Three thoughts from our practice leader, Troy Andres

Here are three thoughts from our practice leader, Troy Andres (aside: the idea of three random thoughts is taken from a podcast called 5 thoughts by Thinking Basketball – have a listen if you love all things NBA).


Going bush!

So just over a year ago, I moved out of Sydney.  This was the first time in my life that I lived more than a few kilometres away from my mum.  So, it was a big deal.

A very big deal.

The first challenge (aside from missing my mum’s cooking), naturally, was ensuring that Gilton Valeo would continue to operate with the same energy and verve that got us to this point (i.e. me being able to move out of Sydney).  I can confidently say that nearly a year into this sea change, Gilton Valeo has grown from strength to strength with the introduction of new faces, new technology and the space to grow out of my shadow.

The Gilton Valeo that you know now, may no longer be invariably tied to my name.  And that is a great thing, because there are so many wonderful human beings that make up this collective.  The team has consistently shown the strength of character and drive that gave me the confidence to pack my bags and pursue a lifestyle choice.

And in this choice, I am not alone.  Bush life (as I like to call it) is all about community and I have met countless like minded souls who have packed their bags and decided that lifestyle superseded the convenience of city life.  In the wise words of a dear brother of mine – convenience equals death.

Most of my neighbours are entrepreneurs who call the bush home and who (like me) make regular trips to Sydney (or another metropolis) to manage the office.

This speaks volumes of how technology is enabling us to reconfigure our economic life thereby enabling us to make decisions to live how we want to live.  Interestingly, I started to ponder on bush life for migrants and whether it was feasible.  It feels that this economic shift is an important precursor to the immigration regime and how the new regional visas under General Skilled Migration will effectively create a highly talented work force that will need and want work.

So, I thought, let’s assume I hold one of these regional GSM visas, how would I fare with finding work and a place to live.

I started where everyone usually starts.


First thing I searched for was jobs Byron Bay (not exactly bush, but close enough).  And as you can see below, there are 532 vacancies.

Byron Bay jobs Search results

But if I were to make this a first hand experience, I guess I should loosely base this search on my skills and qualifications – double degree in law and business, 20 years legal experience.  Entering the job title solicitor reduces the tally to 5 potential roles.

Byron Bay jobs Search results Solicitor

That does not look promising.

So does our immigration program actually want to decentralise migration or is that really an elephant in the room?


COVID-19, otherwise known as the novel corona virus, is serious.

The Guardian reports that: as of 25 February, the outbreak has affected approximately 90,000 people globally. In mainland China there have been 2,912 deaths among 80,026 cases, mostly in the central province of Hubei. More than 44,000 people affected in China have already recovered.

The coronavirus has spread to at least other 30 other countries. The most badly affected include Japan, with 850 cases, including 691 from a cruise ship docked in Yokohama, and four deaths. Italy has recorded 2036 cases and 52 deaths, while South Korea has recorded 4,335 cases and 28 deaths. There have also been deaths in Hong Kong, Taiwan, France, Iran and the Philippines.

Importantly, it seems that the cure is a healthy body.  Eat your greens and let food be thy medicine!


In the last 12 months, I have spent 37 days of a possible 251 business days in the office.  Much of my time away was either in meditation, or brainstorming new ways to transform the industry, combat training, exploring some exotic location or simply being with Self.

It felt like success and it felt like entrepreneurship.

An entrepreneur is defined as a person who organises and manages any enterprise, especially a business, usually with considerable initiative and risk.   In basic terms, I guess it means that you take on the risk of creating systems to sell something.

I was living my dream – managing a successful professional services firm whilst being able to explore the many other aspects of life.

I felt like an entrepreneur.  I started another enterprise and used it as a vehicle to invest in other ventures and this made me feel important, a little smarter and just a tad savvier than the average joe.

I validated the time away from my desk as important downloads started coming through on social issues and the evolution of the workforce, in particular, how we could keep pace with the accelerated change in human behaviour.  I initiated change on many fronts including a focus on culture and aligning our inner ‘why’ with our outer ‘day to day’.  We introduced charity volunteer days and morning mindfulness sessions to encourage innovation and exploration within (with the intention of igniting a spark to create ‘something more’ from my team).

It did (for a while) make me think that we started to look like a progressive firm but ultimately, I continued to feel that a lot of what we continued to do was tokenistic.

I stopped feeling like an entrepreneur and I stopped feeling like this was a success.  Instead, I felt a little stagnant.  I felt like we were just a cog in a wheel.  I felt like we were chasing a buck.

Just like everyone else.

I didn’t want a part of it to be honest.  After shutting down my social media in mid 2017, my LinkedIn became my primary source of online social interaction.  LinkedIn is an incredible tool but it all seemed kind of the same to me, a bit of self-promotion and egoism masked as entrepreneurship.  It made me feel like we were simply programmed to chase a dream.  The dream was first masked as a big house, nice cars and overseas trips then it morphed into a bigger house and a boat, luxury watches and first-class flights.  Finally, the dream now seems to be selling your start up for 8 figures to a corporate giant or receiving angel funding for your revolutionary idea.

It seemed that the dream irrespective of where you were on the proverbial ladder was just a dream.  Actually, it was more of an excuse to mindlessly pursue a metric that in effect was illusory and no closer to any of our actual dreams.  We have all been programmed to want a better life but at what expense?  And more precisely, what is a better life?

This life I created was comfortable but the work I did to achieve that life no longer seemed as connected with the inner ‘why’ and my innate sense of justice (which is the reason I initially chose law as a profession).  I do not want to chase a buck, I want to make a difference.

And I sure didn’t feel like our firm’s mission statement:

We believe our work changes lives.

I looked at our firm’s body of work and the message that we were sending out to the market and to each other.  It spoke volumes of a group of individuals trying to make a real change in people’s lives.

Somehow that got lost in translation and we became entirely corporate.

So now I am at a crossroads.  At this fork in the road, I seek to unlock my inner truth and this starts with my definition of entrepreneur.  I have heard the term social entrepreneur and social impact business being thrown around as something new.  This I believe is where we have gone awry.  The word entrepreneur should be synonymous with social impact and change.  The world around us is changing and this acceleration of change is happening because humanity has failed on many fronts and mostly with the idea of entrepreneur and what it means to have a better life.

From today, Gilton Valeo is a social impact business.

From today, I am an entrepreneur which means my work is to create authentic social change for my vision of a better world that is based on kindness, sharing and equanimity.

From today, Gilton Valeo will dedicate one day per month to social change by volunteering to assist with immigration issues at your local community legal centre, community organisation, not for profit organisation or any person in need of a helping hand in what we do best.

We believe our work changes lives.  We do this by making the immigration process simple.

From today, Gilton Valeo will change lives.

If you are a community group, legal centre or not-for-profit that may need some immigration advice, please do reach out to us.

And if you know of any worthwhile cause that Gilton Valeo could help, feel free to pass on my details.