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Testimonials to the Rare Breed difference

Adam Baldock
CEO & Managing Director, National Safety Council of Australia

Eddie’s business and general experience has helped me in many ways. As a young executive and CEO, I have used Eddie as a sounding board for many issues and decisions. His calm broad level of knowledge across international boundaries has assisted me to deal with some very difficult situations. Eddie understands the needs of business and the balance required to maintain financial stability and customers satisfaction. I credit Eddie et al with assisting my development and helping me to rebuild the NSCA.

Julia Keady-Blanch
Social Impact Consultant

A mentor to me is someone who motivates, empowers, nurtures, listens, teaches and guides. Eddie delivers this in spades. There is no one on this planet that I would trust more with my professional and personal goals than Eddie Thomas. He offers the perfect mix of honesty, integrity, instincts, intelligence and respect. With more than 40 years in the game, Eddie knows how to bring out the best in people. Don’t walk, you should run to have this man by your side.

Nicole Lenoir-Jourdan
Managing Director, Five Star PR

Eddie Thomas is one of the most successful CEOs in publishing and content marketing in Australia. He has been an advisory board member and mentor with Five Star PR for the past five years along with Jonty Rhodes, the South African cricketer, Brian Johnson, Credit Lyonnais Asia Pacific, one of Australia’s leading business analysts and Shanker Dhar, former Director of India Tourism. He is an incredibly skilled mentor and board member, who portrays a high degree of integrity and commitment, is an effective communicator with strategic ‘out of the box’ thinking, and is fluent in making well thought out, contextual decisions.

Rodd Peters
Peters Linnette Lawyers

I first met Eddie Thomas in about 1994, when he was recommended to my law firm as an expert in the publishing industry on various issues which were the subject of a court dispute for a client. He proved to be not only the dominant expert in the matter but also a very good witness under cross examination.

I have since come to know Eddie as a significant client of our firm particularly when he was the Director responsible for acquisitions at IPMG (who then owned The Courier Newspapers and Federal Publishing Group and were one of Australia’s largest print media and publishing groups prior to their sale to Newscorp). During a period of about eight years I estimate that Eddie and I together conducted the purchase, sale or establishment of about 40-50 titles including some of Australia’s best-known magazine publications. I observed Eddie many times during those years and always found him to be a consummate deal maker. I recognise his ability for lateral thought, a keen respect for the deal over and above any individual egos, an incessant drive to complete transactions, and a forthright honesty and fairness which I have rarely seen matched in my nearly 30 years practising law. Above all, Eddie has a sensitivity to people’s needs in business which makes him a good listener and advisor. I am certain [businesses assisted by Eddie] will be very well served by his unique approach, drive and enthusiasm.

Kevin Lim
Director, Filmgraphics

I have one father but had very few father figures in my life. I’m humbled and proud that I can call Eddie Thomas one of them. Truth be told, when I was first approached by the company that Eddie was the CEO of, I had no intention of joining them. But upon meeting Eddie, within five minutes I knew that I wanted to work for him. I wasn’t exactly the right candidate for the job, but he saw the potential in me and it’s a testament to his character that he was willing to invest his time and patience to mentor me and be completely selfless along the way to ensure I was happy. I can’t offer business speak as to how Eddie will help grow your business. All I can say is that Eddie is a rarity in the world – honest, sincere and completely by your side at every step, good or bad, to guide you on your journey. He’s someone that you’ll want in your life.

Gill McLachlan
CEO, McLachlan Travel Group

I first dealt with Eddie Thomas when I was with Text Media and found him expert and credible so it was a pleasure to be reunited with him when he took over the management of Edge Custom Media, where I was a shareholder and director.

At that time the company was struggling with direction. Eddie quickly stabilised the team, consolidated product and created a clear vision which lead the company to become a leader in its industry niche and eventually, to a successful exit of the shareholders.

This exit, a management buyout by one of the other shareholders, was a gruelling process that involved balancing the demands of a number of diverse exiting shareholders whilst ensuring the buyers were professionally handled. The outcome was totally successful. To me, Eddie’s success at the helm of Edge was driven by his excellent people skills – not just with customers but with staff, where he generated considerable loyalty – strong business skills and by his integrity.

Rachel Courtright
Managing Director, Brains

Eddie has all the qualities of the perfect mentor. He is honest, discrete, self reflective, wise, inquisitive and he has a generous spirit. I discuss all my biggest business issues with Eddie and his guidance and support has sustained me through some tough challenges.

He brings a depth of wisdom to any situation, and he doesn’t just share his experience with you, he tells you why he did it and his understanding of why his approach worked or didn’t work. He makes the complex simple and breaks problems down to help focus on the real issues.

He’s helped me feel more in control and I’m putting things in place to be proactive rather than reactive and to work ‘on the business’ not ‘in the business’. Eddie inspires me to work smarter, and I feel positive and optimistic about the future direction of Brains.

Heather Catchpole & Karen Taylor
Co-Founders, Refraction Media

With a small staff and a large and diverse client list, close attention to our business at every stage is critical. Eddie has helped us to understand our growth strategy, key hires and introduced us to critical steps that have helped us to shape our business strategy going forward.

He’s also a great guy, approachable, friendly and an excellent mentor for our personal growth. Eddie’s helped us enormously to advance towards our goals, and set ourselves goals for the future.

Cathy Parker
Publisher, Adrenalin Publishing

We have been working with Eddie for the last 12 months in terms of general mentoring and consulting for Adrenalin Publishing Ltd and one of our titles NZBusiness. Eddie’s in depth knowledge of the publishing market across several countries gives him a great insight into the issues faced by publishers and he also has a good understanding of the operations of smaller owner operated businesses and the pressures and challenges that go with that. He has helped us develop new ideas and products, challenged our thinking and made us look at things from a different perspective. I have thoroughly enjoyed working with him and feel that both myself and Adrenalin have benefited from the association.

Sarah Willmott
Associate Director Client Solutions, CBRE

During my years at Edge, I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to work alongside Eddie.Throughout this time, Eddie walked beside me, coached me and believed in me. He’s undeniably warm, generous and trusting and continually encourages personal growth. So much so, the opportunity became available to me to become a board director a few years ago and I truly believe his mentorship and coaching got me there.

Since leaving Edge in April 2014, our friendship and mentorship still remains. His door is always open and I’m forever walking away having learnt more.

Geoff Campbell
Brand & Consumer Publishing Expert

Eddie Thomas is a rare breed – a veteran publisher with a lifetime’s experience creating, building and leading some of the UK and Australia’s most innovative and successful media groups; a battle hardened commercial leader who understands the challenges of survival and the economics of success in a ferociously competitive media landscape; an incisive, intuitive and lateral-thinking problem solver, able to wrestle with the biggest, most intimidating business challenges and provide alternative routes to executives; and an analytical, agile financial mastermind, with years of experience as CEO of running, interrogating and improving P&Ls and balance sheets.

But as tough, focussed and driving as Eddie is and can be, he is remarkable also for his intuitive people skills. He understands the teams he works with, quickly identifies their skills and weaknesses, and commands their loyalty and respect with his fair application of pressure and support. He places importance on the development of a strong business culture, and brings executive teams along with him on the journey of its implementation. It’s through these skills that Eddie builds enormous loyalty in the companies and teams he leads, and has developed such a strong network amongst the media entrepreneurs building exciting creative enterprises in Sydney and Australia.

Eddie often talks about the lessons he’s leant from the leaders he has worked with, and in particular from his own mentor. This understanding of the value that a leader and mentor can add to a business, an executive team or executive leaders themselves is an invaluable context from which Eddie is able to draw as an executive coach and mentor himself. As someone who has benefitted from Eddie’s advice over several years working with him in two different organisations, I can attest to the real value that he is able to add. Eddie’s input is always grounded in reality, relevant, practical, and deliverable. More often than not Eddie has faced similar issues, challenges or opportunities, and draws from both his successes and failures in his coaching input. I’m lucky to have had the benefit of his experience in my own career, and to be able to count Eddie as a mentor, leader and friend.

Richard Parker
Managing Partner, Edge

Eddie headhunted me from the UK, and promised me I wouldn’t regret moving to Australia. Thanks to him, I didn’t. Somehow, by trusting me, allowing me the scope to influence the business and to feel I was making a difference, but at the same time guiding my enthusiasm and controlling my more reckless impulses, Eddie managed to get me working harder than I’d ever worked before … and enjoying it. His mentorship and guidance ultimately resulted in my being part of a management buy out of the business we worked in – and on – together. And I’m still loving it.

Douglas Linnette
Peters Linnette Lawyers

Eddie’s ability to put together deals is enviable. From a platform of vast transactional experience, he works tirelessly to bridge divides and resolve issues within the tightest timescales.

His skill in driving a transaction to completion is second to none. Most recently demonstrated in a mid 2014 deal with complex issues, completed within an ambitious timeframe and against formidable logistical obstacles.

Michael Butler
Head of Editorial, King Content

I heartily recommend Eddie to anyone looking for a business advisor, consultant or mentor. I worked closely with him for three years and benefited enormously from his guidance and support. Eddie is a savvy businessman whose accomplishments speak for themselves. He is also an insightful leader who knows how to balance his team’s and his clients’ needs to deliver great results over the long haul.

In my dealings with Eddie I found a hard taskmaster but also a mentor; a leader who expected no less from his team than he was willing to deliver himself; and a man who creates the conditions for individuals to surpass their own expectations.

Eddie’s experience is deep and his perspective is long. Open-minded and always eager to embrace new ideas and new approaches, his ability to clearly see the nub of any problem enables him to move quickly in the present without jettisoning the lessons of the past. We used to call Eddie ‘the Godfather of custom publishing’, a mark of both respect and affection. I confidently predict he will help any business or individual he associates with to a greater level of professionalism, security and success.

Kurtis Taylor
Pro-bono

I was young, hungry and unguided. I knew what I wanted but didn’t know how, or even if, it was possible. I contacted Eddie in hope that I could receive help in some way, shape or form just to guide me a bit as really it was difficult being a small fish in a big pond. So, I chanced it and I got very, very lucky. Eddie got back in touch with me and accepted my offer to mentor me. I was his youngest ever student so hopefully he has something to remember.

Our plans were that well, I needed a good job in order to raise funds so I can eventually start my own business. We targeted to get me into the work sector BEFORE July and well, we achieved it. I’m currently working full time, raising some money to make my own business and I am sure I will be in contact with Eddie again when the time comes.

The difference Eddie and his wife made was huge, I had drive but they pushed it completely up a gear, words became actions. I had a poorly done CV which looked the part but was over done. Eddie and his wife took it into their own hands to do a well designed CV which would compliment the person I am. They did that and it turned out perfect. I used to contact the small people in an organisation in hopes of getting in touch with the higher ups but Eddie advised me different: “go straight to the top,” he told me. That’s how I got my current job, without this vital piece of advice I would be completely clueless as to what I was doing wrong previously. In summary, if you want someone good who will guide you through both business and personal life, Eddie’s your guy. Between him and his wife, they are the most genuine people who truly benefit everyone around them and I am proud to say I’ve have the privilege of meeting them.

Scott Hunt
Sales Director, Edge

Through Eddie’s coaching, I have gained the confidence and skills needed to communicate effectively with my team. Eddie has taught me to challenge the status quo and drive change within my business, his coaching has provided me with a new perspective on my role as a leader and my capability to change and challenge the way we do business. He has helped me understand our issues from different perspectives, challenged me on the areas I needed to address, and helped me to get beyond the barriers that were holding us back. This has had a direct effect on my business with my team now exceeding all targets and KPIs. As a manager he has taught me how to drive accountability with my team and empower my team members to grow beyond their current role and duties. Thank you Eddie for your guidance and support.

Fergus Herbert
CEO, Herbert Group

I met Eddie Thomas when he bought my tourism business in 1997 for Text Media. He was the best mentor I have ever had in my career. Eddie’s mentoring style is one of caring and sharing. He mentors well through stories and takes an absolutely personal approach in the people he mentors. With his depth of knowledge and understanding of the business environment he is a mentor I would recommend to anyone who is serious about realising that their personal best is still beyond their belief. Eddie continually shows people they can go beyond what they thought was possible.

I approached Eddie in 2005 to come into Edge and take on the CEO role. He agreed to do this and myself and the other two founders have never looked back. Again he used his mentoring skills on the staff…. The analogy I used is that when Eddie came in we were like a mass of iron filings on a table, each individual contributing but certainly not aligned. Eddie was like the magnet that we all needed and aligned everyone to pull in the same direction. From this point he was able to grow the business. It was one of the best cultures in any business I have ever worked in or witnessed. When people left to travel or whatever they often came back to “the family”. Eddie’s work ethic is second to none. He would regularly work weekends and present the financials in such a way that we could really isolate and measure key performance indicators. His financial management was exemplary and he often led from the front. He is excellent at organising a team around the finances department and driving them to understand how to fine tune the business. He totally understands that cash is king and was brilliant at achieving a great payables and receivables team. There is no doubt Eddie understands the mechanism of how finance in a business needs to work. He is exceptionally good at getting get he team to understand and implement growth plans. One of the keys here is that Eddie brings the team together to discuss and analyse the situation with a good base of knowledge then when we put the growth plan in situ every member feels it is their plans and therefore constructively works to that end. This is a skill that Eddie has. It is not easy to being so many people with disparate views and at the end of the process have them agree and be excited about what changes need to be applied to the business. When I met Eddie he was in charge of acquisitions and hence the purchase of my business. From that time in 1996 he has acquired numerous businesses and has had the incredible ability to motivate and understand how to roll businesses together. Again this comes down to his ability to get the best out of people and truly care about the individuals.

I am grateful that Eddie took on the CEO role at Edge because all the above attributes helped the company grow and prosper in a way that everyone totally enjoyed the journey and would have done anything for Eddie. When it came time for an exit Eddie handled the strategy and the complexity with acuity and aplomb. He is without doubt the epitome of integrity and that makes working with him an absolute pleasure. At time when the exit strategy was like herding cats he was able to cut through any concerns from both sides with an incisive and constructive manner and get people to realise the real issues at hand and hence get to the result that was needed.

I have admired Eddie for a long time and am truly blessed to have worked with him for nearly 20 years and after all that time to absolutely call him a friend. As you can tell from above I am a big believer in Eddie Thomas as a mentor, business advisor, driver of acquisition strategy, implementor of financial teams and above all as a person. ANY business would benefit greatly from a drop of the Eddie Thomas essence.