The very entertaining altenative Foreword to ‘Jumping Ship’ from my SVA colleague and friend Ian Learmonth – who himself jumped ship to join the SVA team and is driving the fabulous work of the Impact Investing team.
"It’s an honour to say a few words in closing this evening on behalf of SVA – also very exciting to see how many people are here tonight to celebrate the launch of the book and acknowledge Michael’s enormous contribution across the social purpose landscape in Australia. Michael bravely left the hallowed halls of Macquarie at a time when working in the world of social enterprise, venture philanthropy & impact investing were terms yet to be uttered & in fact, even if articulated to people down at the Millionaire’s factory in 2001 would have been seen as down right odd.
So it’s a watershed moment to see the book finally in print, elegantly covered thoughtfully illustrated and no doubt full of anecdotes for the reader. Michael couldn’t name everyone here in the book & for those that missed out he apologises to both of you.
Those of you who had the chance to read earlier manuscripts of the book will know – Hugh Mackay AO, the social researcher wrote the Forward to Jumping Ship which, well was a bit disappointing for me, as I had sent the publisher something that I thought was perfectly suitable but appear to have been trumped yet again by a faceless editorial committee.
So I am going to take the opportunity if that’s ok to read you that Forward just so a broader context can be provided to the reader.
Michael Traill’s life story is contained within the pages of this book - Jumping Ship. A work, largely written by Michael’s own hand and sensitively edited by his wife Jenny. It’s mostly non-fiction and will take you, the reader on a gripping journey from Morwell to Macquarie only for Michael to make a sharp and unpredictable career switch to the fledgling social purpose sector in 2001.
If that’s not enough for you, then you will also be taken on a detailed and bumpy ride through the unlikely acquisition of the failed ABC Learning Centres by four poorly dressed non profits from under the nose of Archer Capital’s James Carnegie. That’s right it’s an underdog seeks revenge tale. James Carnegie is Mark’s brother so it doesn’t get much better than that.
OK hold on reader - I know what you’re thinking – haven’t we heard that Goodstart story, surely only a few Inuit tribesman aren’t familiar with this well publicised tale & that may be true, BUT, never has there been the forensic details, blow by blow descriptions, the emotional and uncensored Crawford expletives.
Michael’s life has taken him from his humble high school in the La Trobe Valley to the prestigious Trinity College at Mebourne Uni, on to the elite Harvard Business School and ultimately to Australia’s leading investment bank Macquarie. With this pedigree and his 12 subsequent years at SVA, Michael has been elevated to boards representing National Museums, Govt bodies, superannuation and private equity funds and the culturally giddy heights of Opera Australia’s Trust Board.
It’s a long way from wandering around Bunnings in Morwell to Wagner’s Ring Cycle at the Opera House, but Michael assures me opera has been some of the best sleeps he’s ever had.
So tell you friends to keep their eyes out for a copy of Jumping Ship at any leading bookstore – well, not Borders, private equity blew that up a few years ago but you know the only real place people get books these days – the airport.
But where on the shelves will it sit? This tale of capitalism with a heart was always going to be a commercial challenge for the marketers, according to Hardie Grant Books, the publishers, the extraordinary use of sports references almost begged for it to settle alongside Kevin Sheedy’s The Long March whereas its fearless approach to danger in Goodstart and strong family values suggested a coupling with Steve & Terri Irwin’s The Crocodile Warrior.
Wherever its rightful home on the shelf might be, Jumping Ship is penned by a genuine hero with a heart, a true family man and a thoroughly decent bloke and friend.