Since leaving British Telecom (BT) in the mid-1990s, my career has focused on stewarding smaller, change-driven businesses. I’m now based in my home country of New Zealand, working with an ex-colleague in the UK to help a group of Australian farmers and agronomists raise capital to acquire land in Australia’s Northern Territory and create a sustainable at-scale agriculture business to grow food and textiles.

What started out as providing capital-raising advice has become us creating the strategy to take to the private equity market to raise around A$150m (US$98m). We’ll end up being part of the leadership team once (and hopefully if) we raise the capital. The timing is excellent as the focus on feeding the growing world population and doing it in a way that creates something that endures is very appealing to the capital markets. I really enjoy this project because it involves turning a story into numbers and working with famers and agronomists who I can learn from – and hopefully I can teach them a few things from the finance world.

My biggest achievements are the ones where I have made things happen

My first role in New Zealand was at a firm of chartered accountants, which just didn’t suit me; I lasted nine months. I could never get used to the six-minute billing increments and I noticed that if I spoke to my line manager over lunch about a client, I’d see his time appear on the billings at the end of the month. I was young and inexperienced.

I then did management accounting at a timber manufacturer. I really enjoyed it as it was about understanding the business and seeing it being represented in the numbers. Also, the people were lots of fun; we worked very long hours at month end to get things done but that’s easy if you like the people you work with.

Impacting people’s lives is very rewarding

After moving to the UK in 1985, I joined BT in a commercial finance role. I was supporting the international side of the business with financials for pricing, new products and analysing performance. BT was a fantastic employer, giving me a day a week to go to ACCA classes.

My biggest achievements are the ones where I have made things happen through sheer determination and been able to help people I worked with. Impacting people’s lives is very rewarding. You can get so focused on your own work, meeting deadlines and dealing with your own stresses, that those around you can get lost in your own personal vortex of chaos.

My youngest son is about to turn five and I want him to find a path that suits him, be a kind chap and be healthy. His path could take him anywhere and I just want to help him with that.