The Australian Restructuring Insolvency and Turnaround Association (ARITA) turned the spotlight on our co-founder and Director, Chad Rapsey, in the September issue of their magazine.
ARITA, Australia’s leading organisation for restructuring, insolvency and turnaround professionals, has more than 2,327 members and subscribers including accountants, lawyers and other professionals with an interest in insolvency and restructuring.
Chad has been ARITA member since 2011 and is a valued Committee member of the NSW/ACT Division Committee and the Small-Medium Practice (SMP) Committee. He has presented at ARITA conferences on bankruptcy and SMP issues.
Chad told ARITA he finds a great deal of personal satisfaction in helping struggling businesses and people back onto their feet. Read the Q and A below to learn more about Chad and what makes him tick.
Who’s inspired you along the way either professionally or personally?
My grandfather has been a huge influence in my life. He was a businessman and entrepreneur with a range of different business interests from brickworks to pubs to shopping centres. He was also a great leader in his community including as mayor of Albury for a time. I can still remember a photo of my Pop with former US President Ronald Reagan, which held pride of place in his home.
What’s the biggest success you’ve had in your career?
Starting and building my business with my business partner Mitch Griffiths has been an incredible achievement and something we are very proud of. After a humble start from my loungeroom, five years on we have 15 staff in prime office space in the CBD of Newcastle. We have designed it from the ground up, so it reflects our values and the way we think about the world.
What’s the most satisfying appointment or assignment you’ve ever worked on and why?
Every time we turn a business around and help an organisation find the right path is a great day in my book – particularly when it involves a community enterprise. One example was when we facilitated the amalgamation of a remote rural bowling club.. It might not sound like much but the club was immensely valuable to its community and so our work was really important to their wellbeing. It was a great outcome.
What are the biggest lessons you’ve learned in your career?
You have to always be on your game. With our work, you literally hold people’s futures in your hands, and you can’t take your eye off the ball for a second. It’s a big responsibility and I’ve never underestimated it.
What’s the most rewarding part of your work?
People come to us when they are overwhelmed by their situation. They are often very stressed, sleep deprived and lost. Our role is to listen, analyse and advise. We work with them to help them find the path forward. I find helping people along that path hugely rewarding.
If you could go back to the beginning of your career is there anything you would do differently?
I have had a great career so far and I am fortunate that I wouldn’t change anything. A piece of advice I would provide to my younger self, or to anyone starting in this field, is to respect and build authentic networks. Your network can make or break you, so it is critical to invest time in developing quality, genuine business relationships.
What’s the number one skill you believe you need to be successful as an IP?
This is a tough question. IPs use both sides of their brain: the left side, which is analytical and logical; and the right side, which is intuitive and thoughtful. We need to be empathetic and at the same time have great commercial judgement. I guess you can capture all of those qualities under leadership. Strong leadership is the number one skill you need as an IP.
What do you think is the biggest opportunity for the profession?
There is an amazing opportunity for the profession to improve its brand and educate the community about the value we create. Our primary objective is always recovery and turning businesses around. Unfortunately, this is not well understood by the community. Too often people think we are there to close the business down, when in fact this is a last resort.
Where do you see the profession going next?
There is a fear of failure in Australian culture and this impacts the way businesses operate. In the US, business’ experiences with Chapter 11 are talked about openly and without any sense of shame. I don’t think that Australian business will ever reach that point, but I do think we are starting to see a shift in entrepreneurial culture. This will have a ripple effect on our profession as Australian business and turnaround culture matures.
What might people who only know you in your professional capacity be surprised to know about you?
Not many people would know that I can speak Greek. My wife is from Lesbos, an island in Greece. We try to visit with her family as much as possible and my language skills are improving – albeit slowly. Luckily, I have a great teacher at home.
To learn more about Rapsey Griffiths or to discuss a client experiencing financial difficulty, please contact us today. For further information about legislative reforms, market conditions, turnaround and more, we invite you to explore our blog.