Industry expert and MD of OneVue spoke about her experience in the financial services industry.
Staying ahead of the game is what excites Connie about her career and saw her named in AFR's 100 Women of Influence list last year. She tells us about the importance of resilience when tackling the "daily grind", shares her thoughts on the importance of engaging younger generations in financial services and speaks fondly of a very special woman in her life.
What excites you the most about your career?
The fact that it is forever changing. To remain competitive, your thinking can never be allowed to stagnate; it means you are continually moving forward, always learning from others and learning how the x and y’s are now thinking about investing compared to the baby boomers and how we need to evolve as a business. We need to know where our market opportunities and threats are, ensuring we are not missing fundamental shifts in the market. The need to remain relevant.
What advice would you offer to other women in the industry who may wish to emulate your success?
Don’t emulate my success, create your own successes. What has been important to me has been remaining happy - in what I do at work, the people I am privileged to work alongside every day, and the people I have in my personal life. I would tell them to find out what makes them tick and what they need to be happy and to pursue those without compromise. That will give them the strength to be successful. I think the most important thing is to be yourself and to pursue your dreams on your own terms.
Part of your role as a founding member of Financial Executive Women (FEW) is to assist in changing organisational attitudes around female career progression. Can you tell us a little more about what the organisation has been doing to facilitate this?
We do so much, I don’t know where to begin. I think I need to start by recognising the tremendous job Judith Beck does co-ordinating us all and how passionate she is about creating a difference for women. We have, I think, the best practical conference on leadership. You walk away not just with theoretical frameworks but with practical solutions that can be implemented.
We have forums where members can ask other members advice in a confidential forum – and tailored workshops through the year. But what I am most involved in is the mentoring program. I have had the privilege of mentoring and continue to mentor the most beautiful, talented, and engaging women I have ever met. I learn as much from them as I think they do from me – but I do know the experience I have and what I have learnt, especially from all the mistakes I have made – is valuable to helping them navigate their own careers.
In a previous interview you said that some people in the financial services industry are forgetting to engage younger generations in the financial community. Can you expand on this and what you feel could be done?
Most financial services organisations are run by people over 50, same with Boards and most decision makers, yet 70% of new flows into investments by 2020 will come from x, y and younger generations – there is the disconnect. This question has made me think how OneVue might better engage with these potential clients. Thanks for asking this question as I need to think about it more deeply.
Can you tell us about an influential woman who has had an impact on your life?
My grandmother. As my career was evolving there were few women in senior positions and no mentoring program that I was aware of. My grandmother saw no boundaries, did not see peoples’ races or religions but assessed them by how they treated others. She did not see the world in black and white but in vivid colour. She was always imagining what could be and did not feel restricted by what was. She died in 1999 and I still miss her terribly. She also laughed at herself, was resilient and a very, very poor loser at cards.
What has been the greatest lesson that you’ve taken away from your career so far?
It never gets easier. Doing something well is always difficult. It's a daily grind so resilience is important and you have to believe in your heart in what you are doing or it won’t be worth the sacrifice - I continue to make mistakes and to move forward I need to continue to forgive myself and the most important factor between success and failure in my experience is who you surround yourself with – both at work and at home.
And a little bit about your life outside of work…
Where did you grow up and what was it like?
I grew up on a farm. I love animals probably because it was me and a lot of animals, they were who I talked to. There were no close neighbours, no children around until I got a brother when I was six, and then I started school which was a shock – so much noise.
What was your very first job?
I worked in a petrol station.
What’s something that most people don’t know about you?
When I get tired I think in French and have to translate into English before I speak.
How do you maintain a work/life balance?
I have no idea – it’s a miracle really. I guess as a start, my family respects the fact that I work, so their expectations of what I can do are realistic, and I outsource what I can, the ironing in particular. Mostly my family knows that I enjoy being with them and doing simple things like having brunch, playing cards, watching a good movie, so I make time for the simple things and I have no choice but to be present at work