College – Issue 39

ever the restless entrepreneur, he has moved on to become chairman and chief executive of the APFII (Advancement of Pacific Financial Infrastructure and Inclusion) Group, and chair of the Pacific Development Foundation. “It is very interesting to be involved in such an interesting and diverse set of industries – from marine research, electric car design, and mass production of components for secure low-cost housing, as well as an ongoing interest in finance and charitable work. But, first and foremost, I also sit on top of a software engineering platform that does a formidable amount of work for emerging market central banks and economies. In one country, we put in a new international payment system, and within a year it was processing almost 90 per cent of all tourism expenditure. Almost every foreign dollar spent in the country is enabled by something we built – and I’m very proud of that. We have a real knack for delivery. “Luckily, I also get, or make, time to come up with decades worth of ideas to future-proof the Pacific,

“ College is an institution like no other and a great place to start learning about where your niche might be. ” Robert Bell

and hopefully make a meaningful contribution to the rest of the world in years to come, too.” He is an ideas man, an innovator, always looking to the future, working with and listening to people to bring about positive change and see ideas succeed. “Everything I’ve learned enables me to do what I do now. I’ve been lucky enough to be able to identify many different problems, and then clearly see how they can be resolved. Everything I’ve achieved has been the result of a mix of resilience and innovation, empathy and determination, in about equal measures. And it’s really all about tuning into the remarkable and definitely learned skill to know when to not give up when you believe in something vs knowing

when your idea or plans need to change, and sometimes quickly, which is the hardest part there is.” Robert grew up on a sheep and cattle farm near Dannevike in the North Island, and was a boarder in Richards House from 1996–2000. While his life today appears far removed from his beginnings, he maintains close contact with friends and family back home. “College is an institution like no other and a great place to start learning about where your niche might be. I’m really grateful for the things I learned while at College, and the friends I made there have kept me grounded and well supported through the incredible ups and downs that come with the joys and despair of building such a large organisation.”

College Issue 39 2020


Made with FlippingBook Ebook Creator