Mike receiving his Top 40 Under 40 business award by InDaily
I’m one of the co-founders and the CEO. We co-founded Nona with five talented people but we actually started out with a completely flat structure, with no CEO and no clear, designated leader.
At first, this worked really well. But at a certain size, this becomes inefficient, so we decided to create a CEO role to help things move forward smoothly. I was a natural choice, because I was the CEO of my previous business, which I sold after 15 years.
One of the things that I love about my role is that every day is different. There is a philosophy that guides me in my role: “A CEO has only 2 roles: first, to set the vision and bring people towards that and the second is to make sure that you are never the smartest person in the room.”
The first half is a constant work in progress, but the second half is pretty easy for me – at Nona I work with some of the smartest people I have ever met!
Show up honestly and authentically. Make sure that you’re prepared to join a team where the combination of high-performance and a family culture keeps things in working order.
We’re looking for people that are – for their own benefit – deeply committed to constant self-improvement and ownership of everything they get involved in. If that sounds like you, you’ll probably fit in well and find a home with us at Nona.
Our firm and focused belief in constant improvement makes this a way of life. From growing as a leader, a coach, a mentor and a business operator, Nona has enabled so much for me.
Mike and team Nona during one of our quarterly team buildings
Well, since my time at Nona, I’ve levelled up in just about every area of my life – not just in business. The people that I work with are my friends, and people that I will likely have relationships with for the rest of my life. You see, I don’t believe in a work-life balance – rather, I’m crafting out an integrated life and Nona supports this in so many ways.
I love being in nature, especially when I’m with my wife and my 5-year-old daughter. In Adelaide, where I live, we hike at least twice a week! I’m a passionate mountain biker and runner and I love participating in as many races as I can.
I’m also a big fan of the Dutch extreme athlete, Wim Hof; so I practice cold-water immersion and breath work, alongside yoga and meditation. Otherwise, you’ll find me reading (at least a book a week) or working away in the food garden I’m building.
Professionally, my eyes are set on building on the capability that we have refined, over many years, to develop world-class products that we are involved in. The goal here really is to be considered up to class with the best FinTech builders in the world.
My personal goals are all deeply rooted in the things that are important to me. I want to build a fully functional food garden that is sustainable and comprehensive for my family’s needs. I’d also like to place in the top 3 in a stage mountain-biking race in Australia and run a half marathon in under 90 minutes.
Most importantly though, my most imperative intention is to raise an independent, self-aware, and resilient daughter.
Mike on the bike at 6am
I find the most joy in these three moments in my life. First, when I’m with my family, exercising together in nature, knowing that Nona is in a good place and that everyone is happy and engaged working there.
Also, when I am in a state of flow working at my laptop in some or other public place, knowing that the people I care about are safe and well.
Or in the throes of a stage mountain-biking race with a partner – we’re doing better than we expected, because we have done the work, and my body feels totally ready to be pushed to its limits. That’s another source of flow!
I’d be most fascinated to watch how Nelson Mandela navigated the Truth and Reconciliation Commission after the advent of democracy in South Africa.
“The trouble with Scotland is – that it’s full of Scot’s” from Braveheart. The pun on my family name amuses me.
Marcus Aurelius, a Roman emperor that is known as ‘the philosopher king’, because I get so much value from his works.
Suffering does not come from the thing itself. Suffering comes from the non-acceptance of the thing.
Or maybe you’d like to learn about Marcus Aurelius or mountain biking? Either way, reach out to Mike who will fit you into his state of flow.
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