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Mike Page - How His Passion Found Him

Where Mike Page ended up in his working life with Mitrais today has been a long and winding road from where he started, as he believes that "your passion will find you".

Mike was born in Brisbane to a Welsh father and English mother who had immigrated in the 1950s. His father was an analyst for IBM for many years, who had travelled worldwide in that capacity before helping found a successful grocery retail chain and developing their automated inventory control system. In the years following his retirement, his father lectured on Inventory and Stock Management at the University of Queensland (UQ) and Queensland University of Technology (QUT). Mike’s mother was a registered nurse who elected to be a full-time mother once he was born. She continued to work as a calligrapher for many years as Mike was growing up attending various schools in his childhood, culminating in Church of England Grammar School and QIT.

Perhaps, surprisingly, given his father’s background, Mike had no real interest in pursuing a career in IT during his schooling. “While we always had primitive computers at home (this was the 1970s, well before the first PCs were produced) including TRS-80s and Commodores and I enjoyed coding for basic games for them, I was much more interested in other things,” he confessed.

On leaving school, Mike enrolled in a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering degree at QUT (then known as the Queensland Institute of Technology or QIT), largely based on the subjects studied at school rather than any particular passion. But he changed to a Bachelor of Business degree majoring in marketing and advertising after one year. People are often surprised that, given his career, Mike did not start with a degree in IT or Computer Science. The answer is simply that neither of these degrees existed in 1979 when he applied for university (and he probably wouldn’t have chosen them even if they had).

Following university, Mike ended up working with an organisation specialising in Organizational and Procedural Review (what would now probably be called Business Process Re-engineering or Management Consulting). The large amount of data generated during projects made manual statistical analysis cumbersome and unreliable. So, he was asked by the management to investigate the established mainframes and very new Wang VS minicomputers that the organisation had available to see if these could be harnessed to produce the results of Time and Motion analyses quicker and more reliably.

The successful adoption of these systems led him to eventually become a Novell Certified Netware Engineer (as Novell LANs, in turn, replaced the Wang Systems). He taught PC networking for a time, learned programming languages, and ended up with an ‘accidental career’ in IT, much to his father’s amusement.

In addition to a person who is something of a science ‘nerd’ and a keen reader of non-fiction, most people who know Mike are aware that he spent most of the ‘80s and ‘90s playing in various bands in Australia. He considers himself very lucky to have been involved in the music industry during its halcyon days when almost every hotel and club in Australia hosted live bands 5 or 6 nights every week. He travelled widely throughout Australia and was lucky enough to play with some great musicians (some now relatively famous) who he still counts as friends. It was also through music that he met his lovely wife of 29 years, Donna.

While he doesn’t play much professionally any longer, Mike still plays mostly bass and spends time building and modifying instruments and equipment. “My sons are also keen and talented musicians who started playing in Kuta nightclubs weekly at the age of 14, so our house still contains more guitars and amplifiers than might be considered “healthy,” he said.

Mike’s initial contact with Mitrais was in the early 2000s as the IT Manager at FinancialLine (now Modoras Wealth Management), where he was responsible for the design and development of one of the first distributed wealth management systems known as Evolution using a Mitrais team. The Evolution project was not without challenges but was ultimately a successful one for both FinancialLine and Mitrais.

Mike formed a friendship during this period with David Magson, Mitrais’ former Group CEO, who was then Chairman of Mitrais. In 2006 he was surprised to be contacted by David asking if he would be interested in a 1-year consultancy with Mitrais in Bali, helping review and evolve the development processes and acting as a Senior Manager under Maria Lantau, the then VP of Software Development. Mike and his wife decided that even though they had a young family of identical twin sons, who were 8 years old at that time, and that the Bali tragedies were still fresh in everyone’s minds, it was a great one-year opportunity, nonetheless. So, they packed up their furniture into storage and flew to Bali.

Moving to Bali with his family seems to have been a catalyst in his career choice. After a time, Mike was appointed Mitrais VP Software Development in 2007 and remained in that position until 2014, when his sons needed to relocate back to Australia to pursue tertiary studies. At that point, he regretfully resigned from his position at Mitrais and went back to consulting in Australia, only to have David reached out to him again in 2017. He was delighted to take up the role of Sales Director for Queensland, which he has undertaken since.

Mike has always believed that “If you work hard and keep your eyes open for what really ignites your interest, then follow that. Do not feel the pressure that the first career you select will be for life.”

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