With a career spanning 40 years, Terence Seymour has worn many different hats. Leaving school at age 14, he went from being a draftsman to an underground construction foreman before moving into Human Resources. Along the way, Terence has studied Engineering, Human Movement, and Sport, completed a Masters of Administration at Griffith University and is currently enrolled in a PhD. He describes his attitude to studying as an “insight into how to think and depending on the course of study or work you’re doing, it will give you different ways of understanding the world.”
“I think what my studies have given me is an insight into how to consider issues and think through the implications of those.”
After setting up his own business for a few years and working as an Assistant Commissioner in the Tax Office, Terence moved across to Uniting Care Health. Here he spent time as the Director of Human Resources, responsible for renegotiating all industrial awards and agreements and as the GM of the Sunshine Coast Private Hospital where he focused on creating a positive working environment for employees.
“For me, people are everything in terms of a business. You can have the best systems or the best technology in the world and your organisation could still fail.”
“It’s about staff engagement, it’s about people, and it’s about understanding their needs and creating an environment in which they want to excel.”
At the beginning of 2014, Terence became the Chief Strategy Officer and is currently working on a ground-breaking project to open Australia’s first fully digital hospital in October. With such diversity in projects, what has been the driving force behind Terence’s career direction? “It’s always been about what I can learn. My career has been built more on what’s engaged me rather than what I consciously planned.”
“It’s about being open enough to recognize that there is change available and being open to experiences when they come to see how they fit with what your interests are.”
Terence was blessed with knowing a significant number of highly motivational people who made a lasting impression on him. “The people I’ve worked with around the world have offered different insights. There’s not been a single person about whom I would say, ‘gee, I wish I was like them’ but there have been multiple people whose attributes I think are really worth following or really worth considering.”
Terence is now part of the Griffith Industry Mentoring Program which matches students with experienced industry professionals, helping them increase their understanding of their chosen profession. Although Terence says he is amazed people find him useful to talk to, his experiences provide such beneficial advice for students just starting out in their field.
“I think I can provide some insight into different careers and into the demands of different careers.”
So after changing careers seven times in his life, what is the one piece of advice that stands out? “Do try to listen to understand, not to listen to construct your argument. Instead of leaping in, do a little bit of thinking around it.”
Top Tips from Terence:
- Understand the role of mentor and mentee.
- People are everything in terms of business.
- It doesn’t have to be passion for your job – it has to be a point of interest, something that will engage you.