The new CEO of the Ipswich Chamber of Commerce believes that there is only one way for the city’s small businesses to go, and that’s up.
The newly appointed CEO of the Ipswich Chamber of Commerce sees Ipswich as a business that is staring down the face of huge potential, and it’s her goal to help business owners capitalise on the expected population and business explosion.
Malini Saba is originally from Perth, where after finishing school studied Psychology. But the lure of overseas work enticed her to the US, where she set up home in San Francisco in the 1990’s during the boom period where Silicon Valley was the hub of business worldwide.
She has run her own business for over 25 years, invested in 22 other businesses, travelled the world and has only ever worked for herself. Describing herself as a ‘Venture Capitalist’, Malini is up for a new challenge, and the role of CEO attracted her on several fronts.
“I’ve only ever worked for myself,” Malini said. “My skill set comes from working in the US, where I learnt how to build companies. I love that start up period, bringing ideas to life and sticking through tough times because when times are tough, the only way is up!
“I decided to return to Australia as I have a young daughter, and when she turned six. I needed to decide how and where I want to live my life? My family is in Brisbane, so thought it was time to come home.
“I’ve only been back a few months, and while I’m still chairperson of my own business, I wanted a new challenge. The Chamber role seemed like something I could use all my skills. I want the Chamber to be a hub of information, to help people grow their businesses. We have to remember every single big business was once a small business.
“My own experience with Ipswich was very limited but what I have discovered while doing my research was that there is so much potential for and in this city. Yes there is growth in Springfield and Ripley, but I see the CBD on the cusp of growth too. I’ve been in so many countries where there was no foundation for such growth and Ipswich has that. It’s inevitable that the growth will happen, and RAAF Amberley in Ipswich’s backyard is proof of that, it is such a vital community to the Ipswich economy.”
Malini comes to Ipswich as an outsider, but sees that as her big advantage in the role.
“One of my advantages coming to Ipswich is that I see the city as an outsider, with no history, no preconceived ideas and with a completely clean slate,” Malini said. “It’s about all of us working together to make this place grow. I see Ipswich as a big start-up company, and I’m ready to see it reach full potential.
“Three weeks into the job my goal still is to meet people and to understand what they want, and what they need. Then I really will know what has to happen. It’s important for me to understand the culture of Ipswich before I move ahead.”
Malini has seen business in tough times, and good times. The world was a very different place in the 1990’s and again in the 2000’s, but she thinks Ipswich needs to look ahead, and not back.
“For every bad year in business, it means there is five good years ahead of it. We have to have that attitude. Nothing can stay down forever, business can only go up. Take the attitude that ‘tomorrow is going to be a better day’.
“Ipswich is a diamond…it’s time to start polishing it. Seeing it as an outsider, I wouldn’t say that if I honestly didn’t believe it. I love challenges and if I didn’t think it was possible I wouldn’t have taken on the role.
“No matter what the hurdles are we’ll make it. We’re all in this together.”