Managing Director Axess Advisory.
When Bobby Yang, Managing Director of Axess Advisory was growing up, he’d take apart his toys to see how they worked. “I enjoyed taking them apart more than actually playing with them”, laughs Bobby. As he got older, he swapped toys for household appliances – the family washing machine and clothes dryer were dismantled, and it was only when a missing part or tool was needed, occasionally a tradie had to be called to finish the job.
The curiosity was innate, Bobby liked to fix things. “Mum always let me have a go,” he recalls. “She knew it was what I needed to do.”
Today Bobby has brought the same curiosity, attention to detail and focus to Axess Advisory – in client relationships, project work and the team development. And for Bobby, what’s key to the company's success and its bright future is the community and integrity of the Axess team. “We haven’t got here alone”, he says matter-of-factly.
Let’s get to know Bobby a little better.
Tell us about yourself Bobby?
I come from a humble background raised by a single mum. We didn’t have much growing up. I remember my school careers counsellor trying to talk me into doing IT rather than engineering as a career, but I had no interest in IT, I didn’t even have a computer. I hand wrote all my schoolwork. Besides, I enjoyed fixing things and working with my hands.
I studied mechanical engineering at UTS, and to be honest I found it challenging until I did my first practical experience which changed my whole perspective. I could see how to apply the theory into practical real-life experiences, and it suddenly made more sense to me. I did two six-month industrial work experiences including one in Germany. These helped me to grow as a professional and as an engineer.
After I graduated, I started working with Aecom. When I was asked what sector I wanted to focus on, I said ‘rail’. My manager said, “no one is interested in rail!”. But I’ve used public transport my whole life and I feel close to it. For those who can’t afford a car or have access to one, it gives you an ability to travel and I think that’s very important and a benefit of public transport I connect with. So as a young engineer I started in rail. There weren’t many others in the sector, nor courses on it so I had to learn on the job. I was grateful for the time that my managers and mentors put into me at Aecom, and I grew as a result. I wouldn’t be where I am today without the guidance of others.
What brought you to Axess Advisory?
It was really by chance! A contract opportunity came up and after two years I was invited to join the company as a director. As a young parent I was concerned about hours and time commitment, but I needn’t have been. Our Founding Director Dierk told me; “It’s not about the amount of time you’re on the job but rather your values and output.” Today at Axess, a healthy work-life balance is something we treasure and nurture as an organisation.
As Managing Director, I’m responsible for the legal, compliance and commercial sides of the business in addition to looking after our team professionally and personally. Like every member of our team, I’m also working on and delivering projects, and liaising with clients.
What do you love about your job?
Easy. I take great pleasure in growing the team, investing in people and providing a platform where people from different industries, demographic groups or who’ve experienced challenges, can find their feet, grow and excel in life. There is a real sense of community in our team – there’s a joy and a buzz that you can’t buy. We have a loyal team that is growing professionally. We don’t micromanage, we give people autonomy and we’re watching them flourish as a result.
What have you learnt as Managing Director?
I’ve had excellent guidance and mentorship from Dierk. He saw potential in me and gave me an opportunity. Since that time, he has invested in me and helped me grow and believe in myself. Thinking of others and now helping our people develop as Dierk has helped me has been a key learning.
I’ve learnt to listen and hear what people are trying to say and I’ve learnt you have to observe patterns of behaviour to be able to help people. Seeing behaviours in practice is messy, it’s not linear. I also understand the discipline of pausing and being patient at key decision points rather than making rash decisions.
When we were a smaller developing company, we had to focus on what mattered and our people have always been who’ve mattered most. We’ve approached our clients in the same way, and this has resonated with many. Our people are the heart of the company. We’re not an organisation that is rigid and black and white. We have a living and breathing culture where there’s a community and sense of family and togetherness. You need to grow with people to grow yourself.
What excites you about the future?
We’re only at the beginning. We’ve developed the foundation for the company to grow and I see us continuing to be financially responsible and stable, and positioning ourselves to take
on more projects and support more clients. We have momentum and a team that supports our vision. It's everyone together on this journey now.
What do you like doing outside work Bobby? How do you relax?
I like to ‘relax’ by playing sports – I play basketball, touch footy and soccer in that order! As people of faith, along with my wife Tiffany and children Kaela and Michael, we’re very active in our church community and like to contribute to our church. We have our third baby arriving soon which we’re all very excited about.
For me it’s about having everything in balance – physically, emotionally and spiritually. If one of those areas of my life is out of balance, then everything is.
Any last words?
My personal hope is that as the company grows and our dynamic changes, Axess will remain focused on our people and their development, and that our culture of integrity, honesty and closeness in our relationships remains. Our culture is our future.