Australian Governance Summit

Adam Ford GAICD

Location: United States of America

Member since: 2018

Current directorships:Chairman of Australian National University Foundation (USA) and Chairman of Friends of the Royal Flying Doctors Service (USA)

Most recently Adam spent time in Atlanta, GA and now resides in Boston, MA where he is working in the private equity sector.

Adam is the Chairman of the Friends of the Royal Flying Doctors Service USA and has served as the Chairman of the ANU Foundation USA since its formation in 2012. He is the former President of the ANU Alumni Association of North America and has served the university and alumni community in the region since 2011.

Adam graduated from the Company Directors Course Self-Paced in 2018.

What do you think are the three things that directors must bring to their roles?

While there are many attributes that are desirable in a director, three that I value and look for are a willingness to serve or contribute, strength of character and integrity, and an openness to listen and learn from others.

Can you share some highlights or the most rewarding part of your career to date?

My career has been grounded in the finance sector in broad terms but has had several diverse roles over that time. This diversity and experience has been a definite highlight to date. The opportunity to sharpen and grow my skills in the global centres of finance - London and New York - has also been a special achievement that I’m proud of. Serving as a volunteer director has provided me with an opportunity to give back to organisations that I respect and support while providing an outlet for networking outside my traditional circles.

What are some of the challenges you have faced working overseas, and are there any unique challenges in your current country?

The obvious challenges surround sourcing work and ongoing immigration status within a changing global landscape – it pays off to do your homework well in advance and anticipate these obstacles, making it easier for potential employers to consider you.

Less obvious are the subtle cultural and social differences that weren’t initially apparent but need to be learnt and respected as a visitor to a country. Living and working in the United States has been an incredible opportunity and provides a scale and scope like no other place on earth.

What is the best piece of advice you have received over the years and from whom?

  • Do your homework – make some calls and take some trips to make sure that your intended destination is what you’re hoping for and expecting. Getting some professional advice or support will be time and money well spent
  • Take your kids – while some might hesitate to travel and work abroad with young children, these fears are unfounded and the global education you provide your children will be an unexpected benefit that will set them up for life
  • Get out and about – while you’ve taken the big step of moving abroad to grow your career, make sure that you also make the most of the opportunity by travelling in the region and meeting the people and soaking up the culture

Is there a chair or director that you admire or have learnt from?

I have had the pleasure of meeting and following the career and leadership examples of Andrew Liveris, most recently the Chairman and CEO of Dow Chemical Company and Exec Chair of the DowDupont Company. Andrew’s stewardship of his company and leadership within the Australian expat business community has been a highlight.