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CEO for a Day

What is a CEO?


That’s the question my niece asked me on Christmas day. Followed by this series of questions:

  • What does a CEO do? 
  • How do you become a CEO?


These are the types of questions that inspired GenerationOne’s CEO for a Day competition.

The competition aims to reach aspiring Indigenous businesspeople. It gives each winner the opportunity to walk a day in the life of one of Australia’s leading CEOs.

Last year, winners experienced a frenetic pace and a window into the long hours that come with being the boss.

They experienced the daily schedule of attending board meetings, addressing whole of staff engagements as well as being able to provide their own thoughts on the direction of business and engaging in the conversations of Indigenous engagement.

For Hannah Pehi, it meant gaining full time employment with Woolworths after her day was spent with the CEO, Grant O’Brien. For Josh Riley it was a catalyst for further work opportunities within the banking industry after an inspiring day with Telstra’s CEO David Thodey.

For other applicants it was the opportunity to gain an insight into the role and responsibilities of leading major organisations.

To be a CEO was a dream that I once scribed down on a piece of paper while driving down Freeway 5 just north of Los Angeles. At the time it was part of some uncomfortable planning and mentoring sessions I was having with someone who has positively changed my life.

This focus and challenge was aimed at creating direction and this person continually shares with me to support my growth in understanding business leadership.

For many Indigenous Australians, the conversation of business success is not as readily available or even possible around the dinner table. Many families are not equipped for conversations that come from questions like I had faced earlier in the day. Questions like: What is an accountant? What is an engineer?

Even, what is a CEO?

For many young Indigenous people success and role models usually appears in the form of sporting heroes.

While there are many leading Indigenous athletes across all sports in Australia it is a pathway that is heavily contested. Raw talent is not all you need and many struggle with turning a hobby into a professional pathway.

Sportspeople normally have short careers and often lack further aspiration beyond their sporting career.

We have some exceptional leaders in Australia. Indigenous men and women that are excelling in business, entrepreneurship as well as doctors, lawyers and accountants just to name a few.

These are the people that need to become the household names for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders across Australia. These are the people that are leading the way.

Their dreaming is excellence. Excellence is worth dreaming.

CEO for a Day aims to engage with aspiring Indigenous people, either at school, university, self-employed or even those currently between work. It’s a day that should inspire, providing direction and hope that one day we will see Indigenous Australians in these senior business positions.

To give yourself permission to dream is to give yourself hope and freedom. 

There is no reason why being a ‘CEO for a Day’ cannot be the catalyst or catapult to your road to success and leadership. Enter here.

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