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Real Business : Issue 1 2012
B USINESS AND FINANCE students will be able to experience what it’s like to walk in the shoes of CPA Australia CEO Alex Malley as he interviews some of the country ’s top business leaders, in a ground-breaking social media campaign, The Naked CEO, launched by CPA Australia. This is not a nudity project. The six-part series will air on www.thenakedceo.com, starting in February, and offer a rare insight into the life of a leader and the thinking behind the decisions he makes every day as the CEO of a leading organisation. Malley is accompanied by 26-year-old media student Adam Rosenberg, and the pair meet a variety of business leaders who share their experience of what’s involved in running a successful business and how they became the people calling the shots. These companies include a fashion house, a restaurant and a basketball team. For business and finance students or anyone thirsty for success or interested in running a business, The Naked CEO shines a light on what it takes to lead effectiv ely. “This project is core to what CPA Australia is about: education, professional development, providing insights and a journey along the leadership pathway,” says Malley, who views a qualification in accounting as an entrée into any career, in any sector. “This project is about giving people access to the leadership experience, which is something you’re just not going to get in a classroom,” he says. “ To actually walk through the offices of smaller businesses and larger corporates opens a door for students to a life experience they ’re probably 10 years away from.” IT IS THIS high level of access that drew Rosenberg to the project. “I get a behind-the-scenes look at life at the very top in the corporate world, which is somewhere that, as a student, I have no connection to,” Rosenberg says. “For me to be able to get so close to someone who is in charge of such a large company and to be able to see what their life is like, that is really interesting.” Malley believes that no matter what size a business is, the person running it will encounter the same basic issues and this is highlighted throughout The Naked CEO. “ Whether you’re running CPA Australia, Coca-Cola or breakthrough fashion label Zanerobe, fundamentally the same issues arise about ongoing success, continuity, succession planning, the sustainability of the company, communication and all of the things that go with managing people,” he says. “And that’s the most empowering part of this series. As the journey continues, students will pick up themes about business. That’s a very strong capability for them to pick up in their years at university.” ROSENBERG, WHO IS specifically interested in documentary making, is also getting a lot out of the experience. “I’ve learnt that in business it’s important to take risks. Certainly in and around the age I am, early to mid-20s, it’s important to take risks while you can. Every business leader that we’ve met so far has taken a risk in one way or another,” he says. Taking calculated risks and having the courage to fail are some of the critical qualities to which Malley attributes his own success, as well as staying true to who he is and trusting his own judgement. “I think you’re most potent in your judgement and instinct when you’re young, and making my own decisions is what has got me to where I am today,” he says. “ Your instinct and feeling has to be your closest friend in life. Aiming to succeed and accepting that there will be some failures along the way is an extremely empowering mindset.” However, Malley believes that it is education that gives people the framework to make those big decisions. “ Your degree gives you the discipline and the qualification to inform your decisions but fundamentally leadership is about vision, courage and it’s about taking people with you,” he says. Sharing his knowledge with the younger generation is something that Malley, who began his career as a university academic, is passionate about. The busy CEO no longer has the opportunity to regularly speak to students, but that will change when this project launches. Students will put the hard word on Malley around issues of leadership and business thanks to a section on The Naked CEO website, Ask Alex. Students THE NAKED CEO Ready to bare all: Alex Malley (right) on set with Adam Rosenberg. PHOTOS: DAMIEN PLEMING 8 11 STORY VIRGINIA MILLEN 10-12_NakedCEO.indd 11 10-12_NakedCEO.indd 11 6/02/2012 6:04:43 PM 6/02/2012 6:04:43 PM
Issue 1 2010
Issue 3 2012