TEC Chair: Small Business Program
‘I believe CEOs and Business Owners are now the major influencers of how the world develops. They provide jobs and economic growth, but also inspirational opportunities for people to reach their potential and make a difference in the world. However, I’ve been a CEO and it can be a tough gig, with nowhere safe to seek advice from people who have learnt from their own journeys and won’t judge you, or affect your career. TEC provides an opportunity to have a dozen other CEOs and Business Owners on your team, who can help you solve whatever issues you’re facing in a supportive, yet growth orientated way. As Chair, I get to facilitate and support the group to improve their effectiveness and enhance their lives. That’s good for them and good for the planet’.
Tom Williams is an innovation consultant and business coach focused on assisting CEOs and Business Owners to develop a roadmap for high growth in a world of accelerating disruption to traditional business models.
He started as a scientist before undertaking a broad executive career with experience in big pharma, biotech, funds management and creative marketing.
His been a founder, or cofounder of 5 Startups, selling an investment management company to a global bank and taking a biotech as CEO to an IPO on the ASX. As a marketing consultant, he launched new products for General Motors, Ford, Yamaha, Dunlop and Kodak. His developed significant innovations for major corporations including video marketing for GSK, Business Class air travel for Qantas domestic airlines and a mathematical model of the Australian stockmarket for HSBC.
A pioneer in developing entrepreneurship training for scientists and engineers, with programs like MBA in a Day and Molecules to Medicine, which was funded by the state government. Tom lectures at Monash University, and the University of Melbourne on the commercialisation of technology, business planning, entrepreneurship and leadership. He consults with companies to develop individual innovations and to install innovation generating systems for sustainable market growth.
Tom has what is now called a T shaped career, with a deep dive into the commercialisation of technology.
In addition, he has expertise in the following areas:
- Creative marketing
- Innovation and disruption
- Investment management
Professional Memberships/Board positions/Associations
- CEO and Managing Director of Vacctech Pty Ltd from 1998 to 2001
- CEO and Managing Director of BioDiem Ltd from 2001 to 2007
- Member of Ausbiotech Victorian Committee from 2008 to 2012
- Senior advisor, Australia China Association of Scientists and Entrepreneurs
- Member, Australian Institute of Company Directors
CEOs biggest challenge
In a world that is changing rapidly, the only path to sustainable market leadership is via continuous innovation. The challenge CEOs face is how to develop a repeatable system of generating significant viable innovations, while keeping the existing business on the rails. Established businesses require attention to execution, with little room for error, whereas innovation requires a willingness to accept errors as part of the necessary exploratory process. Building capabilities in these two areas within the one organisation calls to mind the challenge posed in a quote from F. Scott Fitzgerald, that ‘The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposing ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.’