Chris Robb believes, “There is an opportunity in every challenge – as long as you are prepared to look for it.”

What’s your story?
I’m incredibly fortunate to have had an amazing journey that has allowed me to impact the lives of millions of people through creating and delivering some of the biggest mass participation sports events across three continents.

I started out poor growing up on a farm in Zimbabwe. However in my life, there have been countless highlights including being Road Events Supervisor at the Sydney Olympics and recently meeting Sir Richard Branson on Necker Island.

Last year, I sold my business to IRONMAN and now base myself in Bali. I’m an international speaker, working on my second book “The Gift of Disaster” and growing Mass Participation Asia.

What excites you most about your industry?
The amazing platform that mass participation events provide to impact the lives of millions of people – from those that participate directly, through to their family and friends and the opportunity to support worthy causes all over the world.

Additionally, it is so dynamic with every event presenting a range of different opportunities to customise engagement opportunities for brands and an array of operational challenges to overcome.

What’s your connection to Asia?
On the personal front, my wife is from the Philippines and we met in Hong Kong.

From a business perspective, I expanded my company from Australia to Singapore in 2003 and lived in Singapore for nine years before moving to Bali.

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?

Strong government support for small businesses and entrepreneurship as well as the regional base for so many international and Asian brands that are involved in partnering with mass participation events.

Also, an easy city to work in with great connectivity to the rest of the region.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
There is an opportunity in every challenge – as long as you are prepared to look for it.

Who inspires you?
Sir Richard Branson for his “Screw it, let’s do it” attitude and my almost three-year-old son, Sam, for the joy and fun that he brings to every day.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
A few weeks ago, I attended a two-day workshop in Australia with Jim Benson the co-author and creator of Personal Kanban. It has completely changed the way I manage my work and massively increased my productivity.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
Surround myself with a team of experienced mentors and advisors from day one.

How do you unwind?
On my bike watching the sunrise over the stunning Bali rice fields and at the beach with my wife Tet and son Sam watching the sunset.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Bali for its wonderful diversity of landscape, incredible culture and traditions and amazing restaurants and cafés.

Everyone in business should read this book:
Losing my Virginity by Sir Richard Branson

Shameless plug for your business:
I create powerful impact through:
● Public speaking – my “Gift of Disaster” keynote takes the audience on a roller-coaster ride of real-life case studies that tie back to valuable business principles.

The presentation is highly adaptable and can be tailored to a conference theme or business objective. It has been delivered to huge accolades as an hour keynote through to TED talk style for a wide array of audiences.

I also regularly present at industry conferences on a range of industry specific and business topics.

● High impact results through consulting and advising.

● Facilitating industry collaboration and best practice via Mass Participation Asia.

How can people connect with you?

This interview is part of the ‘Callum Connect’ series of more than 500 interviews

Callum Laing is an entrepreneur and investor based in Singapore. He has previously started, built and sold half a dozen businesses and is now a Partner at Unity-Group Private Equity and Co-Founder of The Marketing Group PLC. He is the author two best selling books ‘Progressive Partnerships’ and ‘Agglomerate’.

Connect with Callum here:
Download free copies of his books here:

Recently Published

Key Takeaway Vernacular art, a self-taught visual art genre, is dominated by African American, Appalachian, and working-class artists. It has gained recognition, with the Smithsonian Museum of American Art, American Visionary Art Museum, Atlanta’s High Museum, and Milwaukee Art Museum building significant collections. Vernacular art emphasizes the artist’s biography, providing meaning and value to collectors […]

Top Picks

Key Takeaway: Standards of beauty have been embedded in different cultures since time immemorial, often based on binary notions of idealised forms of femininity or masculinity. Eleanor Janega’s book explores medieval women’s social roles to consider the ways that women’s roles have and haven’t changed. Religious women in the middle ages used weaponised beauty to […]
Key Takeaway: Authenticity is important for both individuals and society, as it is a social glue that reinforces trust. People need to reexamine and recalibrate how authenticity is judged. Social science offers guidance on what makes something feel authentic. George Newman found three dimensions of authenticity: historical authenticity, categorical authenticity, and values and beliefs. Generative […]


I highly recommend reading the McKinsey Global Institute’s new report, “Reskilling China: Transforming The World’s Largest Workforce Into Lifelong Learners”, which focuses on the country’s biggest employment challenge, re-training its workforce and the adoption of practices such as lifelong learning to address the growing digital transformation of its productive fabric. How to transform the country […]

Join our Newsletter

Get our monthly recap with the latest news, articles and resources.


Welcome to Empirics

We are glad you have decided to join our mission of gathering the collective knowledge of Asia!
Join Empirics