t be too sporty and mechanistic in your approach to surfing. And I think perhaps, the Aussies and the Sports Institute might have gone a little bit too far over to physicality, as opposed to stoke and technique and creativity, and innovation and busting down doors. I’m just throwing out a couple of suggestions. Anyway, back to the … [laughter]

Michael Datta: I love your insight, mate. 

Exactly. It’s about feeling and stoke, and it’s about creativity and making your own line. Like let me tell you, Michael, in my house, rugby was a religion. No matter how good the surf was on Saturday, my dad had season tickets for the whole family at the 50-yard line, and we would camp out there no matter whether there was club rugby, provincial rugby, or tests. We would be there at the front. And my dad will be standing up, everyone in this stadium, because he would be shouting orders to the team. “Kick it in the country.” “Hit him low.” “Hit him hard.” That was the only way my dad thought of rugby, “Hit him low, hit him hard.” And his favorite team on the planet, of course, was the Springboks, and his second favorite team were the Frenchies, because they played loose, free-flowing, aerated rugby. And then there was a puma who he loved; a guy called Hugo Porta.

I mean, the guy was like a god himself. He actually became I think the ambassador in South Africa. So for me, there’s no difference when I watch a guy like Ken Pisi, his whole vibe was different. We had a guy in South Africa who I’ll tell you what fundamentally changed the game, a guy called Rob Louw attacking freeform, creative killer. I love Jonah from New Zealand. Those guys, they run their own path. And it’s the same way in surfing. When I first saw Jack Robinson, I could see this little dude here, and I’ve imagined he’s got a wacky father. I mean, this guy is going to his own way. And those are the surfers that I love.

And they had been some geniuses in Australia and in Australian surfing that have gone their own way. You know, Tom Carroll from South Africa, Martin Potter. These guys to me, and then there was some Hawaiian guys, Larry Bertlemann, Rena Valera, Barry Kanapi, they went and went, and they had power. Power. So, it’s interesting that my whole surfing was based on power. I love the power guys. And now, my whole life is now about trying to activate power on people to find their own path. And I haven’t thought about it until now. But sometimes whenever I get right into the depths of the beauty and spirituality of surfing, there’s a lot there that one can be inspired by and learn from. 

Michael Datta:  That’s wonderful, mate. Absolutely fantastic. Well, I expect that in your next major speaking gigs, you’ll be talking about the power of ‘re’.

I actually did a whole process two years ago about re-coding. It was a re-code your mindset for your next wave. Right before COVID, I did a number of presentations around that concept of re-coding. Because what I do is everyone in my presentations write the code 12 lines, every line beginning with ‘I will’. This is a way to find your purpose and your power and find your path. And it’s very much a way to re-code your mindset — that’s what you’re doing. Because it’s fascinating — this path that I’ve gone down. My business disappeared during COVID. I was in Chicago, I had three events booked, I did one and then I had to cancel the next two on the day. 

The events were for about 500 people and I came home and I said to my wife, “Hey, my business is done. No one’s going to be booking speaking engagements for the foreseeable future.” I said, “But I know companies are going to want their team members to be able to maintain connectivity — connect to the purpose of the company, and they’re going to want to be able to figure out how to deal with the turbulence associated with this pandemic. What are they going to do? So, I set up a studio downtown, found someone who could do these virtual livestreams and no one was doing it. I was like one of the first guys to do really super-duper professional studio.

Last year, it was like a CNN broadcast, three cameras. And it was the business. And the first client I had was Gilead Sciences, which at that time, was the hottest company on the planet, because they’re the only company that had the treatment for COVID. That was called Remdesivir. So, I was brought in, I did a couple of events with them to help their teams. So, where I’m going with this is I’d ask companies, I’d ask team members or companies, because now they are on the virtual livestream, you know, 100, 500, 1000, 2000, whatever thousands. Send me a word that describes how you’re feeling. Test it to me. So, I had this cool tech, that if you tested me whatever, it would form a word cloud. 

I could see say a 1,000 people on the stream, 1,000 words would all like mush together, and the more frequent words would be bigger. So, I did this for a period of six months. Suddenly, I had data from thousands of people — mindset data — like how people are feeling in corporate America. And these are companies where the team members are not going to get fired. These are companies where team members have fully-employed, but how are they thinking, what are they thinking about during this pandemic? So, there were four words: stress, anxiety, depression, and disconnection. I call that a ‘sad mindset’. So, now everyone sees everyone else’s words. It’s very quick processing. It takes about three to four minutes. Everyone sees everyone else’s words. 

And then what I do is I’d say, “I’m going to give you now a perspective, that perspective like the winner and the mirror, and then I’m going to give you the code method, and you’re going to write your code and I’m going to tell you three stories. “I’m going to tell you a story about re-silience. I’m going to tell you a story about commitment. And I’m going to tell you a story about re-connecting.”

I tell three stories, and then everyone writes, “That’s the code.” And everyone can see everyone else’s code, and I use tech out of Australia. I use Aussie tech, a mate of mine, Adam Ginsburg, who’s got the super cool company called Buzzy, and he created this stuff for me. So, we get data from thousands and thousands of people with their codes, their picture. And it’s beautiful. But everyone in their company can see everyone else’s code. So, now we’ve created this, the issue is disconnection, and now you’ve reconnected these people, reconnected through the code, because everyone can see what everyone else has written, they can see that we are way more similar than we are different, that we have the same values. And that essentially, in life, we want only two things. It’s amazing to have looked into the soul of not just American business, but I’ve done companies in Australia, South Africa, Asia, and this is what people want, based on the millions of lines of code I’ve read.

So, our purpose and meaning in life, like what is our purpose and meaning in life, it’s complex. It’s a complex question that philosophers and social scientists and people have been struggling with it for thousands of years since Plato, Aristotle, Socrates, Cicero, Virgil, I mean, you name it, all the philosophers. So, I’ve seen it, but it’s way simpler. And what I’ve seen is really simple. So, I say to people, “Okay, I’ve read so many lines of code, and this is what I’ve discovered. And in your lines of code, every single line that you’ve written, your 12 lines, every line beginning with ‘I will’, there’ll be divided into two commitments that represents the fundamental purpose of our lives. Because what is purpose? Purpose is a committed intent to achieve, aims that are significant to yourself in the broader world. I mean, your purpose is your commitment, your committed intent.”

So, I said, “I’ll be better. Send me a line that’s reflective of ‘I will’ being better.” And then the lines will come through, I’ll be a better spouse, I’ll be a better husband, I will be a better father, I will pray, I will be a lifelong learner, I will live a moral life, I will be a woman of integrity, I will forgive, I will forgive myself. And then I said, “That’s only one half of our life purpose or commitment. The other half is, I will help others be better. And then send me a line about that.” And then the lines will come through, I’ll be a mentor, I will lift other people up when they are down, I will volunteer. People write incredible stuff. And at some of the events, I actually get people to stand up and read their 12 lines. I did an event in New Jersey a couple of weeks ago. People stand up, they read the lines, and they’ll start crying, because it’s so emotionally vulnerable and it’s so connective. I mean, I did this event at a prison here, jail here in Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara County Jail. It’s got about 900 inmates. So, I did this one crew. They call themselves The 300, like Sparta, they’re all like strong blokes. And the one guy, very strong guy stands up, he’s reading his 12 and he comes to ‘I will forgive myself’. And he starts crying because those are unbelievably powerful and cathartic words. He starts crying. What do you think that other prisoners do? 

Michael Datta:  Same. Did they all just jump up and cry?

Shaun Tomson:  They jump up and they all started crying, and they all gather around. And it just creates this bond between people that have been disconnected. It’s just such a powerful way to reconnect. And it all came from surfing. This whole program that I’ve been on and that I’ve been doing. I mean, I was on the biggest show in America a few days ago talking about the code. The biggest morning show with, I don’t know, 20 million viewers or something. And I’m talking about the code and it just came from surfing. It came from the surfers code. I will always paddle back out. I will never turn my back in motion. This is stuff that every single surfer knows. I’ll honor the Sport of Kings. I will know that there will be another way. I will ride and not paddle into shore. All this basic stuff that we all know. I just write it down. And it’s so nice that it’s created this wave, and I’m having the billions of people ride this wave. Billions. I’m hoping that every single student in Australia, at both high school and university level, write the code. I’m having every single student in the 195 countries around the world lines of code, because it’s a way to focus, connect and find your true purpose and connect with others deeply.

Patrick Blute:  And Shaun, anyone around the world can go to your website and create a code, find their tribe link. That digital layer you brought to it, that’s kind of bringing it back.

Shaun Tomson: Yeah. So, what we’re trying to do here — when I grew up, I read everything that they had ever been read about surfing. And I read every single interview that every single hot surfer wrote. And one of the hottest of the hots, was the Aussie Nat Young, very intelligent, surfing based on power. And he, many years ago, he said that surfers are a tribe. That’s it. That was the first guy to say surfers are a tribe. So, now what I’m trying to do, like I say that everything I do is come from surfing and from inspiration from amazing surfers, and from the waves in the ocean and the spirituality. I’m getting people and I’ve re-created — funny one, Michael, I’ve recreated my website so that people can not only write their own codes, and then if you want to get like a push notification of your code, you can do that, but you can create a tribe. So, you can create the data tribe, where you can treat create the boot tribe, and you can bring in whoever youwant to bring in — your family members, your friends. And then they can go out and create their own tribe and they can go out and create their own tribe, and maybe IBM in Australia wants to create the tribe, well, maybe Joe’s surf shop on a credit, it’s free. It will not cost you one cent, there’s no advertising, it’s none of that bullshit on it. It’s done for one thing only — for people, to find the purpose, find the power and find the path and reconnect with each other. That’s what it’s for.

Patrick Blute: Thank you so much. 

Michael Datta: Shaun, you are a living legend, my friend. Thank you so much for your time today, being here with us, sharing your stories and sharing your purpose. I love the fact that there’s so much synergy between what you do, what we do at MitchelLake. And it is about watching people thrive from what we give, right? It’s fantastic. For our listeners here in Australia, Shaun will be in Australia, actually on the Sunshine Coast in September doing a few speaking gigs. And I can’t wait. Can’t wait.

Shaun Tomson: I’m so excited to come to Australia. So, I’m involved with this really cool charity event. It’s called The Board Meeting Surf Charity, and it’s up on the Sunshine Coast. And you can go to www.theboardmeeting.org.au. And you can come to this event. It’s going to be super cool. I’m going to be there talking some story. I think we have some books on sale, but it’s for an amazing cause — for kids that have a both physical and mental disabilities or challenges, not disabilities. It’s Mark Skinner, just an awesome dude, that’s putting it all on. So, I can’t wait to come back to Australia — the only country in the world where I used to getting my ass kicked and I could never win. Every bloody event in Australia was just too good for me. I’d rather to blur on that group.

Michael Datta: A bit of history, Pat, Shaun used to compete against this guy called Mark Richards. And oh my gosh, they used to compete hard. They were tough guys.

Shaun Tomson: Oh. They were hard men — very hard men. They were like the front row in the scrum. But they have their teeth and they had their wits. And the only thing they didn’t have was cauliflower ears, but they went hard as a front row. Mark Richard, and Simon Hemsworth, they will kill us. They will kill us. And they killed me. Simon killed me and knocked me back to seconds and seconds. And Rabbit and Remo, they used to kill me. But I got my revenge a little bit in other places.

Michael Datta: You certainly did. Shaun Tomson, thank you again. 

Shaun Tomson: Awesome, Michael. Thank you very much for having me. And for any listeners out there, go to the website of Write a Code Create a Tribe: 12 Lines Every Line Begins With I will. You will be surprised the power that’s contained in your words. So, thanks for having me. Cheers. Double Shaka.

Michael Datta: Thank you for tuning into Talent Without Limits. Music provided by Audio Coffee via Pixabay. If you liked what you heard, subscribe to our show on Apple Podcast, Spotify, or wherever you listen. For more information on the MitchelLake Group, please visit MitchelLake.com. We’ll be back with a brand-new episode very soon.

About the speaker


Shaun Tompson

Purpose-led Surfer, Author

Born in the coastal town of Durban, South Africa, Shaun is one of the world’s best surfers and has won events all over the world, culminating in the surfing world’s top honor, the World Pro Championship. He competed on the pro tour for 16 years, winning 19 professional events, and at the time was both the youngest and oldest surfer to win a professional event. Shaun is a true surfing innovator, developing a revolutionary and radical new tube riding technique. He carried on that success as the co-founder of two multi-million dollar clothing brands, Instinct, and Solitude. He has been inspiring audiences across the globe with keynotes and workshops about the value of commitment and positivity to improve engagement and performance. He’s moved audiences at large conferences, higher-ed institutions and for many major brands like General Motors, Cisco, Google, Gap, Disney, Sonos, Patagonia, Dermalogica, and PWC. Shaun authored the bestsellers “Surfer’s Code: 12 Simple Lessons for Riding Through Life” in 2006 and “The Code: The Power of ‘I Will’,” in 2017. 

About the host

Michael Datta

Talent Without Limits Co-Host, MitchelLake Growth Partner

Globally experienced entrepreneur, investor, and advisor. Expert in international trade and ventures. Oracle of coffee, wine, sports, and talent insights.

Patrick Blute

Talent Without Limits Co-Host and Producer

Global growth advisor with MitchelLake based in New York. Long-time leader of product and marketing strategies for hyper-growth technology, social good, and sustainability ventures.

Jon Tanner

Founder and CEO

Investor and entrepreneur. Inspired by innovators and individuals who challenge what’s accepted in pursuit of what could be. Constantly curious, lover of great stories, and great storytellers.

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Our full research and network insights paper is available for you to download here If you find it insightful, relevant, and intriguing, drop us a comment or share it within your network.

The Mitchellake Group Launches DVX Partners

Together in conjunction with Technology People, Novon and SWR Group, The MitchelLake Group has launched the DVX Partners network – a full-stack talent collective for the digital age.

“This collaboration really does allow our partners to create more depth to their client relationships. Our independent specialists’ brands cohesively working together to bring enhanced offerings to market is a breath of fresh air for our industry and our clients.

Whilst we are just getting started, this is about growth and value creation for our partners as we respond to the talent acquisition demands of rapid digitisation across our marketplace”

Mark Chote, Chair, DVX Partners.

The continuing digitisation of all industries is inevitable and relentless. According to the IDC, worldwide spending on the technologies and services that enable the digital transformation (DX) of business practices, products, and organisations is forecast to reach $2.3 trillion in 2023.  

Advisory, strategy, SI and consulting firms are expanding capability and stretching business models horizontally and vertically to meet the demands of clients; however, for most companies, it is the endeavours of transformative talent that separates the disruptors from the disrupted. 

A digital talent collective

“Where challenges abound so do opportunities for positive change. The problem we are solving is to build scale and expand our capability without diluting the essence and quality of our firm. The current rate of technology-enabled change brings full-stack challenges; the collective concept of DVX partners allows us to offer a full-stack solution.”

Jon Tanner, Founder and Group CEO of The MitchelLake Group

Digitisation continues to challenge traditional borders, business models, and boards, and DVX Partners was formed as a response to this challenge. 

For over two decades, our collective of founders and firms has worked at the coalface of digital ventures and transformation from board advisory and executive search to full-stack talent and contract solutions. 

“E=Mc2 is Einstein’s theory of relativity that expresses the fact that mass and energy are the same physical entity. The concept of DVX to bring a collective mass and energy of its members, creating a new virtual entity that will provide the very best client experience in innovation and delivery of digital transformation services.”

Dominic Dufaur, Founder and Group MD of Technology People

We believe that no single firm can simultaneously and effectively maintain significant niche expertise and credible market relationships both horizontally across business lines and vertically through the talent stack. That’s why we have brought together the essential components of specialist focus that can scale and flex on-demand with our clients. 

Bridging the gap between digital ventures and transformation

“In a challenging environment and difficult 2020, there has never been a more relevant saying than: “If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself”.

Technology People are proud to partner with such a highly experienced, successful group of founders all with common goals, objectives and values. I have no doubt that this collaboration will mean great things for our clients.”

Steve Scanlan, Founder of DVX Partners

Digitisation cuts across traditional internal business silos and stakeholders, dragging them together around data and insights. This brings their traditional external partners into closer proximity and competition across CEO, CIO, CFO, CMO, CDO, and Board stakeholders, right down into the front lines of transformation across customer, strategy, technology, and operations. 

Here at DVX Partners, our mission is to accelerate access to executives, experts, and teams on demand. From executive search and talent advisory to the coalface of expertise and contract solutions, we have surrounded ourselves with exceptional people so that we can provide world-class shared services and collective performance data.

“Is there a more far-reaching, effective and critical channel to the customer (in their every form), than digital?

We don’t believe there is, thus our investment and involvement in an organisation that is committed to, and has the global reach, to source the best in digital talent. Through this unique relationship/collaboration, we are able to introduce that talent to NZ organisations wanting to drive their own DX.”

Tony Walsh, Director of SWR Group

For more information, to collaborate with us or join our collective, visit https://www.dvxpartners.com.

About Our Partners

The MitchelLake Group


The MitchelLake Group combines decades of knowledge, capability, and relationships to deliver specialised executive search for leaders of innovation. Since 2001, our mission has been to serve the world’s most progressive and inspired organisations, investors, and entrepreneurs.

Technology People


Established in Sydney in 2011, Technology People partners executive search methodology with specialist recruitment. With services across Search, Contracting and Projects, we work to create relationships with the top 20% in our specialist technology sectors connecting them when the right opportunity presents



Novon provides people solutions that are intrinsically designed to help address challenges around how you deliver your key business initiatives. We offer solutions that are specifically aimed at helping you meet your needs for a contingent flexible workforce, providing the same highly skilled specialists, but under a sustainable cost model.

SWR Group


SWR Group is a boutique executive search firm focussed on excellence in sourcing leadership talent, specialised and hard-to-fill roles. We cover all organisational, people and subject matter leadership roles, from the C-Suite down – whether permanent or contract.

MitchelLake and Structured Mischief Partner to Tackle the Crisis

There is no doubt that we are living in unusual times. 

COVID-19, equity and diversity protests, economic uncertainty, are forcing all of us to embrace radical change whether we like it or not. For many leaders, this means adapting and taking immediate action to protect their people, businesses and stakeholders.

Never normal. New innovation. New talent.

The search for new talent might not be at the top of your mind right now, but the fact is that the need to respond and adapt won’t end when the current crisis is over.  We are entering a brave, new world, and if you want to thrive, you need to start doing something about it today. Rather than seeking merely to return to the old normal, leaders must seize future-owning opportunities.

That’s why The MitchelLake Group and Structured Mischief are partnering to give you the tools to build your leadership and business resilience. 

“In recognition of the need to rapidly address ‘business not as usual’, we were drawn to collaborate with the luminary team at Structured Mischief,” says Jon Tanner, Global CEO and Founder of The MitchelLake Group.

“Together we aim to help our clients more effectively and holistically understand and surmount the challenges we all face right here, right now while keeping a firm eye on the long-game. We have rapidly adapted the ways we serve, support, and engage our people, our customers, communities, and organizations. Now is the time to generate fresh insights, capability, and partnerships to inform strategy and execute the plan as we navigate to a productive, healthy, and sustainable future together.”


Upfront workshops geared toward aligning leaders on issues and opportunities and testing core strategy.


Interactive speaker, discussion, and application sessions that empower leaders with the latest knowledge on mission-critical topics like the science of pandemics, racial justice and I&D, tactics for high performance, and more.


An interactive executive workshop aimed at re-testing strategy and capturing new opportunity based on lessons learned.


An interactive executive review of organisational structure, opportunities, and blockers impacting digital transformation (DX) and innovation. Balanced and enhanced with external insights and intelligence from competitor and cross-industry DX Leaders.“Many feel their worlds are upside down and seek insight to change their futures,” says David Jensen, CEO of Structured Mischief. “The MitchelLake Group, together with Structured Mischief, are charting paths to navigate break-through success.”

Want to find out more or be notified of the latest update? Get in touch with Megan Burke at meganburke@mitchellake.com or David Jensen at pressuretest@structuredmischief.com. Structured Mischief provides business leaders (CEO/C-suite executives, entrepreneurs) and individuals (artists, activists, changemakers) a path to re-ignite their openness to change and imagine future success. 

The MitchelLake Group delivers executive search and talent solutions that have helped launch and transform some of the world’s leading ventures and brands, partnering high-growth startups through global expansion and identifying the leaders to help guide some of the world’s largest organisations through digital transformation and innovation on an industrial scale.

LanguageLoop discusses strategies to overcome the pandemic

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During the recent pandemic and its associated restrictions, businesses all over the world have been forced to rethink the way they operate. For LanguageLoop, Australia’s leading language service provider of interpreting and translation services, COVID-19 has affected their company in a variety of different ways; from reduced revenue in their main service stream, to creation of new services, to keeping their own staff and all 3,000+ of their remote workforce of interpreters and translators positive and engaged.   

Although they have experienced revenue challenges, the company has still managed to maintain a strong cash flow position by diversifying and turning their focus to other areas. We spoke to CEO, Elizabeth Compton, and asked her to share her insights and strategies on how LanguageLoop has continued to thrive and grow during this unprecedented time.

Transitioning your service channels

Throughout the pandemic, LanguageLoop’s strategy has been to actively engage with their clients, reaching out through multiple channels, not only informing clients they were open and operating as normal, but highlighting alternative services for clients to utillise during this period.

“We’ve been working with clients to drive use of digital channels. There’s been a lot of resistance over the years to using digital solutions, even though technology such as video conferencing is very well established. COVID has dramatically accelerated digital take up, which has actually meant we’ve been able to grow a part of the business we’ve been pushing for a long time. For example, VideoLoop, our video interpreting solution, has made up for significant reductions in traditional on-site interpreting services. In health settings, practitioners and Doctors have been slow to use video technology but now we have the window to drive this service. It is more efficient, with good patient outcomes and rapid take-up will accelerate further innovation in this space, allowing non-English speaking patients to receive excellent care remotely.”

“Further, in the corporate space, we are seeing clients in financial services, insurance and utilities more interested now in self-service digital options, such as multilingual live chat, chatbots, translated web content and other integrated services to lower cost-to-serve, but still provide a great service to customers where English is their second language.”

Engaging staff during a crisis

In addition to operational changes, LanguageLoop has also made a concentrated effort to keep staff feeling valued and engaged. Recognising that this has been a time of high stress, Ms Compton has been reaching out to staff to ensure they are aware of the importance of the role they are playing.

“Since March, we’ve made great strides in engaging staff to keep motivation and engagement levels as high as possible. All managers have regular check-ins with their teams and we’ve also held bi-weekly all-staff video ‘town halls’. We’ve sent handwritten cards, had various Whatsapp groups, wellness and movement sessions and remote drinks and team activities. I’ve also called every single employee personally, to touch base to see how they’re going during lockdown. Interestingly we’re getting to know people better as we’re in each other’s home environments and meeting partners, children and much loved pets!

Three things all businesses leaders should remember

It is clear that LanguageLoop has taken great strides in ensuring the wellbeing of both their clients and employees, focusing on authentic and genuine interactions. This sense of compassion and humanity has been invaluable during a time of crisis, and has given the team the opportunity to innovate in other areas, knowing that all stakeholders are being taken care of.

“If I had to summarise the most crucial areas of business to focus on, I’d tell other leaders three things; firstly, do what you can to stabilise your business and make sure you’re still in business. It’s all about riding this wave and weathering the storm. So ensuring you’re going to make it through is a first priority. For us, that involved looking at every area of our business and where we needed to pivot, cut costs, focus our energy and where we needed to stop, keep, or accelerate, investment.’

“Secondly, although it may be tempting, don’t get caught up in the tailspin of the crisis.  Instead, identify the opportunities and see what you can take advantage of during this period. For example, we undertook a major piece of research into the buying habits of multilingual consumers. This has given us something new to talk with our clients about and we can offer ideas, based on hard research, about ways they can drive revenue by better engaging with their multilingual customers. With the economic outlook looking quite bleak, leveraging language is one clear strategy businesses can use to drive revenue as a part of their post-COVID recovery strategy. The resulting Language Matters Whitepaper has given our clients the ammunition they needed to get all parts of their business on-board.  

“And finally, think about how you can come out stronger than your competitors during this time. It’s different for every sector but now is the time to think strategically and drive harder to deliver innovation. For example, we critically thought about what projects we could bring forward to put us at a competitive advantage, so we have accelerated projects around data analytics and we have increased our IT development team to bring to market new products earlier than planned. 

“It’s been a little scary accelerating deployment of capital during this period, as we don’t know how long this will last, but it seems to be working so far. Our aim is to use this time to get ahead of the pack, be front of mind for our customers, and be in a position to own the market on the other side of this. There’s been a lot of sleepless nights but we need to be comfortable with long term uncertainty and that’s something I’ve come to terms with. Being strategic and disciplined, methodical in our review of the business and moving ahead with clear goals, has helped us feel we are on the right track. I didn’t think I would say this at the beginning, but this crisis has actually made us a stronger team and business.”

The MitchelLake Group Grows Its EMEA Practice

The MitchelLake Group is pleased to announce that Singapore Partner, Jamie Gripton, has recently relocated to Spain to further expand our practice in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

For the past 20 years, The MitchelLake Group has helped launch and transform some of the world’s leading ventures and brands. From partnering high-growth startups through international expansion to identifying transformational leaders for multinational firms such as PWC, EY, BCG DV, Westpac, Greensill, Singlife & Emirates, we have guided some of the world’s most progressive organisations through innovation and change on a global scale. 

Establishing a global footprint while remaining a specialist firm has played a major role in our success. Expanding across borders has allowed us to partner with growth ventures like Culture Amp, RedBubble, Deliveroo, Digitary, Fandom, Square, Dropbox and Optimizely in identifying first in market hires such as regional MD’s, Country Managers, VP, and director level roles across product, engineering, marketing, and customer acquisition. 

The MitchelLake EMEA team

With over 20 years of experience in entrepreneurship, human capital and leadership, Jamie specialises in providing Retained Executive Search solutions to businesses looking to attract transformational talent within the digital, innovation, growth ventures and technology arena.

He previously launched and sold multiple businesses including Rochfort Executive Search, LMA Recruitment Singapore & RMI – Risk Management Intelligence. His specialisations include Digital Transformation in Banking, Financial & Professional Services; Sales Leadership in Tech, and FinTech, InsurTech, VC & PE Funded Growth Tech, Data Analytics & Cyber Security.

Following his move to Spain, Jamie will be working in conjunction with Executive Search Partner, Sophie Cohen to continue delivering executive search capabilities throughout the region. 

Sophie boasts 20 years of experience, managing executive search, market intelligence, succession planning, salary surveys, talent mapping and pipeline projects across EMEA, North America, Russia, Asia Pacific (Australia, China, India, Philippines), UAE and LATAM. She possesses broad sectoral experience in digital, advertising, marketing, media, pharmaceutical, and industrial.

Deep digital expertise for global executive search

With Partners in seven countries over four continents, our global distribution allows us to seamlessly connect and collaborate with talent and organisations to establish new capabilities and new markets. In a new economy where remote working is becoming ever more prevalent, previously location-based searches have evolved, and both clients and candidates are embracing a truly borderless way of working.

We invite you to reach out to Jamie and Sophie to discuss your next project.

Leadership in Times of Crisis: Conclusion

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Overall, our survey of our tech leaders within our network has found a distinct consensus in approaches despite the varying circumstances that affect each business from country to country and different industries. In both the public and private sectors, every leader has prioritised the need to adapt – incorporating new information as it becomes available and altering their approaches as a result, whether these changes be incremental or radical.

Developing resilience

In dealing with the current crisis, business leaders have had to address the immediate challenges presented by COVID-19 and how this has impacted their customers, technological requirements, business stakeholders and employees. They have been forced to find solutions to financial challenges as well as the resilience issues that have occurred as a result of quarantine-induced lockdowns and their economic repercussions.

Video call with employees

As such, leaders across all countries and industries have, as a whole, increased the amount of communication and engagement with employees. These measures have navigated the fine balance between building the morale of employees, whilst setting realistic expectations and letting them know their well-being is a priority. Working norms drastically changed, with remote working policies instituted (and likely to stay in place for a long time to come), as well as prioritising and considering the necessity of work-related travel once restrictions ease.

Areas of focus have also shifted, with previously B2B companies moving towards a more direct-to-consumer approach. Hand in hand with this has come new ways of communicating and doing business with these audiences, including the incorporation of increased online engagement strategies and communication.

At the same time, business leaders must also monitor the leading indicators of how the pandemic is evolving, and develop scenario planning that considers economic, environmental, and epidemiological inputs. This is crucial, not only for the livelihood of the business but for the health and well-being of employees.

What will the new normal look like?

consumer habits are changing

Customers and consumers

As part of their scenario planning and as companies begin to resume activity, the next question is, “What will the new normal look like?” In addition to creating detailed plans for the return to operations, processes will need to be implemented to account for the new customer and employee habits that have developed as a result of the pandemic. What we are seeing is literally a redefinition to the realities of work and consumption, with impacts across all areas of life and the propulsion of new technologies in commerce, operations and learning tools.

Having experienced a new reality that prioritises eCommerce and online orders of all kinds, consumers all over the world are recalibrating the way they shop and spend. Certainly, there are signifiers that suggest online services will now be adopted far more quickly than ever before. These new practices will likely become a permanent fixture of consumer habits in the foreseeable future

new employee habits


Companies will also need to work hard to protect and support their employees in this new world. As a result of basic policies implemented to protect the health of their team, many leaders have discovered the benefits and ease of working-from-home policies and enhanced video conferencing in lieu of face-to-face meetings. 

Of course, with these new practices come new challenges. The difficulty of mentally separating work from home life will place a greater focus on the mental health practices of employees. Meanwhile, employees might also find that they are lacking the skills needed to be successful in a digital-forward environment where self-motivation is key.

Discovering a brave, new world

In short, consumers, companies and employees all around the world will soon be finding that although operations may resume very soon, businesses will definitely not be operating as usual for the foreseeable future. Instead, a greater emphasis on technologies and flexible working arrangements look to be the new norm, as well as all the broad changes and implications to operations and financial management. But above all, all parties must learn to adapt quickly in a post-pandemic society.

Thank you to the following leaders for their invaluable contribution to this study:

MICHAEL BATKO – Chief Executive Officer of Startmate

AJAY BHATIA – Managing Director of CarSales Australia

BELINDA CHENG – Director of EY Foundry (Sydney and Singapore)

ELIZABETH COMPTON – Chief Executive Officer of LanguageLoop

RODD CUNICO – Group Chief Executive Officer of CIRRUS Holdco

NINA DEVOUGE – Talent Acquisition Senior Director, APAC of Essence

JON DOBELL – APAC Innovation Leader of EY

JULIAN ELLIOTT – Chief Executive Officer of Covidence

GABRIELE FAMOUS – Former Chief Marketing and Brand Officer of Trustpilot

DEBORAH MASON – SVP Global Talent of PageUp

DOUG MORRIS – Chief Executive Officer of Sharesight

BEN PALMER – Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of Genos

BRETT SAVILL – Chief Executive Officer of Quantify Technology

ROB SCOTT – Chief Executive Officer of Cygilant

ELLIE SMITH – VP of People and Culture of Who Gives a Crap

JON TANNER – Global Chief Executive Officer and Founder of The MitchelLake Group

LEE THOMPSON – Managing Director, ANZ of Nutanix

PETER URMSON – Chief Executive Officer of Spotzer

MARK WELLS – Chief Executive Officer of Cogent

DAVID WEINBERG – Co-Founder of Vervoe

ERIC WILSON – Chief Executive Officer and Founder of Xinja

ADDIE WOOTTEN – Chief Executive Officer of Smiling Mind

LES WIGAN – Chief Operating Officer of Kayo Sports

Read the full series online:

Part 1: Keeping Customers Engaged

Part 2: Hiring Decisions and Retaining Employees

Part 3: Handling the Next Quarter: Risks and Top Priorities

Part 4: Key Words of Advice from Tech Business Leaders

Conclusion: Learnings and Insights

Download the eBook:

Leadership in Times of Crisis eBook


Leadership in Times of Crisis Part 4: Key Words of Advice from Tech Business Leaders

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In the hopes of unveiling some ideas we can apply to our own respective businesses, we asked our clients what their top three pieces of advice would be to other leaders during a crisis. As stated by Julian Elliott, CEO of Covidence, now is the time for leaders to build culture and support their teams, customers and clients. “These are the times that show who you are as a person and what the company really is at its core.”  

 Communication and Transparency is Key

It is clear from speaking to our leaders that communication (both internally and externally with customers) is the most important during a crisis. While some companies suggested more than usual (Les Wigan, COO of Kayo Sports) with as many as three company-wide calls per week (Rob Scott, CEO of Cygilant), all agreed that communicating at least once a week was pivotal to ensuring employees felt engaged.

“Be as transparent as possible with both your employees and your customers. It’s ok to show some vulnerability and transparency when things are tough. As leaders, we tend to forget that human aspect.”

– Gabriele Famous, former Chief Marketing and Brand Officer, Trustpilot

Furthermore, all leaders we interviewed confirmed that the communication should be done with as much transparency as possible. As stated by Michael Batko, CEO of Startmate, leaders should be 100% transparent with both good and bad news. Employees understand that business leaders may not know what the immediate future holds, so there is no requirement for definitive answers. 

100% of business leaders agreed transparent communication is crucial

“COVID-19 and forced working from home arrangements have left employees in a great deal of uncertainty. As an employer, it’s important to prioritise taking care of our teams by keeping communications as transparent, open and honest as possible. HR plays a crucial role in upholding employer brand during this time. How companies tackle the COVID-19 crisis as a business challenge will define their brand for decades.”

– Deborah Mason, SVP Global Talent, PageUp

Mark Wells, CEO of Cogent stresses that leading with a balance of optimism and realism is crucial. In fact, recognising this uncertainty means that leaders appear more honest – something which staff appreciate.

“Be genuine and sincere in what’s working, but acknowledge what’s not working. People don’t like surprises.

– Rodd Cunico, Group CEO, CIRRUS Holdco

Look After Your People

Focusing on the mental health of your people and showing empathy and understanding of what they are going through, was the second most prominent theme identified during our research. During a time where employees may be feeling isolated and disengaged, it is essential to recognise the unusual nature of the current economic climate and reassure staff that feelings of uncertainty are normal. As Ajay Bhatia, Managing Director of Carsales Australia, states, “You may not have the answer someone is looking for, but it is important to be there to answer their questions”.

“Be empathetic to your employees. Not all situations during a crisis are equal. For example, we found that it was harder for employees with young families and for people who lived alone. Being understanding of their situation and giving them the flexibility they need builds trust and better outcomes for both the company and employees.”

– Gabriele Famous, former Chief Marketing and Brand Officer, Trustpilot

Communicating in this manner goes beyond empathy, with other leaders recognising the importance of employees psychological wellbeing during this time, and how closely this is linked with how successfully a business will come out the other side. With employees more susceptible to issues such as anxiety, depression and PTSD during this time, studies are finding that “support may reduce the burden of comorbid mental health conditions and ensure the wellbeing of those affected.”

Leaders focussed on different employee engagemenet initiatives

“Employees need to feel leaders’ confidence and optimism during this environment in order to be flexible. They can’t be stuck in concern and anxiety. They need to know we’re going to survive.”

– Ben Palmer, Co-Founder, Genos

Addie Wootten, CEO of mindfulness meditation startup, Smiling Mind, recommends leaders to encourage their staff to practise mindfulness and says that as little as 10 minutes of mindfulness every day can make a difference. Here at MitchelLake, we have engaged in two facilitated meditation sessions every week (both theory and practice) and a number of our team are already reaping the benefits.

“We have seen extraordinary work from our team leveraging their connection to our purpose. It’s been amazing to be part of, we’ve had lots of pause moments to celebrate and check in on people and support them. However, with any sudden adrenaline rush, the potential for a hangover and burnout is always a risk. We are very conscious of it and talk about it openly and will continue to do so until things settle down (if they settle down)”.

– Ellie Smith, VP of People and Culture, Who Gives a Crap

Seek Out Opportunities

During a crisis, it is easy to get so caught up in the tailspin of negativity that we cease to notice the opportunities that have arisen. Therefore, we are posed with the question: How do we take advantage of opportunities during this period? 

We have seen a number of companies pivot and change their focus, whether this be through the creation of new products or shifting their target to new audiences. While many have moved to online models of providing their services, innovative cases have arisen such as fashion houses creating masks, distilleries brewing hand sanitisers, and automotive companies producing ventilators.

“Think of ways you can pivot your product and sales strategy to fit the environment. Ask yourself, are you prepared to be flexible?”

– Ben Palmer, Co-Founder and CEO, Genos

46% of leaders have diversified their service offering

Service-based and technology businesses have also found different ways, not only to service the community but to improve their own internal processes and operations. For Elizabeth Compton, CEO of language services company LanguageLoop, it was tapping into a talent pool that was previously unavailable, as well-known brands such as the AFL and Qantas (who are currently struggling) previously had the monopoly.

Meanwhile, HR tech business Vervoe, discovered ways to identify opportunities to service different clients such as healthcare and Government entities rather than their traditional corporate clients:

“Never waste a crisis. There will be upsides to some parts of the business so make the most of the opportunity.” 

– Belinda Cheng, Director of EY Foundry (Sydney and Singapore), EY

Remain calm and deploy long-term thinking

Although expressed in different multiple ways, the importance of remaining calm during a time of crisis and deploying long-term thinking, rather than being overly defensive and reactionary was a consistent message from Founders. Furthermore, this attitude was considered especially crucial for all members of the leadership team, as stated by Jon Dobell, APAC Innovation Leader, EY. 

“Remaining calm is the assurance employees need during such uncertain times.”

– Lee Thompson, Managing Director ANZ, Nutanix

That said, Vervoe Co-Founder David Weinberg stressed that business leaders should not lose sight of their long-term company strategy and vision.

“It is human nature to protect and cut costs, it’s a survival instinct, but it is also important that you continue to build your company and not to lose sight of your long term strategy.”

– David Weinberg, Co-Founder, Vervoe

He advises businesses to focus on how they are going to accelerate out after the crisis. Think about what you are looking for – indicators that we are at the end? And, once you have identified this, consider the strategies you will deploy at that point. Belinda Cheng of EY agrees, advising companies to avoid shutting down their corporate innovation and R&D functions.

“Hold out beyond the short-term. Cutting back on innovation now will impact the pipeline of new tech and innovation opportunities in 2-3 years’ time.” 

– Belinda Cheng, Director of EY Foundry (Sydney and Singapore), EY

Read the full series online:

Part 1: Keeping Customers Engaged

Part 2: Hiring Decisions and Retaining Employees

Part 3: Handling the Next Quarter: Risks and Top Priorities

Part 4: Key Words of Advice from Tech Business Leaders

Conclusion: Learnings and Insights

Download the eBook:

Leadership in Times of Crisis eBook