Bradd Morelli is a Partner at Jirsch Sutherland which is a specialist Insolvency, forensic accounting and business turnaround organisation.
Based in the company’s Newcastle office Bradd has more than 18 years’ experience in the insolvency and restructuring profession, and is well regarded for his ability to develop practical solutions for businesses and individuals to manage their financial position.
- Could you tell us a little about your career path?
Well, it is a little bit interesting I suppose. I am a Novacastrian born and bred, I did my time at Warners Bay High and then the University of Newcastle and didn’t really know what I was going to do.
I did an accounting degree, don’t hold that against me, and ended up in Sydney and after a few months I thought I should probably do something in the accounting industry. I applied for a job with a large firm called Grant Thornton. I was unsuccessful, but two weeks later one of the managers in their insolvency division rang me completely out of the blue.
I had no idea what insolvency was and as it turns out I got the job even though I didn’t wear a tie to the interview, but was clearly told that I needed to wear one if I did get the job. But anyway, to cut to the chase, from there I basically had fallen into insolvency, had no idea what it was, but at that particular time Grant Thornton was one of the administrators of the Patrick Stevedore Company, so the restructure of the whole waterfront, so that was kind of amazing to get thrown into there.
I got given a voluntary administration to do which was trading a magazine called Turf Monthly, I produced three issues then sold the business to some guy in Queensland and it was just amazing. From there it has just snowballed.
- What do you believe has shaped your leadership style?
Probably a few things I can say have defined my leadership role. One would be my parents; having been small business owners, I have seen how hard people work.
Secondly, I would probably say my time whilst I was at university working in hospitality, definitely people skills and understanding how different people act and the way to deal with people in a lot of situations. My earlier time in insolvency because that has taught me to very humble. You are basically invited into someone’s lounge room and they are in financial distress and they basically open their heart to you – it’s very humbling.
- What tricks do you have to manage your priorities and your time?
Managing my time has always been a challenge for me, especially these days with emails, mobile phones and people having instant access to you. The main thing would be good support surrounding me, a good team at all levels.
Secondly, I’ve learnt over time not to focus on the things that just don’t matter at the end of the day, and just try to cut the smaller or irrelevant things out and don’t waste time on those.
- How do you define the difference between a Manager and a Leader?
It is all about the people. I believe a good leader delegates, provides people with opportunities, empowers people, trusts people and doesn’t micro manage.
- What local businessperson do you find inspiring?
I’m going to say one of my business partners, Stuart Free. I think he has got his work life balance pretty well sorted, or as close to sorted as it could possibly be in this day and age. He is quite a caring, compassionate person with his family and the way he deals with people who are experiencing financial distress.
Stuart is probably one of the most compassionate insolvency practitioners I’ve ever met or know of. His support of local charities and events, and particularly his efforts in Vanuatu which I’m sure a lot of people will be familiar with. The support of the schools, the hospitals, his frequent trips over there, his support of the Vanuatu Surfing Association and in particular the opportunity he gives young kids over in Vanuatu to come to Australia, particularly Newcastle, to compete in Surfest. Some of these people have never been off the island and experienced a big city.