INTOUCH: Managers abroad

Yvette Adams
Business Owner
Sunshine Coast, Australia

What prompted you to seek work out of New Zealand?
I left as bright-eyed and bushy-tailed 21-year-old after three-year stint working for the Government’s sports agency SPARC (then called The Hillary Commission) in the communications department.
My reasons for leaving were to expand my horizons, travel as much as possible, gain valuable international work experience, trace my roots and there was an element of ‘rites of passage’ too. In all, I spent seven years living, working in London and travelling.
Then, in 2004, my partner and then 10-month-old son and I emigrated from England to Australia where I accepted position as PR and marketing manager of – company offering information, inspiration and investing tips. I also picked up freelance work due to my global experience.
In early 2006 I was headhunted to work on contractual basis for one client in particular, so my dream of being sole trader was fulfilled. The arrangement was perfect, with her providing me with the stability of regular income, but allowing me the freedom to build up my client base.
During this year I became pregnant with my second child and so to some degree I held back, unsure of what the future of being mother to two children would hold and knowing from past experience that I would need at least ‘buffer’ period after the birth to evaluate where I was at. I did however take the step of business-name registering the company (The Creative Collective), completing my branding and setting up business… just in case.

Can you provide sketch of your current role?
I formalised the business in April 2007 by switching to operate under corporate trustee of discretionary trust structure. By mid year 2007 I had approximately five contractors regularly working for me and by end 2007 I had around 10. Now I have 15. The rapid growth of my business has been punctuated by several finalist nominations in various regional and national business awards, including the highlight which was being named Queensland Small Business Champions Young Entrepreneur Of The Year in 2007.

What are the main challenges?
Whilst being in business for yourself certainly provides you with huge amount of freedom, there is an enormous amount of responsibility placed squarely on your shoulders, particularly when you have other people regularly deriving an income from you. I am continually trying to manage my rapid growth, ensure sufficient cash flow, and to document everything I do so I can delegate and focus on the things I most enjoy/I am good at/which increase my bottom line.

How do you view New Zealand both as country and economic/business entity from where you stand now?
It was interesting to go back in January for couple of weddings. It was so good to see friends, however I definitely didn’t feel sense of ‘belonging’ any more, which was interesting. Downtown Auckland in particular, where I have spent lot of time over the years (even though I am from Wellington), seemed more like major Asian city. There was lot of negative media while we there about there being ‘murder day’ in the first month of the year which was quite disturbing, and many friends seem to have been affected by petty crimes or be very conscious of it in their daily lives, which was sad to see when we grew up with good sense of security.
Economically, I really wonder how families survive with the exorbitant housing prices and all the staples (petrol prices, food, clothing) and of course interest rates being far higher than in Australia. There also didn’t seem to be much support from the Government for working families like there is in Australia. It appeared to be much more ‘uphill battle’ to keep your head above water.

What would induce/encourage you to return?
It would be difficult to leave Australia now that my and my partner’s direct family members live here (parents plus two siblings apiece) and even some extended family. If the economy went dramatically downhill here and dramatically uphill there we might have to consider it if it would benefit our family. I’d miss the sunshine though – I’ve got bit soft.

What is the most useful piece of advice you could give young executives who are contemplating career stretch offshore?
Do it – any international experience you can gain will become invaluable to you.

Yvette Adams is member of KEA, New Zealand’s global talent community,

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