Gerard Pender is a well-known local figure in the Ipswich community. He is a well-regarded lawyer and community member, and one of the quiet achievers.
Mr Pender has made a significant contribution to the life and wellbeing of Ipswich City and he picked up the 2017 Business Person of the Year at the Ipswich Chamber of Commerce Business Awards.
He has brought leadership to legal firm Walker Pender Group and is involved in local community organisations. As senior director of Walker Pender Group, he has been in leadership over many years.
Mr Pender said he was delighted to be nominated and win the 2017 award. “It is pleasing to win. It is good to be recognised,” Mr Pender said. He said if you are going to make yourself a part of the community, you must get involved.
The Walker Pender Group was formed in 1988. It grew from two independent firms, Walker and Walker, founded in 1896, and Pender and Pender, founded in 1874. Mr Pender has been a solicitor since 1979 and was in partnership with his father before taking on a role as partner in the Walker Pender Group.
“Ipswich is an old city and it is pleasing to see that it is growing in a variety of ways, but it is good to see it maintains history,” Mr Pender said. Mr Pender said he was aware of the challenges facing business people daily. “I believe it is important to take a long term view. That is hard when you are starting up, but the challenge is that you can make decisions based on the short term that can be unwise,” he said. “You have to do your homework, you must know your industry. There is no doubt that it is much harder these days to run your own business.”.
He cites one of the major issues facing the industry is digital disruption. “It is about keeping your eye on the changes that are coming in your own industry. You cannot ignore it. Uncertainty is greater than ever, but businesses have to be flexible. Plan ahead and see the challenges as opportunities,” Mr Pender said.
He fears many business people try to do too much and don’t seekout professional assistance. “It is so important to have the right advice from a legal and financial perspective. Ensure you are meeting the legal requirements and managing finances. Getting advice is so important,” Mr Pender said.
Mr Pender is hopeful of a bright future for Ipswich. “I am always optimistic – we have such a growth in population and the economy, this is a good time to grow a business,” he said he hopes the new administrator will provide good leadership.
“The CBD is vital. It needs to be done.I have an investment in as much as we are tenants on the mall, but it has to be addressed quickly,” Mr Pender said. “All those who provide leadership in the city, whether that is in politics, education, business or the community, we must be positive and take our role.”