It’s been more than a decade since John Karagounis became the CEO and Managing Director of The CEO Circle, yet his enthusiasm for the role hasn’t wavered.

“After close to 20 years in the financial services industry, I decided to take the plunge and go out on my own, purchasing The CEO Circle globally in 2008. Eleven years on, I now find myself in the privileged position of running Australia’s most exclusive membership organisation for the captains of industry,” he enthuses.

“I have the best job in the world, listening to and interacting with some of the brightest minds in our country.”

Established 25 years ago, The CEO Circle is an exclusive peer group for business leaders that provides a highly confidential forum for connections and discussions, as well as helping its members achieve personal and professional growth.

“We ensure the role of a CEO is no longer a lonely existence,” John explains.

A high-achieving visionary, passionate keynote speaker and celebrated author, John knows what it takes to become a successful leader in today’s marketplace. He is excited to be on the judging panel of The CEO Magazine’s Executive of the Year Awards for the eighth year running.

“The Executive of the Year Awards is the pre-eminent awards recognising the most successful, inspirational leaders in our magnificent country,” he says. “It is a phenomenal opportunity to celebrate the success and achievements of our brilliant business leaders.”

“It is a phenomenal opportunity to celebrate the success and achievements of our brilliant business leaders.”

Reflecting on his own leadership style, John says he is “honest, humble and authentic”. He believes it’s important to be supported by a strong team.

“I’m an inclusive leader and know that I’m only as good as the people around me. I try to surround myself with people who are different from me – embracing diversity of opinion; nurturing, mentoring and coaching; and guiding, developing, equipping and empowering my people to be the best they can be,” he says.

“I don’t hesitate to make the hard decisions, but I’m empathetic and always thinking about how those decisions impact others.”

With an optimistic approach to business, John prefers to look on the bright side of life and focus on the positives – especially when facing obstacles or challenges.

“In adversity, there is always opportunity,” he notes. “My advice is: Stay true. Stay positive. You can achieve anything in life that you set your mind to. You are unlimited.”

Find out more about The CEO Magazine’s Executive of the Year Awards here.