07 Dec 2018
Matthew leads the Litigation and Dispute Resolution Branch comprising over 60 lawyers. He has been working in legal and non-legal roles within the Public and Private Sector for the past 20 years.
 
Before joining the VGSO Mathew held senior leadership roles at the Transport Accident Commission. He also held a number of roles within the private sector including private practice in regional Victoria, roles in commercial insurance and litigation, banking and finance and also managed a large business unit in a major bank.   
 
He holds a Master of Business Administration from the University of Melbourne (Melbourne Business School) and a Bachelor of Law and a Bachelor of Commerce from Deakin University.
 
1. You commute in from Geelong to Melbourne, how are you finding the travel?
It is working well as I'm training myself to be an early starter - waking at 5:15am, catching an express train and usually in the office by around 7:45am.  I use my time on V-Line wisely and take advantage of the great connectivity and the time travelling helps in keeping on top of my e-mails. I'm also an avid podcast listener and I enjoy listening to a range of podcasts from regular publishers such as Tim Ferriss and Rich Roll, a triathlete vegan who has interesting range of guests and posts about twice a week and anyone else from whom I can learn something (there is no shortage of content to listen to).
 
2. Tell us a little bit about your work history to date?
I started as a country lawyer in north east Victoria, doing my articles with a large country firm based in Myrtleford. I was there for three years before moving to Melbourne and working in the CBD in insurance and commercial law matters. I then became a Senior Associate at DLA Piper, before a big change of direction into the banking sector, becoming a Senior Corporate Lawyer at ANZ.  Not long after joining ANZ, I started my MBA with Melbourne Business School, which ultimately took me into a business role running retail overdrafts within the Australian Division of ANZ. This gave me exposure to running a business unit with a commercial focus on profit and loss. 
 
I then responded to a job advert for an interesting role at the Transport Accident Commission (TAC), which gave me the opportunity to manage people on a much larger scale, running a business unit of around 100 employees. This meant working in Geelong, so our Ocean Grove holiday home became the permanent family home for a while. The TAC role gave me variety and I embraced very rewarding work in the Claims Management Unit, then the Catastrophic Team with $6 billion in liabilities under management.  In my last two years there, I took another leap into a new sector and helped to design and establish the Health function which had previously been shared with WorkSafe.
 
So my career has been basically a decade as a lawyer, followed by another decade in business roles and now I'm back as a lawyer and manager at the VGSO. I see lawyers as inherently useful in a variety of roles across their careers with technical skills, creativity and business development being key skills.  
 
3. Your time at TAC would have had some challenges, tell us more?
Well it certainly made me drive more safely and like anyone at TAC, I became such much more aware of the hidden dangers on our roads. I got to see the catastrophic impacts of motor vehicle injuries. Whilst many of those seriously injured were thankful to be alive and quite optimistic, it was tough work to deal with the impact on family members at such a difficult time in their lives. It is testament to the TAC and Victoria, that we have a scheme that is the envy of many others around the world.
 
4. What are you most proud of in your career to date?
I stuck by the advice of my parents to "keep your options open" and almost did this without knowing it. I take pride in the diversity of my career and not having taken mainstream views as to what I can, and cannot do, as a lawyer.
 
5. What motivated you to join VGSO?
The diversity and quality of the work that we do. The line of sight that we have across government, is a huge competitive advantage for us. We have the ability to put all of that together in the type of advice we provide as well as the trends and patterns we can identify. I'm also motivated by the profit and loss aspect of the role and competing with the private sector.
 
6. How have you found the VGSO in your first few weeks?
I'm ten weeks in and 80% through a challenge to have a 1:1 coffee with every one of the 60 team members in the Litigation and Dispute Resolution Branch. This has given me the chance to hear the challenges and opportunities for the Branch from their perspective.  I love data and analytics, so looking at my recent FitBit numbers have noticed my average resting heart rate is up by around 5 beats per minute from when I started !  This is probably a reflection of all the extra coffees I'm drinking.
 
7. What skills and experience exist in your team?
The Branch has people who come from many different backgrounds, with varied lengths of tenure at the VGSO.  I deeply value this diversity and will depend on the different skills and experience we have in a range of roles in the Branch and more broadly across the VGSO.
 
8. Do you have a particular future direction for your LDR Branch?
It is early days and I'm still formulating my ideas and thinking.  This has been informed by my coffee catch ups and learning more about our organisation's rich history. There are certainly lots of upsides to our position within and across government.
 
9. Are there particular clients or types of work you enjoy the most?
As you may have already gathered I crave variety and like doing hard stuff.  I am someone who can transcend from the transactional to the strategic in the same day. I don’t thrive on doing just one thing. It can also be about looking at the volume of work and deploying my process management skills to help make things work better.
 
10. What is your working style?
On some days I can be quite task orientated and in processes and procedures, whilst other days can be creative and about formulating ideas on the whiteboard. I'm not locked into one or the other. A key take away from my MBA was that there is not just one tool or method to solve a problem and the importance of leaning in on other people and other methods.
 
11. Who or what inspires you?
No-one in particular and nothing profound here. I admire those who have risen above adversity, be it an under-privileged background, going against the pathway set for them in life or learning from mistakes they've made in their past. I'm relatively self-driven myself and respect that in others.
 
12. Outside of work, what are your passions? 
I am a terrible golf tragic and every house we have ever lived in has some form of golf related damage, even the house I'm currently renovating. I enjoy the social element, the numbers side of it, the many skills it draws upon and it is both frustrating and humbling at the same time.