Martin Haese is the current Chief Executive Officer of Business SA and has an impressive track record as a business owner and entrepreneur. Having previously owned his own national retail companies, Youthworks and Sole Shoes, Martin founded and then grew the business to achieve annual sales of $25 million, employ several hundred team members and oversaw a global supply chain. Following the sale of Youthworks and Sole Shoes in 2005, Martin opened Retail IQ, a specialist advisory business working with local governments in Australia and Real Estate Investment Trusts in Southeast Asia.
Martin's first retail business was at the Brickworks markets where he learnt how to buy and sell, and to look after your clients. He believes in the role of service, and it serves well both in business, public and private life. When he started business there were no rule books, but he always had mentors he looked up to, and always asked a lot of questions.
His strong retail background & philosophy took him to pursue other endeavours. ie to do his MBA & later teaching MBA and eventually Lord Mayor of Adelaide. He spoke briefly on his role on Council and as Mayor. It was challenging, exciting, busy but it was always an honour & a privilege to serve. You just have to get on with it and put yourself and your reputation on the line.
Between 2014 -2018 he was home for dinner with his wife about 4 nights a year!
He spoke on the different challenges facing the City Councils. Simply put, Suburban Councils are mostly residential with some business, but City Councils are mostly business with some residential. You have to be collaborative & ensure the Council Chambers are a place for rational, considered debate & make those tough decisions in a timely manner.
In the service of Council, he has met, many good people, who are motivated by service.
He then spoke on Business SA, formerly SA Chamber of Commerce & it’s history as being the oldest such business organisation in Australia, that can be traced back to 1839 founded in SA.
Business SA -is bipartisan & not for profit, is membership driven and advocates and provides client services for members.
Covid has caused havoc for many members, and they have had a torrid time. Some businesses however have done better with covid, either by circumstances, demand for their niche services or by reinventing their business model to adapt.
Like us all, Business owners crave certainty most, so they can make the right decisions for the future.
When he was 23yo and running his shop at the Brickworks he discovered motivational books by Paul J Meyer of the Success Motivation Institute. He still believes in that philosophy. “You have to have the heart of a servant”. It is true in life and business.
Martin concluded by saying “Service is embodied in the DNA of every Rotarian. Thank you for what you do and do so well- SERVICE.”