The day I met Sir Richard Branson
TO THE rest of us, Thursday May 9, well, Thursday May 9.
But to Rockcote render and coatings company director Chris Cameron, it was "the most brilliant day of my life" (next to giving birth to her daughter Jess).
Not only did the self-confessed "corporate hippie" meet Sir Richard Branson, she celebrated her 57th birthday and was one of five future-thinkers hand-picked to speak at the prestigious UQ Business School NEXT Future of Business forum.
► Read Chris' thoughts on the great man below.
The Brisbane Convention Centre event attracted 1500 people - students, academics and business people.
Joining Chris and Sir Richard on the panel were Business School dean Andrew Griffiths, futurist Tim Longhurst and OnTheGo founder Mick Spencer, who had won a LinkedIn competition to be there.
They all answered the same five questions: was the Western education system failing children, how to engage with Asia, what will be the next big leap, what were the three key attributes of a good CEO and how can charities work better with the corporate sector.
Down-to-earth and direct, Chris was not so awestruck by the occasion that she shied away from controversy in a few of her answers.
"I said parents need to start taking more responsibility and not treat school as a child- minding centre," she said.
"I chaired a transition and innovation committee at Jess' school (Sunshine Coast Grammar) for four years, and we had kids leaving school on second-year apprentice wages. Others were doing uni subjects while in school. A number of schools do these things these days but it was pretty new back then and I am very proud of that.
"And there is always going to be a need for not-for-profits because there'll always be a gap in government funding, but there's a lot of duplication.
"So it might be in their interests to work together. Think of the example of Starlight Foundation, Make A Wish and other children's organisations."
Now with the industrial and technological revolutions behind us, Chris' take on the next big thing drew murmurs of agreement from Sir Richard.
"I think we will go back to nature and rely more on traditional skills," she said.
"Richard is clearly into all things galactic at the moment, but he did agree with me on that. It sounds so diametrically opposed to him, but his view of the world is we do have to look at clean energy.
"And as for engaging with Asia, I think you need to put down a strong base here first.
"Many people have been running off over there trying to make a quick buck and damage has been caused.
"But I said perhaps the next big untapped market is the women's market. These days women make their own decisions and I have many friends my age who have never married and have massive disposable income.
"Sir Richard actually said that Warren Buffett had said the same thing only recently. I told him that he stole that idea from me!"
And she said the key attributes of a good CEO were honesty and integrity.
"You've got to look at the life cycle of your business and get someone appropriate to where it's at. If you want to grow it, you will need a CEO with different skills to one if you wanted to expand just a bit."
And what about Sir Richard?
"He's quiet, and a really nice man. You can't help but feel comfortable in his presence, but it is pretty overwhelming to be with him.
People talk about legends, my god, he's a legend.
I'm dyslexic, so is Sir Richard and he commented on that on the day.
We had some photos taken afterwards and I told him that I'd been in love with him for 40 years. Then I introduced him to my husband Bob - we had a good laugh about that.
It was a highlight; I truly have admired him for 40 years. (The late) Fred Hollows, (the late) Victor Chang and Richard Branson are my heroes and to meet one on my birthday was absolutely incredible.
It also gave us an opportunity to get the Sunshine Coast recognised, which was a good thing."