Alumni Mosaic

May 13, 2014

Chief of Staff

by Sharon Forsyth

Editor's note: Since this article was written, Mike Baird has become the Premier of NSW with Bay Warbuton continuing in his role as Chief of Staff. Read more here

I joined Mike in 2011 with the primary goal of helping him do the best job he could as Treasurer for NSW. We agreed we would work to maintain our integrity, be salt and light in both the public and private sides of our respective roles, and generally serve others through our work and decisions. We would also pray with and for each other.

As Treasurer, Mike is a senior cabinet minister with sole responsibility for the public finances of the largest state in Australia (NSW boasts about a third of the nation’s population.) On a day-to-day basis, my role is to lead the Treasurer’s staff and manage the relationship with the NSW Treasury, as well as interact with numerous other stakeholders. The breadth of the job is invigorating but also frustrating, as I necessarily have to skate across the surface of the myriad issues we face.

I expected the transition from private to public sector to be difficult, but it was, in fact, much harder than I anticipated (West Wing has a lot to answer for). The reality of politics—the relentless pressure of the media cycle, the expectations of the electorate, the demands of the party—sometimes conflict with the best policy outcomes. At times, I have found the compromise difficult.

However, after three years, I now feel I have a handle on the role (as much as anyone ever does!), and can point to good things we have been able to do as a government—supporting the most vulnerable, restoring fiscal capabilities, and finding innovative approaches to big problems. Mike and I have also been able to use his position as a means of encouraging churches and Christian organizations.

After Regent helped confirm my calling to the secular workplace, I have wanted to ensure that my work essentially served others. Generally, my current role does that. If I do my job well, Mike is well served, his ministerial team can grow and thrive, the government is in a better place, and the resources of the state are better managed and allocated for the benefit of all NSW citizens.

There are certainly times when I feel challenged in my current career season – when politics trumps policy; when individuals choose self-interest over service; when the cold, hard light of electoral mathematics eclipses even the best intentions. However, in those times, I am reminded that I am still God’s child, that he is sovereign, and that my calling, in whatever situation, is to work joyfully for and to his glory.

Bay Warburton (left) with Mike Baird (right)


Bay is married to the beautiful Emma and they have four fantastic boys: Ben (13), Tom (11), Jem (9), and Sam (7). They live in Sydney, Australia. Bay has been a Christian since his teens, when he was converted through a local church’s confirmation classes. His wrestle with vocation led him to Regent in 1997. Since then, Bay has had a varied career path: management consulting with McKinsey & Company, part of the start-up team at eBay Australia, nine years at Johnson & Johnson across a range of roles, and now his current role as Chief of Staff to Mike Baird, the Treasurer of New South Wales (NSW), who’s also a good friend and fellow Regent alum.


Photo credits: Adam Taylor Source: News Corp Australia