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Paul Donovan: Shaping the Gold Coast for the next wave of leaders

Dominica Czaczka | September 3, 2020

“I’ve had the best career and I’m still having it.”

The Gold Coast is no stranger to Paul Donovan. Many will know Donovan as a tourism heavyweight and staunch advocate for the Gold Coast; one who is not afraid to speak out and champion for the city he holds so dearly.

Donovan boasts a colourful career, first cutting his teeth as a diesel mechanic and professional football player in his formative years before transcending onto an illustrious career in the aviation industry; first with Qantas, Ansett and now with Queensland Airports. Donovan also presides as Chairman of Destination Gold Coast and Events Management Queensland.

“Being a diesel mechanic was interesting; you had to fix something. You couldn’t walk away unfinished because it didn’t work. You had to find a solution.

“Even in that role it taught me a lot about myself; being persistent, thinking about the problem, trying to analyse the problem, trying to come up with a solution,” explains Donovan.

It’s a philosophy Donovan has carried through his eclectic career journey and is determined to apply the same approach to strengthening the Gold Coast’s economic base post Covid-19 to afford the best opportunities for the next generation of Gold Coasters.

“It’s about having a go; about identifying the gaps in the market.

“Out of adversity, comes opportunity. So we need to look where those opportunities lie; how we can take advantage of those opportunities.

“If you have a go, you can win,” he declares.

A proud local, Donovan is committed to promoting the city and dispelling outdated perceptions of the Gold Coast.

“I want everyone, and particularly people in the southern states, to look at this place and not call it the Glitter Strip.

“Call it what a wonderful place to live, what a great lifestyle, what a great place to raise your kids, what great schools we’ve got, what great universities we’ve got and what great opportunities the kids have got to develop and realise their true potential.

“The city is such a wonderful place that I don’t think is fully appreciated by a lot of people. I think a lot of people don’t appreciate what a lot of people do to make it such a great city.

“We have some of the greatest business leaders in our city that you would see across all of Australia and when they get together, my oath they are a powerful bunch,” he said.