Growing up in Parkes, New South Wales, Craig Heraghty was a typical country boy — he spent his days working on farms, riding motorbikes and trying to escape the hot sun as the drought ravaged the countryside. Despite his love of the land, Craig envisioned a different life for himself. His inspiration was his father’s accountant, who would arrive from Sydney in his shiny new car and chat to Craig about business.
Knowing exactly where he wanted to be, Craig enrolled in accounting at the University of Canberra.
“In the course book they described accounting as ‘the language of business’, and I knew I wanted to speak that language,” Craig recalls.
"The interviewer said ‘So tell me what you know about what we do here’. I had absolutely no idea what they did so I told her the only thing I could think of — about the time we were driving through Sydney on a family holiday and I saw the big Pricewaterhouse sign.
“I asked my dad ‘What does Pricewaterhouse do?’ and after giving it some thought he said ‘they’re in horse racing’.”
“The interviewer cracked up laughing and I got the job!”
Since that day, Craig has created a diverse and meaningful career with PwC. He has travelled the world, worked overseas and can boast he is the first graduate employee to become a partner since the Pricewaterhouse/Coopers & Lybrand merger in 1998 (so the legend says). Craig is a partner in Assurance and is PwC Australia’s Agribusiness leader. He is also the founder of the Food Trust platform, an initiative that allows businesses and consumers alike to have confidence in their food and where it comes from.
“Being able to travel, being able to work on a variety of different clients and businesses and different cultures and people in businesses. It has kept the work fresh even after 20 years,”
“Whenever I thought I had peaked or maxed out, something new always came up to sink my teeth into.”
Craig has also experienced the cultural transformation that PwC has undergone over the last few decades.
“We’ve done really well at embracing diversity and focusing on inclusion,”
“The firm has been really good at facing disruption and challenges across a very, very broad spectrum of areas. In a crisis I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.”
“But we can always keep trying to be more innovative, more agile.”
Outside of his career, Craig has faced some big challenges in his personal life. Just over five years ago, Craig and his family experienced the devastating loss of his brother to suicide. In the aftermath, Craig’s mental health deteriorated.
This tragic event brought about the realisation that Craig had been dealing with mental health issues for a long time.
“A catastrophe like that would be devastating in itself but when you go into that with a distinct lack of resilience, that's even more devastating. And so it was, not the straw that broke the camel's back, but it was just they (mental health issues) were rushed to the front.”
Through the support of his work colleagues, family and friends Craig eventually sought out, and accepted help — and today he is healthier than ever before.
“I haven’t had a drink in four years. I think I'm nicer. I have more hobbies, I do more stuff. And as terrible as that whole scenario was, I'm just in a much better position.”
Craig is now a Mental Health Partner Advocate for PwC’s Green Light to Talk initiative. He is open about his experiences and is committed to being a visible source of support for others struggling with mental health issues.
“I want people to realise that there are things that you can do and treatments that you can seek and behaviors you can put into your life and habits that you can develop and ways and means of navigating the world that can help you lead a richer life.”
Despite his life in the city, Craig still sees himself as a country boy. He still spends his spare time riding motorcycles (albeit Harley Davidsons) and is dreaming about moving to a property in the southern highlands where he can raise miniature angus cows, and adopt a daschund puppy called Harry.
If you or someone you know needs help, support is available through Lifeline on 13 11 14 and Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636.
Want to create your career with PwC? Here’s Craig’s advice:
You need to be brilliant at your technical area, particular line of service or your specialism, you need to be brilliant at it, but at the same time, you need to be human. Work on your interpersonal skills, whether it's writing or speaking or listening, or presenting or reading a room or reading people's emotions or how your communication style is resonating.
Those softer skills are the things that determine if people progress quicker or slower. The expectation around technical brilliance is just the baseline.
Get started on your journey here.
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