Patricia Cross, Director
Whilst visiting Tuscany in Italy, it must have been my Aussie accent that attracted the attention of an Australian family. We exchanged news of home and I later joined the family for dinner and was seated next to Patricia Cross.
An attractive tall American woman married to an Australian corporate lawyer and a mother of three children. I learnt that her career had included senior positions at a major retail bank and government authorities and she was then on the boards of Qantas Airlines and Wesfarmers.
When I told them about my business, Patricia told me that she has always valued her intuition and we agreed to meet in Melbourne upon her return to discuss intuition in more detail. During the interview, she related an experience that sounded like the stuff of a best - selling thriller.
Her story demonstrates how easily intuitive people gain insights into other people’s behaviour.
I was in Shanghai for a board meeting. Each of the directors was assigned a ‘translator’ and they followed us everywhere. I felt it was a bit restrictive. After all, we had the hotel’s card in case we got lost. At one of the meetings, I spoke Russian to one of the executives who did not speak English. He was delighted to be able to speak in Russian to me and we started having a conversation. Suddenly the two translators descended upon us and one obviously said in Chinese to get back into translation mode. I began to feel this was a bit suss…
Later in the day, I ditched my translator. I told him – he was a lovely young guy and probably got the sack over this – that I was going to pop into a shop and have a look around and I would be right back. I went into the shop and went straight out the other side.
There were people everywhere and I just walked quickly and then got into a taxi. This caused such a scandal when I got back!
My suspicions were growing stronger and stronger so I spoke to the Chairman about demanding more information on who put this deal together. I told him I did not feel good about it. This all came out in the newspapers. There were allegations about how certain people may be getting huge kickbacks. It was further confirmed that various interests were getting monstrously large payments. That was all on the basis of my feeling; it just did not feel right.
I have been a director for eight years now and tend to know the types of feelings that you get about things – which ones you should pursue and which you should not. It is not fool-proof – but I think it is pretty accurate, say 80% of the time. The problem is I have not always followed through on it.