2018 Graduation Dinner Speech – Tim Jordan
Electrical Divisional Manager
I am a tradie. I like hi-vis, sausage rolls, iced coffee, inappropriate jokes, and tradie camaraderie. For a long time, tradie culture formed my identity.
After my apprenticeship, I became a decent sparky and soon found myself in meetings with suits. I chose not to follow the dress code. I took a lot of pride being unshaven in my dirty hard yakka clothing. I was looking for any opportunity to surprise clients with helpful answers, often coloured with some ‘unnecessary adjectives’.
I sincerely wanted to progress my career, but I didn’t want to lose my tradie identity. How do you remain credible to tradies and suits at the same time? How do you go from the building site to the board room?
Tim Jordan is my name. Thank you for coming tonight to celebrate the graduation of the twelfth Tasmanian Leaders Program. I’m going to share a couple of thoughts about my experience in the program. What we’ve learned, what we’ve felt, and the broader impact of the program on Tasmania.
On our first day in Strahan, Tasmanian Leaders General Manager Angela Driver gave the following analogy. This is a program, not a course. A course is designed to give you new apps and this program is designed to give you a whole new operating system. I thought to myself, nah, what a load of baloney. I am glad to say that Ange was right, and I was wrong, and not for the last time. Look at me now, fully upgraded, and dedicated to improving myself. When I look back at the sceptical young man in Strahan, I am astounded by how much I have changed.
During the program, we travelled across Tasmania to meet a bunch of great, talented people. One of the many highlights of this were the leadership stories. Great people gave up their time to come and speak with the group about their career, and share some insights on leadership. The thing that struck me most was, these were normal people who simply worked hard to achieve great things. Hearing these stories taught me much about leadership, and left me inspired about the possibilities of my own career.
I’m not alone. As the weeks passed, we learned a lot about leadership, about ourselves and about each other. The work we did in this program, we did together. We graduate with a greater understanding of Tasmania, and a better ability to have an impact. We also leave as friends with a strong sense of camaraderie. I hope for many more supportive phone calls and late nights with the people in this room. If our singing careers don’t take off, we will stick around to do our best for this state.
From the build site to the boardroom, TLP has given me the skills to work with people from all walks of life. I have discovered that credibility is earnt by treating everyone with respect – regardless of who they are, or where they’re from. My job is to listen. Listen to my board, my clients, and the teams I manage.
This program has changed the way I see myself. I am still a proud tradie, but I am also proud to be a senior manager and a leader. Please don’t tell the blokes on the worksite, but I have even started to feel comfortable wearing a tie.
To finish off I would like to thank the people who have made this program so amazing.
To Bob and Lynda – thank you for volunteering your precious time at our residential sessions. We’re lucky to have learnt from the best.
To the Tasmanian Leaders Board – thank you for turning a good idea into a reality. It wouldn’t be possible without you.
To the sponsors and our employers – thank you for providing the time and resources for myself and my cohort to complete this program.
To Ange Driver, I couldn’t imagine this program without you. We appreciate your work over the last year. You’ve transformed me from a clueless dummy to a future leader. Thank you.
Perhaps most importantly, I’d like to thank the families for allowing us the time to complete the program. My wife Jo had to take an additional workload at home with our two young children. Thank you for your support.
To my cohort, thank you for the opportunity tonight and the time we’ve spent together. I wouldn’t be up here if it wasn’t for you. I want to leave you with one final thought:
If you had one shot, one opportunity, to seize everything you ever wanted, in one moment, would you capture it or just let it slip?
(Copy of speech as delivered at the 2018 Tasmanian Leaders Program graduation dinner Country Club Tasmania – February 15 2019)