The importance of recognising achievement

CEO of Creative Artists Agency, Steve Hasker (OM 1986), is using lessons learnt at Melbourne Grammar to help guide business transformation.

Steve Hasker (OM 1986) still remembers the moment his mother handed him the Grimwade House uniform after his family moved to Melbourne from Sydney. “It was the middle of winter and I was being told I was going to wear shorts. I remember thinking that was most unreasonable!”

Now based in Los Angeles, Steve was recently appointed CEO of Creative Artists Agency, the world’s leading talent and rights representative agency across film, TV, music and sports. Since graduating from Melbourne Grammar School, Steve has held financial roles in the US and Russia, worked at Price Waterhouse, been a partner at McKinsey & Company, and led a major digital transformation at Nielsen, where he was President and Chief Operating Officer.

“When I went to McKinsey, which is a very high-performing organisation, there were aspects of the culture that 
I recognised from my time growing up at Melbourne Grammar School,” Steve says. “Whether it was our Year 12 results, our musicians or the quality of our sports teams, there was that real pursuit and celebration of excellence throughout my time there.”

Another clear memory from Steve’s time at Melbourne Grammar was the moment his win in the APS combined sports 100 metre hurdles was mentioned in Assembly. 

“I’ll never forget Headmaster Nigel Creese making specific mention of it. As a 13-year-old I was somewhat horrified at being singled out in front of the Senior School, but at the same time, I thought the fact that he was prepared to recognise someone for their achievement meant that somewhere, somehow, this stuff matters.” 

In his new role as Creative Artists Agency CEO, Steve’s focus is on business transformation. Here, he emphasises this same recognition of achievement along with clear, consistent communication. “There’s no trickery – there’s no game or politics,” he emphasises. “Once we’ve agreed on a strategy, it’s about real clarity for people in terms of how they’re tracking against the objectives and celebrating when people succeed.”

“One of the things I was taught early on is to be yourself and be prepared to show some weakness,” Steve adds. “Nobody’s perfect, so you need to have enough confidence to show what you’re good at, what you’re not good at, and where you might need some help. I’m not seeking perfection in people. I’m seeking growth and improvement.” 

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