WORDS FROM THREE WISE MEN

Busi­ness ad­vi­sor and com­pany di­rec­tor David Cull­wick, cor­po­rate fi­nance ad­viser Jai Bas­rur, and busi­ness­man/phi­lan­thropist Neil Richard­son were re­cently ap­pointed as ad­vi­sors to NZTE’s New Zealand Beach­head. Why did they join the Beach­head team? What comm

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David Cull­wick, Jai Bas­rur and Neil Richard­son were all re­cently ap­pointed as ad­vi­sors to NZTE’s New Zealand Beach­head. They ex­plain why they joined the Beach­head team, what com­mon mis­takes they see businesses mak­ing, and how im­por­tant it is to take a cus­tomer-cen­tric ap­proach?

Since com­ing to New Zealand in 1988, Jai Bas­rur has worked with New Zealand businesses across a va­ri­ety of sec­tors. He has also worked in In­dia, the Mid­dle East, Europe and South­east Asia – a use­ful back­ground to help New Zealand businesses grow and ex­port.

“I have en­joyed the plat­form this has given me to meet a di­verse range of businesses I wouldn’t have met in a con­sult­ing ca­pac­ity,” says Bas­rur. “In essence, it’s down to a per­sonal de­sire to con­trib­ute to grow­ing NZ Inc and to make a dif­fer­ence in my own way.”

For Neil Richard­son, it was some­thing a client said that sparked his in­ter­est in help­ing other businesses.

“I vividly re­mem­ber about 20 years ago an off­shore client say­ing to me ‘You’re my men­tor, who’s yours?’ I had never thought that I was viewed like that, but it started me on a jour­ney of re­al­is­ing the im­por­tance of hav­ing men­tors and be­ing a men­tor. I re­gard it as a per­sonal re­spon­si­bil­ity to help oth­ers, of­ten by sim­ply help­ing them to see a clear path­way for­ward when they feel overwhelmed – it’s im­por­tant to have out­side help,” he says.

David Cull­wick was ex­cited by NZTE’s Fresh Think­ing ap­proach to as­sist­ing high pro­file com­pa­nies and felt a per­sonal align­ment with the strat­egy. Cull­wick has been in­volved for many years as a strate­gic ad­vi­sor to in­ter­na­tional firms and in­dus­tries. He has also been in­volved in re­search and case stud­ies on SMEs as part of an an­nual ex­ec­u­tive de­vel­op­ment pro­gramme with fac­ulty from a leading US busi­ness school. Also on his CV is a di­rec­tor­ship with an NZX-listed com­pany work­ing in global mar­kets.

“I was keen to con­trib­ute more widely to New Zealand’s ex­port and in­ter­na­tional busi­ness de­vel­op­ment and am ex­cited about this Beach­head ad­vi­sor role.”

Life lessons

Bas­rur’s most valu­able lessons have cen­tred around people. With a back­ground in cor­po­rate fi­nance and busi­ness strat­egy, he says it’s not the size of the trans­ac­tion and the com­pany that is im­por­tant, but the people, un­der­ly­ing val­ues, pas­sion and com­mit­ment.

FROM THE BEACH­HEADS

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