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David Thodey Addresses the Crescent Institute, 26 September 2013

The Crescent Institute welcomed David Thodey, CEO of Telstra on the 26th of September 2013.

With Telstra's re-emergence as a critical infrastructure and communications player in Australia, industry wide shifts towards paperless operations, a major emphasis on the broadband network and an ever-growing demand for data, David Thodey's address at the Crescent Institute attracted a record number of attendees.


The evening proceeded with Michael Chaaya (Partner, Corrs) welcoming all guests for the evening as well as informing members of a new premise for future Crescent Institute events. This was shortly followed with an opening message by the Patron of Crescent Institute, Talal Yassine, acknowledging the long-term partner Fujitsu, Emirates, KPMG, Crescent Wealth and Corrs Chambers Westgarth for their ongoing support and dedication - shortly followed by a formal introduction of Mr Thodey to the Institute.

Mr Thodey commenced his address by highlighting a few major themes that he deemed crucial to Australia's prosperity and development to what he termed ' the Asian Century' including the generational shift towards online technology, the growth of Asia and the development of new technologies.

However prior to delving into these themes Mr Thodey highlighted an aspect of Telstra often over looked - the purpose and meaning it brings to both employees and customers. Thodey re-called a story of a particular Telstra employee who when asked about the reason why she chose to work for Telstra responded that when she first immigrated to Australia, the only way of contacting loved ones overseas was via the landline and that it was essentially the only form of contact possible. Thodey stressed that Telstra's purpose is to go beyond a mere communications and media company but rather at its core "we are about connecting people". 

Mr Thodey proceeded to describe the ever-changing environment of business, "When you think about your life six years ago hardly any of you had smart phones and now over 65% of Australians have one." Such a thrift change in technology has resulted in huge industry wide shifts to how every day operations are conducted in just about every industry, a trend that cannot be ignored.

The changes Mr thodey pointed out also extended to generational differences to how technology is perceived. For generation Y/Z, "Technology is just a part of what their life is" whereas in contrast older generations have a tendency to look for books when looking for information they do not know. Interestingly, Thodey noted that generation Y/Z viewed technology as an "extension of their own minds" where information does not necessarily have to be known and is always a few clicks away. 

Thodey also noted that the speed of technological innovation was not linear, rather was growing exponentially where it is predicted that by 2020 there will be 5 active mobile devices for each Australian (currently 1.4) ranging from internet connected vehicles, a continuation of hand held device innovation through to innovations in mobile medical tools amongst many other industry developments.

Mr Thodey concluded by highlighting the importance Asia plays to the growth and sustainability of Australia. With an expected 50% of world GDP by 2030. A lack of participation Thodey warned, would see Australia left behind from an economics perspective and that more investment and emphasis needs to be placed on Asia to succeed.  

The final segment of the evening was questions and answers where Thodey was asked about the challenges of day-to-day operations at Telstra, staff redundancies, challenges of maintaining relevance both in the present and future developments as well as the NBN. The Crescent Institute attendees were treated to Mr Thodeys insights on these topical issues.  

As a token of appreciation, The Crescent Institute presented Mr Thodey  with a unique and original piece of art by Peter Gould depicting the Telstra image that infused Islamic art and Australian design in a single piece.

The Crescent Institute would sincerely like to thank Mr Thodey for his attendance and his address particularly given his extremely busy schedule. Additionally the Institute would like to thank its sponsors for their generous support.

Stay tuned to our Facebook and website for more details on upcoming events.

The Institute would like to thank all members and guests who attended the evening. The event would not have been possible without you and hope you had an enjoyable time. 




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If you have any comments or suggestions please don’t hesitate to forward them through via email: info@crescentinstitute.com.au

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