Capital W Annual Dinner 2019: She Means Business

Capital W’s Annual Dinner 2019 took place on June 11th in the stunning Doltone House venue. With more than 200 students, alumni and industry representatives in attendance, the banquet room was bustling with excitement. The night started with open networking over canapes where 109 students had the opportunity to gain insights from representatives over a range of industries including, investment banking, professional services, consulting, retail & constitutional banks and, data & technology. 

Students then had the opportunity to rotate between two sponsor tables of their preference, for their main course and dessert. “The chance to talk one-on-one with business leaders was really valuable as we could learn about their experiences and ask for their advice,” a student attendee shared.

 

The highlight of the night was Deanne Stewart’s keynote speech. Deanne Stewart joined First State Super as the Chief Executive Officer in 2018. She has more than 20 years of leadership experience in financial services in superannuation and insurance sectors in Australia and internationally. This includes years as Managing Director with Merrill Lynch Investment Management in New York, and as an Engagement Manager with McKinsey and Company in London. She graduated from UNSW with a degree in Commerce (Finance and Marketing) and holds an MBA from the Yale School of Management as a Fulbright Scholar.

 

Imparting her wisdom with the audience, Deanne divided her experiences into two parts: the experience part, wherein Deanne explores different fields of business, and the leadership part, wherein Deanne takes on leadership roles at Merrill Lynch, Metlife and First State Super. 

 

Having once been in the stage of being an experience gatherer, Deanne explained that it is best not to focus on finding the “perfect role” as a fresh graduate, but rather, explore more about the professional world. After graduating, She joined BT, where she had four roles in the five years she was there. Her various roles allowed Deanne to gain different experiences and an in-depth understanding of operations within the company. 

 

After receiving her MBA from Yale, Deanne pursued a career at McKinsey & Company. She drew attention to the ability to handle complex problems and present the solution with simplicity. Problem-solving, using tools, frameworks and partnerships, was proven to be important in the latter part of Deanne’s career development.

 

Deanne proceeded to take up leadership roles at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, where the essence of experiences she had transferred to leadership. The importance of accepting one’s flaws from peer and subordinate feedback was emphasised. Deanne further explained that rather than blaming others, one must use feedback to improve. 

 

Deanne also emphasised the importance of family and well-being while working. She suggested that going lateral or backwards may not necessarily be a bad thing. She reminded the audience that reflection and self-awareness are ways to derive a  purpose to work towards. For Deanne, her purpose is to make a difference, to contribute to the Australian culture and society. To achieve her goals, Deanne decided to become the CEO of MetLife, where she balanced her credibility, executive presence and sponsorship. These are the three characteristics that make a person a leader. 

 

To Deanne, She Means Business is a vision and a future that is not far, as she sees the demand for more women in the Australian business environment. Deanne believes that everyone can make a huge difference in the community. 

 

The night ended on a high, with students’ minds brimming with new ideas and information about the various industries and firms. A highlight was hearing Deanne talk about her experiences and the lessons she learned from trying many different roles, switching industries as well as balancing family with being a successful female CEO. This definitely gave both students and young professionals another perspective on all the possibilities in their career. 

Capital W Alumna: Leader With a Vision

Lauren Maxwell

Lauren Maxwell was Co-President of Capital W in 2017, after leading the Marketing Subcommittee as Marketing Director in 2016. 

Lauren graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce/Media (PR & Advertising) in 2017 and is currently Marketing Manager in the Business Marketing Team at Commonwealth Bank after finishing the Graduate program there.

With a vision of smashing through “1000 Cracks in the Ceiling”, Lauren and her co-president, Tina Vo, continued to urge young women to take risks and “creating their own doors when opportunities do not come knocking.” We now talk to Lauren to hear her favourite Capital W moments and advice for current students!

What was the most rewarding part about being in Capital W?

The most rewarding part of Capital W was the opportunity to connect with like-minded and motivated female students.  Later in my degree, it was the opportunity to give back and inspire younger female students through our events and workshops.

Can you tell us about your favourite/most memorable Capital W experience?

One of the most memorable experiences during my time in Capital W was my first Annual Dinner. I put my hand up to organise the table decorations which, I soon found out, involved getting up at 4am to go to the flower markets the day before the dinner. My house became a make-shift florist as the team and I hand arranged bunches of flowers for the table decorations. At that year’s dinner, the absolute stand out for me was our key note speaker Elizabeth Broderick. Elizabeth told a serious but inspiring story about her work as Australia’s Sex Discrimination Commissioner in the Armed Forces. Her speech reinforced the fact that Gender Equality is the unfinished business of the 21st century.

Can you tell us about your current role at Commonwealth Bank?

I recently finished CommBank’s graduate program and started a full time role as Marketing Manager in the Business Marketing team. I work on marketing initiatives for industries within CommBank’s Business Bank including Retail, Healthcare and Not-For-Profit.

What advice would you give to current students?

Get involved in as much as you possibly can while you’re still at university. Find societies that align with your passions and even if you’re only vaguely interested, take the time to apply for exchange! It was honestly one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

The theme for this year’s Capital W Annual Dinner is ‘She Means Business’. What does this theme mean to you? 

The first thing that came to mind when thinking about this theme was resilience. Personally, this theme stands for the women who mean business, regardless of what they’re faced with. It’s a call to action for those who sub-consciously (or consciously) continue to act in ways that prevent women from advancing. To me, it’s a call to action for advancing gender equality. 

PwC Higher Apprenticeship Program

We understand that majority of our workforce came through the university route. However, we do equally have talented individuals who might not have the means or ability to continue university joined us here at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).
 
The Higher Apprenticeship pathways allow individuals to earn while they learn. As an Apprentice, they could create their own career with one of Australia’s leading professional services firms. With a competitive starting salary and on-the-job learning, the Apprentice will also be gaining vocational qualifications in Technology.
 
We are looking for the problem solvers, the curious and those with a passion for tech…those who feel they are ready to enter the workforce and start creating their career today! Our application is now open to start the program in January 2020.
 

For more information and to apply click here (www.pwc.com.au/higher-apprenticeship) or contact Justin Ling: justin.ling@pwc.com.au