As co-founder and national head of KordaMentha Real Estate and KordaMentha Investment Management, Berrick Wilson (OB 1988) commands respect and admiration from his peers through his extensive business credentials. Combine this with Berrick’s establishment of the charity Chain Reaction Challenge Foundation and adjectives such as passionate, proactive, lateral thinker, collaborative can understandably be attributed to him.

A qualified property valuer and licensed real estate agent of more than 25 years, Berrick has extensive experience in commercial real estate consulting, property development and funds management. Having worked on some of Australia’s largest and most complex insolvency and corporate restructuring engagements, he is regularly called upon by financiers, corporations and government to provide advisory, strategy and transaction management services in high-stakes situations so is no stranger to stressful situations.

Berrick and Milla

However, it was the event of a shocking and totally unexpected medical emergency in 2006 where Berrick’s life took a turn. He and his wife Caroline’s daughter, Milla, experienced a brain haemorrhage at only two days old. In the turmoil that ensued, Berrick’s determination to show appreciation for all those who helped their beloved daughter, (who has now fully recovered), and also to help others in similar circumstances, led to the creation of the Chain Reaction Challenge Foundation. In his own words, “While in the neonatal intensive care unit at Monash I made a promise to myself that if Milla came through this situation I’d do something to make a difference. Chain Reaction is the outcome of that promise.”

While in the neonatal intensive care unit at Monash I made a promise to myself that if Milla came through this situation I’d do something to make a difference. Chain Reaction is the outcome of that promise. Berrick Wilson (OB 1988)

The Chain Reaction Challenge Foundation was established in 2007 to provide financial support to registered children’s charities with the intention of being a catalyst for change. The Foundation organizes an annual marathon cycling event that challenges industry leaders to dig deep for those less fortunate than themselves. Each rider makes an upfront donation of $3,000 and then commits to raising a further $5,000 along with the sale of corporate logos on their team jerseys.

2020 Victoria – Day 4-6 Highlights from Chain Reaction Foundation on Vimeo.

The Challenge is a 1,000km week-long event with previous courses including Sydney to Melbourne (through the Snowy Mountains), Canberra to Melbourne via the 10 highest peaks in Victoria and the South Island of New Zealand from Christchurch to Queenstown. The event is designed to take participants out of their comfort zones, requires commitment and a good dose of physical and mental resilience.

However, once you make the commitment, Chain Reaction ensures you’ll succeed by employing a professional coach (none other than ex pro cyclist Dave McKenzie) to prepare a rigorous 16 week training program which ensures you’re ready for the Challenge in March each year. During the week of the ride, the cyclists are accompanied by a paramedic, masseurs, bike mechanics, a photographer and a support crew so all the cyclists need to focus on is getting through the 1,000km course and bonding with their fellow team mates.

The peleton of the 38th Chain Reaction ride in Hobart. Chain Reaction Challenge Foundation

The ride has a double focus, not only to raise a substantial amount for the Foundation, but in the spirit of camaraderie and fun, to compete as a group and achieve an oft-believed unachievable feat. Since 2007, there have been 37 rides conducted across Australia and New Zealand. The first ride, from Adelaide to Melbourne, raised $475,500 and to date, close to $30M has been the result of Berrick’s vision.

An example of Berrick’s vision in practice is the Mt. Druitt Learning Ground, an initiative of Chain Reaction. Mt. Druitt, in Western Sydney, was set up to help enable disenfranchised youth to re-connect with both themselves and their community, increased school attendance, and to allow the growth of a plan for life, as many of the community have a fractured lifestyle with little sense of self and understanding and empathy for others in their community.

Mt. Druitt’s Learning Ground, after extensive research as to the type of programs best suited to the needs of the community, provides a central meeting place with a variety of creative programs which encourage social cohesion. Personal commitment, personal involvement is a genuine success story.  Well done, Berrick!

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