Success Stories is a collaboration between Catherine Robson and Alan Kohler to foster women's leadership via a weekly podcast profiling a wide range of successful women. The podcast shares the journey to leadership of outstanding women, the personal habits or disciplines which have contributed to their success and the projects about which they are passionate. It seeks to redefine the image of what success 'looks' like.
The daughter of Polish immigrants, Leah Zell graduated Magna Cum Laude from Harvard. She went on to earn a PhD and win the Woodrow Wilson, Fulbright, and Krupp Foundation fellowships, before following her brother, billionaire property magnate Sam Zell, into business.
Leah tells Catherine Robson that keeping her ego in check, being patient and maintaining a team small enough to hold one single conversation at a dinner table, have been the keys to her success.
“Growing up on the cusp of opportunities opening for women was both an advantage and disadvantage,” says Leah. “You got to do things you didn’t think you’d get to do while growing up, but you were also the first woman.”
Please click here to listen to the full podcast with Leah Zell.
Passionate social entrepreneur Rebecca Scott is this week’s Success Story, and quite simply, an unstoppable force. She is the founder of STREAT, a multi-venue hospitality organisation whose traineeships change the lives of vulnerable young people.
Through their cafes, catering and artisan baking, STREAT provides the opportunity for homeless kids to learn hospitality skills and open the door to a new start. A scientist by training and with no experience in hospitality or social work, Rebecca founded STREAT in 2009 after a simple meal in Vietnam changed her life.
Please click here to listen to the full podcast with Rebecca Scott.
Merran Kelsall is a professional independent company director, holding the position of board director with VicSuper, TarraWarra Museum of Art and RACV club. A former performance coach to rising executives, she shares advice on the value of honest feedback, spotlighting your strengths and getting beyond business cards to build a valuable network.
Merran took an interest in executive coaching after working with HR specialists and psychoanalysts. For the following five years she coached rising executives on fostering a relationship with their immediate boss, working more effectively with their team and peers and building a valuable network.
Please click here to listen to the full podcast with Merran Kelsall.
Mary Jo Capps
If the door of opportunity closes on you, what do you do? CEO of Australia’s oldest independent professional performing arts organisation, Musica Viva, Mary Jo Capp reinvented herself.
In her twenties, a young and ambitious Mary Jo arrived in Sydney to chase career opportunities in the arts, but instead of a warm reception, she found a lot of closed doors. Undeterred, she started her own consultancy serving not-for-profits in the arts. Recipient of the 2016 Arts Leadership Award, Mary Jo has spent more than 30 years working with not-for-profits and shares her insights.
Please click here to listen to the full podcast with Mary Jo Capp.
Lisa Ray Hennessy
American born and educated Harvard MBA and Director at investment advisory firm Hennessy a’Beckett and McCrae, Lisa Ray Hennessy is passionate about helping female led startups realize their entrepreneurial dreams. Lisa once erred on the side of conservative when it came to investing, but has carved an impressive career here in Australia including her role as an angel investor when she co-led a $1.25 million investment in Australian software company Switch Automation with Scale, a female focused investor network.
Please click here to listen to the full podcast with Lisa Ray Hennessy.
Diversity and collaboration. These two words are high on the agenda for one of Australia’s leading woman in tech, Sarah Adam-Gedge, Managing Director of Avanade Australia. Her passionate message is clear; a career in tech is for anyone, regardless of gender or background. She’s championed a workplace culture embracing difference through Avanade Australia’s award winning diversity program and this Managing Director shares her insights on embracing diversity to build a stand out career and organisation
Please click here to listen to the full podcast with Sarah Adam-Gedge.
South African business woman Yolande Foord knows the best laid career plans don’t always work out. She loves her role as Executive Director of Remuneration & Benefits a Division of Human Resources at Telstra, but Yolande says no one starts out planning a career in benefits and remuneration. From a young age, she had meticulously mapped out her career path as a lawyer in South Africa. An unexpected setback early in her legal career caused Yolanda to reassess everything, change her plans and set her sights on international opportunities.
Today she and her team are responsible for delivering and managing all aspects of remuneration, benefits and reward for almost 40,000 employees globally. She shares her financial insights and why you should put those new shoes back and invest in superannuation instead.
Please click here to listen to the full podcast with Yolande Foord.
An extraordinary work environment calls for an extraordinary leader. After responding to a newspaper advertisement on a whim, Rachael Robertson, a former Chief Park Ranger, was selected to lead a group of strangers to Davis Station in Antarctica. For a year she honed her extreme leadership skills, managing a team of diverse personalities in subzero conditions and months of complete darkness.
Rachael is now the most in-demand female speaker in Australia, author and a global expert in leadership and teamwork. Her memorable presentations and book, Leading From The Edge, share the formative experiences that shaped her leadership philosophy in the wilds of Antarctica.
Please click here to listen to the full podcast with Rachel Robertson.
Group Executive of AMP Bank, Sally Bruce is a country girl at heart who knows the financial highs and lows of small business.Her childhood experience shaped her decision to pursue a career in financial services and taught her the importance of finding balance when blending family and work life, something her parents did really well.
Now, with over 25 years in the banking and financial services industry, including CFO Business and Personal Banking at NAB and leadership roles at Macquarie group, Sally’s mind is never far from the customer experience. She’s recognised for her track record in consumer finance, change management and commitment to maintaining a work-life balance for herself and her team.
Please click here to listen to the full podcast with Sally Bruce.
Breakups can be ugly. But if executed brilliantly, they can shake up the entire retail banking industry. The award winning, NAB “break up” campaign led by former head of retail Lisa Gray, did just that. Launched on Valentines Day 2011, it was a move so bold it alienated many of her professional peers but her commitment to “give more and take less” for NAB customers produced incredible results and took NAB from last to first place in customer satisfaction surveys. Now CEO of the $47 billion Victorian Funds Management Corporation, Lisa is known for her ability to transform companies and lead complex cultural change. Her willingness to take risks, back herself and say yes to opportunities have taken her from town planning to the pinnacle of Australian finance.
Please click here to listen to the full podcast with Lisa Gray.
Australian journalist Jennifer Byrne says she was born running fast and it’s pretty clear she hasn’t stopped. Landing a cadetship with The Age at just 16, she kicked off a stellar career characterised by quality, longevity and a huge work ethic. Jennifer was a journalist for Foreign Correspondent, 60 Minutes, The Bulletin and The Age, but for the past 10 years, she has hosted ABC’s The Book Club. She’s ridden the highs and lows that come with the media spotlight.
In this interview she shares her financial lessons, why balance is key to keep firing on all cylinders and how the book Marjorie Morningstar inspired her to keep running in the direction of her dreams, no matter what.
Please click here to listen to the full podcast with Jennifer Byrne.
Jane den Hollander
She’s the daughter of an Irish gold miner, grew up in Africa and is now the Vice Chancellor of Deakin University. She’s been instrumental in taking Deakin’s global ranking from outside the top 500 a few years ago to it’s current position as 214th in the world. She is responsible for managing the University’s billion-dollar balance sheet and shaping the lives of Deakin’s 46,000 students, many of whom are first generation Australians or who are the first in their family to receive tertiary education. She is an early adopter of technology, integrating IBM Watson’s artificial intelligence into student services.
Please click here to listen to the full podcast with Jane den Hollander.
When oncologist Dr Bronwyn King discovered she was unknowingly investing in tobacco, the very product responsible for lung cancer in her patients, she was shocked into taking action. Action so big, it changed Australia’s superannuation industry.
Dr Bronwyn King knows only too well the devastating impact of tobacco. King is a radiation oncologist, founder and CEO of Tobacco Free Portfolio. During her first three months as a young, starry eyed oncologist at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, King was assigned to the lung cancer ward. Many of her patients died during that time from tobacco related diseases and this experience, so early in her career, had a profound effect on King and her understanding of the insidious effects of tobacco.
Please click here to listen to the full podcast with Bronwyn King.
When Myer Family Company Chairman Martyn Myer announced Danielle Press as the new CEO, he called out her natural warmth and generosity of spirit, complemented by her sharp focus. Danielle’s ability to harness both technical acumen and people skills allowed her to revolutionise the $7 billion industry fund Equip Super, bounce back from the last minute collapse of its proposed merger with Vision Super and know the right time to hand the reigns to a new CEO. A keen investor, one of Danielle’s best investments has been her alpacas, they provide a true diversion from running a complex business.
Please click here to listen to the full podcast with Danielle Press.
Clare Payne specialises in the field of ethics in banking and finance and is a true endurance athlete. She has eschewed the traditional career path and has prioritized parenthood over short term financial gains. She has received numerous awards, including the Industry Advocacy Award for Women in Financial Services from Money Management. Clare and colleague Dr Bronwyn King have reshaped Australian superannuation practice with their work on Tobacco Free Portfolios and has encouraged some of the biggest names in corporate Australia to pledge an oath to do the right thing. Clare shares why following ethics are important and diversity is about more than just gender.
Please click here to listen to the full podcast with Clare Payne.
From training as an elite athlete at the AIS to juggling her career as a lawyer, presenter, board member and mum to two young daughters, Bronwyn knows prioritising her health is key to keeping up with (and enjoying!) her portfolio of commitments. Bronwyn points to the tried and true advice of simply eating healthy, regular meals and listening to your body when you need to slow down and take some time out for yourself.
Please click here to listen to the full podcast with Bronwyn Fagan.
Anne O’Donnell is an expert of making the best of what she’s got. Noticing the dearth of regional representation on her employer super fund, she rallied support from across Australia to get elected to the board of the ANZ Super while still in her 20’s. Despite her rising star within the Bank, Anne made the calculated gamble to become the CEO of a tiny fund manager in the then almost unheard of ethical investment space. Anne helped grow Australian Ethical to one of the most respected and popular sustainable investment houses in Australia.
Please click here to listen to the full podcast with Anne O'Donnell.
Launa’s impressive career didn’t happen by accident. Recognised internationally for her leadership in the retail space, she served as Managing Director/CEO of Officeworks, Target Australia and Billabong International prior to her Directorship with CBA. Launa is a natural goal setter, she has tackled each step of her career by setting realistic and measurable goals. She doesn’t let her plans “drift on too long” reviewing her progress every year or two.
Please click here to listen to the full podcast with Launa Inman.
Janine Allis is the founder of Boost Juice and part-owner of Retail Zoo. The self-made Australian businesswoman grew the smoothie empire, Boost Juice, from humble beginnings in her kitchen to more outlets in more countries than any other juice bar in the world. In this episode of Success Stories, she tells entrepreneurs why getting real about financial priorities is key to small business success.
Please click here to listen to the full podcast with Janine Allis.
Meegan is recognised for providing strategic leadership in complex and sensitive infrastructure projects and has nearly 20 years in infrastructure planning and delivery, strategic project positioning and communication, stakeholder and community engagement
In this Success Stories podcast series, Meegan talks on investing in infrastructure, private companies and wine, her happiest investment of all.
Please click here to listen to the full podcast with Meegan Sullivan
After recovering from debilitating anorexia as a teenager, Kate studied pharmacy and started her own business at 25. A thriving business and young family did not dissuade her from accepting a role in politics. After a rapid rise, Kate found herself the Chief Minister, Australian Capital Territory and facing the glare of the media spotlight while navigating a high profile divorce and raised a family.
In this Success Stories podcast, Kate talks about the challenges of finance and juggling commitments holding women back in saying yes! to taking the next step on their entrepreneurial journey.
Please click here to listen to the full podcast with Kate Carnell.
Mary Delahunty was a Gold Walkley award winning journalist before commencing a high profile career in Victorian politics. Over a number of years she was the minister of education, the arts, planning and women’s affairs. In 2002 while a government minister she lost her husband of 22 years. Since leaving politics, Mary has continued her commitment to civic participation and is a non-executive director of the Melbourne Recital Centre and the National Library of Australia.
Please click here to listen to the full podcast with Mary Delahunty.
Lynne Thornton is a serial entrepreneur – the Californian native launched her first start up straight out of business school in the dot com era, then built a successful global funds management firm in Scotland before migrating to Australia. Surprised by the risk averse culture here, she has poured her energies into growing businesses and introducing women to angel investing through an innovative network called SCALE.
Please click here to listen to the full podcast with Lynne Thornton.
Chair and Non-Executive Director involved in the governance of listed, unlisted and mutual companies including Transurban Group, MBF, Just Group, Programmed Group, Coffey International and Simonds Homes, Susan is a FAICD, a 2013 100 Women of Influence and a recipient of the Prime Ministers Centenary medal for services to business. She co-founded and chairs SCALE Investors - an innovative email focused angel investing group in Australia.
Please click here to listen to the full podcast with Susan Oliver.
Dr Jane Thompson
Doctors are notoriously bad with money – they are known to care for others but fail to look after themselves financially. However, ask Dr Jane Thompson what she worries about, and the first thing she concedes is that she never worries about money. This is because in addition to her clinical work, she has instilled rigorous business disciplines into her medical practice and constantly seeks out opportunities to grow her skills as an investor. She might be the only medical doctor in Australia who reads the Taxation Examiner for fun.
Please click here to listen to the full podcast with Dr Jane Thompson.
Rebecca Sheils shares the story of building super successful market research company, The Beddoes Institute & very personal reason for becoming a psychologist on the Success Stories podcast.
Please click here to listen to the full podcast with Rebecca Sheils.
AusNet Services Director Sally Farrier points to small disciplines done regularly as the keys to both career & personal financial success. She believes that while conscientiousness & compounding are not glamorous, they are incredibly powerful. Hear how Sally built her board portfolio & embraced the power of genuine breaks, spending six months living for a month at a time in globally significant cities, including Chicago, Buenos Aires, Madrid, Berlin and Shanghai on Success Stories podcast.
Please click here to listen to the full podcast interview with Sally Farrier.
Sally Capp shares her insights on the Success Stories podcast about her new role with The Property Council of Australia, and non-executive directorships of Faculty of Business and Economics, University of Melbourne, Rowing Australia, the Mary Jane Lewis Trust and advisory council member of The Global Foundation. Sally was the first female director of the Collingwood Football Club and first woman to hold the post of Agent-General for the state of Victoria in the UK, Europe and Israel.
Please click here to listen to the full podcast interview with Sally Capp.
Carolyn Evans emerged from a working class, outer Melbourne suburb to secure a Rhodes Scholarship, Fulbright Scholarship and become the Dean of The University of Melbourne Law School and a director of The State Library of Victoria - find out how she achieved it in this edition of the Success Stories podcast.
Carmel Arthur lost her husband, Rodney Miller, when her son was 7 weeks old. He, and fellow police officer Gary Silk, were murdered in the line of duty. Listen to Carmel's incredible story of resilience and post traumatic growth to become a leader within Victoria Police, The Adult Parole Board and the Sentencing Advisory Council in this Success Stories podcast
Please click here to listen to the full podcast interview with Carmel.
“Write a to-do list every day and always do the hardest, least desirable thing first”, is the advice from leading non-executive director Alice Williams. There are plenty of competing activities on Williams’ list, including membership of the Foreign Investment Review Board, and non-executive directorships of numerous corporates.
Please click here to listen to the full podcast interview with Alice.