In this line of business you get to experience a wide range of places, sectors and projects. Over the last few years I have worked in such areas as: the Philippines (ACIAR project looking at improving the decentralised extension system); Indonesia (looking at what was happening in applied agricultural research approaches – and before that smallholder shrimp production); Laos (looking at a livestock forage project in the high country); New Zealand (looking at the role of Agricultural Consultants in agricultural extension and environmental services); and of course across Australia (wool and dairy industries, and an educational program in Tasmania; sugar projects in Queensland; agricultural development in the Kimberlies; natural resource management programs in various states). And with an evaluation focus, you really get to hone in what is happening and why and the issues surrounding them – and meet some fascinating and great people along the way! Quite a privilege!
One person who made a significant impression on me was Sandy Cuthbertson – one of the founders of the Centre for International Economics – who passed away very recently with many of us very saddened by his loss. Sandy was a real gentleman and excellent soul. I travelled with Sandy some years ago to the Philippines for a scoping study – just prior to starting up my own consulting career. During our visit, I asked him to share his experiences about successful consulting – I was after the top 10 lessons! Over the next few days, Sandy tried to oblige – very thoughtfully and humbly. I can’t remember them all now, but his Number 1 message was “be generous”….in the broadest sense! Consulting to him, was not about ‘screwing the client’ and charging for every minute – but to give of yourself to do what was needed to be done to make the world a better place. He found that such an approach had its own rewards – and the dollars took care of themselves. A nice lesson that I took with me when I took the jump to the consulting world.