Cecil is the owner and founder of the You First® Group.

Unlike most owners of financial businesses in Australia, Cecil started life in the agricultural arena in Zimbabwe (then Rhodesia). He qualified through the University of London with a B.Sc Agric (Hons) and went on to become a research fellow and lecturer at the University of Rhodesia (later to become Zimbabwe) where he also set up a Masters degree course in plant pathology for students.

Cecil's love of agriculture led him to become the General Manager of a consortium of farms where the management and accounting systems he set up so impressed one of the international banks, that he was asked to set up and run the national agricultural portfolio in Zambia. By this time, Cecil had already studied tax and accounting through the Chartered Institute of Secretaries, gaining the highest marks in Southern Africa and the first dual distinction.

Cecil spent 5 years in Zambia with the bank, eventually returning to Zimbabwe to pursue his lifelong dream to go farming. He had purchased a derelict 1500 ha farm on the Mazoe river and turned this into a viable, diversified ongoing concern employing over a hundred full time staff. Enterprises were varied and included an export flower operation – this ‘lit up the sky’ as several acres of northern hemisphere plants were grown under artificial light to mimic the long days of the European summer. Other enterprises included seed, vegetable, wheat, soyas and cattle on several hundred acres of irrigation.

The political turmoil in Zimbabwe in 2000 has been well documented. Cecil was one of the first to be affected culminating in the theft of the farm and assets by the Mugabe regime. Migration to Australia with his wife and family seemed a logical step. The saga featured on the front page of several international newspapers as one of the first casualties of the Mugabe regime in Zimbabwe. Starting again from scratch was tough – arriving with just the suitcases. After a short period with Westpac, Cecil began the "You First" business in 2002. He has wide experience in business after a varied career in academia, banking, agriculture and financial services. He has sat on several boards, council and has chaired various associations. He also appeared on the back pages of newspapers in happier, younger and sportier days and remains a sports fanatic (becoming more tragic as the years roll on!).

These days Cecil still enjoys a game of cricket once a week, boating in his fishing kayak (time and weather permitting). He is a member at the GABBA, and loves persuading clients to accompany him to a cricket or footy game.

His new passion is encouraging people to realise their life aspirations or find the ‘Song in Their Heart ®’ He has a number of talks he gives in this regard. These draw on his many life experiences, not only the wrench of leaving behind the African bush but also the microcosms of the GFC and Fiscal Cliff’s which happened and had to be survived in developing economies. “A breath of fresh air in a convoluted world” was a compliment which probably describes well his ‘different’ approach to the financial sector.

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