David Berry

Farewell to David Berry, Founding CEO

Celebrating David Berry’s journey at Way Forward

After his recent departure from Way Forward, we spent some time with David Berry, the founding CEO of Way Forward, to reflect on his time with us and his hopes for the future.

David’s path to becoming the CEO of Way Forward was serendipitous: “I had left a major bank and had been consulting for a few years when I got a call from a very special person who asked for my help in pulling together an idea that we had collectively tried to start a few years earlier. That person was Fiona Guthrie, CEO of Financial Counselling Australia.” It was this collaboration with Fiona that laid the foundation for what would become Way Forward, an Australian charity dedicated to helping individuals to successfully manage their problem debt through debt management services, at no cost to clients.

Reflecting on the early days, David shared that he knew Way Forward would be successful “from our very first client and every client since then. You just need to hear their stories and you’ll know we are the light at the end of a very long tunnel for so many people.” These stories of resilience and determination fuelled David’s commitment to reaching as many people as possible.

David notes that his proudest achievements at Way Forward are centred around seeing people’s lives transformed: “1,100 active clients, an additional 200+ who are now successfully debt free, 17 industry members, and corporate and community organisations working together to help people recover from challenging financial difficulties.”

Throughout his tenure, David has been touched by countless client stories. “I was the custodian of over 1,300 stories, all of which were unique and trudged through the paths such as health challenges, job losses, financial disappointment, abuse and addiction,” he remarked. “While each person’s experience is unique, the thing I love most is seeing people regain the confidence they once had.”

Looking to the future, David shared his vision for improving the financial landscape. He wants to see the industry develop a “better understanding of the DNA of how to help people first recognise the signs that they need help, how to give them the courage to ask for help, and how to ensure we match the right support mechanisms to the right person for the right circumstance.”

It’s clear that David’s passion for helping others extends beyond his role at Way Forward. As he embarks on his next chapter, David assured us that his commitment to supporting those in need remains steadfast, and that he’ll still be around in the financial crisis and problem debt arena. “Absolutely! I’m now heading up the Compensation Scheme of Last Resort, which is another really important initiative that will support people who have experienced life-changing financial losses due to financial misconduct.”

David has some parting words of wisdom for Fiona: “share as many client stories to as many organisations and people as you can. They are amazing expressions of resilience that will hopefully provide courage for others to seek assistance sooner.” David also expressed his deep appreciation for the Way Forward staff team and board, emphasising how much he cherished working alongside them.

As we bid farewell to David Berry, we thank him for his invaluable contributions to Way Forward and wish him continued success in his future endeavours. His dedication and passion have left an indelible mark on all who have had the privilege of working with him.


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