We are extremely happy to welcome Glenn Bergsma as the newest Strategic Coach at ConnectStrat. We are a global team, and having a heavy hitter like Glenn in Australia bolster the team makes us so much stronger. I wanted to get to know Glenn better and thought you would too. Here's my interview:
Tell me a little bit about your personal life. Where were you born? School? Family?
I grew up in Perth, Western Australia, one of the biggest states in the world (nearly 4 times bigger than Texas), and also one of the most isolated cities in the world. It sits at the bottom of the most populated timezone in the world with incredible opportunity, especially in Asia. I’ve traveled a lot of the world and this place has to be one of the world’s greatest secrets!
I’m married to my gorgeous wife, Allie. I’m punching way above my weight here (and I’m a big guy) and we have just celebrated 20 years married together and still going strong. We have two boys, Chase, 18 years old, and Jack, 17 years and we are a pretty tight team. These guys are my happy place, my zen, and I’m so grateful to share the journey with them.
My parents dedicated most of their life to the service of others and pretty much live to help those in need around them. My dad was a butcher, then became a Church Minister working mainly in country towns. They definitely taught me hard work, empathy, service to humanity, and a bunch more and I’m so grateful that I still have them both in my life. They make me a better man.
How about your early business life? Where did you get started?
My first job after I finished studying was working as a laborer in a cement factory. Man, that was a full-on job working hard and long hours but that’s where I learned grit and to work as a team. I became a supervisor fairly quickly and that’s where my passion for leadership began. I left the cement works to become a youth worker and chaplain in schools. Like my dad, I was in the ministry for a number of years, again mainly working with youth. I spent a lot of time training leaders and that’s where my passion for business began.
I took a huge step of faith and started a leadership and strategy consulting/coaching company nearly 16 years ago. Along the way, I had the privilege of working with one of my close mates, Tim Brewer, and that’s where the MSP world became familiar to me. Tim and I also did our Masters in Perth at the same time and we eventually went into business together. I had been consulting in one of his businesses before we went into partnership and then other MSP opportunities in Oz and over time have enjoyed working with MSPs in both Australia and the US.
When did your passion for coaching, teaching, and facilitating?
From the age of 15, I knew that I wanted to come alongside people and help them discover and reach their full potential. To be honest, I didn’t think that I would be working all over the world, helping leaders do that today. I’ve always just loved jumping in the gap of unreached potential and helping people figure out who they are, where they want to go in life including why and importantly, how will they get there and achieve success. That passion is the same for me now for leaders and their companies.
Tell me more about your experience in that regard. Where have you focused your work since you began coaching?
I was asked to consult and coach for the Australian Institute of Management, which was a great honor and gave me the opportunity to increase my capacity as a coach and facilitator.
The three main areas I coach and facilitate around now are strategy, leadership, and culture development. I still love rolling up my sleeves and jumping into continuous/process improvement projects but coming alongside leaders and their companies to help them kickarse and achieve what they are called to achieve, makes me fall asleep at night with a big smile on my face!
Finally, bringing it back to the personal side, what are you passionate about outside of work? What do you do to balance?
I train 6 days a week and lift heavy three of those days. Kickboxing with Chase (eldest son) keeps me honest.
Low and slow BBQ - I believe that every problem (except global warming) can be solved over the right quantity of delicious meat.
Music, I’ll get the guitar out when I can and perform even, after the appropriate amount of whiskey
Fishing - I love it and provides a great balance of peace and adrenaline.
Doing the above with family and friends makes it even better.
I also chair the board of a number of large not-for-profits here in Perth, helping some of the most disadvantaged youth to get a hand up and explore their full potential. That brings me great joy!