Five questions with NSW Finance secretary Martin Hoffman

By The Mandarin

April 12, 2016

Martin Hoffman

New South Wales’ newest mandarin Martin Hoffman will be one of dozens of public sector CEOs mentoring a table of junior public servants at the upcoming IPAA NSW CEO and Young Professionals Breakfast.

Up-and-coming young professionals will get time with their senior executives as they discuss how collaboration between organisations and stakeholders who have traditionally not collaborated can allow the emergence of new and innovative practices.

Speakers include NSW Treasurer Gladys Berejiklian, Annabelle Cauncy of School for Life Foundation, and Stephanie Lorenzo of Project Futures, who will offer fresh insights to around 600 attendees that can be applied across the public sector.

The theme for the event this year is “collaboration is the new competition.” But contention drew scepticism from Hoffman in his Q&A with IPAA ahead of his advice to young professionals based on his road to Damascus switch to the government from private enterprise.

Q: Who (or what) inspired you into a public sector career?

A: Mid-life crisis and it was cheaper than a red sports car.

Q: Tell us why you’re enthused about this year’s theme “Collaboration is the new competition”?

A:  I’m not.  We need both.

Q: What piece of ‘collaboration’ career advice can you offer our Young Professionals?

A: Be curious, understand context, be bold.

Q: As a host of your table what three things do you want your Young Professional guests to take away from the event/meeting you?


  • Take the work seriously but never take yourself seriously
  • Don’t be afraid to show your enthusiasm.
  • Learn to count

Q: Describe yourself in three words?

A: Passionate, determined, bald.

Hoffman was appointed secretary of the NSW Department of Finance, Services and Innovation after the Baird government nabbed him from Canberra last year. He came in as part of a batch of new secretary appointments from the Baird government in 2015 that mixed private and public experience at the top of the NSW public sector. It included Tim Reardon to Transport for NSW and Rob Whitfield to Treasury.

There is one more NSW secretarial appointment due soon. Peter Riordan, NSW Education’s deputy secretary for corporate services is acting as secretary of the department pending the announcement of who will replace Dr Michele Bruniges — she’s off to Canberra.

Tables for the IPAA NSW CEOs and Young Professionals Breakfast can still be booked via the IPAA website. No individual tickets are available. Bookings close Friday April 22.



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