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. 

Capital W Alumna: The Catalyst

Stephanie Pow

Stephanie Pow founded Capital W in 2007 with a group of like-minded young women, all passionate about equipping young women to “tackle any role”. 

After graduating with a Bachelor of Commerce (Finance), Stephanie completed an MBA from University of Pennsylvania- Wharton School and MPA from Harvard University. Stephanie is currently Strategy Director at Vend, a cloud-based POS software company. 
 

Keen to learn about Capital W’s influence on her life, we asked Stephanie about how she helped catalyse the women empowerment movement in UNSW.

What motivated you to start Capital W?
At eighteen, I had my first practical experience in business – an internship at UBS, working on the largest trading floor in the southern hemisphere. I continued in a part-time capacity during my second year of university and I often represented the firm at campus recruiting events. On multiple occasions, upon hearing that I worked on the trading floor, young women would exclaim, “I could never do that!” Truth be told, I would have said the same thing a year earlier if it were not for the fact that UNSW Finance Co-op had placed me there. Inspired by the opportunity to empower other women to tackle any role, as well as my own experience, I pitched the idea of Capital W to a group of like-minded friends and the rest, as they say, is history!

How has Capital W helped shape who you are today?
When I reflect on the early days of Capital W, I am reminded of the resourcefulness and tenacity of the founding team. The launch of Capital W was a success because the team truly believed in the mission we were out to achieve. We were all willing to go the extra mile, whether that involved asking friends of friends of friends for introductions to potential sponsors, working on Capital W related activities after wrapping up long internship work days or making awkward promotional videos to show at lectures (thankfully this was before YouTube was really big!). Over time, I have come to realise that the chance to be part of something like this is exceedingly rare. To this day, the fulfillment I experienced as part of the Capital W founding team continues to be my benchmark for whenever I am evaluating a new opportunity – and it’s a high bar to clear.


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

When we started Capital W in 2007, the focus was very much on broadening the opportunity set for female business students (the ‘Lean In’ approach if you like). In the ensuing decade, we’ve seen a greater acknowledgement of the structural and systematic barriers that make it difficult for women to enter certain industries and to ascend. To me, the theme for the 2019 Capital W Annual Dinner ‘She Means Business’ speaks to the growing momentum around addressing and dismantling these barriers – recruitment methods, work arrangements, promotion criteria, the process for handling harassment and parental leave policies, just to name a few. While the task ahead is daunting, sorry is the fool who underestimates her.

Looking Back on Past Annual Dinners 2016-18

Having started the countdown to Capital W’s Annual Dinner 2019: She Means Business, we decided to take this opportunity to look back on past themes and keynote speakers. 

2016: Be Inspired, Be Inspiring

‘Be Inspired, Be Inspiring’ encouraged students to draw inspiration from female business leaders’ experiences, which shaped their journeys to success and paved their paths to inspiring following generations.

Jacki Johnson, Group Executive, People, Performance and Reputation at IAG shared a glimpse into her career and how she used change as a force for good.

“The pace of change is so fast, and the world demands we adapt,” reminded Johnson as she emphasised the importance of embracing change. 

Her discussion of the challenges she faced in her career, inspired students to continually learn from every experience, both good and bad. 

Where is she now?

Johnson became Co-chairman of the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) in 2019. UNEP FI aims to help banks, insurers and investors embed environmental, social and governance considerations in their business strategies.

2017: 1000 Cracks in the Ceiling

‘1000 Cracks in the Ceiling’ drew attention to the ‘glass ceiling.’ The theme highlighted the need to continue empowering the next generation of female business leaders and shatter the ‘glass ceiling’.

Nicola Wakefield Evans, Independent Non-Executive Director of the Lend Lease Group is a global leader for gender diversity. Evans discussed the issue of the ‘glass ceiling’ that still existed in the workplace despite the significant progress that was made. Her speech encouraged female students to continue their efforts to shatter the glass ceiling.

Where is she now?

Evans became Chairman of 30% Club Australia in 2018. The 30% Club advocates for diversity across ASX Chairs and Directors by working with senior business leaders to increase their contributions towards building gender diverse boards.

2018: Our Voice is Our Future

‘Our Voice is Our future’ emphasised the need to take further individual action to achieve gender equality outcomes. There is still progress to be made for voices of women to be heard in the workplace and this can be achieved by further empowering young women.

Jen Dalitz, CEO of Women in Banking and Finance is an internationally recognised thought leader for diversity and inclusion. Drawing from her ten years of experience on Boards in the financial services, agricultural and education sectors, Dalitz shared her thoughts on women in leadership and working in male-dominated industries. Her speech reinforced the need for further pragmatic action to achieve a gender-balanced economy.

Where is she now?

Dalitz joined the UNSW Business School Alumni Advisory Board Member in 2018, where she is involved in providing valuable input to new program development and student and alumni engagement.  

EY Corporate Finance Woman of the Year Competition

EY Corporate Finance Woman of the Year Competition

How can you pursue a career in corporate finance and have an impact on the world you live in? Enter the EY Corporate Finance Woman of the Year competition for your opportunity to make the world work better. The Grand Final will be decided in London, February 2019. Entries close 24 August 2018. Enter now at www.ey.com/au/cfwy

#EYCorporateFinanceWomanOfTheYear #WomenInTransactions

Deloitte Profile July 2018

Deloitte Graduate and Internship Roles

Our services are as diverse as the graduates we hire. We’re looking ahead and building industries of the future, which we can’t do that without you – you are today’s students and tomorrow’s leaders. So, we’re calling on creatives, technologists and trailblazers to join us.

Graduating in 2020 and want to explore new career pathways? Apply for our NEW early talent program, Insider!

But if you are a Penultimate-year student, then look no further than a paid summer internship with our Vacationer Program!

But don’t forget to check out one of Australia’s leading Graduate Programs if you have graduated or are graduating this year!

Apply NOW at Yourfuture.deloitte.com.au!

UBS Sydney Investment Banking Internship

Sydney Investment Banking Internship –  Application Link.  – Application close date: Tuesday 31 July 2018, 12pm (AEST).

Your role

Do you want to help our clients buy and sell equities, foreign currencies, interest rates and credit? You’ll:

• make markets for our clients in a particular product area and, using the firm’s capital, manage a portfolio of positions.
• work closely with Sales to deliver competitive pricing and liquidity to clients.
• gain exposure to trading desks across a range of products and clients.

Your team

You’ll be working in the Investment Client Services team, looking after professional investors like asset managers and fund managers. You’ll give them advice and do everything that’s needed to buy and sell securities for them. From start to finish. You’ll be able to draw on the strength of our platforms, products, services and people worldwide to give your clients whatever they need.

Your experience and skills

Our internship program is for students in penultimate year. It doesn’t matter what you’re studying. (Really, it doesn’t.) But we’d like to see evidence that you can:

• analyze a problem, take a view and come to a decision
• plan, organize and communicate well
• make things happen
• stick with a task
• work in a team
• come up with ideas

Perhaps you’ve organized a fundraising event or taken part in team sports? Or persevered and passed an exam in a subject you found challenging? Think about how things you’ve achieved match the skills we’re after.

Your Program

On this 11-week summer program, you’ll be working with our experts and learning about the industry, our clients, our firm and a specific area of it. You’ll have plenty of opportunities to develop new skills and make contacts. And if you impress us, we might invite you to join our Graduate Talent Program once you’ve graduated.

PwC 2018 Graduate Program – Technology

It’s an incredibly exciting time to join PwC’s technology services. Whether we’re exploring the future of business, restructuring the internal systems of one of our clients, or developing new tech to use in-house, there’s a passion for innovation across everything we do here.
We has new roles available for graduates who want to make a difference in the world of technology. There are exciting opportunities in Technology teams such as Enterprise Digital, Cyber, Forensics and Experience Centre. For more information and to apply, head over to our website: http://pwc.to/2wLeg5e.
21269861_887677051398206_1399013467_n

High School Workshop

On Friday, 26 August, Capital W held their annual High School Workshop at the UNSW CBD Campus. Thirty eager female high school students from Years 11 and 12 attended the event. The day began with an address from UNSW Business School representatives outlining the various degrees that are offered at the Business School, which was then followed by an address from our Co-President, Ashley Chen, who introduced Capital W and outlined the activities for the day.

The students were then split up into teams, where they tackled either a finance or marketing case study, and were mentored by Capital W representatives. The finance teams were tasked with analysing and formulating strategic advice on Microsoft’s acquisition of LinkedIn. In contract, the marketing teams’ goal was to create an innovative marketing strategy for Vogue Australia that accounts for the impact of today’s digital age.

At lunchtime, the students were joined by representatives from six of Capital W’s sponsors. This was their opportunity to obtain first-hand information about these prestigious firms and gain a head start in building their network! After lunch, the representatives rotated among the student groups to share their tips from their extensive experience making presentations in the workplace and help the students perfect their presentations.

Following this was the culmination of a day’s effort: the case presentations. Each group was allocated five minutes to present a comprehensive analysis of their case and propose a final strategy to the panel of judges, that is the sponsor representatives. After an intensive deliberation, the sponsor representatives awarded the team with the most detailed and practical strategy first place! The winners each received a laptop bag full of UNSW Business School merchandise. However, all participants benefited from the feedback the sponsors communicated about their presentations and the rare opportunity to gain an insight into the world of finance/marketing while still in high school!

To wrap up the day, a panel discussion was held with the sponsor representatives, where students asked all their burning questions about the corporate world. The panel passionately reflected on their experiences as women in the workforce, commenting on a variety of issues related to overcoming gender disparity. Furthermore, they shared workplace initiatives that have been put in place to overcome this, such as setting targets for women in managerial positions and flexible work options.

Overall, it was a hugely successful and enjoyable event for all that attended. It was truly humbling to see that students had travelled all the way from places outside of the Sydney Metro area, such as Newcastle and the Central Coast, to attend the event. A huge thank you must be extended to UNSW Business School for partnering with Capital W to make this event possible. [Lastly] or [Last, but certainly not least] or [some other strong concluding word], thank you to Capital W’s sponsors for supporting the high school students and championing Capital W’s mission to motivate the talented women of today to become future business leaders.

Blog Cover Photos

Presence and Branding Workshop

 

On May 29th, Macquarie Group welcomed Capital W members at a ‘Presence & Branding’ Workshop. In an increasingly competitive job market, it has never been more important to give yourself the greatest opportunity to get the job by leaving interviewers and potential employers with the best impression of yourself. As a first year student, I jumped at the opportunity to take part in this workshop to help build my own personal brand and practice my networking skills.

The afternoon was hosted by two members of Macquarie Group’s internal Learning and Development team and focused on providing attendees with practical advice on how they can create their own personal brand, how to differentiate themselves from competitors in the job market and how to leave a lasting impression on potential employers. The afternoon’s session was very interactive and invited all in attendance to practice the skills they were acquiring in a relaxed environment. This was then followed by a networking session with HR representatives and employees of the 2017 Graduate Cohort.

I left the event with a wealth of knowledge about how I can best present myself to potential employers in networking and interview situations. In a stressful interview environment, it can be easy to miss answering crucial parts of a question. Besides that, some people may be more hesitant about assertively ‘selling’ themselves. Hence, I would like to share my three top tips for interview success that I learnt from the workshop;

1. Before a telephone or in-person interview, write a list of points you want to cover in response to potential questions. These could relate to prior experiences you have had and/or skills you may possess.

2. Do not write a speech for telephone interviews. You can come off as automated and you will not be giving the best answer to the questions you may be asked. It is better to go off a list of points (as referred to in tip 1).

3. In most interviews, you will be asked behavioural or situational questions. An example is, “Tell us about a challenge you have faced and how you overcame it.” To ensure you provide a complete and effective answer, structure you answer around the STAR model:

  • Situation- What was the situation you faced?
  • Task- What were you required to do?
  • Action- How did you face the challenge?
  • Result- What was the outcome? (This should always be positive)

This simple model ensures that you provide an excellent answer to even the most challenging and unexpected questions!

20632767_874324819400096_1461176978_n

1000 Cracks in the Ceiling

 

The term ‘privilege’ is quickly becoming the third rail of polite conversation. Don’t believe me? Try casually bringing it up the next time you’re in class or at a recruiting event. One of two scenarios will most likely unfold: either you’ll be met with silence and the topic will quickly change, or it will escalate into a heated debate.

So why do I raise this controversial topic when we’re celebrating Capital W’s tenth anniversary? When I was asked to write this article, I reflected on the key things that enabled Capital W to get off the ground – the tenacity and ingenuity of the founding team; the confidence our original sponsors had in us; and the support we received from UNSW. However, it also made me realise, with the benefit of hindsight, that the privileges that I enjoy in life had placed me in a great position to establish Capital W.

Privilege is an unearned advantage that’s given by society to some people but not all. Let’s unpack this definition. First, privilege arises from things we don’t control. Second, in everyday life, privilege is nuanced – in some circumstances we have it, but in others, we don’t. This might seem like a trivial distinction, but it can be incredibly empowering. In my more cynical moments, I dwell on the fact that I face a corporate ceiling made of both glass and bamboo, and I under-appreciate the privileges that have allowed me to influence my environment in some situations. For me, founding Capital W was one of those situations.

Thanks to my middle-class upbringing, I attended a private school targeted by the UNSW Co-op Program. Winning a Finance Co-op Scholarship meant that I could socialise with like-minded students, connect with key members of the business faculty, and form relationships with corporate sponsors. This helped me put forward a strong application for the exchange programme to The Wharton School, where I became inspired by the work of Wharton Women in Business. As a result, when I returned to UNSW with a plan to launch Capital W, I already had a close-knit group of peers to work with, access to university support, and a network of top tier sponsors to tap.

Let me be clear: the fact that Capital W benefitted from my privilege does not diminish all the hard work that many people contributed into making the organisation the success that it is today. Nor am I saying that privilege is something we should perpetuate or celebrate. The simple fact is that privilege exists – many of us must overcome undeserved disadvantages, but also enjoy unearned advantages.

My founding vision for Capital W was to encourage young women to pursue bolder challenges in the hope they would become future business leaders. A quick scan of the headlines and the statistics show that as a society, despite some progress, we still have a fair way to go. As we look forward, this is my challenge to you: be aware of your privileges so you can be opportunistic in the very best sense of the word. Look for circumstances where your privilege presents a chance to push the barrier for you and for others. Seize it. Add to the 1,000 cracks in the ceiling. Change the system.

Stephanie Pow

Founder and Former President of Capital W