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Alasdair Thompson: Learning from the past and moving on

Divina Paredes | April 17, 2014
The former Employers and Manufacturers Association CEO turns his "demise" from public life into personal success and peace.

"An organisation is much greater than one person," he wrote. "It is all of its people, stakeholders, owners and customers coming together successfully that bring success and if the CEO has led the way to that, then he or she is in fact dispensable."

"My ending at EMA was sudden; it was also brutal, but ultimately beneficial," he states.

"I recognised I needed to change my life," he says. "I needed to put myself through the same process in doing changes: What is my mission? What do I want to be? What are my objectives? What am I going to do to get where I want to be?"

"Isn't if funny, as business people, we do it all for our business, but do we actually do it for ourselves in our lives?"

He says he had done this in his early 20s, and it was amazing how he followed most of it. But as he got older and his "mental issues re-emerged", there were some things that got neglected.

"While it was under control for the most part, the 'black dog' of depression and anxiety was reasserting itself," he says. He realised he needed to get physically fit again and get his medication sorted.

"My life now? It is excellent," he states. "One of the things that helped a lot in my own decision is the change management process that you do in business, I applied to myself as an individual.

"I have gone back to small business," he says. He and his wife Joan have owned a number of retail and service sector businesses over the years, and along the way undertook small scale property development building commercial premises and luxury accommodation for tourists.

Thompson says he now walks two to three hours a day. He chairs a trust that supports a Pakistani Christian Satellite station, and is a trustee of Silver Fern Racing. It is a small West Auckland trust that helps youth offenders who are referred by the court to get vocational training. He attends a Christian service regularly.

"Now I am just a different person," he says. "I have come out stronger."


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