Leader Limelight - Julian Narborough

How did you get to where you are today?

After the HSC, I didn’t really have any plan so I just sat the entrance exam to join the Commonwealth Bank. I started out doing the schools banking and then went on to be a teller and a computer programmer. After what seemed years of coding programs, I was asked to take over as the manager for computer training and then take over as manager of operational support programming.

I got my first senior manager role working in the same buildings at Burwood that Sydney Trains do today heading up technical support services. About this time two things happened. Firstly, I was elevated to the executive ranks and was put onto the Bank’s executive talent program and secondly, the Bank decided to outsource their IT services which I was asked to get involved in.

I was a Client Delivery Manager/Transition Manager there for a few accounts before taking an Asia Pacific regional director role heading up technical sales support. After a restructure I took an opportunity to head Systems Software for the region and ended up working in the USA within Silicon Valley for 18 months.

When I came back to Australia an opportunity came up to become a CIO at a company that had grown fast and needed to mature its business capability. After 5 years it got consumed by Toll holdings and I went to work at Mission Australia, first as their interim CIO but then to head up a shared services division that included IT, Property, Procurement and Fleet. I was invited to join Railcorp to help the Customer Service transition late 2012 ahead of the launch of Sydney Trains as General Manger Customer Environment which is largely where I am today.


What has been a memorable experience during your time as Acting Executive Director of Customer Service at Sydney Trains?

What amazes me most is the conviction of our people in the way they go about helping our customers every day. The dedication that most of them bring to it is so humbling, they really are heroes.


What advice would you give to anyone starting out in an entry level role within the Transport cluster?

Understand how what you do at Transport impacts the Customer. It sounds trite but it helps focus your thinking and therefore your actions on why we do what we do.

Keep an open mind, maintain a sense of curiosity, learn to say ‘yes’ more often, continue to ask why, and take a chance when opportunities come your way. Don’t underestimate the power of networking and building effective relationships.


Can you give us a glimpse of what is in store in the near future for Customer Service?

Over the last few years it’s been about fixing trains, cleaning the stations and getting the basics right. Going forward I think there will be a focus on the customer’s end to end journey including the precinct and place they move through.

If we really get it right, the customer won’t know who the landowner or service provider is as they move seamlessly from home to train, to station, to bus interchange, to street, to ferry, or to light rail.


Do you have a favourite train station?

I have two! Erskineville, as it’s a beautiful little station built around 1913 to replace another on the other side of the bridge which was built in the 1880’s.

My second favourite station is Moss Vale (originally called Sutton Forrest and built in 1867). It was built with a hotel, residence as well as a dining room and waiting room for the Governor of NSW when he and his family travelled from Sydney to his property at Thorsby Park. It think it’s the only vice regal station in the world that I know of.


What is the best or most unique place you've travelled to?

I think walking around the dry valleys in Antarctica with not a drop of ice or snow in them was both bizarre and amazing. Flying in an out by small helicopters from the ship squished in wearing full winter clothing was also interesting.

How did you get to where you are today?

After the HSC, I didn’t really have any plan so I just sat the entrance exam to join the Commonwealth Bank. I started out doing the schools banking and then went on to be a teller and a computer programmer. After what seemed years of coding programs, I was asked to take over as the manager for computer training and then take over as manager of operational support programming.

I got my first senior manager role working in the same buildings at Burwood that Sydney Trains do today heading up technical support services. About this time two things happened. Firstly, I was elevated to the executive ranks and was put onto the Bank’s executive talent program and secondly, the Bank decided to outsource their IT services which I was asked to get involved in.

I was a Client Delivery Manager/Transition Manager there for a few accounts before taking an Asia Pacific regional director role heading up technical sales support. After a restructure I took an opportunity to head Systems Software for the region and ended up working in the USA within Silicon Valley for 18 months.

When I came back to Australia an opportunity came up to become a CIO at a company that had grown fast and needed to mature its business capability. After 5 years it got consumed by Toll holdings and I went to work at Mission Australia, first as their interim CIO but then to head up a shared services division that included IT, Property, Procurement and Fleet. I was invited to join Railcorp to help the Customer Service transition late 2012 ahead of the launch of Sydney Trains as General Manger Customer Environment which is largely where I am today.


What has been a memorable experience during your time as Acting Executive Director of Customer Service at Sydney Trains?

What amazes me most is the conviction of our people in the way they go about helping our customers every day. The dedication that most of them bring to it is so humbling, they really are heroes.


What advice would you give to anyone starting out in an entry level role within the Transport cluster?

Understand how what you do at Transport impacts the Customer. It sounds trite but it helps focus your thinking and therefore your actions on why we do what we do.

Keep an open mind, maintain a sense of curiosity, learn to say ‘yes’ more often, continue to ask why, and take a chance when opportunities come your way. Don’t underestimate the power of networking and building effective relationships.


Can you give us a glimpse of what is in store in the near future for Customer Service?

Over the last few years it’s been about fixing trains, cleaning the stations and getting the basics right. Going forward I think there will be a focus on the customer’s end to end journey including the precinct and place they move through.

If we really get it right, the customer won’t know who the landowner or service provider is as they move seamlessly from home to train, to station, to bus interchange, to street, to ferry, or to light rail.


Do you have a favourite train station?

I have two! Erskineville, as it’s a beautiful little station built around 1913 to replace another on the other side of the bridge which was built in the 1880’s.

My second favourite station is Moss Vale (originally called Sutton Forrest and built in 1867). It was built with a hotel, residence as well as a dining room and waiting room for the Governor of NSW when he and his family travelled from Sydney to his property at Thorsby Park. It think it’s the only vice regal station in the world that I know of.


What is the best or most unique place you've travelled to?

I think walking around the dry valleys in Antarctica with not a drop of ice or snow in them was both bizarre and amazing. Flying in an out by small helicopters from the ship squished in wearing full winter clothing was also interesting.

Page published: 12 February 2020, 13:51