One of the first memories which inspired my lifelong passion came from Darren Stephens, the befuddled husband in the 1960s American TV sitcom Bewitched.
I. Was. Mesmerised. Here was a guy who thought up ideas. And got paid! I knew then and there I wanted to do that – if not get married to Elizabeth Montgomery.
Ok, so the last part didn’t happen. And, while Darren certainly inspired my love of creativity, my real passion didn’t blossom until later, at university studying graphic design. There, I realised it wasn’t enough to simply come up with the idea. In fact, I quickly learnt an idea was useless if I couldn’t convince someone else it was great.
As a result, my passion immediately spread from creativity to include communications. And, after nearly 30+ years of professional experience, I believe now – more than ever – that creativity (how you solve problems) and communications (how to talk with and engage your colleagues) are the two most vital skills every leader must master to work in business today.
No surprise, my workshops and brainstorms grow from that passion. I excel at helping people tap into their inner creativity – probably dashed, beaten down and forgotten from when they were a kid. Next, I love to help people polish their communications skills: to create their messages, to speak and write them in compelling ways, and to use them to motivate their colleagues and team members – if not, to negotiate and justify their recommendations and decisions from doubters. Even more satisfying, I enjoy improving both skills together, which ultimately helps build their self-confidence.
Just as important, my favourite college professor taught me the smartest people take complexity and make it simple. That’s my number #1 priority as a facilitator. In other words, I pride myself on using methodologies which are relevant, practical and easy to remember. In particular, I constantly look to improve and adapt my curricula for every workshop, building upon what I’ve learnt from my successes and failures working around the globe. Finally, I love to strip away the jargon and brand names to show the underlying principles which can apply to any company, department, situation or industry.
So, those are my passions that get me out of bed every day. Not to mention my other pride and joy – my beard (his name is also Andy, what a coincidence!) But that’s another story for another day.
If you’re interested, the details of my career are below. Thanks for reading, and I look forward to working with you and your teams.
- 35,000 hours facilitating 6,500 workshops for 11,000 participants in 24 countries on 5 continents
- Among all my jobs, more than 700 different clients in 75 different industries
- Nearly 350 posts to my blog since January 2009
- Numerous contributions to other people’s blogs, as well as interviews in consumer media such as The Asian Wall Street Journal and CCTV News in China (now CGTN), and internal publications like Business Insights (HP) or Law Journal (of the American Bar Association)
- Keynote speaker and guest presenter at conferences in Australia, Canada, China, Mexico, New Zealand, Singapore, the UAE and the USA
- National Facilitation Manager for the Australian Institute of Management, overseeing 375 facilitators, faculty and assessors across Australia
- Worldwide Creative Director for Burson-Marsteller and its 90+ offices globally
- Regional Creative Director for Burson-Marsteller Asia-Pacific and the Middle East
- Managing Director of Global Training, Burson-Marsteller University
- Vice President of Marketing Communications, MasterCard International, New York
- Senior Vice President at Golin-Harris, Chicago
- Executive Vice President, Weber Shandwick
Accreditations and Practical Experience
- LEGO® Serious Play™
- Myers-Briggs Type Indicator®
- Team Management Systems®
- GENOS® Emotional Intelligence
Also, Osborn-Parnes Creative Problem Solving Process®, Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument®, Negotiation Skills (Australian Institute of Management and Karras USA), Communications Problem-Solving, Learning Styles Questionnaire (Honey and Mumford), and Communications Style Flexing
Education and Certification
- Bachelor of Arts, Journalism and Mass Communications, University of Iowa
- Associate of Arts (Graphic Design), University of Iowa
- Certificate IV in Adult Training and Assessment (TAE40110), University of Technology, Sydney (UTS)
- Visiting lecturer at University of Technology (UTS) Sydney; Columbia College, Chicago; and Harry S. Truman College, Chicago
And finally, the personal things …
- Accomplished pianist: you can visit my YouTube channel to hear my music
- International traveller: to date, I’ve visited 51 countries
- Avid swimmer: I’ve averaged 4-5 km every week for the past twenty years