James Blackburn, a partner with PwC in Adelaide and former Melburnian, has been elected the New Chair of the Committee for Adelaide.
Taking over the reins from inaugural and outgoing Chair Colin Goodall, who has held the position since the Committee’s inception four years ago, James said he was excited about the city’s future and the Committee for Adelaide’s role in shaping it.
“As a family, we have a better quality of life than we ever had in Melbourne and from a business perspective, I believe there is more untapped potential and opportunity in the market here than in most other places,” he said.
“If we can change Adelaide’s mindset to become more positive and identify new community and business leaders, this place is going to excel.”
James and his wife, Belinda, moved to Adelaide three and a half years ago, buying a house and determined to help build their local community so that their children, now aged 8 and 11, have career choices that include Adelaide when deciding their own futures.
The President of Hockey SA and Private Client Lead Partner for PwC – a firm that was one of the founders and co-creators of the Committee for Adelaide – James is a passionate supporter of family-owned businesses which he calls the ”lifeblood” of the economy.
With some of Adelaide’s most well-known businesses and community groups involved in the Committee for Adelaide ranging from Santos through to Thomas Foods, RAA, Adelaide Airport, the City of Adelaide, the University of South Australia, Adelaide University and the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, James is confident the Committee can make a real difference.
“These organisations understand that businesses and community groups play an essential role in creating our State’s future and are offering some of their brightest and best minds to work on challenges facing South Australia.”
Issues the Committee is tackling include a slowdown in population growth as well as business growth, retention and attraction through programs such as its Boards without Borders project and reinventing Adelaide by creating and developing new leaders and changing the city’s narrative.
James also paid tribute to outgoing Chair Colin Goodall who, like himself, was a newcomer to Adelaide when he took on the Chair role.
“Originally from the UK, Colin has had an international career and could have chosen anywhere in the world to live and it amazes me when some people express surprise that Colin chose Adelaide. Both the Committee and South Australia are fortunate to have someone with such a sharp mind who is so globally connected and we’re thrilled that Colin will continue his work with the Committee in an honorary role,” he said.
“Sometimes I think many people don’t realise how good we have it here and sometimes it can take people like myself and Colin – people from the outside – to help others to see how incredible South Australia is.”
Also at the Committee’s recent AGM, new members appointed to the Board included Stephenie de Nichilo, Head of Safety and Security at Santos, Alison Surjan, Director Consulting Services at Morton Philips, and Lachlan Cooper, State Manager at Uber.