Co-Founder Kinrara Expeditions
What’s your link to Townsville?
Townsville was our closest major business centre when growing up on ‘The Brook’ – a cattle property 180km north west of Charters Towers. I studied Tourism Administration at James Cook University.
Where are you now?
I split my time between Sydney and North Queensland.
What does your work involve?
Managing the start-up of Kinrara Expeditions — a luxury expedition and camping adventure to Kinrara Station, four hours south-west of Cairns. It’s something I’ve been working on for the last two years in collaboration with my brother Shane O’Brien and his wife Robyn.
After I left Townsville, I travelled to Canada and New York before landing in London and working in investment banking, which led to a trader’s assistant role. I was on the trading floor when 9-11 happened, watching it live on the TV and hearing real time from our office in the Twin Towers in New York. In the early 2000s I moved to Sydney and spent 15 years building a career in advertising, working with brands such as Coca-Cola, Vodafone, Google and Facebook. I now have a solo consultancy, proudly working in the ‘gig economy’ picking up projects while working on my own. Realising I can’t keep up with the speed of the advertising game, Kinrara Expeditions is a way to build on my current skills while ensuring my six-year-old daughter, Mala, and I have a connection back to the north and her bush roots.
How did your time in Townsville set you up for success?
People from Townsville and the north in general are very real with no time for BS and a ‘just get on with it and have a laugh while you’re at it’ attitude. Couple that with a great education from JCU and a bit of get-up-and-go and you’ve got a winning combination.
Do you still come ‘home’ to Townsville to visit?
I’m often back through Townsville to visit the family and do business. It feels good to be injecting money back into the local economy.