Member Profiles - Rotary Club of Western Endeavour

I am one of eight children, six girls and two boys, me being the second eldest. I was born in Sydney and our family moved to Canberra in 1963 (population then was 60,000 and Lake Burley Griffin was not yet filled however the two bridges across the lake were being erected) where we lived till the early 1980's when Mum and Dad moved to Darwin for several years, Dad being the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the NT and Mum establishing the Darwin Symphony Orchestra as lead violinist after a career as a concert violinist and music teacher along with raising her eight children. Mum passed away in 2006 at 81 years of age and Dad is still going strong just turning 94 a couple of weeks ago. He resides in Canberra.

After leaving school I commenced an apprenticeship in fitting and machining and mechanical engineering at the workshops attached to the Research School of Physical Sciences and Department of Nuclear Physics at the ANU where I was very priveledged to meet and work in close proximity to Sir Mark Oliphant and Sir Ernest Titteron amongst other eminent scientists and was involved in several ground-breaking projects such as the building of the first atom splitter in the early 1970s. After several years in this domain and after developing a real passion for food and wine and having joined the Canberra Food and Wine Club with Dad, I decided in my mid-20's to pursue a career in hotel and catering managmeent and was fortunate to be accepted as a corporate trainee manager with the Southern Pacific Hotel Corporation who owned and managed the Travelogue, Parkroyal, Boulevard and Beechcomber hotels and resorts. I rose to general manager not long after the completion of my traineeship and some further specialised studies in food and beverage management with Cornell University. I was involved in the opening of the Parkroyal and Mount Plaza hotels in Perth, the Karratha International hotel and Hillview Lodge in Tom Price during the 1980s. Following this I began a period of some years as a senior lecturer at private hospitality and tourism colleges In Perth delivering hotel and food and beverage management units at advanced diploma level before adventuring into the mining industry for several years as an Operations Manager with Spotless Catering.

In the mid-1990's I became the Town Manager of New Norcia, Australia's only monastic town, for the Benedictine Community, a role I undertook for some years before returning to Perth and delving into the hospitality and facility management-side of the aged care industry. I spent seven years in executive roles with United Church Homes and the Swancare Group before returning to the mining sector with my new wife, Jane, after a six-month stint travelling in India together. We spent five years with Sodexo, a world leader in the provision of total business solutions and facilities management to the mining sector. In amongst all of this I established a successful, part-time consultancy business, Epicurus Consulting, and became involved as an Executive Coach with the Odin Institute in Australia, a role I continue today. Jane retired earlier this year and I have only just accepted a new role as Chief Operating Officer with RAAFA (WA) Estates, a leading aged care and retirement village provider in Western Australia.

A significant interest and one that has very much shaped my life has been my deep interest in Jungian psychology, psychoanalysis, alternate therapies and some other esoteric subjects and, in particular, monastic and other inter-religious dialogue and ecumenism. I have spent many years travelling to India and immersing myself in the dialogue between Christianity and Hinduism (the Vedas and Upanishads) and Christianity and Zen, the study and practice of yoga (Kundalini and Ashtanga) and meditation pathways including Vedanta and Zen meditation. I joined a Zen community (Sangha) in 2002 and became a student of India's only Zen Master, Father AMA Samy SJ who is also a Jesuit priest. I studied mystical theology part-time for a couple of years in the late 1990's and was very influenced by several of the Benedictine monks at New Norcia all those years ago, a time when I feel that through some adversity, a new spiritual dimension or facility was ignited. I am a qualifies masseur and have taught Vedanta meditation.

I am very blessed to have a truly amazing wife in Jane Marie, a wonderful loving family with three sons, Patrick, Christopher and Mark and daughter, Clare. My son, Mark, and his beautiful wife, Tara, have given us two beautiful grandchildren, Miles Joseph who turns two in May and Evelyn Rose, who is three weeks old today (5 March 2014).