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Business community to find out what leaders can learn from the military

Major-General John Cantwell (retired) will share his unique leadership insight with the Gold Coast business community, focusing on how leadership in extreme contexts and military lessons can be applied in the commercial workplace.

Following an expansive career with the Australian Defence Force, Major-General Cantwell, who has been awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for his leadership in action in Afghanistan, will be speaking at the Bond Business Leaders Forum on Thursday 23 August, 2012.

By describing his military leadership and drawing on similarities in the commercial world, Major-General Cantwell says he hopes to show the business community that extreme contexts do not always mean extreme discipline and gruff personalities.

“Although my leadership challenges have mainly taken place in demanding situations such as combat and humanitarian crisis response, I hope to highlight some key similarities to leadership in a corporate world,” said Cantwell.

“By sharing what I think it takes to be a strong leader and combining this with some lessons from the way the military operates, I hope attendees will be able to apply some of these techniques in their business boardrooms," he said. 

Head of the School of Business Professor Keitha Dunstan said she was pleased to welcome Major-General Cantwell to Bond University, adding to the list of high calibre speakers who have presented at the Bond Business Leaders Forum in the past.

“It’s an honour to have such a well-respected and passionate leader at the Bond Business Leaders Forum.

“Major-General Cantwell’s leadership experience is exceptional, including recently being the Commander of all Australian forces in Afghanistan and the wider Middle East area of operations.

“Away from command appointments he has held jobs as diverse as heading a Force Structure Review that defined the structure and capabilities of the Australian Defence Force for the next 20 years, as well as working as Interim Head of the Victoria Bushfire Reconstruction and Recovery Authority, coordinating all Commonwealth, State and non-government efforts to recover from the deadly Black Saturday fires in 2009,” said Professor Dunstan.

“Major-General Cantwell joins the list of high-profile business leaders we have heard from in the past including Grant King, Managing Director of Origin Energy and Ann Sherry, CEO of Carnival Cruise Lines,” she said.

Major-General Cantwell’s career with the Australian Defence force spanned almost 40 years and included a range of duties from tank commander to Commander of a brigade of around 3000 troops. He has served in three distinct wars: combat duty in Operation Desert Storm in 1991; in Iraq in 2006; and as the Australian Commander in the Middle East in 2010.

The Bond Business Leaders Forum is an event which engages the wider Gold Coast community together with Bond University staff, students and alumni and is quickly gaining a reputation as a must-attend event for local business people.

Held over a formal lunch, guests will have the opportunity to network prior to Major-General Cantwell’s presentation, after which they will be invited to participate in a question and answer session.

Tickets are available for purchase at $70 per ticket, or $600 for a table of 10. For more information or to register:

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