Brett Mills partnering for change
We sat down with one of STEPS Charity‘s Living Legends Brett Mills of Ken Mills Toyota to find out a little more about his business and why he’s committed to helping us take another step towards a brighter future for people living with a disability.
Q: Can you tell me about your history with Ken Mills Toyota?
A: I’ve owned and operated Ken Mills Toyota since the end of 2002 so it’s coming up to 15 years this December. Prior to that I worked in my father’s dealership before heading to London. When I returned I was living in Sydney working for Toyota Australia before returning to the Coast.
Q: What does your role entail?
I have a fantastic management team who operationally run the business from day to day which leaves me able to focus on the strategic vision for the dealership; this includes fostering genuine community partnerships.
Q: When did you first become involved with STEPS Charity?
A: Our journey with STEPS began last year and in that time I feel we’ve created a mutually beneficial relationship between us. Whilst we do sell cars to STEPS for their employees and offer a cash sponsorship, our partnership runs deeper than that. For example, we offer our employees one paid day per annum to volunteer with our charity partners and we have some incredible STEPS initiatives coming up at a grassroots level.
I believe that a not-for-profit and profit should equal profit and that doesn’t necessarily mean money, it means working together to meet each other’s goals.
Q: Why do you feel passionate about supporting STEPS Charity?
A: I am impressed by what STEPS are doing as an organisation – it is a hand-up not a hand-out, and it is a sustainable model. I think Carmel is a really inspirational leader with a high level of integrity and I value her commitment to creating opportunities for people living with a disability.
Q: What are you looking forward to seeing at STEPS Charity in 2017?
A: I’m really looking forward to seeing students go through STEPS Pathways College! As a dad, to be in a position to support young people to live independently for the first time is something I am especially proud to be involved with.
I’m also looking forward to seeing whether we can work together to provide some education to the students around basic car maintenance as part of the program.
Q: How would you encourage other companies to get involved in charity support?
A: I think you’ve got to have an open mind and think about how you can create a relationship that’s beneficial for both parties and it’s not always that simple.
It doesn’t work in my opinion if someone just throws money at something, that’s generally short term. It’s about finding something that works for you both long-term so you can create a sustainable relationship, which I think is really important.
Q: How do you encourage your team to get behind your chosen charities?
A: As I mentioned, each of our employees now have the opportunity to take one paid day off a year to support one of our charity partners. We’ve only recently introduced this and a number of staff have already put their hand up and locked their days in.
Q: What are some of your goals for 2017?
Work as little as possible! Right now my objectives are to continue to run a successful business and spend time with my family. Travel is a perpetual goal and I am also currently learning to ride a horse with my son.
Q: And what is your own greatest achievement to date?
From a business perspective, I generally feel that we are running a dealership which is about more than just selling cars. I’m really pleased with where we are at. People are recognising us for the work we do in the community and I feel like it is genuine recognition, which is really important to me.
Q: In a few words can you tell us what your relationship with STEPS Charity means to you and your team?
It’s something we are proud to support. As a team, we all feel it is meaningful to be able to assist others to achieve their goals; goals that we are often able to take for granted.
Q: What’s in store for Ken Mills Toyota this year?
We’re looking at a really exciting year! We’ve just recently launched the new car model line – the C-HR – and we have some aggressive sales targets to meet.
This year also has a strong focus on community events including our educational nights for P platers. As a local business that prospers from this community, I am strongly motivated by a desire to create and support programs that give back to it.