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What’s Inside the Black Box? is a podcast for Searchers and the EtA community to demystify being a CEO with Australian debt requirements.

Through my experiences of a career so far in Banking, Consulting and Debt Advisory, I have found there to be a significant conceptual gap in the understanding of how banks and lenders work at different levels of the market and what to consider in being a CEO or board member for the first time.

In support of the ETA community and the upcoming ETA forum this year, I’ve asked some of my colleagues to help me explain some of the concepts which will help searchers and first-time CEO navigate the Australian SME lending market and what to consider in stepping into the CEO role.

In general, these conversations are intended to provide insight into how to approach topics, but as always, there are exceptions to every rule. The most significant commonality to all topics covered is that unpredictability will often be due to a human element – and therefore understanding people’s roles and relationships matters the most.

Jacqui Colwell - Setting Credit Culture in a new SME Bank - the importance of team alignment.

The conversation provides a comprehensive look at Jacqui Colwell's experience in launching a new bank in Australia as the Chief Risk Officer. It explores her motivations for leaving a traditional banking role and starting a new venture with a focus on customer relations and SME banking. The talk delves into the complex challenges of regulatory compliance and licensing while emphasising the importance of team alignment and culture in risk management. Topics covered include:

Challenges in Founding a New Bank: - Regulatory hurdles and capital requirements specific to launching a new bank.

Pursuit of a Banking License: - Decision to proceed with a full banking license despite a changing regulatory landscape.

Regulatory Dynamics: - The weight of regulations that come with being categorised as a 'bank'.

Operational Challenges: - The systematic approach to tackling licensing requirements while preserving the vision for the bank.

Organisational Culture: - The importance of nurturing the right culture for risk management across the team.

Team Dynamics: - Team expansion and the necessity for alignment in vision and risk understanding.

Additional Insights from Jacqui Colwell: 
- What is the role of a Chief Risk Officer?
- Managing risks within set appetites.
- Innovations in decision-making and customer engagement at the new bank.
- Does making a wrong lending decision matter for a credit officer?
- What's the role of director's guarantees in lending?

12 September 2023
Geoff Green - What happens when things don’t go to plan – how to work with your Bank or Debt Financier.

In this episode, we delve into the world of “Bad Bank”, credit risk, and expert witness advisory with industry expert Geoff Green. With over 35 years of experience in finance, insolvency, credit risk, and credit advisory, Geoff brings a wealth of knowledge. He's spent years in insolvency, worked across various risk teams in major banks, and now runs his own consulting business Harborside Advisory

The episode unveils the intriguing concept of the "Bad Bank" and the variety of ways banks handle non-performing loans (aka, the part when things don’t go to plan). Geoff offers clarity on this topic, emphasising that being transferred to a Bad Bank doesn't necessarily spell disaster. Spoiler: It can also be a reflection of a bank's concern and efforts to find a tailored solution.

This conversation takes you on a journey through Geoff's remarkable career and provides insights into discovering what it means to be a Bad Bank Credit Executive, the nuances of presenting complex financial matters in simple terms, and the art of saying "no" when needed.

30 August 2023
Cindy Batchelor – Business start-ups working with SME banks – what should you think about in working with an SME banking partner?

In this episode, Cindy Batchelor discusses transitioning from leading Australia's most prominent business banking division to launching her small business start-up, Spiritum Scrubs. Cindy's executive background includes executive leadership roles in banking, being the Executive General Manager of Nab Business, Australia's prominent business banking business for over four years and international experience in an Asian private bank, building and transferring leadership capabilities in the Asian banking sector.

Cindy's recent professional engagements include serving as the Deputy CEO of the Australian Red Cross and currently as the Chair of Auto and General Insurance, overseeing well-known brands like Budget Direct, iSelect and Compare the Market.

The core focus of the podcast is on Spiritum Scrubs, Cindy's innovative start-up venture. Spiritum Scrubs aims to address the needs of healthcare professionals, particularly women, by creating specialised medical scrubs. These scrubs prioritise breathability, functionality, and style. The start-up also includes a well-being component, Spiritum Well-Being, which offers guidance and support to healthcare professionals beyond attire.

Cindy emphasises the importance of leveraging strengths, partnerships, and networks when embarking on an entrepreneurial journey. She underscores the significance of maintaining a realistic but optimistic mindset and highlights the learning curve of starting a business.

Furthermore, Cindy sheds light on the values driving Spiritum Scrubs, including courage, integrity, connection, and sparkle. These values underpin the business's commitment to positively impacting and fostering personal growth within the healthcare community.

The podcast also explores the process of selecting an SME banking partner. Cindy shares insights into considerations CEOs and boards should consider, such as building solid relationships with banks and understanding delegation of authority frameworks.

Cindy's unique insight, from corporate leadership to entrepreneurship, is an inspiring example of pursuing passion and purpose. The discussion provides valuable insights for entrepreneurs and business leaders navigating the challenges and opportunities of working with banks in the business world.

16 August 2023
Dragan Petrovic - The start-up experience – was being a start-up CEO all you expected it would be?

During the start-up phase and being the CEO of Nura, several key points of reflection emerged. Here are the main takeaways:

1. The Genesis of Nura: The idea for Nura originated from a discussion among a group of music-loving engineers who marvelled at the technological advancements in music reproduction. They pondered the possibility of creating a sound system that could adapt to an individual's unique hearing capabilities, resulting in a perfect match between the sound system and the listener's hearing.

2. Transitioning Careers: The decision to pursue Nura as a start-up involved leaving comfortable corporate jobs and embracing the challenges of entrepreneurship. Despite the potential risks and financial uncertainties, the founders were driven by their passion for the concept and the belief that doing something they truly cared about could lead to success.

3. Passion and Success: The story of Pascal Rigo, a baker who pursued his passion and eventually achieved remarkable success, served as a reminder that doing what one truly enjoys can lead to personal fulfilment and even financial rewards. Following one's passion in a chosen profession can lead to higher levels of expertise and commitment, ultimately increasing the chances of success.

4. CEO Role and Learning Opportunities: Becoming the CEO of Nura was an exciting challenge and a valuable learning experience. As a first-time CEO, numerous aspects of running an organization were unfamiliar, especially coming from a larger corporate background. Setting up various functions, such as HR, governance, compliance, and finance, required a deep dive into understanding and implementing these essential components.

5. Complexity and Growth: The start-up journey presented numerous complexities, including dealing with operations in different countries, managing multiple currencies, supply chain logistics, and regulatory compliance. The rapid growth of Nura further amplified these complexities, highlighting the need for efficient processes and systems to support the expanding organization.

6. Need for Speed and Growth: In the venture capital world, emphasising growth and speed is vital for creating a successful start-up. The pressure to achieve significant growth and create a unicorn-like outcome is inherent in the VC model. The steeper the growth trajectory, the more favourable the outcome.

Overall, the reflections during Nura's start-up and CEO journey highlighted the importance of pursuing one's passion, embracing learning opportunities, dealing with complexities, and navigating the growth-oriented nature of the venture capital landscape.

4 August 2023
Season 1 Introduction

A podcast for Searchers and the EtA community to demystify being a CEO with Australian debt requirements.

2 August 2023