Major General Stephen Day

Fourth Generation Veteran and Leadership Mentor

Thoughts On Leadership

Major General Stephen Day is a fourth generation veteran. His forbears were veterans of Gallipoli and the Western Front, his grandfather was a veteran of Tobruk and El Alamein and his father was a Vietnam veteran. He has served in the Army for 40 years and is a veteran of operations in Africa, East Timor, Iraq and Afghanistan. He has a reputation as a distinguished and compassionate leader and has been formally recognised for his leadership by
the Australian, French and United States governments.

Stephen left the Regular Army in 2015 to pursue business interests and build his business knowledge. He attended a National Association of Corporate Directors course in the United States and took up an appointment with PricewaterhouseCoopers. They helped him to understand business and engaged him to advise executives and boards on leadership as well as the developing cyber risk. Separately, he was a leadership mentor to two business
executives, and the Australian cricket team.

In 2018, the Prime Minister asked him to return to military duty and lead the national response to the drought devastating much of Australia. He reported to the Prime Minister every night, providing a voice for farmers and
rural communities. As well as coordinating the national response, he developed a strategy for long term drought resilience and preparedness in Australia.

After completing the drought task, he took up an offer to write a new leadership doctrine for the Australian Defence Force. Stephen also accepted an appointment as an executive coach for the CEO and several of Rio Tinto’s global executive team members. He is Chair of the Boards of RSL Queensland and Mates4Mates and has just commenced writing another publication, on command, for the Australian Defence Force.



  • Exhibit moral courage at work and in your community … and create the conditions so that the rest of your team can demonstrate it as well
  • Understand that organisational humility underpins greatness … and the leader needs to set the tone
  • Keep hope alive when there are plenty of reasons why you should give up
  • Never let your humanity be dominated by rules or policy.