Q&A with Bruce Watson on his new role at WorkCover Queensland February 2017

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After starting out as an apprentice electrician in the coal mines, Bruce Watson climbed the career ladder and spent over a decade as CEO of industry super fund, Mine Wealth + Wellbeing. Last month, he was appointed CEO of WorkCover Queensland. He tells Industry Moves about the lessons he learnt in his previous role, his first impressions of his new role, and about a very scary week spent in the mountains of Nepal.

What was your impetus to join WorkCover QLD?

When considering my next role, post Mine Wealth + Wellbeing, I was looking for a leadership role in an organisation with a strong alignment to my purpose of 'making a positive difference to peoples lives every day'. As with the past organisations I have worked for, WorkCover is an organisation that is helping people at critical times in their lives within a very efficient customer focused business.

After over 10 years as the CEO for Mine Wealth + Wellbeing, what would you say is the great lesson that you learnt about effective leadership?

My last 10 years has reinforced the value of treating people as I want to be treated and the substantial value delivered by investing in the development of people.

What are your goals as CEO of WorkCover QLD for the next 12 months?

My goal is to continue the journey of providing a wonderful customer experience to our customers and stakeholders whilst maintaining our competitive edge of being the best priced workers compensation insurer in Australia.

…and what are some potential challenges that you predict?

Whilst it is early days at WorkCover, I am very impressed with the great people, financial strength and technology enabled integration across back office and customer channels providing great efficiencies. So I am privileged to be leading a sound business with opportunities instead of challenges.

Who has had the biggest influence on your career so far and why?

Since being involved, in my younger years, with campaigns to end apartheid in South Africa I have always admired Neilson Mandela. His unwavering belief in a better South Africa, fierce focus and determination coupled with huge empathy, humility and tolerance has been a powerful guide in my life.

What was your very first job?

From a very young age I always wanted to be an electrician. So, it's no surprise that my first job was as an apprentice electrician in the coal mines.

What’s something that most people wouldn’t know about you?

My wife, three children and myself were climbing the mountains in Nepal when the 2015 earthquake hit. A very uneasy time that saw us endure 67 tremors over 4 on the Richter scale in the week before we were able to get a flight home.

Is there a charity or cause that you support?

I am a big supporter of the ADARA Group. Adara work side by side with communities and children in remote areas to improve their lives. My family and friends have raised substantial funds for a most important cause of educating the young girls in the slums of Kathmandu, Nepal. 100% of every dollar donated goes to the cause as the overheads are covered by other business activities. You can donate here.

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