“He has a passion for life, his family and for his fellow Baby Boomers. He strongly believes that governments and industries are failing to adequately address the needs of the Boomer generation and the impact their impending retirement from the workforce will have on the economy and society.
Since 1998 he has addressed these issues with thousands of Baby Boomers across New Zealand and Australia through his organisation, Grey Skills, by presenting well-balanced information sessions on the pitfalls of an ageing population and advising how Boomers can plan for the future by acquiring the knowledge and skills to do so meaningfully.
Brian is from a working class background and grew up in the inner Brisbane suburb of Auchenflower. Initially, he did not excel in school, instead working hard for a living, bringing up a family and struggling to make ends meet. Realising the importance of a formal education for his family and for himself, he studied at night school and university, and made sure his children also received a strong education.
Brian has worked in the public and private sectors as a teacher, life educator, lecturer and a trained strategic planner and change agent. He then worked with first aid volunteers as Operations Executive Officer for St John Ambulance Australia, and trained with emergency service personnel for disaster scenarios, delivering a learning environment through the strategic planning process that he initiated and managed so that first-aid people were adequately trained to allow them to deal with large scale casualties at public events.
After a stint at the School of the Air in Charters Towers teaching homestead kids via radio broadcast, he and his family moved to the Gold Coast. Later, he owned the first Grey Army franchise in Australia based at Kirra on the Gold Coast, and subsequently became the founder of Grey Skills in Christchurch, New Zealand. He wrote a business plan with the systems he had developed in Australia and Grey Skills grew. He sold the business in 2001 and returned to Australia.
Brian went on to work as a personal advisor for Centrelink and was responsible for developing Maturelink, a program for mature age workers moving forward, which he implemented at the Palm Beach Centrelink office. Then Minister for Human Services Joe Hockey was interested in duplicating it around the country, but the plan was blocked, because it would bring too many people through the already overcrowded Centrelink offices.
As a coordinator for Epic Employment Services (a community group) after he left Centrelink, he developed ‘Moving Forward – training, support and assistance for over 50s’, a presentation that challenges generations, employers and groups to confront the ageing Australia issues and deal with them, which he presented to welfare clients to assist them with changing their lives and moving forward on new pathways.
Brian is the founder and editor of BONZA (Baby Boomers of NZ and Australia) a Baby Boomer information website (www.bonza.com.au). He has organised Mature Age Expos at the Gold Coast TAFE and community centres for hundreds of Boomers, and was guest presenter at the Reinvent Your Career Expo at South Bank in 2009 and 2010, attracting hundreds of Boomers to his presentation.
This vast and varied life experience has equipped Brian with an armoury of skills. He is an incisive speaker with a passion backed by well-researched facts and data that presents the views of government, business and community organisations, as well as his recommendations for all generations in dealing with the Baby Boomer phenomenon – the big picture, as he calls it.
Brian works to equip Boomers with the skills necessary to tackle the extension of their careers, re-entry into the workforce and to prepare financially and mentally for a longer than predicted retirement. He has had great success with thousands of Boomers, from general managers to drug addicts, assisting them to move forward with their lives no matter what their history is. “It’s all about the future,” he states, “and never giving up!”
He wants Baby Boomers to participate economically and socially if nothing else, and have a BONZA life.
I am now a website advocate as editor of www.bonza.com.au and will continue to support my generation in any way I can.