Transition from Peer to CEO

Transition from Peer to CEO

“It is so important to have a diverse mix of quality people around you because there are occasions, experiences and questions that will need to be asked to that diverse group of people. Having as much of that on tap as you can is pure gold.”

Ian Lynch


As Chief Financial Officer (CFO) the aspect Ian Lynch had to digest and overcome during his promotion to Chief Executive Officer (CEO) was moving from a role which operated in the background into one which was in the spotlight. Today’s The Culture of Leadership (TCoT) Podcast discusses Ian’s transition from peer to CEO with the conversation providing the opportunity to reflect on the challenges and lessons he has learnt along the way.


Ian Lynch is the CEO of Pacific Link Housing, a community housing provider which is a registered charity regulated by the National Regulatory System. Pacific Link Housing provides housing solutions for the vulnerable within the community managing 1100 social housing properties within the Central Coast, Lake Macquarie, Newcastle and the Hunter Valley. They also run a Social Enterprise Real Estate Agency called Key2 Realty. This gives landlords the opportunity to list their rental property with the profits going directly to Pacific Link Housing.


As a qualified Certified Practising Accountant (CPA) with a strong background in finance, Ian has worked in many local and overseas companies including the IT, hospitality, sports management and insurance sectors. When the CEO position became available within Pacific Link Housing, where he had worked for two years as the CFO, Ian applied – although he had mixed feelings. Firstly, there was the apprehension of the unknown, as perhaps the role would be a step too far in terms of his comfort zone, combined with excitement. Ian saw the promotion as an opportunity to provide a different perspective as he had fresh ideas which included steering components of the business in a different direction.


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Introducing career paths within a smaller organisation (30 employees) was one of the internal changes Ian undertook as CEO in order to show recognition and promote a positive workplace culture. Along with prioritising different business operations, Ian is also concentrating on positioning; focusing on improving the way the business promotes themselves within the community.


During the first 12 months as CEO, Ian has had to contend with local bushfires and floods which affected some of the properties, as well as navigate how to lead a business team during a pandemic. Rising to these challenges has advanced Ian much faster in his role than he expected, as there were big decisions to be made and significant changes to the way the company operated. One of the biggest balancing acts Ian has found was knowing exactly what to say and when to say it, during communications with his staff, the executive board, tenants, government and stakeholders. His crystal-clear communication has played a major role in his success, giving him the confidence to keep progressing.


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Pacific Link Housing has taken great steps forward despite all these major interruptions and Ian has the support from his quality management team to thank for the continued success of the company.


Join us here to take advantage of Ian’s hindsight as he talks us through what leadership and teamwork look like for a CEO, as well as the value in mentoring and building quality networks. From key communication skills and developing a company culture, to the importance of delegation and managing that fresh enthusiasm which comes with a new role. Finding balance rather than chasing new targets and trying to do everything straight away. Adapting to new ways of doing business and creating opportunities while managing crisis situations.


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