As the Chief Executive Officer of Dantia, Adam Cougle is on a mission to work with business, government, the community and partners to advance the sustainable economic prosperity of Lake Macquarie City.
He is a former Hunter region resident, and returned to his roots to help make Dantia a successful economic development facilitation enterprise.
Adam has found that his leadership style evolved through the encouragement of managers and leaders who allowed him to fail and supported him to succeed.
- What path led to your current role?
It was quite a circuitous path as I was born, bred and educated in the Hunter Valley at Newcastle, went through University of Newcastle. I left about 25 years ago to start a career in investment banking in Sydney, which took me to Asia where I worked on a number of projects around the globe. I then came back to Australia about six years ago and have now returned to the Hunter Valley and I’m very excited to be back.
- What do you believe has shaped your leadership style?
I have had a great diversity of managers and leaders guide me through my career. One section in one bank I worked for I had eleven managers in thirteen years, probably because I travelled so much or maybe because I am an annoying person to work for! What I found was that the best leaders and managers over that period gave me enough rope to fail, and were there to support me when I did need help. So the shaping was really about the individuals who cared about me enough to allow me to test my boundaries and to be there to support me when I pushed too far in those boundaries.
- What do you see as Dantia’s role in leadership within the Lake Macquarie area?
I believe Danita’s role is to lead from the front, to challenge the norm, to put Lake Macquarie city in the spotlight. To allow companies and government to bathe in that spotlight and to grow and to be all that Lake Macquarie can be over the next 5, 10, 20 years.
- How do you encourage creative thinking and leadership within your organisation?
I encourage people working at Dantia and the Board to one, challenge me, and secondly to challenge themselves and put forward ideas that might seem ludicrous or even out of the norm and then see where we go from there.
It is about empowering and allowing ideas and innovation to bubble to the surface and then having a discussion about whether it makes sense for Lake Macquarie and the future of the city, whether to follow those ideas.
- What local businessperson do you find inspiring?
There is a young gentleman by the name of Ryan Bennett who is a really interesting and driven character. He started two companies – one in manufacturing and the other one in software/web design development. He he has built both those companies from scratch through idea generation, innovation, a lot of hard work and employing and surrounding himself with smart people. Some of them smarter than himself and that is a great business model! He is leading export markets in the products and services that he is delivering to the market and I find him inspiring, he changes the norm and pushes the envelope every time ‚Äì it is wonderful.