BA (Psy), Hons BA (Lit), H Dip Ed (PG), M Intl Bus (With Merit) MAICD
Siebert Neethling – Founder and Principal of Being Consulting – is an insightful strategist and consultant of the highest caliber, and a masterful facilitator and educator. He is also a high profile, thoroughly engaging international speaker, rated by The Institute for International Research as one of the seven best speakers on management nationally.
Siebert has worked with clients in 22 countries on five continents, with some of the world’s leading corporations and with organisations and networks in all stages of development. His clients include, amongst many others, HSBC, Rabobank, Amgen, Novartis, Pfizer, AbbVie, Rio Tinto, The Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Macquarie Bank, SABMiller, The UK Department for International Development, The International Labour Organisation (ILO), and Government Departments in eight countries. Despite his focus on large organisations he still reserves a portion of his practice for smaller enterprises.
Prior to his consulting career, Siebert gained extensive leadership experience over 20 years in a range of high profile management positions. He has corporate leadership experience in an executive role with the world’s leading brewing company, has managed a commercial radio network, was the CEO of two nation-wide NGOs, and has managed a consulting firm specialising in turn-around management.
Outside of business, Siebert has worked with programmes for street children, marginalised youth and micro-entrepreneurs in developing countries, co-founded a pre-school for children with hearing and speech disabilities, and had a leadership role in the early years of Nelson Mandela’s Makana Trust for ex-political prisoners.
Originally educated in Psychology, Siebert holds postgraduate qualifications in Literature and Education, and a Master’s Degree in International Business (with Merit) from The University of Sydney’s Faculty of Economics and Business, where he finished top of his year. In recognition of his scholastic achievement Siebert has been inducted into the Beta Gamma Sigma Honour Society for outstanding scholars in the world’s very best business and management programmes. Siebert is a guest lecturer on Master’s Degree business programmes in three countries.
DPhil (Comm), MA (Bus, Comm & Law), MA (Bus Coaching & Change Mgmt), MA (Professional Education & Training) Grad Cert (Higher Education), Grad Cert (Coaching & Facilitation)
Dr Julia Milner is an award winning practitioner and an award winning academic in the area of leadership development. She is a highly accomplished consultant and a business coach working with individuals as well as groups. She designs and facilitates leadership programmes with a focus on creating high performing teams and organisational cultures.
Julia has extensive experience as a management consultant, business coach, programme designer and facilitator – working with international companies and high-profile public sector organisations in Europe, Asia and Australia.
As an academic, Julia worked for leading Universities in Germany, Australia, China and France. Her international teaching experience in a range of disciplines (Management, Psychology, Education, Marketing, Coaching, and Communication) and across different student cohorts (undergraduate, postgraduate, MBA and academic staff) allows her to bring an intercultural and interdisciplinary perspective to her consulting work. She currently holds a position as Professor in Leadership at the prestigious EDHEC Business School.
Julia started her studies with an MA (and BA equivalent) in Business, Communication and Law followed by a PhD (Dr. phil.) in Communication. During her PhD studies she was a visiting fellow at the Research School of Social Science at the Australian National University, a visiting Postgraduate Scholar at the University of Western Sydney’s Centre for Cultural Research and a visiting Postgraduate Researcher at the Communication Department at RMIT University. Julia also spent time at the Berkman Center at Harvard University. Being passionate about exploring new areas, she added an MA in Business Coaching and Change Management and completed an MA in Professional Education and Training.
She has received several awards including a German Coaching Award, a national teaching citation for outstanding contribution to student learning in Australia, a Vice-Chancellor’s Award, an Endeavour Australia-Europe Award by the Australian Minister of Education and Training, as well as an Oxford Internet Institute and Berkman Center at Harvard University summer school scholarship. She was recently rated as one of the world’s best 40 academics under 40.
Julia is involved in several research projects in the areas of Leadership, Workplace Cultures and Cross-Cultural Coaching.
BSc, BA Hons (Dev Stud), Post Grad Dip (Res Meth), MA (Soc Sci), Prince2 (Practitioner Lvl), LEAN Service (Lvl 1)
Rory Robertshaw is a versatile leader with over 20 years’ senior level experience supporting social change and business growth. He is a recognised expert in a range of complementary areas: Urban Management and Development, Sustainable Local Economic Development, Learning and Skills Development, Social Research, Crime and Violence Prevention, Governance, and Public Service Delivery. Applied research is a cornerstone of his work, using an evidenced-based approach to drive improvement, manage change and secure outcomes.
Rory is a specialist in collaboration in complex environments.
Rory has worked and consulted for leading international agencies and corporations including UNESCO, UN-Habitat, UNDP, DFID, Mercy Corps, Caritas, People in Need, EDS and Zennex. He has led services and strategy at all levels of government at home and abroad, and managed national and international NGOs.
Rory has extensive experience in the management of start-ups and project design and delivery. Amongst other such projects, he established the Metropolitan Trading Company, a public sector investment company which – under his leadership – developed Metro Mall, the largest public transport node, retail and market complex in Africa.
As a seasoned evaluator, Rory has assessed the impact of projects across sectors in many countries and contexts.
As a technical expert, Rory has advised at the highest level. Most recently he designed and implemented a national quality assessment approach for vocational education and training in Afghanistan. He has been an advisor to senior leaders and to a panel of African Mayors.
Outside of business, Rory is a Trustee for a Zambian reading charity, a Governor at his local primary school, an International Panel Member for the Global Network on Safer Cities, an Expert Member of the Technical Working Group on the Confluence of Urban Safety and Peacebuilding Practice, and an active member of the UK Evaluation Society. Rory is also a published author with broad interests, writing regularly on issues of crime and violence, governance and Arctic development.
Originally graduating with a science degree from the University of Westminster, Rory shifted to the social sciences and now holds three degrees and two post-graduate diplomas. His Master’s Degree is in Social Science, majoring in International Development and Social Research Methods.
BSocSc (Marketing), Diploma in Marketing and Events Management (With Distinction)
Kerry Neethling is a highly experienced and skilled marketing professional. A career in marketing and entrepreneurship prepared her well to launch the “growth” sub-brand of our business. Being Agency is a multidisciplinary creative services agency, co-located and integrated with our consulting business, specialising in branding, websites, video and photography, and communications. Being Agency was a finalist in the B&T Emerging Agency of the Year Awards. Kerry founded this enterprise, and is dedicated to supporting our clients to grow in size and/or influence. With a natural marketing mind and the ability to understand and closely engage with her clients’ diverse needs, Kerry has helped numerous organisations and teams reach their potential.
Kerry’s experience in marketing and communications spans both small and large-scale businesses, including high profile, global corporations such as MED-EL and non-profit organisations RIDBC and Karitane. Kerry has run a number of small businesses from inception, managing teams with a committed, hands-on approach. Her interpersonal and leadership skills are evident in her ability to forge strong, professional relationships with clients and team members alike. Outside of business, Kerry is a mother to two boys and has been involved in a number of charities. Her genuine passion for people has seen her work with the Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children, and she is also the co-founder of a pre-school for children with hearing and speech disabilities.
Kerry’s Bachelor of Social Science in Marketing lay the foundations for her entrepreneurial and professional career. She has since studied Psychology at Swinburne University, and completed a diploma in Marketing and Events Management, which she passed with distinction.
We have worked in the United States (Miami and New York).
Close personal ties and interests notwithstanding, North America is a relatively new and unexplored market for us.
Siebert has been a speaker at a Minority Business conference in Miami, and has also worked in an advisory role for a New York-based executive of a global bank. He has explored opportunities in Washington and Havana, Cuba.
Europe and the UK
We have worked in the United Kingdom (London, Cambridge, Glasgow, Hereford, Southend on Sea); The Netherlands (The Hague; Amsterdam); Norway (Oslo); Sweden (Stockholm); Denmark (Copenhagen); Belgium (Brussels); France (Lille, Nice); Germany (Frankfurt, Stuttgart, Munich); Italy (Rome) and Switzerland (Geneva).
All our Directors have extensive experience working in Europe and the UK, including:
Julia is a native of Frankfurt and is currently based in Nice, France. Her European experience is extensive, ranging from a Professorship in Lille to wide-ranging consulting assignments for companies in her native Germany.
Rory established our base in Cambridge, and works extensively in the UK and is an active member of the European Evaluation Society, working for major Development Agencies across Europe.
Siebert has worked in Geneva on projects for the ILO, has been a speaker at conferences in Rome and Brussels, and advised companies in The Hague, Southend on Sea and London.
In 2018 we opened an office in Southwark, London.
We have worked in the Cote D’Ivoire (Abidjan); Ghana (Accra); Nigeria (Lagos); Kenya (Nairobi); Tanzania (Dar es Salaam); Zambia (Lusaka); Zimbabwe (Harare); Namibia (Windhoek); Swaziland (Mbabane); Lesotho (Maseru) and South Africa (Johannesburg, Pretoria, Pietersburg, Nelspruit, Durban, Pietermaritzburg, East London, Port Elizabeth, Cape Town, Bloemfontein, Pilanesberg).
Rory and Siebert have both lived in Africa and have worked on wide-ranging private and public sector projects.
Together they evaluated projects for the UK Department for International Development in Lesotho and Swaziland, and consulted to petroleum companies and property developers in Johannesburg. Rory also worked on retail projects in Zambia, and Siebert delivered papers at conferences in Cote D’Ivoire and Ghana. Both were instrumental in significant urban renewal and social projects in Johannesburg.
We have worked in Papua New Guinea (Port Moresby); New Zealand (Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Queenstown) and Australia (Cairns, Townsville, Hamilton Island, Rockhampton, Brisbane, Lismore, Coffs Harbour, Wauchope, Gosford, Newcastle, Sydney, Wollongong, Katoomba, Bowral, Moss Vale, Canberra, Coolac, Tumut, Armidale, Bathurst, Jindabyne, Crackenback, Thredbo, Melbourne, Geelong, Adelaide, Barossa, Perth, Port Hedland).
Our experience in Australasia is extensive.
Julia has held a lectureship at Wollongong University, has consulted to iconic companies such as AMP and Defence Housing Australia, and has worked with a range of Federal public sector agencies including The Department of Human Services and the Australian National Audit Office.
Rory worked on a DFID-funded crime prevention programme in Papua New Guinea, developed strategy for the Australian Fair Work Commission and facilitated collaboration workshops for Airservices Australia.
Amongst many other assignments Siebert has been a speaker at conferences for Allergan and Rabobank, facilitated conferences for QBE and Abbvie, developed strategy for Forestry Corporation and Novartis, facilitated culture change programmes for Trinity Law and Airservices Australia, and developed leadership development programmes for the Australian Taxation Office and Defence Housing Australia.
We have worked in Afghanistan (Kabul, Kandahar, Mazar-e-Sharif, Herat); Mongolia (Ulaanbaatar, Erdenet, Darkhan-ul); Kyrgyzstan (Bishkek); China (Suzhou, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Shenzhen); Japan (Tokyo, Nagoya, Osaka); Thailand (Bangkok, Phuket) and Indonesia (Jakarta, Bali).
All our Directors have interesting and diverse experience working in Asia, including:
Rory has evaluated projects for international agencies, including UNDP and UN-Habitat in Afghanistan and Mongolia. Drawing on his extensive expertise in collaboration he has worked in volatile and highly complex environments with local and international stakeholders. Most recently he designed and implemented a national quality assessment approach for vocational education and training in Afghanistan.
Julia held a Professorship at the Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University International Business School in Suzhou, China.
Siebert helped Macquarie Goodman add value to their first acquisitions in Japan, working closely with local and expatriate staff to improve business practices. He has also been a speaker at several conferences in Thailand and delivered guest lectures at the Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University International Business School.
Following a Bachelor’s and Honours Degree, a Postgraduate Diploma in Education, A Certificate in Leadership, compulsory military service and a few years as an academic lecturing Educational Philosophy and Psychology, Siebert Neethling decides to extend his youth on an extended trip to Europe. He ends up in London – writing and doing casual work – where he meets Rory Robertshaw. They work together as assistants in a photographic studio located in a railway archway in Southwark. Rory owns a guitar, but cannot play. Siebert can play, but doesn’t have a guitar. A friendship and partnership is born as Siebert ends up busking in London to augment his income, learning business skills from this unusual enterprise.
Back in South Africa following a family tragedy – and the release of Nelson Mandela – Siebert lectures again before accepting an offer to head Street-Wise, a school and shelter for destitute street children. He is thrown into the very deep end of management, challenged by a large staff, an even larger group of volunteers, hostile authorities and desperate social conditions.
Over the next two years Street-Wise grows from a single site in Johannesburg to centres in three cities, and satellite centres in two others.
Following his own travels to India, Rory arrives in South Africa for a short holiday and, after falling in love and marrying a local girl, starts a family and stays for a decade. He joins Siebert on the staff of Street-Wise.
Siebert is recruited as founding Head of the Centre for Opportunity Development, a venture started by the University of the Witwatersrand Centre for Developing Business. Its aim is to provide entrepreneurship training to aspiring entrepreneurs. Over the next two years the Centre expands to three cities. In 1994 the Centre is rated a “World-Class Project” by the British Overseas Development Administration and independent evaluators from the Durham University Business School. Siebert is invited by Minister Linda Chalker (UK) to advise her on implementation of the post-apartheid South African Reconstruction and Development Plan. He is also appointed to the Curriculum Advisory Committee of the Funda College in Soweto.
Rory takes over as Head of the Centre of Opportunity Development.
Siebert is recruited by SAB as Executive in charge of their Commercial Equity Programme. This is a dynamic role, combining commercial acumen, complicated change management, delicate negotiation and consensus building, and political sensitivity. The Commercial Equity Programme is a change management programme aimed at using commercial drivers to change corporate culture to adapt to changing political circumstances at a politically volatile time in the country’s history. Its purpose is to affirm the company’s role as force for change and good in society while acting commercially.
In 1997 – 1998 Siebert achieves the highest departmental rating for the company’s Executive Incentive Scheme, and becomes a founding member of the National Corporate Small Business Development Forum.
Rory and Siebert establish their first independent enterprise, Capital B Management Pty Ltd, specialising in training, management consulting, learning and development consulting, and project management. Clients include large corporations, international development organisations, small and medium enterprises and government organisations. Assignments include work in nine countries in Europe, Africa and North America. Notable projects include:
- A leadership role in the early days of Nelson Mandela’s Makana Trust for Ex Political Prisoners.
- Turn-around management of the commercial radio station P4 Radio Cape Town on behalf of Makana and Norwegian investors.
- Project management of the British Department for International Development’s entrepreneurship consultant development programme. As part of this programme, they initiated and conducted 10 “The Consultant’s Consultant” workshops in four cities, training more than 300 business development service providers in best consulting practices.
- Consulting back to South African Breweries on a number of by-product beneficiation projects and supplier development initiatives.
- Evaluation and assessment of international development projects on behalf of the International Labour Organisation.
- Evaluation and assessment of, and consultation to, international development projects on behalf of the Swedish International Development fund SIDA and the British Overseas Development Administration.
- Project management of the Dutch De Baak management development organisation’s international academic modules.
- Applied research and change management consulting to leading companies including Makana, Stocks & Stocks, Investec, Eskom and Siemens.
In order to secure quality education for his two sons, one with severe hearing loss, Siebert and his family immigrate to Australia on a skilled migration visa.
Over 10 years in his new country Siebert develops and hones his consulting skills, working with a broad range of clients as Neethling Enterprise, and as subcontractor to leading consulting firms. Major clients include Goodman Limited (formerly Macquarie Goodman), Rabobank, The Children’s Hospital at Westmead, and several Federal Government Agencies.
During this time Siebert also obtains his Master’s Degree in International Business (With Merit) from Sydney University, finishing top of his year. He is a guest lecturer at several universities and a speaker at major conferences in three countries.
In 2013 Siebert meets Dr Julia Milner. They form a close bond working together on leadership development contracts.
Inspired by a reunion with Rory in London, Imprint Strategic is born. Julia and Rory join Siebert in Sydney for a founding conference, and the company starts doing business with strong support from loyal clients large and small, private sector and public sector, first world and ancient world.
After some years in corporate marketing roles, Kerry returns to her entrepreneurial roots and establishes Being Brands, a specialist agency focused on helping businesses grow. Being Brands becomes a trading name of Imprint Strategic.
The two sides of the company – strategic consulting and branding – increasingly integrate and complement each other. In 2018 the holding company, Imprint Strategic, is re-named The Being Group, operating as Being Strategy and Being Brands. Being also establishes a business in the UK, Being Group Limited, and opens an office in London – a stones-throw away from the archway where Rory and Siebert met 30 years previously.
In January 2019, the integration is completed. Being Brands changes its name to Being Agency, and BEING is unified under one simple banner. Siebert, Kerry, Rory and Julia, and a staff managed by Chris, Toni, Karven, Bas and Prue, continue to build a strong and meaningful business with a wonderful culture.