Benjamin Radford (ILF2014)

Institution: Australian Institute of Company Directors
Course: Company Directors Course

Geoff Vogt approached me 2 years ago to consider a grant from the Industry Leaders Fund to contribute towards further study, with the view to improve my management and leadership skills. I had just accepted the role of Managing Director at Rockford Wines having spent the previous 7 years with the company as winemaker. At the time further study was the last thing on my mind as I was still getting my head around the new position.

A few months into the new role I started to fully comprehend the responsibility I had taken on. Becoming a member of the Rockford Board soon made me realise I needed to fully understand my obligations to the following stakeholders.

  1. The Rockford Shareholders. To ensure the Rockford brand remained strong and relevant into the future.
  2. Staff, who relied on Rockford for career development, mentorship, income and a high level of job satisfaction.
  3. Barossa Grape Growers. To help ensure their businesses are sustainable and they prosper for future generations.
  4. The Rockford customers, that have remained loyal to the brand for decades and have grown up with stories &   experiences about the Barossa and Rockford wines. Many of whom regularly open a bottle of our wine to mark a special occasion or milestone in their lives.
  5. The Barossa environment. Rockford and its growers have a critical role to play to ensure that the region is environmentally sustainable and resilient to climate change.
  6. Barossa community, who benefit from our philanthropic donations of staff time and funds in many community events, clubs and projects.
  7. The Barossa Valley and South Australian economy that benefits from the many visitors who use Rockford as the catalyst or excuse to visit the Barossa Valley and SA.
  8. The legal responsibilities that go along with running a company.

I was also hungry to learn how to become a better leader to help each team member at Rockford perform at their very best and assist them to the next stage in their development.

After attending the information day, including many discussions with Geoff, I decided that the Company Directors Course, run by the Institute of Company Directors was the best option for me.

The course was packed with so much useful information and the presenters were able to easily relay their messages on each module via the expansive notes, presentations and relevant case studies. The most interesting and unexpected learning experience came through listening to other scholars relaying their own individual experiences and industry knowledge whilst discussing tutor led case studies.

The other fantastic benefit was the chance to share stories with other scholars during breaks and discuss the relevance of the day’s information and relating these to your own experiences.

The course has stimulated me to investigate furthering my education and concentrate on more specific areas of managing a business like Rockford Wines.

If there is one piece of advice that I know most attendees of the Company Directors Course would echo – ensure that you give yourself enough time, before the course to do all the relevant reading. That way you will make the most of every contact hour you have with each presenter.

I would like to sincerely thank Geoff Vogt and the ILF Board for giving me the opportunity to study the Company Directors Course, it has certainly helped open my mind to the many broader opportunities and possibilities available within our business.