Bruce on Partners

The overall character of Gilligan Sheppard is based on the aggregation of its people. Their origins are predominantly from the lower working classes of New Zealand. They are intelligent, driven, and capable of achieving alone or with others – and they have the determination and resilience to do so.

Bruce has been here since the beginning, and you can read all about his stories and other’s stories about him throughout the history section on our website. We investigated Bruce’s journey with the other partners, and these are his comments about them all.

Kevin Gilligan, partner 1982 – 1995

Kevin Gilligan had an incredible work ethic. He could figure a work-around within any system and was quite unflappable. He knew nothing about Chartered Accounting, he had always been a corporate dude, but this meant he had high engagement and genuinely cared about people – this made him an exceptionally good person.

Clients loved him, and he would always go the extra mile for them. Unfortunately, because of his soft touch, people took advantage of him. His practice didn’t grow as fast as mine – he tended to bill and then never bothered collecting. This became problematic in the way he policed his clients and there came a period where he was quite distracted by his lifestyle block.

I suggested that we needed to sack some of his clients, because they weren’t loving him in return. He didn’t want to deal with it, and he didn’t want to stop working on the block, so he retired.

Greg Rathbun, partner 1995 – 2014

The recruitment agent said Greg Rathbun didn’t have a sense of humour. His CV comes in, and the recruiter didn’t know I already knew him, but he was right, Greg is a serious guy but they were wrong in that he has a strong sense of humour and expresses it on the ridiculous (just read his story here). His strength was a good connector of people – very similar to Kevin Gilligan. He balanced the firm because he was the hard bastard when I was not capable of being so.

He was amazingly organised and possessed clear thinking around systems and processes. He showed interest in new ideas and technology before anyone else did. He was a perfect complement to me, and we must give him credit because he put up with me quite well.

The practice was growing, we managed to employ two good guys – Richard and Kiran. We had room for one more partner and we picked…

Richard Ashby, partner 2005 – present

Richard Ashby was, and still is, driven and passionate about what he loves – tax. He was a natural client gatherer, very considered, intelligent, and calm. He still possesses these characteristics and has grown into a person who is thoughtful, analytical, and at the same time a bloody good manager and leader.

He has rigorously pursued a specialisation in tax and has become phenomenally good at it.

Yi Ping Ge, partner 2010 – present

We chose Yi Ping Ge to become a partner because she has a natural talent for business development. She loves business and creating things, including relationships. She wants to be the best she can be and is committed to delivering valuable outcomes to others.

Yi Ping is incredibly selfless. Her inner values around how she sees others, interacts with them, cares about them (yes, she has boundaries), and can identify things she doesn’t like and sum them up as simple one liners is legendary. She almost has this Buddhist view of things – seeing the good in everyone.

Joshna Mistry, partner 2020 – present

Joshna Mistry is highly intelligent, very thoughtful, and a natural humanist. Sure, she believes that sometimes you must be cruel to be kind – but she is very good at balancing that out. She has a whole bunch of skills that Greg had around processes, discipline, and technology. Fundamentally she cares about people.

Joshna is actively engaged in mentoring those in her team, and in other teams – those that have the potential to be problem solvers for our clients. She leads and implements personal development programs for the whole team to grow our people.

Author: Lisa Garrud interviewed Bruce Sheppard.