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Emerging Leaders Board Member Q&A – Rob Soros

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

As part of our regular series where we introduce the AIM Emerging Leaders Board, we recently sat down for a chat with Rob Soros to hear how he got involved with AIM and what role he believes AIM can play in the careers of Australia's managers and leaders.

Rob Soros is an experienced risk and reputation management consultant with a track record of helping organisations negotiate threatening issues and develop influential strategy. Utilising experience gained in Australia and China, he specialises in risk communication strategy, issues and crisis management, in-house team management and social license to operate.

Recently Rob has project managed multi-national clients in pharmaceutical, racing and palm oil industries. He has also advised and supported risk communication and crisis management projects for animal welfare and export projects as well as facilitated workshops with executive teams to assess and de-risk organisations with a focus on sustainable business development.

Rob has a Bachelor of Public Relations and is undertaking further studies in corporate financial analysis and decision-making while completing his MBA at the University of Melbourne. He is an Associate Fellow at the Australian Institute of Management and Chair of its Emerging Leaders Board.

Why do you believe professional memberships are important for emerging managers and leaders?

Practice and preaching. When I first became involved with AIM I was working in the aged care industry and had to step into an acting manager role with a more than ten year age gap between myself and my youngest colleagues. I joined AIM to ensure that I was across best practice and had access to likeminded people that I could soundboard my ideas/challenges with and hone my skills.

While the initial draw card was practice, I soon became aware of AIM advocacy work, particularly around the area of emerging leaders and diversity in management. In fact, AIM was so serious about this that they had established an Emerging Leaders Board to provide a voice for our future leaders and the issues they face in the workplace today. I was so inspired by this advocacy work that I applied to join the Board so that I could help raise awareness for these issues and help AIM in advocating for progressive workplaces that value and develop leaders. I took on the Chair role following a research report from AIM into Generation Y in the workplace which was presented by the Emerging Leader Board at the G20 in Brisbane.

What is the key benefit that AIM offers to its Members?

There are so many benefits, particularly around the advocacy points above. Working closely with the emerging leaders category, I think there is a lot to gain from surrounding yourself with the networks you access through AIM. Unlike other professional membership, there is such a diverse range of people that you meet when you are a part of AIM. While everyone comes from different backgrounds, we are all tied together by a passion for sound management and leadership. You cannot access such a diverse network with such rich opinions through other membership organisations. Quite often, we find ourselves headed towards management positions when our background is in a specialisation. This is why it is so important to be a lifelong learner and continue to develop new skills as you move towards generalist management. AIM provides these opportunities by supporting these crucial connections with its events and programs.

Which Membership initiatives are you most enthusiastic about?

To my point above about leveraging and accessing our fellow members, I am really excited to see how the mentoring program evolves with AIM. Unlike industry specific mentoring programs, AIM's is able to match across a broad base of industries and skill sets. Of course I am also very excited for the initiatives coming to the Emerging Leaders category. Having recognised the best practice in management in the emerging leader space through initiatives such as AIM30 and the Excellence Awards, we are now placed to really empower these practices by leveraging these thought leaders. How we do this is the part that excites me most and something that is eagerly explored by the Emerging Leaders Board. 

What is the biggest challenge facing emerging managers, leaders and entrepreneurs in Australia currently?

Right now it is a very exciting time. Sure, the future may look bleak with the tough economic times in Australia and the end of the mining wave but this is the environment where innovation thrives. No one comes up with new ideas when everything is working and when you combine this with the high amount of business ripe for disruption, you have a fertile ground for new ideas to gain traction. These ideas will come from the emerging leaders who are bold enough to critically question the way things are done and curious enough to explore alternatives. The biggest challenge is going to be providing an environment which supports this approach to business, rather than stifle it. As exciting and innovative as we can be in Australia, we are still in many ways not up with the time. It is up to our emerging leaders and creatives to challenge these ways of thinking and I know AIM is keen to support them in doing this.