Not just ‘an average bloke’!
Chad is a Rouse Executive and UAE Country Manager, based in Dubai.
Australians are notorious for understatement. Ask an Australian how things are going when the country has been flooding for days, and he’s likely to say ‘Well, we’ve had a bit of rain’. Or comment on his high-flying son, and he’s likely to pause and say ‘Yeah, he’s done alright’. So when Chad, who was born and bred in Sydney, said he was ‘just an average bloke, not particularly adventurous’ I knew I needed to enquire further.
It was, as I suspected, a classic case of Australian understatement: Chad is, and has always been, an independent spirit. He grew up on the edge of Sydney, in what is known as the Hills District, among large bush blocks and open spaces and with a great sense of freedom. He attended a nearby independent non-denominational school, The Hills Grammar School, that encouraged students to follow their own path in life – unusually for an independent Australian school, it had a ‘no contact sports’ policy and no bells were rung between classes. Students knew where they should be, and when they should be there: it was up to them to see that they were there, and that they were there on time.
Very early on, Chad developed a love of both architecture and cars. His interest in architecture probably began when he spent weekends with his family visiting builders’ show homes. He could easily have been bored, but instead developed an interest in various aspects of design and began to see himself as a budding architect. That ambition quickly came to an end, however, when he found that at school he was much more interested in the humanities than he was in mathematics or sciences. His love of cars, however, has never ended – and he’s very happy to be in Dubai, where the roads are fantastic, fuel is cheap and car ownership is often said to be ‘the unwritten rule for expats’.
Chad’s path to the law, and to IP in particular, was initially more a matter of chance than design. He had received no pressure from his family to study law – in fact the only career pressure his father had put on him was not to follow in his footsteps and become an accountant, a pressure that Chad found not at all burdensome. His school results were good and when he was offered a university place in the law course of his choice; it seemed sensible to accept it. At the time, one had to do a combined degree and he chose to study Ancient History, a subject that still fascinates him.
When he graduated, he was offered a position with a firm in Sydney and the rotation he liked best was commercial IP. Even as a child he’d been interested in brands and understanding what they meant, and now he was actually working with them and helping clients build something valuable. He was in his element. He loved the work and was happy with the firm. Even so, after several years, he began to feel he needed to expand his horizons. And that is when he moved to London and worked in-house for several years in the IP department of an international premium drinks’ manufacturer.
The experience he obtained there stood him in good stead when, in September 2008 he joined Rouse in Dubai. He had been to Dubai on vacation the year before and thought it would be exciting to work there for a year or two, little dreaming that seven and a half years later he would still be there.
“The work is interesting”, he says, “and it’s a good group of people. The time has absolutely flown and Dubai is a fascinating place to be”. Apart from anything else, being in Dubai exposes you to many different cultures – in the Rouse office alone, at last count, there were 20 different nationalities in a team of around 50 – and that inevitably broadens your outlook. When Chad’s parents visit him from Australia, they are always amazed to find a United Nations of nationalities round the dining table.
Chad makes a point of returning to Australia frequently, but he says that living in Dubai and travelling widely, for both work and pleasure, has changed him. He still feels a strong connection to the country, but both he and the country are changing and sometimes he’s no longer sure where he belongs. It’s a feeling that everyone living away from home for an extended period probably feels sooner or later.
Still, he’s not deterred. His spirit of adventure seems to be alive and well and his next move is likely to be to somewhere in Asia. He sees it as an important part of the world and one he would like to know better. Although he might see himself as ‘an average bloke, not particularly adventurous’, it’s unlikely his friends back home would describe him that way.