John Pappas

John Pappas

Are there any other notable experiences from your time at Monash you’d like to share?

My time at Monash University was an extremely memorable period of my life for many reasons. I really enjoyed meeting new people, and the level of independence that came with tertiary study compared to high school. Some of my most memorable moments were in the bistro at lunch times where we interacted with students from all of the various faculties, making lifelong friends, as well as the sporting carnivals (soccer!) that we won! Being a student at Monash brought a strong sense of pride and belonging which I will never forget.

If you could tell your graduate self one piece of career advice what would it be and why?

I would tell myself to always have an open mind throughout your career and learn as much as you can, as early as possible!

When I was studying engineering, my classmates and I would always talk about our future, and the types of jobs we wanted to land; the dream was to all be wiz bang engineers one day. Once I entered the workforce as an engineer, after a few years I made the decision to challenge myself and take a broader path by expanding my experience in other areas to learn more outside of my field. I have never looked back, and feel that this bold move has enabled me to develop into a Senior Executive with broader leadership experience under my belt.

What are the top 3 skills you need in your role as a Chief Marketing Officer?

The top three skills for me are:

  1. To be an inspirational and respectful leader of people that ultimately influences the brand’s vision and mission
  2. Communication and collaboration
  3. A deep understanding of your customer and their needs and expectations.

Tell us about your experience since leaving Monash: how has you career progressed to date? Any professional achievements you’d like to share?

I took the opportunity to enter the workforce at Toyota Australia whilst I was still studying and in the final year of my Mechanical Engineering degree. It was very challenging at first however, it assisted in developing my time management and prioritisation skills.

I started in the Quality Engineering department at Toyota, which was very grounding. My role was all about problem solving in a production line environment.

This made me quickly learn about the principles of the Toyota Production System, process in general and many other methods that could be used in wider professions.

I then made a career development move after nearly four years of engineering to step into the sales and marketing side of the business. With my quality engineering background, I was able to expand on my learnings within sales and marketing, and move into the management ranks within the customer services division, specialising in the parts and accessories area. I held operational management positions in export and procurement, before moving into a senior management position in distribution and logistics.

My next role was as a regional manager of the Southern Region at Toyota, looking after the Victorian and Tasmanian dealerships and operations. This was a great opportunity to learn more about our retail operations, and broaden my experience, which led me to a great opportunity in a Senior role within our South East Asia headquarters. I moved my family over to Singapore for a two-year assignment in a sales and marketing operations General Manager role. This continued to expand my portfolio with responsibilities in sales, marketing, product and pricing, as well as Regional Fleet. It was a great experience for me both professionally and personally that my family and I will never forget.

Since returning to Australia, I was appointed General Manager of National Sales and headed up our Sales arm for just over three years. During this time our organisation was transitioning from a manufacturing company to a sales and marketing distribution company. During this time, we moved our sales and marketing HQ function from Sydney to Melbourne. Although we faced many challenges in this period, I am proud to say we have successfully managed to transition and strengthen our position in the marketplace.

And now… here we are as I was recently appointed as Chief Marketing Officer for Toyota Australia from July 1st. I very much look forward to the next phase.

How has your technical and operational experience assisted you in your executive roles?

Most of my roles throughout my career have been very operational. I definitely feel this has really assisted and developed my knowledge of the business and made me a better decision maker with a real world view.

What are some of your passions and interests?

I really enjoy travelling with my family and we try to get away at least once a year. I love all sports and a deeply passionate Carlton Football Club supporter. I also really enjoy watching my two boys play soccer for their local clubs in the Premier League. I try to keep fit and healthy by regularly exercising and eating well.