Hi there and welcome to our first blog entry! This is the beginning of sharing our journey, some thoughts and reflections, case studies and various updates on all things related to who we are and what we do at Emergent Consulting Australasia…We are excited to begin this journey and to share it with you!
As a brief introduction to our company, we started operating formally at the beginning of this year (2016) with a vision to offer something different in the consulting space, notably building connections across networks and adding value to our customers in ways that engage both heart and mind. The vision was birthed out of wanting to add value to both social sector/NFPs and business sector clients (social enterprises and business-as-normal ventures) – helping our clients build confidence to create new vision, new strategies and open up new markets to enable growth. We know of and continually run into many business and NFP leaders grappling with how to do more for less, how to stay relevant, how to create meaningful value propositions and achieve sustainable growth. This is why we exist – to help these leaders build the capacity and confidence to create something new and brilliant!
I felt there would be an increasing need for a business like ours – when considering the rate of technology adoption and overall transformations taking place within the emerging Asian / Asia Pacific markets (which is also driving significant social and cultural change); and knowing the increased drive internally within Australia to develop new and innovative business models. I will share more of our personal story throughout upcoming blog posts – but for a quick and dirty summary, this is a snapshot of our personal journey over five significant timelines:
Coming from humble beginnings, my wife and I have learnt the power of continually applying a learning and growth mindset. We have had to overcome many personal struggles and life challenges to be where we are today. Jo (my wife) has a degree in Social Work (majoring in Psychology) and many years working in womens crisis, parenting and child support, and case management roles. I (Mark) started out in civil engineering project management roles within civil, water/wastewater and tunnelling construction fields – over time this morphed into fulfilling team leadership, coordination or general management roles. We were married in 2003 after knowing each other for 8+ years (..from way back in Uni days!) and enjoyed life in the bustling city of Melbourne.
In 2006, after doing the typical career pathway thing for several years we accepted the radical opportunity to relocate to Cambodia to support a range of economic development proposals including holistic business and church ministry training – all from a base in Phnom Penh. This was a significant shift in direction for both of us – but one in which we hold absolutely no regrets! We were supported by our church in Melbourne in these early days in Cambodia and connected with various local partners sharing the vision to grow sustainable church models (shifting dependency away from donor sources) and those seeking to bolster the capacity of local pastors and business owners (the catalyst of this vision interestingly all started with a partnership with World Vision supporting a street children’s program in Phnom Penh!).
In 2009, we remained based in Phnom Penh but commenced a new journey in starting our own business, a unique consulting and training services company (Future Now Enterprises Co. Ltd). We ventured fully into the realm of self-supporting through our business – with the aim to grow our team and sufficient revenues locally via training, consulting and business development services. In 2010, we launched the Entrepreneur Life (EL) program as our first step in exploring ways to support young entrepreneurs in developing countries (see pic below from one our groups). The EL program was a fantastic learning experience (..we will cover stories /case studies in more detail via upcoming posts), involving contributions from many great people and the impact of this program continues to this present day! We also delivered a unique management training program (Management Accelerated) which aimed to address local capacity building needs.
In 2012, after 6 years living overseas we decided to return home to Melbourne, Australia and re-establish normal life (whatever that is!). A number of factors were involved in this decision, including reconnecting with our families and assisting both sets of parents in down-sizing home adjustments. We had developed great friendships and connections in Cambodia and committed to remain connected (which I am pleased to say we have honoured – making an average of 2 trips back to Cambodia each year since we left!). After a short period of settling in, we both accepted roles (Mark in Senior Management and Jo in Parenting Team leader roles) working for an innovative Indigenous community change organisation based in Cairns (Far North QLD). This work required us to travel and work from several remote Indigenous communities while overseeing a mixed Indigenous and non-Indigenous workforce. This lead to us leaving lovely Melbourne and heading north to base ourselves in Cairns. We loved the new cultural learning curve (mind you, there was a lot we could apply from our time in Cambodia) and we enjoyed getting to know many great people and families throughout the Indigenous communities we worked in. However, this work involved many complex and long term challenges and certainly took a toll on us emotionally and physically!
In mid 2015, after almost 3 years travelling across remote Indigenous communities and working relentlessly to build capacity into the various community change programs – we both decided to leave the organisation, take some time off to recharge and refocus. This lead us to the decision to make good on our bucket-list and go off grid for awhile travelling throughout Europe for 3 months. It was awesome to say the least!! On our return to Australia in late 2015, we started preparation for launching Emergent Consulting Australasia – starting the new journey of the business formally in January of this year and continuing today!
Well, enough for now.. stay tuned for more posts on a range of topics including: Projects and Case Studies, Entrepreneurship, Emergent Leadership, Building Better Business, and Living an Integrated Life.