Golden arches, golden glow

By Bruce Madden, Financial Media Services.

What is it that drives highly motivated people to find more motivation, more energy in life?

For Newcastle, NSW-based couple Denise and Murray McKeough, it is their fundamental passion to help people that drives them to squeeze maximum joy from their successful business, their extended ‘family’ and their ongoing acts of generosity and community giving.

Fitzpatricks Private Wealth clients Denise and Murray are the franchise tour de force behind the McKeough Group – the Hunter based management company that oversees three McDonald’s restaurants based in the NSW townships of Singleton, Rutherford and Greta.

More than a drive through fast burger outlet, the McKeough’s have integrated their caring values into each of their family restaurants, which in turn have become woven into the fabric of the towns and people they serve.

The support can be seen through the employment and training of young people, nurturing their career development, or the continual acts of community support through everything from one off donations to community dance groups to hosting an almost constant stream of events to help raise funds or give back to the community.

In a very full annual program of fundraising events, one of the McKeough’s biggest efforts is given each year to supporting the Newcastle based Ronald McDonald House, which delivers a critical housing service to the families of sick kids being treated at the nearby John Hunter Hospital.

“We volunteer on a roster to cook for the people staying at Ronald McDonald House. It’s great to get up there and help prepare a BBQ meal and meet the families facing very real life challenges,” Murrays says.

Denise also utilises her considerable networks to source donations or auctionable items that go under the hammer at the annual Sydney Ball.

“We have raised $1 million in a night for the charity. It is a lot of hard work but very rewarding,” she says.

From a business perspective the McKeough’s are a self-made success story, having seen the highs and lows of the restaurant business over an association with the McDonald’s franchise network that spans more than 20 years. Today, with some 600 employees aged between their early teens and 60, the McKeough’s say they are ‘deeply privileged’ to be in a position to lead and foster a culture more akin to an extended family than a business.

Fitzpatricks Private Wealth adviser, Glen Reilly, says he is delighted to also be considered a part of the McKeough extended family over the past decade or so of their partnership.

“I sit on the Board of the McKeough family to help them make smart decisions about their financial future,” Glen says. “But in a way, through our friendship, they also sit on my family Board. We are close. Murray and Denise have really big hearts, are constantly leading, helping and nurturing others and it is a great honour to help their family achieve their life by design,” he says.

With the financial aspect in good hands, how do the McKeough’s find life enrichment? People.

Whether it is watching a young person come into a store with her first job, be promoted to a management role, gain training and wider experience, perhaps marry and start a family or even move careers, Denise and Murray gain great satisfaction from knowing their culture of ‘family’, rewarding effort and giving back has made a positive, lasting difference.

It doesn’t get much better than that.


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