It wasn’t just a room full of business people, it was a room filled with individuals that want to make a difference.


First time in my association with the Swan Chamber of Commerce since my involvement in 2007 have we had to stop the ticket sales. We’ve doubled our attendance over the last couple of years, but this breakfast was something else.

John was the guest speaker in the DISRUPTIVE LEADERSHIP BREAKFAST SERIES, held by the Swan Chamber of Commerce on Sept 17th in the heart of Midland at the Crooked Spire.

He walks the walk, and talks the talk.

I had the privilege of meeting John Hughes some months back. John is most definitely, one of Australia’s best recognised car dealership founders. I also have to recognise him as one of Australia’s best businessmen, still going strong at 86 years of age.

John is a no nonsense character, what you see is what you get, so what does that mean?

In his office, the setting is minimalist in style, and completely set up for effectiveness. He reminds me of an SAS business person the way he operates. Every second is counted for. As John likes to put it “I am the light switch in my business”, meaning, John sets the tone as the leader of his organisation. With over 400 employees, I think John is hardest on himself. It’s an old school way of leadership, and it is so refreshing to see it in action.

Let’s fast track a few months later, John Hughes, on stage, in the heart of Midland, doing a speaking engagement, says, “I stopped doing speaking engagements two years ago. Tom, God knows how you got me here”

The audience laugh!!!

John’s talk was filled with humour, common sense and a call to action. The audience loved it. No one leaving early is always a great sign of connecting with the people.

John’s commitment to the business community drew him to the Swan Chamber of Commerce when he least expected it. The business community in the Eastern Corridor of Perth also responded well, this particular business breakfast being best attended business breakfast since my association with the Swan Chamber in the last fourteen years.

What made this Business Breakfast different?

1. There was no name tags on entry. Business People are being treated with the respect they deserve.

2. There was no hierarchy. Everyone in the room stands on equal ground. No special tables for dignitaries. First in get the best seats.

3. There was no room for negativity. With a smoking ceremony at the entrance, the message was clear. Keep all your negativity at the door and enter the event with a new set of eyes.

The smoking ceremony at the entrance of the event was symbolic of all that we want in life. An ability to leave all negativity, ill will and failures at the door. To enter a new season of opportunity without the past weighing us down.

Thank you Koya for your smoking ceremony contribution on the morning.

John Hughes wasn’t the event, John added to the spirit of the fresh direction that the Swan Chamber is going. John spoke with a spirit of a twenty year old and with the wisdom of an ancient elder. Which depicts the current spirit of the Swan Chamber. It’s an old network with a fresh lease of life.

At the end of the event, it was both surprising and encouraging to see so many young business people go up to John and glean one more pearl of wisdom from him.

Driving John back to his office, he commented on how impressive it was to see so many young people interested in being part of a business chamber and developing their business skills. I expressed to John how intentionally we have been as a business network to build a new culture, relevant to this generation.

All in all, John spoke into the lives of individuals that are hungry to succeed and grow their businesses in such a way that is doable.

What an amazing morning that didn’t feel like just another business breakfast, it felt like a revival meeting.

When John said “Tom, God knows how you got me here?”

My cheeky response was “God does know”

If you are open to the extraordinary, you might just experience it.

Thank you John Hughes for your example, commitment and humility to inspire the next generation.

It’s always about preparing the next generation to prosper. John takes time always to speak into the life of one more person with an appetite to succeed.

John said that he would do his last speaking engagement with the Swan Chamber of Commerce, apparently not. John had been invited by The West newspaper to do their Leadership Matters breakfast next month. As much as John desires to get on with his business as it continues to grow, it would be a great loss to our next generation when he does his final public engagement.

I believe John will do the speaking engagements until he reaches the grave! As much as he would like to just mind his own business.

Comments from a handful that attended the DISRUPTIVE LEADERSHIP BREAKFAST,

Was a great morning with 6 leaders from our company being able to sit and listen to a quality speaker in John Hughes.. our team left with full stomachs and a full list of ideas and inspiration. ~ Daniel Gafney MD ALLSAFEWA

It was totally inspired by the pearls of wisdom, learnt at the University of Life shared by John Hughes at the Swan Chamber breakfast this morning.
What a great event, I felt like standing and applauding on numerous occasions. ~
Chris Bown MD Thrive Integration

Tom, had a top breakfast, amazing business and life tips from John Hughes and met some great people. Puts me in good stead for the day and the rest of my life! ~ Peter Sansom Experius Group.

Fantastic event full of opportunity by Swan Chamber with a gathering of like minded business men and women. The inspiring, insightful and thought provoking stories and analogies from John Hughes topped off what was already a fantastic event! ~ Terry Bingham MD Five Star Business Solutions

Another outstanding leadership breakfast hosted by the Swan Chamber. The message from John Hughes was loud and strong – regardless of the industry, we are all in the People Business! ~ Paige McNeil, Councillor Elect Mundaring

God bless you John Hughes for your service to the business community at large.

Tom Smilovitis : Honorary CEO SWAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

‘Changing the way we do business’

A Business Network going back to the basics. In the words of John Stefanelli, one of the founding members of the chamber “There is no security in life, only opportunity”

Call me direct if you are in Perth Western Australia to enquire more how you can grow your network on 0407866555 , or look me up on WhatsApp..

Often it’s hard to determine where a community is going back woulds.

Wether it’s a neighbourhood, shopping precinct, large corporations, business clubs or churches.

3 simple rules to transform dysfunctional communities

1. Know the overall vision and don’t assume it.

It’s taken for granted all to often that each member of a team or a corporate citizen has a sense of direction.

Most people aren’t driven by vision or mission, they would rather take the less intense roads of predictability.

Predictability takes less responsibility and bends to the weakest link in the chain.

Therefore the community’s weakest link drains all the energy, resources and creativity of potential.

It’s the visionary or mission oriented person that brings things back to basics and rekindles the clarion call





2. Act quickly and decisively and measure change immediately

Once the visionary or mission oriented person has insight to some of these questions, they instantly action change to bring out even more hidden issues.

It’s at this point most communities flounder and retreat from any type of conflict.

Many in the community are faced with their own lack of contribution to the problem. Their constant gossip, comfort and lack of direction comes to the surface.

Everyone is vulnerable to complacency, no one can escape this insidious temptation.

However, even the most cynical person who has a heart for change can recognise a true visionary or mission oriented person. Often these cynics become radically enthused and banter together to fulfil a noble mission.

3. Once you start the change, don’t stop, until the mission is accomplished

A visionary or mission oriented person would do themselves a great service by empowering and training others to bring change.

Many visionaries burn out at the early stages of change because they try to do it alone.

It’s the visionary who spends most of their time recruiting the right team that will have the staying power.

Many hands make light work.

Never engage someone who simply talks about change, engage those who have skin in the game. A true visionary or mission oriented person measures everything, starting with themselves.

Effectiveness is always the end game, have we made a difference.

My perfect example of a visionary and mission oriented leader is Jesus.

Within three years, he stated the mission and opportunity to transform society.

He sought out twelve teachable men to carry the vision and the rest is history.

How simple is that!!!

On the downside, the visionary will always be hunted down by those who feel personally threatened, not by those who want to see wholesome change.

Remember, the ones that crucified Jesus did not want change. They preferred dysfunction. Why should we be surprised by those who hinder progress, especially when they may lose their power.

How do you measure effectiveness?

Welcome to another episode of TOMCAST,

What do you do when you feel cornered, and they give you an ultimatum?

You can survive any storm if God is the foundation of your life.

Nineteen years ago I made a conscious decision to stand up for myself and see where it all leads.

What was on the line?

1. My livelihood

2. My community

3. My sense of purpose

Up until this day, I had the world at my fingertips. For over twenty one years I served within the organisation without even a blemish against my name. Why give it all up out of principle?

At thirty eight years of age with a young family to raise, a wife and children to protect, it all came to a head.

My brothers became my worst nightmare, turning their backs on me to protect their future.

I was to go it alone with my young family and carve out a new destiny. One that had no security only opportunity.

I won’t go through all that happened other than, we survived the mental and emotional storm that lasted for years.

Ironically, it was a GOOD SAMARITAN BUSINESSMAN, with no affiliation to a religious organisation that saw my plight and rescued me. He had the means and the heart to bless a stranger. Like this GOOD SAMARITAN BUSINESSMAN, I’ve stumbled on a handful ever since. Each one providing the means with their gracious hearts to propel me in my calling.

God truly does move in mysterious ways and I’m a testament to that. Maybe God is trying to unlock you to, from the prisons we create. Like me. God may use the oddest situations and individuals to do just that.

God used Pharaoh to bless Joseph, and God used Joseph to bless Pharaoh in the common good of rescuing a family and a nation.

Be open to God’s surprises!!!

Today, I’m so grateful that I chose to make a stand.

It created in me a resolve that has never disappeared. My conscience is not for sale.

No matter what you feel you are going through, sometimes it feels so overwhelming, that death seems to be the alternative option. Unfortunately I went through that valley and I thank God I kept going.

Nineteen years on, I can assure you, the sun will still shine each and every day. I tend to see it more and enjoy it more than I have ever done.

If it doesn’t kill you it will only make you stronger are words few can say with conviction, but these words are so true.

I pray you have a blessed day and that you keep on going till you pass through your current valley. There’s a beautiful place waiting for you on the other side.

A very cryptic blog I know, but I couldn’t even begin to express how blessed I am today for standing my ground.

My theology today comprises of two commandments, which Jesus taught. Love God, Love People, from there the sky is the limit in what you can achieve.

Welcome to another episode of TOMCAST,

Volunteering your time, talent and labour in a noble effort is one of the most effective ways to create good mental well-being for ourselves and the greater community.

Let’s first dismiss what isn’t volunteering.

Taking time and effort to benefit ourselves isn’t what I would call volunteering.

Learning a new skill that takes time and effort isn’t what I would call volunteering.

Offering our time, talent and effort for an honorary role or title isn’t what I would call volunteering.

Offering our time, talent and effort to benefit others in its purist form is what I would call volunteering.

Most parents fit this role.

Some grandparents, children and siblings fit this role.

Some friends fit this role.

Rarely will we find individuals that serve to benefit others, where the reward or recognition is simply to see others blessed as the reward, is enough.

Why volunteer at all if the reward seems fleeting and intangible?

The true volunteer feels the obligation to give back to a society that has somehow blessed them.

The true volunteer has the necessary skills and they make the time to share.

The true volunteer has a priority and understanding that life, like nature, is cyclical. If they don’t invest in others they end up alone and miserable.

My mother said to me on many occasions before she passed “I gave while you were a baby. I protected and fed you so that one day when I become a baby and need to be protected and fed, you’ll be there for me”

Truer words have never been spoken!!

The heart of a volunteer will always give more time and effort than they feel they can afford because of the unseen rewards life offers them.

Maybe they have tapped into the benevolent nature of the creator that always gives back one hundred times plus the seeds that have been sown.

If you are going through a difficult season in your life, may I suggest volunteering your time, talent and effort in a noble quest greater than your immediate needs and wants.

Serve others and allow the benevolent creator to bless you when you least expect it.

Volunteering will always cost you!

True volunteering will always pay great dividends!

Welcome to another episode of TOMCAST,

The art of developing street credibility!

Clip from an Advertorial I did in the year 2000. Perhaps this was the beginnings of my now blogs!
Pic of an old Preacher friend who died some years back, Jack Rokobuta, from Fiji. That’s me in the right hand corner spreading the good news on the streets. At that point I’d been into Street Preaching for over twenty years.

You have to find that place in life where everything just makes sense to you, no mater how bazaar it may appear to those around us.

I remember as a teenager walking through the streets of Perth and hearing a street preacher for the first time.

He was an elderly Indian man called Ted Jackson, heavy set, with a voice of an Ambassador preparing you to meet a king.

I was only seventeen years old and I was fascinated by this street preacher’s absolute confidence in the message he was declaring.

His message both entertained me and made me think of God’s existence.

In the coming months I came across other people sharing their faith; from the Hare Krishna crew to Mormons and the rest of the religious smorgasbord peddling their message. The Indian Street Preacher was definitely different and he left a lasting impression on me.

It was only a matter of months before I ended joining a progressive christian church. Some may call it an old school hallelujah gospel church, others, just another sectarian offspring of Christianity. To me it was the perfect community that was doing something about what they believed and they had to let the whole world know.

Street Preaching really appealed to me, I don’t know why?

My second radical experience of a street preacher was an evangelist called Larry Reed. He was a former heroine addict and spent over sixteen years in the notorious San Quentin State Prison in California. He was invited to preach in our small congregation back in 1981, and when I heard him preach, an embryo of my calling germinated.

Larry could hold an audience wherever he was, be it the streets, a beach front or from the traditional pulpit.

All I saw was courage, hope and fire in the belly. Young and old gravitated to him. Believer and unbeliever gravitated to him.

He was a walking miracle of God that was undeniable.

Deep down inside that’s what I wanted, I wanted to be a walking miracle that gave everyone I meet courage, hope and place a fire in their belly.

It wasn’t too long before I just copied what Larry Reed did. I’d preach in the streets, in front of night clubs, at the beach and at University compasses. The more I did it the bolder I became.

God showed me very early in my walk with Him that I didn’t need to be a converted heroine addict or criminal to inspire others. I just needed to be authentic.

Forty years later, the very DNA that of my initial Street Preaching experiences have never left me. Perhaps there’s still a Street Preacher in me that needs to go out again in the public square or a beach front and Preach my message of hope.

Who knows?

How do we develop art of street credibility?


Welcome to another episode of TOMCAST,

There was a time when I wouldn’t even look up at the sky to notice the stars, birds or the splendour of a sunrise. I was way to busy for superficial things like that. I had a world to reach, people’s lives to save, I had a mission and nothing was going to stop me, until?

Every morning the sun shines bright, yet few appreciate its splendour. Often clouded by responsibilities and a life that is caught doing things that don’t matter.

I woke up one morning and lost it all.

Imagine working so hard that your vision becomes so singular that you miss everything that you are supposed to be seeing.

The beauty of starting again.

1. You don’t lose your skill set

2. You don’t lose your motivation

3. You don’t lose your creativity

Starting over does something beautiful.

You have a chance to be twice as effective, half as busy.

It’s the Winter experience of losing everything that prepares you for a new Spring season, allowing you to sow on fresh ground for a sustainable harvest.

It was Jesus who said ‘What good is it if you gain the whole world at the expense of losing your soul’

The implications are devastating.

Like me, many of us who are high achievers, disciplined and ambitious end up losing the race, why?

I believe it’s because we are running in the wrong lane!!!

Our talent is spent serving the wrong master.

The best days of my life have always been the day after the worst days of my life.

The worst days that led me to the wall where I crashed and burned helped me to reflect, reimagine and renew my commitment to things that matter.

1. Living with a clean conscience

2. Being in right relationship with my loved ones

3. Using my gifts to make the world a better place

4. Taking time to enjoy the sun rise ~ the proverbial, taking time to smell the roses 🌹

Unfortunately, this truth can’t be taught, it must be caught.

I hope you have an amazing day enjoying things that matter most.

Welcome to another episode of TOMCAST,

There is an art to the meet and greet.

The look I have when I’m in a meeting without a purpose. So much can be achieved by less meetings and more importantly, when meetings do happen, what’s the objective.

Three types of people when they meet for the first time!

Balance is always at the heart of a great meeting. Some meetings are too hot, too cold and just right. Knowing the difference helps us from wasting our energy and time of meetings that lead nowhere.

3 types of meetings..

1. The need to become best friends

This is the meeting that happens when two individuals or a group meet for the first time and everyone feels the need to become best friends.

This type of meetings often ends with lots of laughs, open conversation, confessionals and that feeling of joy, but it leads nowhere.

Both parties don’t know where to take it from there other than make a cordial relationship.

How much cordial relationships can one handle. Not everyone needs to like us to make a meeting meaningful.

This is more of a social gathering rather than a meeting with purpose.

2. The need to feel superior than others in the room

This is the red tie, high powered, chest beating meeting where the top dog has to come out on top by the end.

These meetings rarely go anywhere other than Ill will and the taste of gravel in the mouths of those that attend.

In fact this is not a meeting, it’s a dictatorship. One rules and everyone else yields.

3. The desire, the will and the fortitude to get things done collaboratively

This is the meeting that has a punch to it.

There is an obvious objective

There is an obvious leader

There is an obvious team

There is an obvious outcome

This is the meeting that lends to it each and every strength of those attending. No one sees themselves better than the other.

There is an ease to give and to celebrate a victory together.

This is the meeting that gets things done ✅

This is the meeting I long to be a part of or set up.

You don’t have to like me when we first meet, but you will appreciate me when we work together.

I want to be the person that gets things done and I love being around people that get things done.


Why Blog?

Welcome to another episode of TOMCAST,

My dad rarely danced, but when he did, he did it with soul and spirit.. a great way to live. If you are going to do anything in life, do it with all your heart.

Popularity is the least of my concerns, influence is where its at!

Can I influence you in such a way that you dare to view the world differently, even for a moment? From there it’s really about influencing you to be optimistic, hope filled and pragmatically making things happen.

I write as an outlet to what I do, not just what I think. Thinking alone is futile, thoughts must be tested. My blogging is an extension of my wild upbringing in a migrant home, my community work and business dealings.

Growing up as a Greek/ Macedonian migrant in Australia, story telling is in my blood.

My family, especially my father and uncles were the most charismatic oral story tellers that stirred the imagination. I’m just following in their footsteps.

Ironically, the very idea of blogging is laughable. I failed school, leaving at fourteen years of age. Teachers encouraged my friends to keep away from me because I was a terrible influence.

I’ve never been one to conform, I love the idea of transformation rather than compliance.

Rather than relying on the gift of verbal communication, I started to read and write at seventeen years of age. My teachers were partially correct, I’ve always been an influencer.

People and life experiences are my huge interest. Blogging and writing is my way of sewing it all together in the hope of being a positive influence in someone’s life.

English is my second language. I have no formal schooling and I’m married to an English Literature Teacher. The odds are against me.

Blogging and writing is still one of my worst fears. I battle with it continuously in order reach further and add value to the world. I’m getting better by the day and hope to be a ray of light in your life through my quirky views of the world.

I encourage you to face your fears head on. By doing so, they may give way to greater opportunities in life.

What hinders you from all that you dream about?

Dream big, act big.

I have an incredibly blessed life by the Grace of God and my following tag line is my everyday experience.

“Stirring the imagination – Connecting people to possibilities”

Welcome to another episode of TOMCAST,

A trailblazer is often regarded as an innovator, pioneer, the first to achieve something.

They are perhaps some of the most misunderstood individuals.


They see things that don’t seem to be seen by others.

They construct solutions where others only see the problem.

They execute what they see in their mind’s eye and keep moving forward as though a path is set out for them.

They are most comfortable where the path appears most difficult.

The trailblazer’s challenge will always be

1. Convincing others what they see.

2. Convincing others to come on a journey with them.

3. Convincing others to enjoy the journey as much as they do.

That being said, most trailblazers are happy to go it alone and are equally exhilarated when others join.

If you come across a genuine trailblazer, I hope you catch what they have, you’ll never be the same.

Welcome to another episode of TOMCAST,

To even talk about prayer in a world dominated by science, government control and economic dependency seems futile. But prayer works in the midst of these dominating forces and even where angles fear to tread.

To the pragmatist without faith, prayer is nothing but defeat on legs.

To the faith filled, prayer leads us to a pragmatic path that seems irrational at times and overly optimistic.

When laws are or aren’t in place to protect the helpless, the prayer filled person acts nonetheless.

When the possibility of an outcome seems completely hopeless in the natural world, the prayer filled person rises to the challenge and builds bridges of possibilities.

Prayer acknowledges two things

1. We are not alone in the universe.

The creator of all things that put all the laws of the universe in place, is greater than the science we discover.

The creator of the universe is not just a force, energy or vibe. The creator is a person that relates to humanity with all its complexities.

When I first grasped this simple truth in my teen years, it changed everything about how I viewed the world, which led me to pray, pray, pray..

My initial prayers were like a baby to a parent. Give me, give me, give me!!! I struggled when I didn’t get what I thought I wanted out of life.

As I matured over the years, prayers were, teach me, teach me, teach me.

Prayer is aimed at building a relationship with our creator.

We are not alone

2. Prayer or the lack thereof teaches us a lot about our selves

Like obstinate children refusing to grow up or like open children wanting to mature, prayer reveals a lot about what’s going on in our heart.

It’s not unique to see humanity despise the creator and take all the credit for their achievements. These are the ones that deny the existence of God and make themselves godlike. This is ancient and not something new coming from science. It’s a form of idolatry when we make ourselves greater than the creator.

Don’t underestimate the prayer of a humble person relying of God’s Grace to fill voids in a life that success, science and human knowledge alone can’t.

A prayer filled person leans on God daily and patiently waits to be justified if need be, that prayer triumphs self enthronement.

If you are in a place where the obstacles of life seem overwhelming, pray and let’s see what God will do.

Knowing Him is the prerequisite of the meaning to life, from there, all things are possible.

He can move the mountains that are in your way.

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