Ben Robert Smith
Victoria Cross & Medal for Gallantry
Benjamin Roberts-Smith was born in Perth, Western Australia, in 1978. He joined the Australian Regular Army in 1996 and was posted to the 3rd Parachute Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment; In 2003 Ben attempted and passed the legendary Australian SAS selection course.
Bens impressive list of combat operations include two tours of East Timor including Interfet in 1999, Fiji, Iraq and six tours of Afghanistan.
Ben was on his second operational tour of Afghanistan in 2006 when he was awarded the “Medal for Gallantry” for his actions as a patrol sniper in the Chora Valley, It was his fifth tour of Afghanistan, when on 11 June 2010 he was involved in his “Victoria Cross” action.
During an operation to hunt for a senior Taliban commander in the Kandahar province, Ben took part in an assault against an enemy fortification, exposing his own position in order to draw fire away from members of his patrol who were pinned down. Fighting at close range, he stormed two enemy machine-gun posts and silenced them. His citation in the Commonwealth of Australia Gazette notes that 'his selfless actions in circumstances of great peril served to enable his patrol to break into the enemy's defences and to regain the initiative... resulting in a tactical victory.'
The Victoria Cross together with the Medal for Gallantry makes Ben the most decorated serving soldier in the Commonwealth.
Ben’s tenure with the SAS saw him deploy around the world in roles that covered the full spectrum of Special Operations. He’s proven ability to engage and form strong alliances with stakeholders including national and international counterparts and enhance the planning and achievement of strategic and operational objectives stems from his years of operational experience throughout the Middle East and South East Asia.
As a commander and key planner for Special Operations missions, Ben has fascinating insight into the processes and protocols that are critical in producing success in competitive environments. Ben will not only drive your team to succeed but will provide the vision of a leader who has been charged with providing the Australian Government with positive strategic outcomes in some of the world’s most dynamic environments for over 17 years.
Ben also provides remarkable insight into what he has coined “True Mission Success”, which is to achieve an objective while maintaining the physical integrity of that team. Personnel safety is paramount to any organization and creating a mindset of safety while staying focused on the corporate goal is critical. Using real life examples from the frontline Ben provides an insight into safety and success that will strengthen your team’s procedures, and give them the focus to excel.
Ben is a gifted and inspirational speaker who engages audiences with his vivid depictions of modern warfare while always maintaining focus on the topic. Ben is now one of only 9 living recipients of the Victoria Cross worldwide. He is a rare and motivational individual who has the ability to talk at all levels and is one of this nation’s proven leaders.
Ben recently graduated from the Australian Institute of Company Directors and is currently studying his MBA at the University of Queensland.
Ben Roberts-Smith – Testimonial / Electrolux Home Products Sales Conference, Auckland
The theme of our conference was Inspire to Lead. This theme encompassed all facets of leadership and team based achievement. In Ben’s presentation he encapsulated the best qualities of an individual working under extreme duress in a team dependent environment. A team’s performance is grounded in its ability to work towards a goal with each member following a set plan and adapting to changes, as they occur to achieve the desired result.
Ben’s personal story is at once both inspiring and an affirmation of what can be done if a team is led well, there is a good plan in place and talented individuals rise to the challenges they face. We are extremely grateful for Ben’s service and the professionalism and heartfelt retelling of his story.
As a company Electrolux wishes Ben all the best in whatever endeavor undertakes in his future life. Ben’s presentation was a highlight of our conference and has inspired us to strive to achieve all we can in the coming years.
Mike Putt | Director Sales - Electrolux Home Products Pty Ltd
“Ben was outstanding – 10 out of 10. Standing ovation. I’ve seen a lot of speakers throughout my career and Ben tops the list. Never seen a sales team so engaged and they are just raving about him”
Head of Sales – Realestate.com.au
They say life is not measured by the number of breaths you take, but by the moments that take your breath away. Ben's presentation was breathtaking, quite simply he's one of the most inspiring men on the planet.
Business Director – Imagination Melbourne
Overnight I have received a flood of emails from our dealers praising us for selecting Ben (I don't usually get any feedback at all). They thoroughly enjoyed his presentation and were really touched by his stories. Ben completely put us out of our comfort zone and made us realise how precious life is. And they way to tied in his experience to our business objectives was spot on.
Please tell Ben that he nailed it and that we were thrilled to have him part of our event which will become one of the most memorable for years to come. Regional Marketing & CS Manager | Toyota
There is no question that Ben's story will go down as potentially the greatest in the modern era. Even at its most basic level, people have an appreciation for what the Victoria Cross represents. It is seldom awarded and it is even rarer that you can experience firsthand the actions that took place in order for it to be bestowed. Ben's story is however far greater. His 18 years within the Australia Army has taught him so much of leadership, morale courage, discipline and integrity. This alone would be enough to get my attention, but when coupled with actions on the battlefield, it would be remise of any business not to engage Ben and experience this for themselves. You won't get a more patriotic and life-humbling presentation; ever.
Andrew Phillips | Chief Executive Officer - Jarvis Cars
I just wanted to thank you for delivering a truly inspiring speech to our inaugural awards night dinner at the Coolum Resort on Friday night.
Apart from the time you spent with our team before and after your speech, you really played your role in setting the scene and supporting the overall success of our conference. You recounting what is a truly inspirational story in relation to your heroic role in delivering a great outcome for your team and our country in Afghanistan. Whilst your story is inspiring alone, it is how you told it that was so good. You succeeded in making us feel like we were there and helped us to begin to have that slight understanding of what it must have been like.
Our conference, titled the “Art of Winning”, was all about leadership driving culture driving performance. You did a great job in linking the elements of your story to what matters for successful business outcomes. You included the roles that leadership, culture, clarity of purpose supported by planning and decision making, the need for team work and our need to trust others, the critical need for high performing individuals who know and deliver their role – ultimately all the ingredients that comprise a high performing team.
A number of the guys ...and girls told me it was the best delivered and most motivational speech they had ever heard. They also greatly appreciated the time you spent with them before and after.
Robert Quant | Chief Executive Officer - Grant Thornton Australia
Ben was well received by the audience who found him very inspiring and skilled at illustrating how important leadership is in all types of workplaces. He captured and held people’s interest for the length of his fascinating speech, and many audience members enjoyed the opportunity to have a chat with Ben at lunch afterwards. 100% of respondents to our feedback survey rated him as excellent or very good, and he was rated the most valuable speaker at our conference.
Madeleine Smith | Internal Communications Business Partner - Origin Energy Ltd