20 years of student mentoring honoured

Mr Frank Byrne, who has been mentoring Griffith Business School students for 20 years.
Mr Frank Byrne, who has been mentoring Griffith Business School students for 20 years.

Gold Coast financial adviser Frank Byrne has been recognised for 20 years’ mentoring of Griffith Business School students as part of the Griffith Industry Mentoring Program.

Frank, who is now 73 years old, was one of the first mentors to join the program when it began in 1994. That was just four years after he graduated from the Griffith Business School himself.

“I just wanted to give back to Griffith in return for all the opportunities I have been given as a result of my studies there,” Frank said.

Frank graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce in 1990 when he was 50. He completed his studies part-time while working at the Department of Primary Industries, where he had been employed as an administration officer for 37 years.

With his new degree a whole world of opportunities opened up.

Frank went on to become a partner with an investment company on the Gold Coast. His areas of expertise include financial planning, strategies for wealth creation, self-managed superannuation funds, Australian and international equities, fixed interests and bonds.

“I’d always been a bit interested in the stock market and so I did some additional study and set up my own firm with two other people,” Frank said.

“One thing you can guarantee is that the stock market is never dull.”

Through the Industry Mentoring Program he has given young people much more than just work experience.

“Being an older person I have lots of experience. I think one of the advantages of the program is that young people can tap into that lifetime of knowledge. It’s all about contacts in the end; all about networking.”

Sometimes he even helps them land a job at the end of their studies.

Frank has remained in contact with quite a few of his mentees across the years. He takes pride in the fact they have valued his guidance so much.

“You tend to become involved in their futures and their lives. One of the students I mentored even invited me and my wife to attend her graduation ceremony along with her parents.”

Frank says sometimes one of the most valuable things mentoring can do for a young person is help them identify the things they don’t want to do.

“It may be that they discover it’s not what they thought it was going to be. That has happened maybe twice in the 20 years I have been involved.”

A major focus of Frank’s professional life has been helping his clients prepare with Retirement Planning and Transition to Retirement Strategies. And now he is making that transition himself. And just like the stock market, Frank’s life is never dull.

He devotes his spare time to singing, volunteering and gardening, and he continues to mentor Griffith students and help other young people reach their academic and professional goals. Through the Wesley Mission he regularly helps refugee high school students at a homework club in the Southport library.

He says it is all about social consciousness.

“We do, after all, live in the lucky country and we should do anything we can do to help people less fortunate than ourselves. That’s what drives me to do this sort of stuff.”

Frank is currently mentoring a Law and Commerce student and they meet regularly in coffee shops.

“I organise for him to get work placements including with my own company, as my two partners are still there, and in other places. I also still take students to workshops and different things.”

Frank urges anyone thinking about taking on a mentoring role to give it a go.

“Most older people don’t realise just how much they know, and it’s not all one way.

“You will learn quite a few things from the students too. They tell you about what they are studying and it is different from what you know.

“And through it all you get to help someone grow and become more self confident. You can’t really measure that can you?”