Date posted: 17/06/2021 5 min read

Mentored from the top: Anthony Antonio CA and Michael Boggs CA

Anthony Antonio CA from Countdown supermarkets was surprised to get a media CEO, Michael Boggs CA, as his mentor.

In Brief

  • Applications for the CA ANZ Mentor Exchange program open in September each year, with the program commencing in February each year.
  • Anthony Antonio CA wanted assistance in how to think about his long-term career, manage change and be a better networker.
  • Michael Boggs CA had been mentored by NZ’s former Minister of Finance Sir Roger Douglas, so knew the ways a mentor can help.

As told to Susan Muldowney
Photo Jessie Casson

Mentee: Anthony Antonio CA

Head of Finance, Property, Investments and Formats, Countdown (Woolworths NZ), Auckland

When I started my accounting career, I had huge globetrotting ambitions, but the global financial crisis meant I quickly put a premium on landing a full-time role.

In 2008, I started out at Progressive Enterprises [now Woolworths New Zealand] and have worked there in many finance roles across many businesses ever since. Retail can be quite exciting when you work with a variety of passionate retailers.

I’d been reading about the Mentor Exchange Program in Acuity for years and decided it was something I’d like to try. There were three things I wanted to get out of it: how to think about a long-term career, how to manage change and how to be a better networker.

I was shocked to be paired up with Michael. I don’t know what I was expecting a mentor to be like, but I never thought I’d be teamed with a CEO. I think a lot of people have preconceived ideas of what a CEO is like. They are so busy, they have a lot riding on their shoulders and I assumed Michael might be difficult to relate to or that he wouldn’t be interested in my perspective. I’m glad to say I couldn’t have been more wrong.

Mentor Michael Boggs CA (left) and Countdown’s Anthony Antonio CAPicture: Mentor Michael Boggs CA and Countdown’s Anthony Antonio CA.

“I don’t know what I was expecting a mentor to be like, but I never thought I’d be teamed with a CEO.”
Anthony Antonio CA

Michael was so generous with his time and his ideas. We met on four occasions and the conversation flowed very easily. I talked to him about a change agenda I’m trying to implement and how I should be thinking about the implications and set up for success.

He encouraged me to look at issues in a much broader sense; to always look out for the future needs of the business as, ultimately, that’s where our value-add is. He also had great advice about networking and the importance of making yourself available to others in the profession. The advice I received from Michael was based on his own considerable career and life experiences and it has been very helpful.

That mentoring afforded me the time to pause and think about my own career. When you’re busy working, it is often difficult to find the time to look at your own career objectively and to continue professional development, so I’m glad I signed up for the program.

Mentor: Michael Boggs CA

CEO, New Zealand Media and Entertainment (NZME), Auckland

I’ve been privileged to have had some valuable variety in my accounting career. I’ve headed up a sales and marketing division, I’ve been a chief operating officer and I held several CFO roles before becoming chief executive of NZME in 2016.

I’ve also had a few mentors throughout my career: one of them was NZ’s former Minister of Finance Sir Roger Douglas. It was a fabulous experience. He inspired me and challenged my thinking. When I saw an email about the CA ANZ Mentor Exchange program last year, I jumped at the opportunity to help someone in their career, as Sir Roger did with me.

When I met Anthony, he struck me as a super intelligent, results-focused person who wanted the absolute best for the business he worked for. He’s also someone with a caring nature, strong family values, and a genuine authenticity, which I admire greatly.

In my experience, the best mentors don’t offer solutions, but ask questions and share their relevant experiences to help a mentee come up with solutions themselves. That was the approach I took with Anthony.

“The best mentors… share their relevant experiences to help a mentee come up with solutions themselves.”
Michael Boggs CA

During our first meeting, Anthony told me about the three main outcomes he hoped to achieve from the mentoring experience and we made sure we had time to cover them off each time we met.

I also asked Anthony for his view on a couple of things I was working on. Gaining perspectives from someone outside the business and from a different generation is always valuable. Mentoring is definitely a two-way street.

We all come from different paths in our lives and I found being able to share some of what I’d learned with Anthony incredibly rewarding. It helped me to reflect on my career – the successes as well as the things that perhaps haven’t gone as well.

I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and I’ll be putting my hand up for the Mentor Exchange program again. It’s very well organised and the online content provided, such as podcasts and templates, is very helpful in shaping your initial discussions.

Read more:

Get involved with CA ANZ Mentor Exchange

Mentor Exchange allows early and mid-career CAs to tap into the skills and knowledge of our experienced members. Click on the link below for more information about Mentor Exchange, including details about the next program round.

Find out more about Mentor Exchange