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PODCAST: Showcasing amazing people doing incredible things – Patrick Kidd, CEO, Invictus Games Sydney

PODCAST: Showcasing amazing people doing incredible things – Patrick Kidd, CEO, Invictus Games Sydney

The veteran community will converge on Sydney in October for the Invictus Games, an international sporting challenge that will include 500 competitors, supported by over 1,500 family and friends.

The veteran community will converge on Sydney in October for the Invictus Games, an international sporting challenge that will include 500 competitors, supported by over 1,500 family and friends.

Broadcast around the world and watched in 40 different countries, the spirit of competition and participation will be at its core while showcasing the talent, resilience and dedication of our wounded, injured and sick service men and women – and how rehabilitation and recovery can be empowered by sport.

Australia’s defence industry has put its back behind supporting the games, including sponsorship from SAAB, Boeing, Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, Deloitte and Defence Housing Australia, with new partnerships soon to be announced. The federal and state governments, RSL and Legacy are also integral games supporters.


Join Patrick Kidd, principal consultant with Deloitte Australia and CEO of Invictus Games Sydney, as he discusses with host of the Defence Connect Podcast Phil Tarrant the origin of the games, its role in supporting veterans into the community and reintegration into the workforce, helping veterans to find their way after the military, and the important role that families play.

For greater info on the Invictus Games and how you can get involved visit http://www.invictusgames2018.org/.

Enjoy the podcast,

The Defence Connect team


Listen to previous episodes of the Defence Connect podcast:

Episode 447: PODCAST: Becoming the world’s most cyber-secure nation, with Cyber Security Minister Clare O’Neil
Episode 446: PODCAST: Local infrastructure – key to delivering Defence capabilities, with Cr Peter Hudson
Episode 445: PODCAST: A growing chorus calls for a national security strategy, with ANU’s Professor John Blaxland
Episode 444: PODCAST: Doing the rounds – the week that was in Defence and defence industry
Episode 443: PODCAST: Unpacking the history of Australia’s defence policy and posture, with Michael Pezzullo
Episode 442: PODCAST: Moving beyond the End of History
Episode 441: SPOTLIGHT: Unlocking Defence performance through infrastructure design, with HDR’s Tim Napper
Episode 440: PODCAST: US Space Force engages with Australian SMEs at AusSpace24
Episode 439: PODCAST: Australia’s growing need for a national security strategy, with Andrew Wallace MP
Episode 438: PODCAST: Delivering Black Hawk in record time and setting the record straight on Army’s Aviation evolution

Speaker 1: Welcome to the Defence Connect podcast with your host, Phil Tarrant

Phil Tarrant: G’day everyone, it's Phil Tarrant here. I'm the host of the Defence Connect podcast. Thanks for joining us today.

You might be aware of this, and hopefully you are because it's a great initiative. In October this year, 20th to the 27th, something very special is gonna be happening in Sydney, the Invictus Games. And as Defence Industry ... And I know chatting with many of you as I tour Australia at various different functions, it's on a lot of peoples' radar, but I think also for some people, particularly within the defence industry, aren't too familiar with what's going to be happening. The opportunity is for defence industry to really take a lead, I believe, in helping to champion the benefits of defence industry for our ex-serviceman and also wider corporate Australia and just Australia in general about something which is going to be very special for Sydney and special for Australia.

In the studio today, Patrick Kidd who is the CEO of Invictus Games Australia. Patrick, how are you going?

Patrick Kidd: Pretty good, Phil. Thank you very much indeed for having me along today. I've never done a podcast before. Amazing to be invited, so -

Phil Tarrant: Patrick, you're ex-military. Is getting in front of a microphone talking about this stuff more daunting than perhaps a deployment subway?

Patrick Kidd: Only when the microphone is this big. No, I mean this is a great opportunity for us to talk about our favourite subject, which is the Invictus games which we've been working on now for well over three years to sort of bring to Australia. So we're really excited about the prospect of 500 competitors from 18 different nations supported by their family and friends coming here between the 20 to 27th of October this year. It's gonna be an amazing event. We'll see things change in front of our eyes, people's lives impacted in a really personal way, which is a unique privilege to be able to watch. So we're really excited about bringing this to Australia and absolutely this is more than just the games which is focused around the veteran community. It's the games that will inspire the community as a whole. So it's a really interesting sort of prospect.

Phil Tarrant: Yeah, it's good and at Defence Connect, we're gonna get behind supporting you guys. I think it's a great initiative and I know already you have some stakeholders within defence industry who've got behind this game. So, can you tell us about some of those companies working with you guys?

Patrick Kidd: Yeah. So we have a range of relationships that we have. I mean, for us were looking for partners and we have looked for partners who have an aligned purpose. Our purposes when we look at the Invictus games, it's so much more than just a sporting event. These games are an opportunity to send a really cohesive message to Australia and more broadly globally about what it is to serve, and actually to celebrate amazing people who serve in the armed forces and the extraordinary things that they do. And so I suppose if I take a step back and we ask ourselves what the Invictus games is about, on one level people will view it as a sporting competition, which of course it is. But really what it is about is using the power of sport to inspire people to sort of get up off the couch and kickstart their rehabilitation and recovery by using sport. And sport is such an important part of all of this because it's about being active and being connected. It is about active lifestyles because that's good for you and when you're active you connect it to other people and when you have those two qualities going on, all of a sudden your life begins to change.

And what we've seen since the Invictus games with first held back in 2014 is that there's a whole collection of people who've come through the system and their lives have changed as a result of the experience that they've had and they're now kick-started a road that effectively enables them to reintegrate back into society. So when we talk about the games, for us what's important is about putting together partners who are aligned with that purpose. It's not about the sport, it's about why we're doing the games and it's about inspiring a nation about what it is to be resilient, to overcome adversity, to turn adversity into opportunity. So our defence partners have been absolutely essential in terms of what we're doing and how we do it. We have a range of great companies out there, all been absolutely brilliant partners and for us what they are is people who help us deliver the games, but more importantly they're people who are aligned with the purpose of the games. They positively support veterans in the community. They help them to reintegrate back into the workforce and they're absolutely a fundamental part of what the games are about. So very much as we look at this, we're really keen to get out there to engage with defence industry because this is a games whereby veterans are supporting veterans and defence industry is a part of the family, is a part of the military family. So these games are your games. These games are defence industry's games as much as they are about the people who are serving or the people who have served.

Phil Tarrant: And with this podcast, and I've got about 20 minutes or so, Patrick, I hope to get a greater understanding about the games and it's genesis. I know you have a strong patron with Prince Harry, and a lot of people connect him with the games and that's good. What I also wanna understand is how do you end up being the CEO of the Invictus Games in Australia? What's the backstory? You obviously got a twang to your accent, so you're not originally from Australia. But I know you served UK Military for quite some time, then also with the Australian army. Tell us the story of how you ended up here in front of the microphone.

Patrick Kidd: We're all Australians here Phil. So I was in the British army for 20 years. My wife told me to come to Australia, so I came to Australia, which is great. I never regretted it, fantastic decision. I joined the Australian army, did 10 years with the Australian army, left at the end of 2014 after a year in Afghanistan working with the Americans, and I joined Deloitte at that point in time. And when I joined Deloitte they'd been working on an idea which was to bring the Invictus Games to Australia in 2018. So it was given to me and a couple of other people to sort of start to work on how we might breathe life into it from there. Deloitte had been extraordinarily supportive in terms of giving us the time to be able to develop the relationships that really are essential to deliver games like this, you know, to develop those partnerships.

And so they gave us that time, not exclusively, but they gave us the time. They allowed us the opportunity to roam and they really stood up and showed leadership in terms of this. So for me, I'm absolutely humbled by the support that Deloitte have given it. The story of the games is interesting. Steven Moore, ex-captain of the Wallabies had a broken knee in 2014. He was, doing some intern work with Deloitte to get some experience. He's with one of the guys on our team, a guy called Ben Rahilly. They go up to Darwin and they play wheelchair rugby at the Wounded Warrior Recovery Centre in Darwin with a bunch of guys who'd been injured at Afghanistan and he enjoyed his experience. At the same time as that the games are taking place in London. He's inspired by that, he's inspired by his moment in Darwin and he sends a text to one of his great friends, the governor general and he says, "Wouldn't it be a great idea if we could bring the games to Australia?"

And from that, the idea was born and it's taken us, I think we've got about 230 days to go, and we've been at this now for I think 1,300 days. So we've been at it for a long time and it's about bringing together the right partners and that really is what's enabled us to do this. And if I think about that it's around, you know, the support from the Department of Defence and the federal government has been amazing. We couldn't have done this without them tipping support in very early on. New South Wales State Government has been fantastic. We have founding partners with New South Wales Clubs who again have been absolutely with us right from the very outset, Deloitte and Legacy. So those founding partners really have enabled us to get to this particular point, and without their support we would have struggled.

Phil Tarrant: And so the Invictus games, the first duration of it was in London in 2014. So is it going to be held every four years? Is that the idea moving forward?

Patrick Kidd: It's a bit of an accidental games, so they held it in London back in 2014. I don't think they ever intended to do it again, but it created this incredible sense of something. You know, brought the brands, the sort of the IM logo that characterises The Games, brought together a community of people who otherwise are often very fragmented. And so there was then a clamouring to hold another game. So they then went to Orlando two years afterwards. So that was back in 2016 underpinned very much by Ken Fisher from the Fisher House Foundation. So he really sort of supported it in a very, very active way. So brought the Games to Orlando, brilliant games out there at Disneyland in Orlando.

Then they went to Toronto last year and obviously to Australia this year. We don't know yet what their longer term plans are, but we're extremely confident that there'll be games in 2020 and they're looking at really what the shape of the Games is going forward. But it is extraordinary to be a part of it. It absolutely brings together a whole collection of different organisations, people around a very simple common idea and a common identity. I think the other power of the Games when we look at the community, we tend to think it's just about those people who've served those people who are taking part in the sports, but these games seek to recognise the contribution that's made by the families and so in any service, in any life of service, be you a soldier, an airman a policeman and a doctor or a nurse.

At the end of the day you can only do those types of jobs when you have the strength of the family behind you and particularly when you're recovering from an injury or if you've been wounded or you're injured through your service. The only way that you find your way back is through the support of those families. And so the Invictus games recognises not only the competitors but the families equally. And we're here to give people an absolutely unique experience when they come to Australia.

Phil Tarrant: And what's the guidelines for participation? Anyone who has served can be invited-

Patrick Kidd: Anybody who's served and they've been either wounded, injured or ill. And what should happen is that the nations that select their teams should be not looking at it in terms of who's gonna come first, second or third, they should be looking at it in terms of who's the person who's going to benefit the most from the experience.

The opportunity is to encourage people to start playing sport. And then I think it's about looking at those individuals to think who's gonna benefit the most from actually going to the games. So medals are important, everybody wants to win and it's fiercely competitive come the day, but it's about so much more than that. It's about trying to get people there in the first place.

Phil Tarrant: So we just had the collegian culture of the military sort of transitioning into the spirit of the games. That fierce competition bit I imagine it's quite good fun socially as well.

Patrick Kidd: Oh yeah. It's amazing to watch these people come together. I mean, when they're on the field, they're absolutely doing the best they can to sort of win for their country and they're proud to be wearing the shirts of their country and for them it's a really important deal. But the off court piece, you know, the social dimension of bringing people together who've had similar experiences, be they physically injured or mentally scarred, is such an important part of this. The new normal for them is there are people that are there and they derive an awful lot of strength from each other, but just by being a part of it together. So it's an incredible atmosphere that's created.

Phil Tarrant: Yeah. I'm quite interested in your observations, a bit of more of a serious note around the transition of service people, ex-military into a life after, into corporate Australia potentially. Defence Industry plays a very important role to number one offer some great employment chances for our ex-service men and women, but also there's a bit of an obligation as well in terms of we have some major defence programs to deliver over the next number of years, whether it's subs or frigates or new combat reconnaissance vehicles where ex-service men can play a key role in delivering that. What do you think Defence Industry can do more effectively to capitalise on that talent coming out of our services?

Patrick Kidd: I suppose it's a more broader question. For me, when we talk about our community, people who have served within the military, so much of it is about how do they then ... You're always leaving the military at some point, be it after eight years, which is the average or 30 years. At some point in time you're gonna leave and you're gonna do something else. The challenge that people have is about what they do next and how do they find their way to do something that they value that allows them to be contributing to their potential within the community. And the people who serve in our defence forces and who serve in other service type things such as the police, they are fantastic people.

They do amazing things. They have incredible qualities. And I think so often the broader community, the broader people who employ people don't necessarily see what those qualities are because they don't necessarily understand it. And so assisting people through transition from service to the life after service is such an important part of success in terms of how people adjust into the world that they live in. And you don't just suddenly leave one job and start the next, transition takes time and it takes people to support you over that time to help you find your way in a different world. And so I think the place of Defence Industry in that is so important because not only do they offer a place that people can go to from a defence background that they understand, but they also provide that essential bridge as people find their way from one type of role into another.

So when you look at it and you think about organisations and industries that absolutely have veterans interests at their very heart, I look at the defence industry and I think they are a fantastic example of that. For the Games, what we hope to do is to showcase amazing people doing extraordinary things. And when you see somebody who is able to overcome his adversity on the sports field and the spirit that it takes to do that, what that does is showcases incredible people to the world. And it's those stories that will inspire. And what we hope at the end of all of this is that there will be employers out there in the marketplace who would never have thought of employing a veteran because they just didn't think that that veteran would be the right fit because he doesn't have the right skills. But we want them to look at a veteran and think, I wouldn't mind having one of those guys on my team. And that for us is a key part.

It's about raising the profile of our veterans. It's celebrating what it is they've done in service, out of service, but recognising them for who they are and what they are and helping them find their way to useful, meaningful lives in employment.

Phil Tarrant: And how has your journey? So  30 years  in the forces, which is a lot longer than the eight year average. When you took that step outside and said, OK, this is, it's time to leave and move into  consulting. What was the biggest challenge for you  going down that path?

Patrick Kidd: Didn't tell me you're gonna ask me that question.

That is a great question. Actually, if I stayed in the army for 30 years, I've been trying to get out of the army for 27 of those 30 years. Just took me a long time to do it. I had a wonderful career, saw some extraordinary things, worked with amazing people, but always thought that I was going to do something else. I found leaving to be more confronting than I expected. All of a sudden you are in a different place with different people. You communicate in a different way. There's a different value set. And the toughest thing I think I found is, I believe in purpose. So I need to believe in what I'm doing. It brings out the best in me. And I think I struggled initially to find my way to purpose. So with Deloitte, I don't think they did it consciously necessarily with me, but Invictus provided me that little bit of purpose within Deloitte so I was able to and I had been able to evolve and learn and improve as a result of that experience.

I did a bunch of other stuff with consulting within defence industry so it's a space that I felt comfortable in. But there is no doubt that there's a void that's left when you leave. People react to that void in different ways. Some people find it very difficult, other people find it less difficult. But I do think about it in terms of the fact,  I'm a 30 year soldier, I was relatively senior I suppose in terms on relatively well educated and so I've got relatively good networks. And so for me in some respects it was relatively easy. I do wonder about people who are younger than me who  haven't had the same educational opportunities as me and I wonder sometimes how they find that transition and how easy did they find it to find their way to doing something that they value. I think  that's a hard place

Phil Tarrant: It is and I chat a lot to defence initiative at the very senior people within who understand and appreciate the value of recruiting and employing ex service people. But the message I take from what you just said is that it's all about purpose. It's more than just a job and often I'll ask," I see you have a defence prime, what are you doing to become an attraction business to make sure that you're getting the best and brightest talent out of the services into your business in whatever program you're working on." And I think you've hit the nail on the head. With purpose, needs to be a lot more than just a job.

Patrick Kidd: And I have to say, Invictus and I look at the team that I have the absolute privilege to work with.  They are all driven people. They come from an events background or a marketing background, but they get the idea, they understand what we're trying to do. They get the event. And what you see is a small team of people working extraordinarily hard and are doing amazing things. And it's a real privilege to be a part of that.

Phil Tarrant: Do you need to lean on a lot of the logistical skills of the military to actually put some of this together because you've got events all over the place. Let's have a chat about how many different events are going on, how many different sports involved in, how do you go about booking the space and arranging the numerous different things, that's a logistic challenge.

Patrick Kidd: So it's 500 competitors. It's 1500 family and friends. It's one level it seems relatively simple, but actually you hit the nail exactly on the head. This is a multi sport event that takes place over a very short period of time, seven or eight days. So it's 12 different sports, twelve different activities with a whole bunch of stuff that goes with it. The competitors who participate because it's not like the Olympics or the Commonwealth Games, what they're actually doing is they want to come and do as many sports as I possibly can. So for us success is their experience. It's how do you create an experience for that person at that moment in time that he will remember for the rest of his life that will then transform his life, and so if he wants to do four sports, then we have to help him do it for sports. If he just wants to do one then that's OK, but the complexities of about how do you synchronise all of those different things in time and space and it's an amazing event, so it's not like a school sports day which are also amazing events.

They're just different. It's an event which will be broadcast across the world. It will be watched in 40 different countries. Our podcast partner is the ABC. It's an event that will have a profile through the people who turn up and are involved in it and who watch it and who support it. So therefore it has to be absolutely appropriate and perfect for what it is we're trying to do. And so come the day when the Afghanistan team takes the court to play volleyball. That stadium of 5000 people is full of people baying like dogs for the Afghan team to win, that is some of the things that we have to sort of think about as we go forward. So it is complicated, at the end of the day you're doing something. You have to synchronise people in time and space to get to an outcome at certain point in time.  And it's really about just putting together experts to do what they need to do.

Therefore it comes down to three things really. It's about planning, making sure that you've got the right plans that can be handled across as you get closer to the games. It's about recruiting the right people who've got the right skill sets and knowledge, who understand what the event is about that you can rely upon, and then it's about buying the right services so that you get the right contractors on board in the right time, and it's then making sure that you've rehearsed and that you understand where the problems are going to be and you thought your way through the problem so that when it comes to the start of the Games, they happen as seamlessly as they can possibly happen.

Phil Tarrant: And you mentioned you've had some Defence Industry companies participating as corporate sponsors and that's very good. I imagine you'd always welcome a lot more, it's not too late to get involved with Invictus games from a corporate perspective?

Patrick Kidd: Yeah. Delighted we have to raise money at the end of the day. So we're really keen to try and find our way to the last bit of resources that we need. We are extremely excited about the prospect of what comes after the Games and we hope very much that there'll be a physical legacy to these games, which is around sport and making sure that there is a coherent sporting program for our veterans as we go forward. So we're looking for partners to help us get to that point in time. We're really keen to have people who are aligned with our purpose and so we talk about being inclusive and we really want to have those organisations that identify with what we're about, be it through employment, be it through the health and well-being programs that they have at work.

To be frank this is their games and as I said, I think earlier in the podcast that we talk about veterans supporting veterans and these should be our games, we should be proud to host them. And I see Defence Industry as an absolutely essential part of the family. Defence industry employs a whole collection of different veterans. So these are their games and it'd be great to see them absolutely invested in them and a part of it.

Phil Tarrant: And I think it's good it’s open for all Defence Industry participants because you're talking about a volleyball stadium of 5,000, I think everyone should be there checking it out and haven't a bit of fun and supporting them. We'll be down there, we'll get involved and I'm really looking forward to it. Prince Harry is the genesis of this whole Invictus game, could you tell us about that story.

Patrick Kidd: So 2013 he's out in Colorado Springs. I'm actually there at the same time, and he visits something called, the wounded warrior games which is effectively games that the Americans have staged for their services to come along and using sport as its platform for rehabilitation and recovery. So he goes around that, he looks at it, he thinks it's amazing. And he says, "Why don't we do this on an international stage?" And so the countries that participate in Invictus are very much those countries that we fought alongside in Iraq and Afghanistan, so it's that coalition, but he was inspired by that event .But the idea of sport and rehabilitation for people who've been damaged in service is not a new concept, it was developed at the back end of the Second World War.

And so there's been a program, but what he's done is used his profile and his interest and his energy to give it an amazing sort of platform, which we can use to help communicate a broader message across our community. I mean Invictus is such a wonderful opportunity for Australia. Everybody will be aware of it. There's already 71% awareness of it across the border. Not everyone knows exactly what it is or why it is what it is, but they've heard of it. And so to be able to have that at the outset and how do we use that as the platform to now communicate more broadly, how do we pick up that simple idea of active and connected lifestyles and take that into old age care facilities and how do we take that into our schools and how do we take that into the clubs that are out there that at the end of the day are community focus clubs. And this is a community focused event.

Phil Tarrant: I Imagine also sport plays a big role in the military even today. So it's one of the foundations of great teamwork, even for young kids is to learn how to get along and play with other people. So it's good to see that transition to life after military as well, where Invictus games and bringing people together on the enjoyment and the basis of the sport, Australians love it. We'll play anything against anyone so-

Patrick Kidd: And Sydney will love it and Sydney did a fantastic job in the Olympics. It was years ago..

And the venues that you have here are amazing. The opening ceremony with the Opera House, the sliding at Rushcutters Bay, cycling at the botanical gardens, and then we go up to Sydney Olympic Park to these incredible facilities that people have maintained since the Olympics.

It's not massive, sort of like largest event will be the closing ceremony which will be at Qudos Bank arena for about 20,000. But everything else is in into that sort of five to sort of 15,000 mark. It would be great to fill the stadiums.

Phil Tarrant: It's great. Well, we'll keep talking about it and if anyone is interested from this chat, if you wanna get in touch with Patrick, I happen to be a conduit. You can email to him here This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. I know you're also on Linkedin so people can reach out directly to you to have a chat.

Patrick Kidd: Delighted. Absolutely.

Phil Tarrant: And the competitiveness in me, I now, it's all about the spirit of competition. But how's the Aussie team looking? You reckon they'll be strong?

Patrick Kidd: The Aussie will be big, biggest ever. They're just going through the selection processes at the moment so they go into a pretty coherent sports development programs, so they're running that across the nation, different states and they'll make their selections probably towards the end of April, early May. And they’ll be full on.  I'm sure that it's gonna be a great team.

Phil Tarrant: And tickets available yet for-

Patrick Kidd: Not yet. They'll probably come on sale end of April, I think. Initially we'll have a early bird sort of sale and we're looking to try and reach out to our defence family. Defence industry is part of that family. So it will certainly create those opportunities for people to get on board.

Phil Tarrant: Okay, when all goes live we'll make sure the vendor industry knows, but yeah, all very exciting. I look forward to it. And Prince Harry will he be out here for the games?

Patrick Kidd: I can't possibly comment, he's been to every other games. He is as a patron amazing. When you watch him at the games, when he comes out and you see him engage with competitors and you see them engage with the family and friends of the competitors, and when you see a real connection that is absolutely meaningful. It's from his heart to their heart and it's extraordinary to watch it and it's a really humbling thing. So I think, for us to have somebody like that who supports us in these games is just a brilliant way to showcase what we're all about.

Phil Tarrant: And I wish you all the best Patrick, I'm sure it'll be a smashing success, but the message is very loud and clear for defence industries, "Get involved." This is a great opportunity for Sydney and Australia to showcase what makes us special as a nation, but also want to support our veterans. I look forward to it. We'll be involved and we'll be there and we'll report live from it. Yeah. So watch this space we'll let you know when there's any new main dates coming through, but if you're in front of your computer right now, lock out October 20th to 27th and get your team involved as well.

Tickets going on sale soon. What a great day out to spend with your team and support the Aussies or support the underdog it doesn't really matter because it's all about participation and having a good time. Thanks for tuning in today. Remember to check out defenseconnect.com.au for latest news market intelligence around defence and defence industry. A lot's happening at the moment. There's a number of major programs about to be announced, SEA 5000. If you're not subscribing to our daily morning marketing intelligence, be the first to know what's happening. Defenceconnect.com.au/subscribe. If you like social media Defence Connect, just check it out and you can follow us and like us and do all that sort of stuff. We'll be back next time. Until then. Bye Bye.