Mark Stone has been one of Melbourne’s business leaders for many years and a great supporter of the PJSE team. Peter caught up with him recently and certainly found out some interesting new details about the CEO of VECCI!
Read below about Mark and Peter’s chat…
Peter: How do you take your coffee?
A latte for me – hot with no sugar. Two a day but all done by lunchtime…definitely no caffeine in the evening!
Peter: How did you end up as the CEO of the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry?
I’m a country boy born in Murchison and I’ve spent the majority of my life working and living in many places such as Tatura, Benalla, Horsham and Bairnsdale. These were all with different organizations, including the Department of Agriculture and Conservation, Forests and Lands.
Eventually I ended up in Melbourne to be the CEO of Parks Victoria and then Tourism Victoria before I took up the VCCI role in 2011.
Peter: Now, a little birdy told me that you were a bit of a footy star in your day…
That’s very kind of you to say Peter. I had my moments, including being Captain Coach of the Benalla All Blacks Premiership team in 1981. Not only did I kick a few goals but I also managed to get my jaw broken in 3 places.
Peter: Ouch! Did the offender get suspended?
Yes – but to this day, I still have the wiring in my jaw!
Peter: What achievements in your career are you most proud of?
Two things come to mind. Firstly, the ‘Healthy Parks, Healthy People’ campaign we created at Parks Victoria back in 2000, which our USA counterparts liked so much that they adopted it.
Secondly, being involved when Oprah came to Melbourne and standing next to her when I had my photo taken. Everyone thought I was her body guard.
Peter: Oh yes, I remember that very well because I was standing on the other side, but obviously out of camera range…
If you could be any other Melbournian for day, who would it be?
I would love to be Neil Mitchell for a day as he gets to interview some of the most inspirational and interesting people!
Peter: Why is Melbourne such a great city to host events?
I’ve seen this first hand for many years and I’d have to say it’s the Team Melbourne approach.
Everyone gets together and just gets it done – the venues, the media and the event organisers.
Peter: I couldn’t agree more – Melbourne simply has a can-do approach!
What are your favourite events to attend?
I’m blessed to have attended many and I’m a regular favourite of the Grand Prix, AFL Grand Final – particularly when St Kilda is playing – the Food and Wine Festival and the Australian Open.
Peter: Let’s not revisit the last time St Kilda were in a Grand Final.
What event would you like to see here that we currently don’t have?
Coachella, I think it would be an amazing event to have here.
Peter: I’m impressed that you know what that is Mark considering you’re a little over the average age that would usually attend!
I’m up to date on all these things Peter!
Peter: What do you think is our most iconic landmark in Melbourne?
Definitely the MCG. It helps define us as a sport mad city!
Peter: Do you have a favourite restaurant?
Mark: Grossi Florentino, upstairs or downstairs – doesn’t matter!
Peter: The best coffee in Melbourne?
Here at Bistrot d’Orsay or Panache in Geelong which is right on the waterfront.
Peter: What would be your favourite hobby in your spare time?
Walking, with no headphones to distract me!
Peter: What’s your best sporting experience in Melbourne?
Three hot laps in the double seater Formula 1 car around Albert Park.
Peter: I’m very jealous Mark.
And just to make you more jealous – I’ve also completed three hot laps around Phillip Island with Craig Loundes…
Peter: Thanks very much for the invite to go with you on both those days! And thank you for your time today Mark, it’s always a delight to catch up with you.
My pleasure Pete and same to you.