This article was seen in Industry Moves.
• What was the impetus for creating F3?
There was no one thing… it was a multitude of little things and then, in short, I cracked it. I couldn’t take the lip service anymore and I needed to see real action. My links into the unis, schools and industry enabled me to be in a special place to put a solution together.
Female students were dying to find out more, wanting to see wonderful female role models and are desperate for work experience to try out for themselves what the industry is all about. I just came up with a simple, friction less, scalable solution to assist the industry in change as well as to give the next generation of female talent the opportunities they desire. It’s a win win for all.
• What are the biggest barriers to women being better represented in the finance industry?
There’s lots of barriers whether it be on the female side, male side, corporate side, family side – even industry and culturally – there are barriers left, right and centre.
One area that I’d love to mention is the family unit as needing a family solution, not just a female solution. To all those fathers taking (or thinking about taking) a large amount of paternity leave to look after their young children, I take my hat off to you. As trail blazers you are paving the way forward for the next father to have the same opportunity without the anxiety of being the first. To those soon-to-be fathers thinking about taking a long block of paternity leave… Do it. You won’t regret it.
There are many myths about the industry as well. These myths need to be dispelled and F3 is trying to do this as part of their education sessions with university and school students.
• Can you tell us about the F3 work experience platform and its benefits to students and employers?
In short, a group of 5 female university students (project team) work with a corporate on a business problem for a period of 6 weeks. It is all done online, guided by a mentor. The project team works to research, analyse and solve the business problem. Much of it is self directed by the students. The project team comes in to meet with the corporate mentor once a week for about an hour. At the end of the 6 week period, the project team has the opportunity to present their solution to the executive of the corporate.
The benefits are amazing and numerous. The Corporates involved are having a business problem viewed through a different lense, there are learning and development opportunities offered as part of the mentorship role, as well as, obviously, fostering the next generation of talent in the financial services industry. For the students, being involved dispels myths, gives them employability skills, opens their eyes to an industry that has amazing purpose and showcases what the industry is doing first hand to tackle challenges and opportunities.
The feedback on both sides has been amazing. It has been truly wonderful to see the difference it can make.
Feel free to visit https://www.fthree.com.au/howitworks/ for more information.
• How do organisations partner with F3?
If you are an organisation who has a gender imbalance and truly wants to do something about it, you can contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Even if your business is successful in meeting your diversity targets but wants to encourage the next generation of female talent in the industry and help to assist in whole of industry change at scale, F3 can be a portal in which to make a real, grass roots difference.
• What initially drew you to a career in finance?
In truth, I was inspired to get into finance through my godfather, Roger Davis. Growing up, he always lived overseas - Japan and the US, mainly. He came home to Australia, generally over summer, and always under much fanfare. Most people didn't know what he did, but everyone knew he was in the financial services industry.
To me, as a young girl at school, he was always an international man of mystery; A person telling wonderful, endearing and enthusiastic stories of big deals, of places he had been to and people he had met. He always sounded like he had great time with lots of learning and no day ever been the same. I was super eager to find out for myself one day.
So when I decided to go to uni, I knew what I wanted to explore: it was financial services. And over 20 years later, I now know why he had a great time. I too have done much exploring across the globe, never having one day similar to the next. I look forward to the next 20 years in this interesting and forever on the move industry.
• Who has influenced you most throughout your career?
Multiple people, way too many to mention. Whether that be The Girls– they know who they are ;) – my personal board of directors, my mum… all who are the best cheer squad a girl could wish for.
Anthony Patterson and Mike Crivelli at Perennial have been highly influential in my career. Both are savvy business men with a huge amount of industry experience that I still learn from every day. I’m truly lucky.
Sandi Orleow was, and still is, influential. The idea generation between the two of us is second to none. She spurs me on.
Andrew Bruce is also a key sponsor of mine. He always told me the truth, no matter how joyous or painful and, still to this day continues to be an awesome advocate. Still checking in. Still holding me to account. Still making me laugh.
Also a big shout out to Edward Dockrill who, without him, I wouldn’t be who I am.
• Where did you grow up and what was it like?
I grew up on the northside of Sydney. I am the eldest of three kids. We always had two dogs in the house. Both my parents ran their own businesses so that entrepreneurial spirit runs deep. I played netball for 21 years (Centre and Wing Attack were my positions). I went to a good school. We were lucky.
However as part of this, our family, for as long as I can remember, had a core value set and we were always encouraged to give back and to leave the world in a better place than when we found it. When you see change needed, lead that change. That’s what F3 is all about. I want to look back in 20 years and say, I have helped the industry to improve and, some day, encourage both my 6 year old son and 5 month old daughter to choose financial services as a wonderful, rewarding career.