About Chris Edwards
Nothing Is Achieved Without Effort (Hiking 5000m above sea level in Peru)
“We grew up with a philosophy that it isn’t winning that is important; it is the taking part. But what I’ve discovered over time is, that it’s the taking part that makes you a winner.”
The bloke you might work with
We are all a product or our formative environment.
I grew up on a farm in Wiradjuri country and spent my pre-teen years at a boarding school in Sydney. My mother was a historian and my father was a passionate environmentalist decades before the environment was an issue. (Our family car was a VW Kombi… and that probably says it all!)
I love to see people reach their potential in all aspects of life and I feel it is my responsibility to honour their commitment with steadfast support.
I believe that when an individual applies principles of effective leadership in their daily lives, the result will always lead to improvements in relationships, career opportunities, social development and business growth.
A snapshot of my career so far:
Leadership & Life Coaching – 14 years working closely with CEOs, senior executives, business owners and their staff to improve their internal, external and interpersonal communication challenges.
Creative Director & Advertising Campaign Strategist – Fiatagri, Volvo Australia, UD Nissan Diesel, Clarendon Homes, Linde Gas. Hilton Hotels Malaysia, Singapore Mandarin Group, Johore Waterfront City.
Federal Government and Education Sector – Australian Taxation Office, Australian National University, IP Australia.
Art Director Copywriter – Arnott’s Snack Foods, Ansett Air Freight, McDonalds, TAB, Bacardi, Microsoft, Canon, Castrol, and more.
Entertainment – Movie News Magazine, Sydney Opera House, John Denver, Evil Knievel, The Two Ronnies, Peter Frampton, Shirley MacLaine, et al.
Annual Report Designer – Commonwealth Bank, Reserve Bank, AMP, Amoco, Wormald, BP, etc.
Work Locations – Australia, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Japan, Hong Kong, China.
“You need to be a great leader of your own life before you can hope to effectively lead others.”
Chris Edwards 2007
I’m probably best known as the youngest of the Sydney City2Surf Legends; the diminishing number of men who have finished the famous 14km City to Bondi fun runs every year since 1971.
When I was a kid, I set myself a goal to finish that event for 50 consecutive years in under 100 minutes. Unfortunately, COVID twice forced the postponement of the 50th, but I finally completed the 50th City2Surf in 2022.
Our family did athletics on Sundays. In the 1970s, road running was just taking off.
Pictured is the first Springwood Athletic Club Bedwell Relay team in 1972. Each six-person team had to have at least two women. We ran from Oberon to Bathurst. That’s my dad on the right and me next to him. I had already run my first City2Surf the year before.
Join Me For My 51st City2Surf In:
In 1985 everyone that had run 15 consecutive City2Surf runs officially became known as the ‘City2Surf Legends‘.
I still have that certificate and patch somewhere!
Founder and Event Director of the Aussie Peace Walk.
Pictured above; making a speech at the official opening in March 2021.
2022-current: Founder and Chair of an Indigenous Health Grants project, partnering with inspirational Indigenous leaders to improve the health of Australia’s Indigenous population.
2021-current: Founder and Event Director of the Aussie Peace Walk.
2022-23: Past President and Major Projects Director, Rotary Club of Hall.
2016-current: Ambassador for Australian Rotary Health, Australia’s largest non-government funder of mental health research.
A Few Previous Roles
1983-84: Founder and Inaugural President of Club VW (Australia’s leading VW car club).
1988-89: Vice-President NSW Chapter of the Advertising Institute of Australia.
1992-95: Australian Delegate Regional Access Asia Pacific, (A consortium of advertising agencies.)
2000-02: Board Chair at Hall Primary School.
2002-06: ANU representative on the Federal Government Cross-Agency Digital Archiving Group.
2010-14: Small Business Representative on the ATO Small Business Partnership Forum.
2010-ongoing: Various Board Directorships with the Rotary Club of Hall, including President in 2021-2022.
In the late 70s and early 80s, my career focus was on commercial art, illustration, painting and drawing.
I created illustrations for advertisements, books, magazines and more. I did this painting of horses for a calendar.
I even drew the cover of a Disney colouring book with little Micky, Donald, Goofy and others.
When I was in my last years of high school, I worked weekends as a custodian at the Norman Lindsay Gallery. I frequently sat in Norman’s living room reading from his book collection (many he had annotated and doodled in the margins).
His life and work greatly influenced my teenage perception of an ideal career, and I contemplated a bohemian lifestyle immersed in a world mixing with artists and models, doing life drawing, painting and illustration.
When I finished school, I did work as an artist for a few years. I painted from life and did a few commissioned illustration jobs, but the need for a regular income pushed me to seek a ‘real job’ and I found one as a trainee graphic designer.
This was in the ’70s, when graphic design was still a craft involving pencils and paint. We worked in a studio, absorbing a cacophony of sounds, sights and smells.
Cigarette smoke, turpentine, gumbo, photographic chemicals, newly minted magazines and hot wax were blended daily with freshly percolated coffee and the occasional floral scent of secretary going about her day.
After ten years in the industry, I finally decided communication was the career for me and I went to university to begin my tertiary study in advertising and marketing.
“At the heart of it all, is a love of people and creativity.“
Throughout the many projects I worked on over the decades, a common thread was always my fascination with the art of communication.
It started with visual communication, painting, photography and design; later the written word in combination with colour, sound and movement.
In around 2005, I shifted my focus from mass communication to interpersonal communication. When I did this, it pleasantly surprised me to discover that I inspired excellent results as a leadership coach. I loved it and soon found that my broad experience in the psychology of advertising and media empowered me with an assortment of skills and experiences that remain attractive to managers and business owners.
I gained years of experience creating print, TV and radio commercials for brands such as Nissan and Volvo. Then in 1994, I started work on the launch of Windows 95 for Microsoft, and this led me to become deeply involved in commercial web development.
Both my parents were schoolteachers, so my formal education started far too early.
When I was four years old, I went for a sleepover at my friend’s place and got into an argument over the sodium chloride, (my friend thought it was called ‘salt’!).
My father had a notion that it was hilarious to teach me the scientific names for everything but not the common names, so we had arthropods in the garden, we put sucrose on our corn flakes and we had a pet Melopsittacus Undulatus (named Herbie after the Love Bug) that talked a lot. One thing Herbie was fond of saying was, “Hi, I’m Herbie, Melopsittacus Undulatus”.
It was a confusing upbringing and to top it off my parents thought I was a bit of a ‘mummy’s boy’, so after explaining this to me, they promptly shipped me off to boarding school at the age of eight so that I’d ‘man up’. I did eight years at Sydney Grammar School, where my family had a history. My final two years were more relaxed at Blue Mountains Grammar School at Wentworth Falls.
Here I am at Sydney Grammar School, aged 8. The building behind was ‘The Lodge’. My grandfather was born in that building on the school grounds on 30th January 1890. Don’t I look thrilled? (No pressure!)
Looking pretty suave in 1990
I consider my most valuable education has come from personal experiences obtained over decades at the school of hard knocks in roles such as father, stepfather, brother, son, friend, employee, business owner, employer, consultant, coach and mentor. But I have also completed a mix of tertiary courses:
- Advanced Advertising Management at the University of Technology Sydney,
- Diploma of Management at Wisdom Learning,
- Leadership Coach Accreditation at Integrity and Values,
- Illustration at Randwick TAFE,
- Panel-beating at Granville TAFE,
- Blacksmithing at Mudgee TAFE,
(Those last two are hobby-related, but I added them to the list because they represent a lot of effort and hint at a variety of skills and interests.)
Like most of us, I’ve also done a raft of other courses such as Life Coaching, an IT Diploma, ‘Train the Trainer’ and Production Management. I’ve also been involved with many conferences as a keynote speaker, presenter, facilitator, trainer and course organiser.
I love innovation, film, art, photography, theatre, travel and adventure. I love the outdoors, particularly hiking, skiing, mountain biking, and I like to start the day with some exercise; be it walking the dog or going for a jog.
I’m also fascinated by interesting old junk, vintage cars, ancient ruins, old machinery and the age of steam and history in general. Oh, and definitely food. There are few things more satisfying than experiencing different cultures through a tantalising assault on one’s senses.
I love the great outdoors. Fortunately, my wife was once a travel agent, and she’s great at finding out-of-the-way experiences.
Pictured above: Dog sledding with my wife about two hours west of Tromso, Norway, heading toward the Swedish border.
- I was packed off to boarding school at the age of eight – and loved it.
- My best friend at boarding school, Tony Wilkinson, died in a tractor accident when we were 11.
- I missed the train on the morning of the Granville Rail Disaster through a random decision to visit my grandparents the night before. Otherwise, I’d have been sitting in the non-smoking section of carriage three. I knew two people who didn’t come home that day.
- When I was 21, and still invincible, I volunteered to act as co-pilot in a home-built aircraft test flights (I survived 13 takeoffs and landings).
- I was married for 21 years and had three children and I’m a step-dad to three more and grandfather to one.
- I have completed the annual Sydney City2Surf Fun Run every year since 1971 and am known as the youngest of ‘The City2Surf Legends‘.
- My Great Grandfather Harry Edwards was shot in the head at Gallipoli on June 20, 1915. They evacuated him on a hospital ship to Malta, arriving with the Turkish bullet still lodged in his skull. Fortunately, he survived, because without his fortitude and resilience, I wouldn’t be here today.
- If you’ve read this far and you’d like to get in touch, just pick up the phone and call me. My contact details are below. Best wishes, Chris.