Redefining success with Angus and Neil of Tanck

15 April, 2024
Redefining success with Angus and Neil of Tanck | News | Pause Awards
George Hedon, founder and CEO, Pause Fest & Awards
George Hedon
15 April, 2024

Meet Angus Crowther and Neil Pharaoh, the dynamic co-founders of Tanck, a consultancy that has swiftly carved a niche in redefining governmental engagement through innovative business strategies.

This detailed interview sheds light on their journey, the significant hurdles they’ve overcome, their approach to business, and how they measure the true impact of their work. Tanck is also a winner of Pause Awards in 2023.

What has been your most significant achievement in business or personal endeavours?

At Tanck, we place a strong emphasis on our clients, making their successes our own. One particular milestone that stands out is when we partnered with an organisation to enhance their government engagement and advocacy efforts at both the state and federal levels.

Working closely with their CEO, we helped define their objectives, developed a strategy to support their campaign, and implemented systems for streamlined engagement. This collaboration led to the organisation securing over $70 million in funding for sector skills training from a Federal Minister. The CEO was so pleased with the results that they described Tanck as one of their most valuable professional mentors.

This achievement was not only a validation of our unique approach to government engagement, but also a realisation of the impact we can have on communities. It inspired us to continue aiming high for both our clients and ourselves.

How does your company measure its success in terms of impact?

At Tanck, a core competency is achieved through others.

While we do focus on traditional metrics such as revenue, productivity, ROI, employee and client satisfaction, we understand the importance of these factors in maintaining a successful business.

However, our true measure of success lies in supporting our clients in achieving their goals, which ultimately benefits the communities they serve.

We provide our clients with the strategy, advice, and engagement tools necessary to effectively communicate with governments. When our approach leads to valuable insights being delivered to and heard by the government, the resulting benefits for our clients and their communities are significant.

Ultimately, we measure our success based on the tangible and substantial benefits that our clients are able to achieve.

How are you managing your mental health and avoiding burnout in your leadership role?

Haha, work hard, play hard!

We have intentionally built flexibility into every aspect of our business from the beginning. This includes remote work and a non-hierarchical organisational structure. We are committed to ensuring that team members, including ourselves, have the time and space to pursue goals and interests outside of work. We prioritise breaks, holidays, and team retreats as part of our regular schedule.

We have also recognized the importance of surrounding ourselves with individuals who share our values, believe in our mission, and provide support and encouragement. Our network of clients, partners, and mentors help energise us and offer valuable insights.

It is essential to make time for activities and interests that are important to you, whether it’s travel, nature, music, pets, or spending time with family. Finding a balance and making space for these important aspects of life is crucial.


How have you navigated economic challenges to keep your business thriving?

We started our business in early 2021, which coincided with the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. This experience has led us to reflect on how our business would have fared in different economic and political landscapes. While our approach to government engagement remains non-partisan and adaptable, it is inevitably influenced by the prevailing environmental and financial conditions, both in Australia and internationally.

One key lesson we have learned is the importance of being able to adjust our strategy in response to the surrounding economic climate. Our clients have also successfully adopted this flexible approach.

Our other main economic challenges have been internal. Firstly, the task of self-funding a new enterprise and developing a groundbreaking product in a field that is not widely understood by Australians – politics. We have always prioritised innovation to meet the needs of our target market.

The second challenge has been striking a balance between making an impact and ensuring financial sustainability. We make numerous decisions every day to ensure that we maintain a strong business foundation while fulfilling our purpose.

Who inspires you the most in the business world? And what are some things that frustrate you?

The passion that is prevalent in the business community is truly inspiring to us. Our clients, and the hard work they put in to benefit their communities, serve as a constant reminder of this passion. Passion is truly remarkable.

One thing that frustrates us is encountering individuals who are set in their preconceived notions. Early on, we often faced the belief that it is impossible to run a business that is both profitable and does good. We are determined to challenge this belief and prove it wrong.

How are you currently utilising AI within your company for innovation? If not, what factors are influencing this decision?

We are currently experimenting with AI in various areas of our business, such as discussions and documentation, record-keeping, check-ins, and content creation. For us, AI serves as a means of exploring and evaluating different tools to determine their optimal fit for our operations.

Navigating the complexities of the political landscape often involves delicate nuances related to individual personality traits and requires the exercise of personal judgement in making strategic decisions. While some AI features have proven to be applicable and beneficial in enhancing our current processes, others have not quite met our specific needs at this time.

What are the top five things you are currently focused on?

  1. Growing Tanck as a business.
  2. Maintaining a balance between doing good and being successful as a business.
  3. The recent changes in the political landscape following the Tasmanian and Queensland elections.
  4. What are the next steps for innovation at Tanck?
  5. The ongoing development of the culture at Tanck – how can we as a team continue to grow in an environment that promotes excellent work and a healthy work/life balance?

What tools or resources do you use on a daily basis to stay productive and informed? 

Primarily news-based resources such as reading newspapers like ABC & AFR, online media newsletters like Third Sector and Smart Company. I also scan through government media releases and social media for information. Additionally, I always make sure to have a copy of the latest business book with me for long plane flights.

Who has played a key role in supporting your vision and growth?

We have a number of partners and business mentors who have supported us on our journey. However, the most significant relationship that has shaped Tanck is the partnership between Angus and Neil.

Our friendship, combined with our previous experience working together on projects, led us to share a common vision for opening up political access and influence in Australia to more purpose-driven organisations.

Angus and Neil bring different strengths and weaknesses to the table. Angus has experience working inside government and excels in systems and communication, while Neil has experience outside of government and brings expertise in numbers and big ideas.

These complementary strengths have allowed us to cover all aspects of our business and have fostered ongoing discussions, challenging of our decisions, and occasional disagreements that ultimately lead to better solutions.

If we were to start Tanck over again, we would prioritise establishing this partnership from the beginning. We have learned the importance of having diverse skills and perspectives in a business venture, and would not consider going solo in the future.

How have government agencies supported your business?

The Australian government and its agencies have been very responsive to our new engagement approach, providing our clients with new sources of funding and key policy changes. Additionally, the support available to small businesses have been instrumental in our journey as a new business.

Let Pause Awards tell your story
Entering first-timers
Check 2023 Pause Awards winners
Pause Awards Night: the community of champs
Pause Awards Night
2023 Years Summary page is here
Summary Page

Related posts

See who won in 2023

Read more

Category tracks

The Culture track seeks entries that exemplify the development of an inclusive and collaborative workplace culture, crucial for organisational success and growth. Submissions should illustrate transformative strategies implemented across core business functions, reflecting expertise, leadership, and a clear vision. These strategies should demonstrate a positive impact on the business, its employees, stakeholders, and customers, showcasing how a nurturing culture contributes to overall growth and innovation.

The Excellence track celebrates businesses that have demonstrated remarkable success and impact within their industry, regardless of their size. Entries for this category should illustrate how the business's strategic execution, guided by visionary leadership and exceptional expertise, has significantly influenced the industry. The focus will be on the tangible outcomes of these strategies, highlighting the company's ability to innovate, lead, and leave a lasting impression in its field.

The Good track is focused on recognising companies dedicated to their mission of creating a positive societal impact. Entries should highlight innovative solutions aimed at addressing global challenges such as environmental sustainability, social equity, and community well-being. Successful submissions will demonstrate how their initiatives contribute to significant changes, tackling issues like gender inequality, social imbalance, and injustice, thereby setting a precedent for responsible and impactful business practices.

Awarded to a single entry in a category, Grand Prix is the top accolade in that category. To win the Grand Prix, the entire Judging Board must unanimously agree that the entry deserves the accolade of being the best in that category.

The Growth track is about showcasing how businesses have enhanced productivity and execution to make a significant impact in their market. Entries should highlight innovative strategies that have optimised the customer journey, leading to increased engagement and commercial success. This track is for those who have effectively used their understanding of the market and customer needs to scale their business and achieve notable growth.

The Operators track seeks entries that showcase leadership in fostering innovation within their ecosystems. Ideal submissions will highlight how your initiatives have catalysed the creation of new products or services, bolstered by a culture that uplifts internal teams and the wider community. This track celebrates those who drive progress by empowering voices and forging transformative connections in their industry.


  • Always Evolving New

    Acknowledges a culture of continuous learning and improvement within a company, encourages employee development, and always looks for ways to optimise and innovate operations.

  • Big & Mighty Culture New

    Recognises companies (51-1000 employees) for their exceptional efforts in cultivating a culture that champions innovation.

  • Diverse Co.

    Celebrates workplaces dedicated to fostering innovation through a vibrant tapestry of diverse talents and perspectives.

  • Small & Mighty Culture New

    Applauds small teams of fewer than 50 employees for their remarkable ability to foster innovation and set new benchmarks in their domain.

  • Work Sweet Work

    Acknowledges companies that have achieved extraordinary employee engagement, satisfaction, and retention, creating an exemplary workplace culture.

  • Company of the Year

    Honours an outstanding company that not only showcases exemplary leadership and resilience but also demonstrates a clear, quantifiable impact over the past year.

  • Customer Obsessed New

    Applauds prioritisation, understanding and meeting the needs and expectations of their customers, including feedback, personalised services and ensuring high satisfaction.

  • Defiant Ones

    Recognises firms that lead technological innovation, setting new standards and defining the future of their industries.

  • Hammer

    Celebrates companies that have not only defined success on their own terms but have also concretely demonstrated their triumphs over the past year.

  • I Wish I'd Done That

    Applauds ingenious, simple solutions in niche markets that spark a universal sentiment of admiration.

  • On the Rise

    Celebrates early-stage startups, under 4 years, that have shown remarkable progress and success in their initial years.

  • Prodigy

    Recognises young visionaries under 30 with outstanding talents and achievements, setting them apart in their fields.

  • Singularity

    Highlights AI-driven companies that are pioneering new services or integrating AI to create innovative products.

  • Women in Business

    Celebrates female entrepreneurs and leaders who are forging paths for future generations by creating more equitable opportunities.

  • B-Good

    Recognises businesses that redefine commercial success by positively transforming our economic system for the benefit of all stakeholders.

  • Circular Pioneer

    Celebrates companies at the forefront of circular economy practices, making substantial and sustainable differences.

  • Ethical Leadership New

    Commends companies exemplifying leadership in environmental and social governance, setting standards in corporate responsibility and ethical practices.

  • Going Green

    Acknowledges companies leading large-scale sustainable initiatives, addressing critical areas like clean energy and environmental justice.

  • Collab New

    Honours strategic partnerships and alliances with other businesses to leverage complementary strengths, access new markets, and share resources for synergistic growth and innovation.

  • Design First

    Celebrates companies where design is the heartbeat of innovation, engaging the whole team in crafting groundbreaking products.

  • Going Global New

    Applauds companies that have expanded their reach globally, showcasing exceptional growth and international success.

  • Great Pivot

    Acknowledges companies that adeptly navigate change, leveraging insights to pivot towards delivering outstanding products.

  • Movement

    Recognises unforgettable event experiences that resonate emotionally, drive social change, or achieve viral status.

  • New Model

    Honours businesses revolutionising markets with elegant and disruptive business models.

  • Next Level New

    Applauds companies which had successful strategic acquisition and integration of another entity, staff or an asset that allowed them to further grow and scale their services.

  • Wildfire

    Celebrates companies that have rapidly and significantly impacted their marketplace, online and offline, setting new standards for success.

  • Angel

    Honours visionary angel investors who've significantly contributed to early-stage startups, guiding them toward success.

  • C-Suite

    Recognises exceptional leadership qualities in high-ranking executives, showcasing their management and interpersonal excellence.

  • Creative Maverick New

    Honours unconventional thinkers with exceptional abilities to execute typically unimaginable initiatives, expertly coordinate teams, secure funding or successfully launch multiple ventures.

  • Ecosystem Star

    Celebrates individuals who energise and nurture their communities, fostering engagement and advocacy.

  • Future Builder

    Recognises the determination and resilience of founders who've embarked on the challenging journey of starting their own ventures.

  • Quiet Achiever New

    Applauds the unsung heroes whose behind-the-scenes efforts have led to flawless project executions and exceeded expectations.

  • Splash Down Under New

    Acknowledges international companies making a noteworthy entrance into the Australian market, enriching the local business ecosystem.

  • TopCoder

    Recognises developers for their outstanding technical skills, clean code, and collaborative spirit.

  • Venture Cap

    Salutes venture capital firms with a track record of backing transformative businesses, contributing significantly to Australia's economic growth.

  • Visionary New

    Recognises effective leadership by setting a clear vision, motivating the team, and making strategic decisions that guide their business towards its goals.

Early Entries end on:
00d : 00h : 00m : 00s
Enter now