Heather Crowther, Co-Founder of Highview announces her upcoming retirement!
From very humble beginnings, Accountants Heather Crowther and Silvio Marinelli worked from a home with a tiny lounge room in Devon Meadows. Featuring a wonky coffee table as their shared desk, an old but reliable typewriter, and as Heather recalls, “one very ugly brown couch!”
Co-Founded alongside her colleague and trusted friend Silvio Marinelli, together they decided to take a big risk and open their own accounting firm in the year 2000, based in Cranbourne with a team of just six employees.
Heather and Silvio didn’t bother to hire a business strategist to guide their branding decisions of their exciting new firm. Instead, whilst sitting in her level 1 new office on Childers St, Cranbourne, Heather reached for her Melway for some inspiration on what to name the business. She flicked straight to the letter ‘H’ – her favourite letter! She scrolled through the street names and Highview Street quickly caught her eye. She thought… ‘That name suits. Where I am sitting is HIGH and it has a VIEW!’ From this very moment the decision was made – Highview Accounting Services was born.
But all good things must come to an end. After 23 years of dedicated leadership, five office openings, building and nurturing a team of over 100 employees, and the expansion of service offerings well beyond accounting – Heather has finally put her foot down and decided upon an ‘official’ last day to mark her retirement, Thursday 21 December 2023.
Many will have heard Silvio Marinelli and Darren Crowther speak these raw words of truth, with sincere gratitude; “Highview would not exist if it wasn’t for Heather.” So together let’s begin to celebrate her!
So, what’s the story behind these words? Well, Heather put her family home on the line as bank guarantee to fund the startup of Highview. Her faith in Silvio and commitment towards establishing a business built on respect, trust and loyalty began from this very moment, and to this day, underpins the core values Highview upholds as a business.
Her accounting career, keen eye for detail, technical knowhow, unparalleled expertise, and her quick wit have made her someone we all agree is irreplaceable. Although she’ll always be honoured for her lifetime of achievements at Highview, our team will never forget how much that one key moment of risk taking – an action completely out of character for Heather – got us all here today. Her admirable career, passion, and care for the Highview Family will continue to inspire us all to strive to be our best, each and every day.
Thank you, Heather, for your incredible contributions and your loyalty. Our entire team hope you enjoy your future adventures with your friends, family and four beautiful grandchildren during your retirement. We will certainly miss you!
We spoke to some of our long-standing team members, business Partners, and Heather’s Co-Founder Silvio Marinelli – because we knew their words could articulate the deep impact Heather’s had on Highview and its people over two decades…
“Heather to me is the epitome of selflessness that you could ever imagine. Heather has always put others before herself and helped her family, me personally and Highview always. Heather is my second Mum, she is my friend and my confidant – I don’t know a better person than Heather. She is loyal, trustworthy, hardworking and has a great sense of humour. When I think of Heather, which is often, it puts a smile on my face. I will be forever grateful for what she has done for me, the care and trust she has in me, and I love her very much. I hope I have made her proud.” – Silvio Marinelli, Co-Founder.
“It’s quite simple really…we all wouldn’t be where we are today if it wasn’t for Heather Crowther. Heather set the tone from the beginning putting her house on the line to start Highview with Silvio. She backed Silvio 100% to achieve together the huge growth the firm has enjoyed over many years. All the while being a pillar of loyalty and kindness. We are all part of the Highview Family, but sitting proudly at the very top of that Highview Family tree is Heather! Much love xo” – Simon Byers, Senior Partner.
“Heather has been an inspiring colleague, mentor, and an important part of the Highview Family from the beginning. Always smiling, she is generous and kind and an overall wonderful person that I feel lucky to have spent the majority of my working life with. All the best Heather on a happy retirement!” – Melissa Ortika, Manager & CPA.
“Heather – where do I start? She is a family friend who gave me an amazing opportunity to work at Highview from a young age. Her mentorship and teachings have been the foundation of my success as an Accountant. I owe her so much gratitude for the pivotal role she has played in shaping my professional career. Without Heather, I wouldn’t be where I am today, nor would Highview! Her selfless attitude throughout her whole career has provided the opportunity for individuals and Highview as a business to continue to grow and develop over the years, paving the way to becoming such a successful business. Thank you, Heather!” – Nick McPhillips, Partner.
“If you knew my Mum well, you would never say she was someone who’d take a risk – of any kind! This is just not part of her DNA. But loyalty 100% is. Some people will take a risk because they want a reward, but Mum didn’t take the risk of putting her family home on the line based on the hopes of financial rewards or big career dreams. She took this risk solely based on her belief and loyalty in partnering with Silvio, her lifelong respected colleague and friend. Someone that she considers family.
A key reason for Highview’s success is because Mum and Silvio complement each other perfectly – their skills are very different, but perfectly balance one another. One liked the detail of the work, the other liked the networking and client interface – guess who was who!?
This first (and only) risk Mum ever took ended up providing an amazing opportunity for so many people at Highview, including myself. Mum has supported me my entire life and that included hiring me when I was 20. Working with my Mum has been the best thing ever. I feel lucky to be so close to her and really value that we’ve gained years of extra time together working side by side at Highview. Our great long chats, her ear always ready to listen to me, and enjoying weekly pub lunches over the years are memories I’ll treasure forever.” – Darren Crowther, Senior Partner.
“As for replacing Heather (Mum), we’re not sure that’s even possible” – Silvio Marinelli & Darren Crowther.
To commemorate Heather’s dedication and leadership, the Highview team are planning a special celebration in her honour at our Highview Christmas Party. It is the perfect opportunity for all of us to show her our appreciation and gratitude for her years of hard work, commitment to the business, leadership and loyalty. We will all dearly miss Heather’s weekly attendances at the Cranbourne office and hope that she remains a regular visitor popping by for a chat and catch up!”
Please join us in congratulating Heather on her well-deserved retirement and thanking her for her unwavering dedication to Highview.
TO HEATHER – CHEERS!