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Antoinette Colbran
Executive Director
Benchmark the Practice
Non Executive Director, The McDonald College

Antoinette commenced her business as Benchmark the Practice in the year 2000. The business provides expert witnesses for law firms Australia wide and in New Zealand for matters of personal injury, motor vehicle accident and medical negligence. Most of the experts are from the medical field, although Antoinette has expanded the Practice to include experts in the building and construction field as well. In this field, the requirements are for ‘building compliance’ expertise and can include architects and engineers as well.

The emphasis is very much on the quality of the expert and his or her reporting, but Antoinette says that customer service is a major priority. “It is frightfully important when dealing with expert surgeons, physicians and lawyers alike to deliver more than promised at the outset. Timing is critical in this work owing to the deadlines set by the lawyer, their promise to their client and the requested timeframes of the Court in each case. No time for slacking off here”. Phone calls are regularly taken late at night or on the occasional weekend in order to meet a demand.

Prior to starting Benchmark, Antoinette had been Human Resources Director for the Radisson Hotel Group in Australia and travelled Australia and Asia opening hotels and working with Radisson Hotels International, based in Minnesota, U.S.A. where she also trained at the start of her career with the Group.

A career in politics preceded this and Antoinette worked as Legislative Assistant to the Federal Member for Mackellar, the Hon. Jim Carlton who was Minister for Health in the Fraser Government and then Shadow Minister for Health, Education, Treasury and Defence respectively. Antoinette stayed on after the 1983 Election and worked with Mr Carlton as Shadow Minister in these portfolio areas.

At the end of this time she joined Gary Sturgess as Head of the Cabinet Office in the Greiner Government which had the responsibility for setting up I.C.A.C.

Antoinette owned a promotions company prior to selling that business to her partner in order to have two girls – one now left school!

Her Board work has included President of the Parents’ Association at her daughters’ school for a period of 3 years, with 6 on the Committee and now she has accepted a Board position with the McDonald College, a College of Performing Arts which she is finding fascinating.

If she was to highlight the very best parts of her career, she would suggest the challenges in each case provide the stimulus. Politics is fascinating – extremely hard work and long hours, but it provides the opportunity to meet all politicians of both persuasions and mix with them for work and socially. The depth of knowledge surrounding you in those jobs is equally inspiring. On occasions the lack of depth of knowledge is equally non-surprising!!

What politics teaches you is to deal with people on all levels, particularly the business sector and work towards a common goal in so doing. Deadlines in this area of work are very critical.

She believes she has been very fortunate in the great jobs she has had during her career. At this point she deems herself ‘unemployable’ – meaning she would prefer the challenges of working for herself.

Antoinette is a gifted speaker and looks forward to sharing her story of financial change in her husband’s business which has caused an enormous loss financially and the adaptation emotionally and physically which has provided Antoinette’s determination to succeed. Her talk is entitled “Great Handbag – don’t forget the briefcase” – ‘look good, strive for perfection but never, ever take your eye of the family finances. Make sure that you know precisely what is going on…’

 

 

 

  

 

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