How would you like to be a CEO?

Generation One‘s CEO for a Day campaign is an Australian program that gives Indigenous people the chance to shadow some of the country’s most high-profiled CEO’s. The program is designed to promote success and pathways beyond sport and culture.

Today we follow the journey of Joshua Riley, a Wiradjuri man, who gets the chance to spend the day with our CEO David Thodey.

Joshua strives to reach a senior leadership position in the corporate world one day, in the hope of influencing positive change for the Indigenous community.

David is an avid supporter of Indigenous recognition.

Today, they meet.

Follow the action through our tweets and live blog below.

8.45 am – Josh greets us with a strong smile. Welcoming and excited, he shuffles on his feet slightly and adjusts his sleeves. As we take the first photo of the day, he fixes his hair. There is a palpable excitement in the air as we gear up for the day.

Josh and Jamie Hardy take a photo before launching into a day of activities
Josh and Jamie Hardy take a photo before launching into the day

9.00 am – The first meeting of the day is with Helen Lea, Executive Director, Organisational Development, and Troy Roderick General Manager, Diversity & Inclusion.

Josh as he discusses culture and diversity with Helen Lea
Josh, Helen and Troy discuss the importance of promoting diversity

9.30 am – Josh is keen to learn as much as possible, but Helen starts by asking Josh about himself. Moving into management, change culture and facilitating relationships between Indigenous communities and corporate environments.

10.00 am – Running from meeting to meeting is a given for any CEO. Josh makes his way up to David’s office.

10.15 am – Josh and David sit and discuss what they plan on tackling today. David shares his love of Tamworth, Josh’s hometown and the home of the Telstra Road to Discovery.

Josh and Jamie Hardy take a photo before launchng into a day of activities
Josh and David discuss their plans for the day

10.45 am – David and Josh discuss the importance if driving authentic, sustainable relationships between communities and the private sector. You need the right vehicles – Indigenous traineeships, apprenticeships, graduate programs. It takes a personal commitment on both sides.

10.50 am – The conversation turns to how to how to succeed in the workplace. David’s top tips? Do your job as well as you can and leave it better than you found it. To succeed you need attitude and application. Resilience is so important.

David talks to Josh
David and Josh talk about how to succeed at work

11.00 am – David shares more insights into being successful: “I look for people with initiative and who will take on a challenge. It’s not about titles. If someone has passion and dedication, then opportunities will follow.”

Josh looks to David for tips on being successful
Josh learns that initiative and passion is what gets people far

11.10 am – Josh asks what it takes to be an effective leader. David pauses and replies, “leadership is about having the courage to do whats right for the longer term. It’s about what you stand for and creating value.

11.25 am – Josh and David head to the Telstra Alumni one year anniversary event at the Telstra Experience Centre. David speaks of the importance of reinvention in order to stay relevant, which Josh has expressed as a point of interest.

David speaking at the Telstra Alumni event
David Thodey speaking at the Telstra Alumni event
David speaking at the Telstra Alumni event. Josh, offscreen, watches from the front row

11.50 am – Telstra Road to Discovery winner Angie McMahon takes the stage to perform, a beautiful surprise to end the Telstra Alumni event! Also relevant to our local Tamworth-ian, Josh.

Telstra Road to Discovery winner Angie McMahon performing
Telstra Road to Discovery winner Angie McMahon

12.30 pm – After a big morning of meetings, Josh takes a break for lunch. Even CEO’s need to eat!

1.00 pm – It’s very exciting to be making our way to start-up accelerator program, muru-D for an exclusive insight into the world of local technology innovation.

1.15 pm – Ann Parker, Head of Digital Start-Up Accelerator, greets Josh at muru-D, where three of the finalist teams will get a chance to pitch their ideas to Josh and David, followed by five minutes of Q&A each with the CEO’s.

1.30 pm – Some brilliant presentations from the finalists, but we can’t spoil the surprise before next week. UPDATE: muru-D is located in Telstra’s exchange building in Paddington, made famous as it relayed the footage of the first moon landing!

Josh at muru-D
Josh explores muru-D

2.00 pm – On the way to the George Street offices to meet with Kate McKenzie, Telstra’s Chief Operating Officer.

Josh and David in the car
Josh and David on the way to their next meeting
Josh and David talking important business with Kate McKenzie
Josh and David talking important business with Kate McKenzie

2.05 pm – Josh asks David about career planning. David shares that having a career plan is very important. You need to identify what skills you have and what skills you need to get to your end goal. You might need additional formal education, deeper industry experience , or personal development. Once you have your plan, then you can start to execute and review your progress. Managing your career is no different to managing a business.

2.30 pm – Josh takes a tour of our icon store on George Street with Area General Manager Sandra Sweeney. She explains that everything they do is about the customer – we want to surprise and delight them!

Josh at our icon store on George St, Sydney
AGM Sandra Sweenney shares how our number one focus is the customer

2.55 pm – Josh makes his way back to David’s office to watch a Yammer ‘open-hours’ session, where David will spend an hour or more responding to employees on Yammer.

3.30 pm – David replying to employees on Yammer while Josh advises.

David and Josh at the Yammer open hours
At the Yammer open hours session

3.45 pm – The Yammer open hours topics range from the latest technology, customer service initiatives through to mobile phone etiquette. Do you think it’s OK to tap out a quick email while mid-conversation?

3.55 pm – Conversation turns to the importance of social media and David shares his love of Yammer – while Yammering.

4.10 pm – Mark Buckman, Chief Marketing Officer, joins Josh and David to discuss Telstra’s brand evolution and its link to customer advocacy, a passion of Josh’s.

Smiles all 'round
Josh and Mark share a friendly handshake (better photo coming soon)

4.45 pm – As we reach the end of the day, Josh and David sit down to discuss today’s journey.

5.00 pm – The day comes to a close and the sun sets behind David as he finishes his debrief with Josh, who asks one final question,

“Is there any reason why we can’t have an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander CEO?”

To which David replies,

“No one should be limited by conventional thinking. If you have ambition and a goal – then go for it!”

If you have a dream - go for it!