Since moving to Wollongong four years ago Martin Braithwaite starts most days sitting on the foreshore in awe of mother nature, switching off and meditating.
Mr Braithwaite oversees a team of 130 employees in Wollongong and 600 around Australia and sees the city's scenic setting and easy lifestyle as one of the great advantages of living and working in such a perfect location.
In a new video series promoting Wollongong as a place to invest and do business he said he starts each day by looking out and contemplating. And every day he feels lucky.
"My Sydney colleagues are all so jealous my commute time is six minutes," Mr Braithwaite said.
"I have lived all over the world but I have never been happier than I am here in Wollongong."
In the Invest Wollongong initiative Mr Braithwaite said he loves being based in a global tech business at the University of Wollongong Innovation Campus and being able to start his work day at 8am completely relaxed and focused.
He believes the workforce of any enterprise that has a presence in the city will thrive.
Other advantages of being in Wollongong are its proximity to Sydney, good bandwidth from the National Broadband Network and access to plenty of bright tech graduates from a university regarded as having one of the best tech courses in Australia.
"Students can now get that big city job yet stay at home without commuting," Mr Braithwaite said.
"We often get hundreds of quality applications for a job here.
"And because it is such a lovely place to live no one wants to leave Wollongong.
"We are the envy of other NEC offices as we enjoy double the retention rates.
"I love that city airport is only an hour away and the local airport is 10 minutes away.
"I feel connected to the rest of Australia and the world."
Good time to consider permanent Illawarra escape
As thousands of people head down the coast for the summer holidays it will also be a chance for them to consider staying more permanently.
Accelo co-founder and software engineer Christine Higgins is among many others in the video series singing the city's virtues and giving plenty of reasons to say 'why not Wollongong'.
Accelo is a project management software company that has created a world-class environment for technology and innovation in the heart of Wollongong.
"We needed a cloud based platform that could operate across sales, projects and services. 10 years later we have over 100 staff, thousands of clients in 86 countries and offices in San Fransisco, Denver and Wollongong," she said.
"Being cloud based we are not dependent on geographic location for sales. But our location does define us. It defines our culture. It defines our approach."
Mrs Higgins said Accelo always looks for people who want to learn, enjoy problem solving and think about things deeply to fully understand the issue.
And it finds so many of its development team, designers and other staff locally in Wollongong.
"I left the US to come to university here and from day one I found it to be the most beautiful place to live," she said.
"As a mother of two and a business owner there is no way I could do the commute to Sydney. I can enjoy Sydney when I want to and it is great being so close to the international airport."
Mrs Higgins said networking groups such as Siligong Valley and Infracoders means people like her no longer feel they have to travel to Sydney for tech talks.
"We are really proud to have helped grow the tech community here," she said.
"There is a real connection between the startups and established companies with the council, the NSW Government and with the university.
"We are creating a world class environment for technology and innovation here in Wollongong.
"It is so easy to live here. Home is just 10 minutes from the office. We are able to have a family dinner almost every night which is so important to me."
Career and family life can perfectly balance
Mercer Wollongong people and culture leader Renee Whiteside feels like she had the typical Aussie childhood growing up in Wollongong
And now she gets to continue living in the city and working for a global financial services organisation with over 500 employees at the Coniston site that supports the administration of Mercer's clients all over Australia.
Which means she can give the same life to her children that she enjoyed when she was young.
A childhood that included family BBQs and many visits to the beach.
Mrs Whiteside once feared she would have to choose between starting a family or a corporate career but in Wollongong she has been able to both.
And she has been able to easily recruit people in Wollongong with charisma, energy and a willingness to go the extra mile for their colleagues and the business.
"I think there is a general sense of purpose and meaning among the locals," she said.
"And being able to have that work life balance, family, careers, hobbies and education, it means we have incredible retention rates.
"It is easy to get around here. It is easy to drop the kids off at school, it is easy to head down to the beach, it is easy to go to evening classes at uni.
"I have been able to do four degrees and have three kids. I doubt I would have been able to do that in Sydney and raise a family at the same time."
Mrs Whiteside said an added bonus of doing business in Wollongong was the university wanted to support business.
"We have access to internships, work experience, research and development and can provide syllabus assistance," she said.
Mrs Whiteside said Wollongong has helped her have the rewarding corporate career she wanted and is giving her children the childhood she wants for them.
See all the videos here;
- NEC: https://www.investwollongong.com.au/case-study-nec/
- Easy Agile: https://www.investwollongong.com.au/case-study-easy-agile/
- Cardno: https://www.investwollongong.com.au/case-study-cardno/
- Mercer: https://www.investwollongong.com.au/case-study-mercer/
- Accelo: https://www.investwollongong.com.au/case-study-accelo/
- Peoplecare: https://www.investwollongong.com.au/case-study-peoplecare/
- Siligong Valley: https://www.investwollongong.com.au/local-network-siligong-valley/
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