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Playing to win: WSBC CEO Michael Sugg. Playing to win: WSBC CEO Michael Sugg. Featured
14 May 2016 Posted by 


Sugg’s winning ways pay off

HIS former life as a tennis coach has taught Michael Sugg how to hit hard to win.

And the fast-talking Englishman has certainly lobbed some winners home for the Western Sydney Business Connection since taking over the top job three years ago.

Mr Sugg’s expertise in turning associations and organisations around led the WSBC board to approach him to help boost their ailing organisation.

Starting as general manager and now CEO, Mr Sugg has hit the ball out of the court, with a membership of 100 and 3500 engaged businesses throughout Western Sydney.

“Since taking the job, I have positioned WSBC as a key stakeholder in the west, with the best business events in the region,” Mr Sugg said.

“The organisation had been seen as an old boy’s luncheon club and the numbers were going downhill.”

Mr Sugg has worked hard with the board to come up with member-driving strategies such as having lunches with prominent speakers that addressed the needs of a wide range of businesses, updating the member database, making the website more informative and engaging and keeping members updated on events and business news.

“It was a matter of working out where we sat in the market-place in relation to other business organisations,” Mr Sugg said.

“The chambers of commerce tend to be for local and micro-businesses, the Western Sydney Business Chamber headed by David Borger is more of a lobby group and WSBC is aimed at business of five to 10 or more employees across the region.”

WSBC concentrates on holding about six key business leader events lunches a year, with networking sessions beforehand as well as forums.

WSBC’s major event - billed as the most important event on the Western Sydney business calendar - is the annual State of the Region Address, where the Premier talks about government policies and initiatives affecting the west.

Even that event, run for six years by WSBC was going down in numbers until Mr Sugg stepped in.

He is proud that last year’s event drew a crowd of 600, a strong number for any event.

But Mr Sugg is not one to take all the credit for WSBC’s success.

“It really is a team effort and I could not do the job without my events manager Tracey Dawson and Julie Falzon who takes care of membership,” he said.

Mr Sugg has delivered on the main aim of WSBC, as emblazoned on its website:  to deliver business connections across Western Sydney that generate brand awareness, leads, learning and engagement, resulting in economic and social growth for our members and the region.

It is not only the WSBC board and members who appreciate Mr Sugg’s expertise - he is regarded as a business leader in the region, with Deloittes asking him to be part of its Shaping Future Cities Strategy in Western Sydney and the interactive cinematic XVenture 100 Leaders program including him among the inspiring line-up.

Mr Sugg, the boy from Essex, has come along way since working as a tennis coach for English champ David Lloyd.

After leaving tennis coaching he entered the corporate world where he worked on the first loyalty card program in the hospitality industry in the UK and South Africa.

A life-changing turning point came when Mr Sugg arrived in Australia seven years ago, on a mid-life crisis holiday, and never went back.

The 47-year-old bachelor, who says he is “married” to his job, runs Advance Association Management Pty Ltd, with WSBC one of a his top clients.

With so much on his plate - the WSBC gig alone would overwhelm a less-motivated person - it is a wonder Michael Sugg has time to sleep.

But, when he does, no doubt he has sweet dreams that he has been able to help businesses realise their dreams.

- Story by Di Bartok




Publisher and editor, Michael Walls.
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Western Sydney Business Access (WSBA) covers the business and community issues of the Greater Western Sydney region of Australia. WSBA is the popular media source for connecting with the pulse of the region and tapping into it's vast opportunities and networks.