Hunter Leader | Dr Eileen Doyle

Hunter Leader | Dr Eileen Doyle

Dr Eileen Doyle has had an exceptional career that has spanned more than three decades. She has a PhD in Mathematics and Statistics and started her career in a technical role in industry, but quickly moved to management.

In her role as a professional company director she is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and two of her current appointments include as the Chair of the Hunter Research Foundation and Deputy Chair of the CSIRO, she is also a director on a number of other boards.

Eileen has also had a long history of being a business angel and working with inventors and small businesses to introduce and grow their products. From her varied experience and coaching of smaller businesses and students, she has also written a book called Back to Business Basics.

For a snapshot of our audio interview with Dr Eileen Doyle, please view the above video.


  • With many conflicting priorities, how do you manage your time effectively?

Each of my roles are non-executive, or part-time roles, so we have scheduled meetings for board meetings and committee meetings and company visit, so there is a clear forward program, sometimes out as much as two years.

Clearly if any company has any urgent issues that come up, then I put in whatever time is required to meet the needs of the company and the shareholders.

But on average my range of board and consulting commitments are still not as intensive as in a Chief Executive Officer role.

  • Are there any key leadership characteristic that you have witnessed which helps to propel small businesses and entrepreneurs forward?

My decades of experience have given me one clear message. I’d really rather have a good idea with a passionate and experience team to implement it well, than a great idea with a team incapable of implementation. I think the ’20 per cent inspiration and 80 per cent perspiration’ is probably right.

  • How do you define the difference between a Manager and a Leader?

A Manager efficiently and effectively implements the organisational plan. A leader drives the formulation of the plan and inspires people to follow it. So we need goods leaders and good managers to be successful.

  • What do you believe is the biggest challenge facing leaders today?

The volatility and uncertainty in an ever-more complex global environment means that we’ve got to be flexible and resilient.

We have to know our clear strengths as a company and we have to be quick to take advantage of a developing situation. That’s the really the only way we can survive in this modern environment.

  • What local businessperson do you find inspiring?

I find it really hard to say one, so instead I’ve looked at two categories. The first category are those that have helped to create the present. So some good examples are Neville Sawyer, who was the founding partner of AMP Control and has been a business angel and has supported more companies than you can count over the last few decades. And WEJ Paradice who was the Chief Executive of the Hunter Research Foundation for over 30 years, providing a basis for sound regional decision making.

The other group are those who I think might shape the future. So Dr Brent Jenkins, who is the current Chief Executive Officer of the Hunter Research Foundation and is going to help us find Hunter resilience. Justin Doyle, who is a founding partner of Doyle Partners and represents growth in our services sector. And finally, Kirsten Molloy who is the Chief Executive Officer of the Hunter Valley Coal Chain Coordinator, who optimises one of this region’s world class industries. I think it’s those sorts of people who are going to make this region resilient in the future and successful.

Hunter Research Foundation (HRF) Centre

The Hunter Research Foundation (HRF) Centre is focussed on delivering independent and engage regional research and analysis. It represents a partnership forged between the long-standing Hunter Research Foundation and the University of Newcastle.

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