CEO and President
Executive Management Group, Academic Board
Aspire English, Aspire Institute and ICMS
Rowan Courtney-O’Connor is the Chief Executive Officer at Aspire English, Aspire Institute and the International College of Management, Sydney (ICMS) based on the Northern Beaches, Sydney.
Rowan has achieved a Diploma in Hospitality Management from ICMS (2002); a Bachelor of Business Administration from Macquarie University (2003); and an Executive Master of Business Administration (2017) from the University of Sydney.
Rowan brings a wealth of domestic and international experience to his position at ICMS. He started his career in sales and property development at the Constellation Hotel Group before accepting a role at Colliers International. At Colliers, Rowan managed property transactions for hotels and leisure assets in NSW, guiding his team successfully through the challenges of the global financial crisis (GFC) of 2007/8.
“The experience I gained at Colliers post-GFC was invaluable,” he said.
“There were plenty of opportunities before the crash, but post-GFC it was slim pickings. Learning how to put property deals together in this environment highlighted to me that the game is all about relationships.”
Moving on to Australian Pharmaceutical Industries (API) in 2009 managing all retail store franchises and developments in NSW allowed Rowan to gain insights into corporate culture.
“I began in retail development shortly after the company acquired a new brand called Priceline Pharmacy, which was a ‘new kid on the block’ within a mature business,” he said.
“The cultural challenge was in mixing the one-hundred-year history of brands Soul Pattinson and Pharmacist Advice with the much more modern and attention-seeking Priceline Pharmacy. I enjoyed my time with API, and enjoyed a lot of success there, yet my future was in the education industry.”
A five-year chapter as founder and Vice President of Aspire Institute and Aspire English led Rowan to his current role on the Executive team.
“A positive attitude, profound desire to learn and strong motivation to succeed are some of the key attributes I bring to my current role,” Rowan said.
“I’d like to share my experiences both domestically and internationally and I hope my contribution will be of value to those alongside me. My aspirations are to enjoy the process of making a difference to those around me. My satisfaction lies in seeing a team reach its potential; I’ve learnt that being a leader isn’t always running the fastest or being the most intelligent – it’s about whether you can create a vision and influence others to follow as a team, no matter what.”