Your Corporate Secret Weapon: Australian Defence Force

Your Corporate Secret Weapon: Australian Defence Force
People who have served in the Australian Defence Force have honed their ability to adapt and overcome difficulties—a trait that does not disappear once someone leaves the service. Their capacity to make often tough decisions, execute operations, lead teams, model resilience, and excel at organisational skills are only a few of the reasons companies should prioritise interviewing these candidates. pastevent
Business Essentials Series

Accessing Your Corporate Secret Weapon: Australian Defence Force

Registrations are now closed. Please contact if you would like to attend.

About the Webinar

“Why Smart Companies Hire a Hero”
Successful stories of advancing from national service to corporate life

Corporate bosses Gabby Costigan, Jim Whalley and Peter Marshall all started their careers in the Australian Defence Force. Join this AmCham discussion to hear how they moved from success in the military to high profile leadership roles in the private sector. They are joined by Dr Brendan Nelson AO, President of Boeing Australia, New Zealand, South Pacific and former Director of the Australian War Memorial as well as the Australian Minister for Defence (2006-07).

Veterans are trained to be flexible, collaborative leaders who can offer unique skills and attributes that benefit the companies they join.

“Once you’ve witnessed what people and teams can achieve with trust, and you’ve been a part of an organization that puts self-interest aside and focuses on achieving an objective, it stays with you.” - Col. Dan Friend, Deputy Director of NATO Allied Command Transformation Staff Element Europe

People who have served in the Australian Defence Force have honed their ability to adapt and overcome difficulties—a trait that does not disappear once someone leaves the service. Their capacity to make often tough decisions, execute operations, lead teams, model resilience, and excel at organisational skills are only a few of the reasons companies should prioritise interviewing these candidates.

Former service members offer companies a secret weapon to supercharge their workforce: a unique, diverse, and high-performing source of talent.

This webinar will help companies learn how to hire employees who ...
  • can adapt on the fly – service members constantly find themselves charged with new responsibilities in different environments
  • can lead – service members are responsible for the training and skilling of teams, as well as the well-being of subordinates
  • understand value – service members are accountable for millions of dollars in equipment
  • value teamwork – service members are trained to think and act with a bias toward improving the organisation instead of only themselves
  • seek ideas for improvement – service members rely on debriefings to analyse past missions and improve future outcomes

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Webinar Details

Date Friday 19 June 2020
Time 1:00 - 2:00 PM (Sydney, AEST)
Webinar Link to attend the webinar will be sent after registrations have closed.

Speaker Biographies

Dr Brendan Nelson AO, President, Boeing Australia
Chair, Board of Directors, American Chamber of Commerce in Australia

Dr Brendan Nelson AO was appointed President of Boeing in Australia, New Zealand, and South Pacific in February 2020. Dr Nelson is chairman of the board for Boeing Australia Holdings and the company’s senior leader for its 3,800 employees working across commercial airplane manufacturing, defence systems, services, research & development, and autonomous systems. Prior to Boeing, Dr Nelson served as director of the Australian War Memorial in Canberra. He began his career in 1985 as a medical practitioner before going on to lead the Australian Medical Association. In 1996, he was elected to the Federal Parliament of Australia serving as Minister for Education, Science and Training and then as Minister for Defence. He was elected leader of Australia’s Liberal Party in 2007 and led the Opposition until 2008. He later served as Australia’s ambassador to Belgium, Luxembourg, the European Union and NATO until 2012. In 2016, he was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia for his services to the community and the parliament of Australia, his diplomacy, and his cultural leadership.

Rear Admiral Peter Marshall AM, Head of Maritime, Broadspectrum

Peter was previously Head of Maritime Systems in the Defence Materiel Organisation where he oversaw the procurement of new ships and the significant budget for ship repair and maintenance before retiring from the Royal Australian Navy in 2014.

Peter Marshall was born in 1962 and entered the RAN College (HMAS Creswell) in 1981. He completed a Bachelor of Engineering (Mechanical) Honours at the University of NSW in 1985 and in 1990 completed a Masters of Engineering Science also at the University of NSW (ADFA). Promoted sub-lieutenant in 1985 and lieutenant in 1987 he served in Naval Support Command in Sydney in mechanical engineering support roles. Following service at sea, including two deployments to the Middle East Area of Operations, and completion of the RAN Staff Course, Marshal was promoted lieutenant commander in 1996.

Lieutenant Commander Marshall served as the FFG/DDG Liaison Officer on exchange service with the US Navy in Washington DC and then was appointed as the Anzac Ship Project Directors Representative onsite at Tenix Dockyard (Williamstown) to oversee the build and transition into service of the Anzac Class frigates. He was promoted commander in July 1999 and was appointed as the Amphibious and Afloat Support Class Logistics Manager within the Maritime Systems Division (Defence Materiel Organisation). The class logistics manager oversaw not only the amphibious and afloat support ships but also the fast catamaran HMAS Jervis Bay and the sail training ship Young Endeavour.

In the early 2000's he served as the Assistant Director of Logistics Management in the Maritime Services Division. He was Promoted captain in 2004 and appointed as Commander Australian Navy Patrol Boat Group and was also dual hatted as the Senior Naval Officer Northern Australia and Honourary Aide de Camp to the Governor General during this time. Captain Marshall's next appointment was as the Director General Naval Certification and Safety Agency and he was promoted commodore in June 2007.

As a commodore he served as the Director General Navy Systems Branch, Chief Naval Engineer and Deputy Program Manager of the Air Warfare Destroyer Project. He was appointed as a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in January 2009 for exceptional service to the RAN as Commander Australian Navy Patrol Boat Force Element group, Director General Naval Certification and Safety Agency, Director General Navy Systems Branch and Chief Naval Engineer.

He was promoted rear admiral in January 2010 and appointed as Head of Maritime Systems in the Defence Materiel Organisation.

Since then he has been consultant for a range of companies on Defence engagement and strategic planning as well serving on several corporate boards.

Gabby Costigan, Chief Executive Officer, BAE Systems Australia

Gabby Costigan joined BAE Systems Australia as Chief Executive Officer in October 2017. As CEO she is responsible for one of the nation’s largest defence companies, which has supported the Australian Defence Force for more than 65 years.

Gabby retired as a Colonel in the Australian Army after a distinquished career that included operational experience commanding logistic operations for both Australian and US deployed military forces.

Gabby brings to BAE Systems Australia a broad range of experience as a senior executive in the international logistics, aviation and supply chain management domains. This includes her appointment as CEO for Linfox International Group, where she focused on transforming the business with an emphasis on strong customer service and the highest standards in safety and integrity across the region.

She is a Board Member on the Australian-ASEAN Council promoting Australia’s interests in South-East Asia. Gabby is a strong supporter of the council’s focus to initiate and support activities to enhance awareness, understanding and links between people, business and institutions in Australia and South East Asia.

Gabby has recently been appointed Chair of the Council for Women and Families United by Defence Service. This forum provides women and families a direct connection into the Minister’s office to raise issues affecting Defence members and their families.

Gabby has been honoured for her military service by the Australian and US Governments and NATO. She was awarded a Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) for services to UK/Australia relations.

She is married to Simon and has two children, Honey and Lucas.

Jim Whalley, Chair and Co-Founder, Nova Group
Chief Entrepreneur of South Australia

Jim Whalley is the Chair, an Executive Director, former CEO and Co-Founder of the Nova Group (, an engineering and project management professional services firm spanning defence, transport, utilities, energy and communications. Jim is a former RAAF fighter pilot and test pilot and among other qualifications holds a BSc, an MBA and is a Graduate of the Harvard Business School OPM Executive Education Program and the UK Empire Test Pilots’ School. Jim currently serves on several defence, industry and university boards and advisory committees.  Jim is also the Chief Entrepreneur for South Australia and Chairs the Entrepreneurship Advisory Board. The Nova Group itself employs over 300 people throughout Australia and in the UK, NZ and Singapore with skills in areas ranging from flight testing and electronic warfare to system safety and satellite communications. Nova has been listed as an SA Top 100 company, a BRW fast 100 company, an SA Fast Movers Company and one of the BRW 50 best places to work in Australia.

Invitation Transferable

Feel free to forward this invitation to anyone within your organisation or networks who you think might be interested in this event.

19/06/2020 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM
Webinar Online Event


Friday, 19 June 2020

AmCham is excited to present a panel discussion which will explore the experience and skills which defence veterans can bring to your business, and the programs which can smooth the transition from defence into corporate leadership roles.
1:00 PM - 2:00 PM
19/06/2020 1:00 PM

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