Exploring new leadership models with an industry pioneer

Ted Blamey (OM 1963)

When Ted Blamey (OM 1963) returned to Melbourne Grammar to run a student leadership workshop in May this year, he was ready for anything.

“I have no idea what’s going to happen in the classroom in any given workshop,” says Ted, who has run similar workshops at schools and for executives for a number of years. “All I know is I want the students to discover truths about themselves and their values.”

“I have a passion for helping people discover the joys and positive impacts of leadership and a belief that good leadership can be learned.”

Ted Blamey

Ted’s sessions lead participants through a moral dilemma using the renowned case study method created by the Harvard Business School. Participants put themselves in the shoes of a protagonist in a real-life situation to analyse options, evaluate risks, and understand their own personal values. With our Senior School students this year, Ted used the example of a leader who needed to convince soldiers to fight in the Battle of Gettysburg.

“We had a great cross-section of students participating and lots of different voices emerging,” says Year 12 student Felix Archibald, Chair of the Fraser-Deakin Politics Committee, who was instrumental in organising the session. “There was a real buzz in the room.”

The activity underscored the importance of leading through service, rather than imposing one’s will on a group. “The case study was about a soldier who was a strong leader, but what was crucial is that he listened first,” Felix explained. “I think that’s when you’re going to get the best results. Leadership should have service to the community as its foundation.”  

For Ted, giving back in this way is a product of his own experiences at our School. “I think so much was given to me in my developing years that it’s incumbent upon me to give back, and Melbourne Grammar is one of the places I’d most like to help,” he says. Ted has been a generous donor over the years and he is also a member of the Witherby Tower (bequest) Society. Ted adds that it is “a privilege to be able to to support the School in this way”. 

“I think Melbourne Grammar was the making of me,” Ted says. “I was given a whole range of leadership opportunities, and I was nurtured and inspired by some exceptional teachers, especially in the great outdoors. Looking back, I was a somewhat shy and retiring kid, but by the time I’d been through those experiences I had confidence, resilience, an appreciation for risk, and a real concern for others.”

Now Principal of CHART Management Consultants, Ted’s career has included a range of leadership roles in the global cruise industry, where he pioneered many of the business practices and experiences that define cruise travel today.

“In my early thirties I was pursuing a different career path than to lead a cruise line, but luckily the people offering me the role wouldn’t take no for an answer,” Ted says. “I soon grew to really respect the dedication and spirit of the people working in the industry at all levels.”  

In 2021, Ted continues to work with global cruise industry concerns on strategy and evaluating opportunities in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. “Recovery is not happening instantly, but gradually we are returning,” he says. “There’s extraordinary work happening globally to operate again safely. And, since late 2020, the results are most encouraging. Already 1 million people have cruised in Asia, Europe and UK.”

“Over the years, my career has also been enhanced by the opportunity to initiate and lead in not-for-profit community service endeavours,” Ted adds. “Those opportunities have themselves been rewarding and fostered wonderful relationships. I like JFK’s call (borrowed from St. Luke) ‘of those to whom much is given much is required’. I have been given much. I hope, in small ways, to be of service to the communities that have nurtured and inspired me”.