Kristian Livolsi is an entrepreneur, thought leader, philanthropist and business growth strategist.
Also described as a Gazelle | Speaker | Author | Angel | Giver | Entrepreneur Evangelist.
As an entrepreneur he has been involved with 76 companies, advised more than 500 businesses, and consulted in 18 countries.
In 1999 he graduated with a Diploma of Hotel Management, Swiss Hotel Association, and a Diplome Culinaire d’Hotelier Le Cordon Bleu Paris, from the International College of Hotel Management.
Over the course of two decades Kristian carved an impressive career that was applauded and admired. In the first decade he experienced resounding success, public recognition, and a lengthy list of personal and organisational awards, among them the Restaurant and Catering Australia Young Achiever of the Year, SA Great Rising Star of the Year, and Employer of the Year. He was listed in the Top 30 Young Entrepreneurs in Australia by SmartCompany and was a finalist in the prestigious Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year.
By the end of the first decade his group of company’s turnover was circa $30M but success become failure. Caught up in the Global Financial Crisis and having overextended his reach, he experienced catastrophic failure, depression, and near death. Everything he had worked so hard to build crumbled away. Recovery was a distant glimmer on the horizon, and, for the most part, Kristian had written himself off. He was homeless, broke, and uncertain of how to move forward.
Fortunately, a new opportunity soon presented itself, and Kristian’s strong work ethic enabled him to grab it. He spent three years in an energy start up, where he went from Director of Sales and Marketing to Chief Operating Officer. They grew the company from $150,000 of working capital to an eight-figure turnover. His battle with depression was coming to an end, but despite the glamorous parties and A-List events having disappeared with the fall of his businesses, the rock star in Kristian was still causing him to struggle with creating true balance in his life.
This lack of balance led directly to the most significant tipping point in Kristian’s life – which took place in September 2014. While doing community service at a Salvation Army second-hand goods store, he encountered a young homeless mother and daughter.
They had been sleeping rough and it was cold at night, so they had come into the store to buy an extra blanket, but the mother only had $5. While she was choosing a blanket, her daughter had noticed the children’s books. That’s when it all fell apart for the young mother. The little girl wasn’t crying because she wanted a book. She was crying because she was upset for her mum.
In that moment Kristian realised his deep selfishness and arrogance. He recognised that things needed to change in his life, and they needed to change there and then. He knew that if he wanted to make a positive difference in the world, he had to start with himself.
He made a promise to himself to always live with purpose, love with all his heart, and give to as many people as possible. He realised how blessed he was and began to understand the power of a growth mindset and the strength of resilience. This was the beginning of his journey to discover his purpose, and the point at which he began to get his life back on track.
“When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.” – Lao Tzu
The shift in mindset was so significant that it would result in Kristian fine-tuning his purpose and aligning himself with his destiny. He quietly built a new portfolio of companies away from the media and the public eye, and his strong desire to learn and grow took him back into education to work on his MBA.
It was at this time that he met Lucy, the woman at the centre of his happiness. They were soon blessed with two amazing children, Leonardo and Lavender. Kristian says that, “Becoming a father is the single most difficult role I have ever had, and I am committed to it for life – a commitment I share with Lucy.”
Despite working hard to stay in the background, Kristian found more and more people turning to him for his ability to solve complex problems, disrupt established ecosystems, and create solutions that were sustainable and profitable. As a result, he was invited to give keynotes around Australia and Internationally, join boards, take an active policy advisory role, and become increasingly involved in the start-up ecosystem throughout Australia.
In 2017, he was awarded the title Adjunct Professor, and became the inaugural Entrepreneur in Residence for the University of Adelaide and ThincLab. During his term, sixty-six start-ups raised more than A$189,000,000, making Thinclab one of the fastest growing and most successful incubators in Australia.
During the same period Kristian completed his Master’s in Business Administration from the University of South Australia and was awarded membership of the International Golden Key Honour Society for outstanding academic achievement.
2018 was another major tipping point in Kristian’s life, but this time he had Lucy, Leonardo and Lavender to consider. What came next was a systematic exit from ten of his companies in less than six months (six sales, two wrap ups and two give-aways), a complete restructure from over 100 employees to less than eight. The best part about this exercise was that everyone retained full employment with the new owners, some even getting promotions and further growth opportunities. But about all Kristian developed a mission so clear it would change the world one person at a time – starting with him.
2019 saw Kristian publish his first book, launch the Business Growth Mindset, write several eBooks, create online training modules, and curate vlogs, blogs, and podcasts, all with the aim of fulfilling his purpose and changing the world.
As the late Steve Jobs once said, “The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do”.
Kristian works globally and lives in Australia with Lucy, Leonardo and Lavender. My family are my greatest achievement and they inspire me every day.