Scholar Profile - Lars Hall PDF Print E-mail
Lars Hall


Partnership Broker at The Smith Family

Awarded a scholarship for University of Melbourne's Managing Customers for Competitive Advantage, 2013

What sort of work does your organisation do?

As Australia’s largest education-oriented charity, we support disadvantaged Australian children to participate fully in their education, giving them the best chance at breaking the cycle of disadvantage. Our learning support and mentoring programs help children in need to fit in at school, keep up with their peers, and build aspirations for a better future for themselves.

Describe a typical day's work.

The Partnership Broker Program aims to build sustainable partnerships between business/industry, education/training, parents/families and community organisations in order to support young people to have better transition outcomes. There is no real typical day in the life of a Partnership Broker because it is a really dynamic and diverse role. 

Perhaps I can pick just one day to show the breadth of the role:

6:30am: Chamber Of Commerce Breakfast, the CEO of Brisbane Marketing as guest speaker, topic: Brisbane the new world city of information technology. This gives me a chance to be informed about new developments and then an opportunity to network with local business and politicians.

9:30am: Exit Manly harbour on the brand new “Inspiration” a 35 seater Multihull floating classroom used by Moreton bay Environmental Education Centre, toured around Peel island, surrounded by Dugongs, Turtles and Dolphins. This was an opportunity to network with Teachers from the Queensland school of the air.

12:00pm: After a quick lunch at the boat club I met with stakeholders to work on setting up a partnership between the Environmental Centre and a local Disability support service in order to create real learning pathways for students.

2:00pm: Meeting at Microsoft Brisbane CBD to continue to support them in preparing for the launch of their “Work inspirations” partnership until the end of the day.

Another day may be spent entirely in the office to catch up on reporting.

What were some of the key learnings from the Managing Customers for Competitive Advantage program?

It was great to explore the issue of stakeholder loyalty and to gain a better understanding of why they might leave. It was interesting to understand that 68% leave because of Service Failure/perception of indifference. It was also good to hear acknowledgment of how hard it is to identify when stakeholders might leave and that the best chance to find this out is to have regular personal contact and to build a strong relationship with the stakeholder.

I also found the 0-10 rating scale (from 0/outrage to a 10/zone of delight) around stakeholders experience with your organisation a useful tool to assess where they are. It was great to talk about how when they are scoring 9-10 that they only then become promoters of your organisation. And that at 0-3 they are classed as “Terrorist” because they are more likely to share a negative experience rather than a positive one.

How has it impacted / changed / benefited your role and your organisation as a whole?

Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen said: “Turn off the computer, get out of the office, and observe”.

Australian Scholarship foundation is offering opportunities for short courses and there is a great diversity of opportunity to apply for a course that caters to your interest, as well as relevance.

My role in TSF as a Partnership Broker brings me across a lot of different stakeholders, anyone from parents to government departments to corporates, but really how do we build the partnerships, capacity and value in these relationships? The Managing Customers for Competitive Advantage course looked a great fit.

We delved into loyalty programs and what works and what does not. Another really interesting session was on the role of the brand. A strong brand is like a familiar face in a crowd of strangers. The course impacted my ability to communicate value of partnerships to our stakeholders. For the organisation, the impact is clearly helping to up-skill its employees with terrific courses without the cost implication, that otherwise would have rendered this training unobtainable, and of course the networking opportunity with peers.

How did you come to be working in the not-for-profit sector?

Coming from a Corporate based IT background, to a midlife journey buying a fabrication company to having coffee with a past customer of the business I sold. This previous customer was actually working in the role as a Partnership Broker, and suggested the role would be a great fit for my personality and business background. I had just sold my business and wasn't exactly set on a firm course other than buying into another business venture. The attraction was a one year contract. Now three ears later I’m absolutely enjoying the diverse nature and the challenges of this role.

What do you feel is most needed to sustain and build the impact of the not-for-profit sector?

Longer term sustainable funding which limits uncertainty and reduces staff attrition. This will enable the sector to attract talent and retain the expertise of staff within the sector.

Social entrepreneurship describes a set of behaviours that are exceptional and these behaviours should be encouraged and rewarded in those who have the capabilities and temperament for this kind of work.

What is something interesting / unique / unusual about you?


  • I spent 12 hours as a “guest” of the Russian army under armed guard at an unnamed air force base near the black sea
  • Traveled the River Kwai in Thailand on a bamboo raft in 1981
  • Was as a Stunt man in Düsseldorf Germany


  • Wrote a thesis on Export of “Lurpak” branded butter to the West German market


  • Married the love of my life, and 27 years later still going strong
  • Worked in 7 countries
  • Speak 4 languages
  • I’m an accomplished Welder

Click here to read about other ASF scholars.

"The course impacted my ability to communicate the value of partnerships to our stakeholders. For the organisation, the impact is clearly helping to up-skill its employees with terrific courses without the cost implication, that otherwise would have rendered this training unobtainable."


Lars joined The Smith Family Partnership Broker Program in 2010 and has worked there ever since. In this role he spends his energy on connecting Business with Schools, paving pathways for business to build a pipeline of interested employees, opening the eyes of the next generation to the amazing opportunities in front of them.

In 2013, ASF awarded Lars a scholarship to attend University of Melbourne's Managing Customers for Competitive Advantage short course.


Annual revenue / size:

Extra Large - more than $25m pa

Segment of NFP sector:

Education & Research

Operating in: