Equally passionate about his accounting career and his voluntary work, Chad Stead FCPA is excited about combining the two to help marginalised students.
By Katie Langmore
Some people fall into an accounting career and grow to love it, but for Chad Stead FCPA, partner and business adviser at Lambourne Partners in Newcastle, the profession was vocational.
“I think that I was always on the path of becoming an accountant, right from my early teenage years when I would save birthday and Christmas money from my grandparents and buy shares with it,” he says with a laugh.
It’s a profession that Stead has served and utilised well, both in his long-standing career with Lambourne Partners and through his voluntary work.
The latter saw Stead as the driving force behind a reinvigoration of the CPA Australia Newcastle/Hunter branch. “Nothing had been done for quite some time and the members were pretty disengaged,” Stead says.
“With the support of the CPA Australia New South Wales general manager, we increased CPD [continuing professional development] and began arranging events and talks with local business leaders. At the first event in 2014, we got 80 people in a speakeasy whisky bar in Newcastle; members still tell me how much they enjoyed the event.”
Stead’s work with CPA Australia was good training for his more recent ongoing involvement in the Bean Counters Ball (BCB) – a black tie fundraiser, established in 2010, which brings CPAs and chartered accountants together.
“The idea was to get the local branches together and do something fun, but also create a legacy that would support the local community,” he says.
The inaugural BCB committee put half the funds raised into a TAFE accounting scholarship and donated the rest to Samaritans Student Accommodation, which provides free accommodation to 22 students from low socioeconomic backgrounds. The committee, which Stead first chaired in 2015, now invites a former scholarship recipient and a student from Samaritans to speak at each event.
“People come up to us afterwards and say the talks brought a tear to their eye. They can be quite confronting stories these generally young women share. I think it really impacts on the audience and drives the idea of giving back,” Stead says.
He took a further step in his voluntary work 18 months ago, working as chairman of the not-for-profit Centre for Hope, which supports local Indigenous and non-Indigenous children through a drop-in centre and programs aimed at respecting, connecting and creating.
“It was an opportunity to expand on what we are doing with the BCB and further my support of disadvantaged and marginalised young people,” says Stead, who has been deeply impressed by the Centre for Hope and its founding CEO Geraldine Moran.
“It isn’t until you witness something first-hand that you fully appreciate what’s needed and the difference we can all make.”
“I’ve never met more generous people, and the results have been so impressive for a charity that, like most, runs on the smell of an oily rag.”
Stead says the work with Centre for Hope involves more than the monthly board meeting. “Being a small not-for-profit with limited resources, we all wear many hats: marketing, business development, social media, attending functions and grant ceremonies, keeping on top of compliance and governance, reviewing the financial position, seeking new opportunities and continuing to create awareness in a crowded space.”
Stead is also regularly at the drop-in centre and finds himself playing ball with the children before he even makes it through the front door.
“It isn’t until you witness something first-hand that you fully appreciate what’s needed and the difference we can all make,” he says.
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Bean Counters Ball
The Bean Counters Ball is a shared CPA Australia and Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand initiative that raises money to support youth and education in the Newcastle region. The Bean Counters Ball will be held on 25 October at the Newcastle Exhibition & Convention Centre.
Centre for Hope
Centre for Hope is a not-for-profit organisation. It supports disadvantaged young people in the Newcastle region through a drop-in centre and leadership, parenting and educational support programs.