Speakers Profile - John Bertrand










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John Bertrand would have you believe that his main claim to fame is that he is a proud Australian. To his fellow Australians he is much more.

John Bertrand is an international sportsman, businessman and philanthropist.

He is the Australian who skippered the winged keel Australia 11 to victory over Dennis Connor’s Liberty to win the 1983 America's Cup, breaking 132 years of American domination and in the process, breaking the longest-running record in the history of modern sport.

The Confederation of Australian Sport voted the Australia 11 victory as the “greatest team performance in 200 years of Australian sport”.

In over 25 years of America's Cup campaigning (1970-1995), he was involved in all areas of creating and leading the high performance America’s Cup teams including skipper of the Australia II team and chairman of oneAustralia. A World Champion and Olympic bronze medalist (Montreal ’76), over a 25-year period, John represented Australia in two Olympic Games and five America’s Cups. Over a 30 year business career, he successfully built companies in the marine industry, property development and the digital media industries.

He co-founded and chaired Quokka Sports, a pioneering internet broadcast company based in San Francisco, which in 1998 was successfully floated on NASDAQ in the United States. Investors included television network NBC, News Corporation plus venture capital company Accel Partners. The company secured the digital rights and broadcast over the internet international Moto GP, NASCAR racing and US college football and basketball. The Company also launched the official site of the international Olympic Committee - www.olympic.org and broadcast the Sydney 2000 Olympics on behalf of NBC - www.nvcolympics.com

Since 2004, John has been chairman of The Sport Australia Hall of Fame, inaugural members being Sir Don Bradman and Dawn Fraser. National Patron is the Prime Minister and co-Patrons are Bob Hawke and John Howard. www.sahof.org.au

In October 2013, John was named a Legend of The Sport Australia Hall of Fame and the same month received an Honorary Doctorate from Victoria University for his contribution to sport and community leadership in Australia.

He is also chairman of the Prime Minister's Alannah and Madeline Foundation, a world leader in cyber-safety and well-being programs within Australian schools for children. - www.amf.org.au

In 2008 John was named Melbournian of the Year.

He holds a Mechanical Engineering degree from Monash University, a Master of Science from MIT in Boston and has an Honorary Doctorate from Victoria University.

He is also a Vice Chancellor Professorial Fellow of Monash University, specialising in ‘leadership and the creation of high performance teams’. In 2013 he launched the high-end leadership program benchmarking Australia's most successful leaders from within commerce, technology, military and sport, titled the ‘John Bertrand Leadership Series.’ www.monash.edu/john-bertrand-leadership/

John was chairman of selectors of the #1 world ranked Australian Olympic sailing team for London, he is a mentor to many aspiring young Olympians and continues to compete at the highest levels, in 2010 winning the World Etchells class sailing championships and placing 3rd in 2012.

In August 2013, John was appointed Chairman and President of Swimming Australia - www.swimming.org.au. With over 2000 coaches and 1.5 million people involved in the sport, swimming is Australia’s largest participation sport and the most successful at the Olympic Games.