SPOTLIGHT ON…PHIL BELL

HOW LONG HAVE YOU LIVED IN IPSWICH?

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12 years

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IF YOU HAVE MOVED HERE, WHERE DID YOU MOVE FROM AND WHY?

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We moved here from Brisbane. Rosewood is such a small, friendly, quaint, modest village. It reminds me of where I grew up … trips to town sitting in the back of Dad’s ute were a highlight (highly illegal now!). Rosewood had everything we needed. Not least, three pubs!

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DESCRIBE YOUR JOB/BUSINESS…

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I love banking and finance, and while running my own accounting firm I got to work with some amazing and inspirational clients who are so passionate about what they do. I’m fortunate to be able to use the other side of my brain in our other business. Farming requires constant planning and physically hard work! I’m always thinking about what the weather’s doing, where and when I should move livestock, how much grass and water we need. I’m so fortunate to be able to experience the diversity of my roles every day. Sometimes I start the day yarding cattle and being chased around the yards by rank bullocks which are trying to kill me or racing flat out behind a racehorse on the track, and then three hours later I’ll be sitting in my office at work discussing finance and banking, and I reflect on what bizarre diversity I have in my day.

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WHAT’S A TYPICAL DAY LOOK LIKE?

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I wake early; I’m usually up training a small, uncooperative, and highly unsuccessful team of trotting racehorses. I sit behind them on my track at home as the sun comes up. I joke with my wife that my day starts by looking at a horse’s arse and usually goes downhill for there! But it’s so nice to sit behind them in the gig and hear only the rhythmical hoof-beats and their massive lungs ‘snuffing’ in time to the ‘drum-beat’ as they go through their paces. And in winter, the steam rises off their backs in the dawn light as they begin to get into their rhythm. In the right season, I usually hand milk one of our dairy cows before work also. I then battle the morning traffic (who’d a thought Ipswich would have peak hour morning traffic?!) to drop my daughter at school. Next, I race to the office. Sometimes I’m in the car travelling, working to support bank branches right around the South West Region. I get a lot of thinking and telephone calls done while driving. My day often finishes with a Board Meeting (I’m lucky to sit on a couple of Boards), and/or I attend the Community Bank Board Meetings for Bendigo Bank around our region. If I’m lucky, I get to wind down at a Chamber or other Business event and get to finish the day with a cold beer! In the right season, I can sometimes be out on the tractors late into the night or feeding and checking livestock.

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BOOK SMARTS OR STREET SMARTS?

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Neither. I’m constantly making mistakes and embarrassing myself. But I’m still here battling on. I find watching other people’s reactions to my mistakes is a great way to judge character (theirs and mine). WHO INSPIRES YOU? My Dad is a great influence in my life. He was a highly intelligent mathematician and academic, a deep thinker but a brilliant farmer also. He was hard as nails and had hands like shovel. But he was also a great communicator. He never said much but what he said was always wise and worth listening to.

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FAVOURITE MOTIVATIONAL QUOTE:

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There’s a meme for every stuff-up but I try not to rely upon other people’s words to get through the day. But generally anything by Winston Churchill is ‘in my wheelhouse!’

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BEST PIECE OF ADVICE YOU’VE RECEIVED?

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My Dad always said, “If something’s worth doing, then it’s worth doing properly”. And I agree.

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PROUDEST CAREER/BUSINESS MOMENT:

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Being an eternal optimist, I feel like it’s yet to come, but I love trying to make history as I go. Building strength and size and engagement in the Chamber of Commerce has been hugely satisfying and energizing.

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ADVICE FOR ANYONE WANTING TO MOVE UP IN THEIR CAREER:

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The same advice applies to this as in business! If you pursue the things you love doing, you’ll be successful. But remember, if it was always fun, they wouldn’t pay you to do it. And don’t make career decisions on a bad day.

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WHAT DO YOU THINK THE FUTURE HOLDS FOR BUSINESS IN IPSWICH?

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The future is incredibly bright for Ipswich. This is a city with so much opportunity. “A rising tide floats all boats”, but unless you get involved and begin to chase your business dreams, you’ll miss out. There is no better place to succeed in business than Ipswich, so don’t hesitate, and don’t regret the things you didn’t do!

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SUBURB

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Rosewood.

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JOB/CAREER/BUSINESS

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Accountant, banker, farmer (master of none).

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