Meet James Gudgion, an Executive Leader and Independent Management Consultant, who has made the switch to freelancing with Expert360. He’d sourced talent through Expert360 as a client and made us his first port of call when he decided to go independent.
Here, James shares his insights into the world of freelancing, why he chose Expert360, and its benefits for both Experts and Clients.
James has had 20 years of success in delivering complex change through leading high-profile projects and in establishing and growing program delivery functions / PMOs for blue-chip companies like Atlassian, Quantium and Fairfax.
Why did you decide to freelance?
“Independent Consulting / Interim Management enables me to deploy specialist skills, knowledge and experience across multiple sectors and domains. Going freelance with Expert360 was a great career move.”
“Through Expert360’s network, I work with premium clients and their leadership teams during times of complex and transformational change. Typically, mergers and post-merger integrations, business transformation programs or in establishing, uplifting and scaling project or program delivery functions and PMOs. In the last 12 months I have secured and completed two highly successful M&A and Post-Merger Integration assignments through Expert360 and established a PMO organisation for an NGO.”
What advice would you give someone looking to make the leap into freelancing?
“Going independent is a life choice that may not work for everyone; you have to be confident that another assignment will come, but in my experience, it has been highly rewarding. My advice to anyone thinking of making a similar move is to reach out to Expert360 and have an initial conversation.”
James was engaged through Expert360 to establish and lead the Integration Management Office following the merger of iCollege Limited and RedHill Education Limited, ASX-listed education providers targeting both international and domestic student markets.
The merger objectives included a significantly diversified campus footprint, course offerings, and customer mix. Rapid and seamless integration of the two organisations was crucial.
James worked closely with the CEO, CFO, Executive Team & Board, providing clarity around the scope, milestones, goals, and expected outcomes of integration activities.
- Thanks to Expert360, iCollege and Redhill Education were able to interview and onboard James in under a week.
- Receiving a high touch approach from the Expert360 Project Services team, James was able to maintain contact with the team throughout the entire project.
- Being a part of an exclusive, leading talent network, there was a high level of trust from the client invested in James from the outset. The Executive Team and Board entrusted James to introduce Agile ways of working, frameworks and practices to deliver the integration. The client had not worked in this way before.
“Using Expert360 we were able to find an excellent PMO Manager at short notice that was able to make an immediate impact. James expertly guided us through the integration process enabling us to rapidly integrate systems and processes.” - CFO, iCollege Limited.
- James introduced Agile delivery frameworks and practices from the outset, a new way of working for both companies. This amplified collaboration and engagement across the merging organisations and accelerated execution.
- Within the first two weeks, James worked with the Executive Team and Board to establish short, medium and long term measurable goals (OKRs). This enabled the team to crystallise and communicate integration objectives, outcomes and priorities early on.
- Agile ways of working were underpinned by critical path planning, clear and accountable governance structures and fortnightly Board reporting to keep everything on course throughout the integration program.
- The project was delivered well ahead of schedule, with no reported disruption to ‘business as usual’.
“Thank you to James for the fantastic job he did shepherding the integration process for us. It is rare to hear of an integration running to schedule, let alone ahead of time. James’ steady, yet quietly firm hand was instrumental in this success. It was a very stressful time for all the execs, made somewhat easier by James’ professionalism.” - S. Hook, Non-Exec Director.
- There was a significant value add in having an interim leader. James provided the experience, skills and methods of a top consulting firm to set up the integration, initiate change and deliver it, but condensed into a single person and aligned solely to the client.
- Through the introduction of new ways of working and delivery frameworks, many of the major integration milestones, inc. critical business systems (HR/Fin/Payroll/ITSM), were subsequently delivered well ahead of schedule, realising significant time / cost benefits and early realisation of integration outcomes.
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