Think HBR

Let's talk with Neil Slater

Neil Slater 073
1. In a few words tell us about your current role.
I’m the old guy in a young persons’ game trying to guide and hopefully inspire the beautiful young people who work with me, to work hard & to show case that Newcastle is indeed a wonderful vibrant city.
 
2. How have you reached this point in your professional life?
I started work in hospitality whilst going to teachers college.
I have loved food, wine & people from both sides of the tablethe waiting and being waited on. I have always liked organising events, making people happy and welcome. The success of Scratchleys has allowed me to pursue other community outcomes with The Gastronomic Lunch fundraising for HMRI, now in its 12th year. OzHarvest Hunter started in Feb 2010 & is helping produce 3.5 million meals for those in need in the Hunter. I was also part of the wonderful team that delivered The Memorial Walk. These things make you feel good to get out of bed in the morning.
 
3. When you’re not at work, where can we find you?
Obviously spending time with my family and friends. We entertain a lot at home. I also love snow skiing, tennis & stand up paddle boarding in the surf. I love to read books about real people, I have no time for fiction as there are far too many inspiring people to learn about.
 
4.Where do you find inspiration?
I am inspired as I said by books about real people. I set goals every year to try to improve my personal/spiritual health in life. I often fail to achieve what I set out to do. But I’d rather aim high & be disappointed then put up with the ordinary.
 
5. What advice would you give to someone just starting out in your field?
For anyone who wants to achieve, find something you love, you will have to put in a lot of hours to achieve a high level of success.
Not all businesses are sexy, but someone has to be the best at it so it may as well be you.
 
6. What’s something most people don’t know about you?
I’m all front, my wife Donna is the brains and steadier of the ship.
Danielle my Restaurant Manager makes Scratchleys work so well.
Monique Maguire at OzHarvest is the brilliance behind that show.
Always surround yourself with talented people – Actually this is probably something everyone knows about me.
 
7. How would you like to see the Hunter evolve over the next decade?
We are on the crest of a Golden Era in Newcastle & the Hunter Valley. The big cities are too crowded & we are the perfect size with great people able to connect & drive a vibrant future. People are really looking at us with energy & desire. That would not have been the case 20 years ago.
 
8. What’s your favourite Hunter restaurant/café/bar?
The dining scene in the Hunter is second to none, we have great Restaurants and some fabulous young chefs returning from their travels. For me Bistro Molines at Mount View is the pick in a very tough field.
 
9. Are you reading anything at the moment?
I have just read The Legacy by James Kerr, written about the New Zealand All Blacks – the greatest sporting team in the world, a fabulous read.