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Career advice from the Women in Finance Awards winners 2020

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Annie Kane 9 minute read

WOMEN IN FINANCE MONTH: After being named the leading women in finance, we asked the winners of the Women in Finance Awards 2020 to offer career tips to help others flourish. Here’s what they had to say.

Women in Finance Excellence Award and Entrepreneur of the Year

Pascale Helyar-Moray

“My best piece of career advice is… actually three pieces. If you don’t ask, you don’t get. Don’t make the same mistake twice. JFDI (just flipping do it!).”



Accountant of the Year

Sonia Gibson
Accounting Heart

“It is to be persistent. Acting consistently and making each day count so that your business continues to move forward, even when life throws obstacles in your way. A little bit of creativity also helps.”


Accounting Consultant of the Year

Elle Sweeney
Link Advisors

“No one ever died because you didn’t get their tax return done today. This was said to me at 8pm on 30 June many years ago when I was stressed to the maximum to get a particular job done. I say it to all my colleagues now and it immediately puts things into perspective.”



Auditor of the Year

Naomi Kewley
Peak Super Audits

“We do best those things we enjoy. So, don’t rush. Take the time to get it right and enjoy each moment for itself.”


Banking and Finance Lawyer of the Year

Paula Nassif
King & Wood Mallesons

“Believe and never give up!”


Bookkeeper of the Year

Tamara-Lee Beveridge
BizCore 360

“Continue to grow and embrace change! Be proactive with your professional development. When your professional development stagnates, so will your career! Change is inevitable and continuous; choose to embrace it and continue moving forward.”


Business Development Professional of the Year

Krystal Rhian

“Be open, honest and consistent in everything you do. Never stop learning and challenging yourself to get out of your comfort zone.”


Chief Executive Officer of the Year

Connie Mckeage

“Never let your life just have one pie, because you lose perspective. And if you fail with one of the pies you still have all the other pies to rely on.”


Director of the Year

Samantha Robinson
Pursue Wealth

“Listen with curiosity.”


Executive Assistant/Personal Assistant of the Year

Bianca Carroll
SMART Business Solutions

“Continue to learn and ask questions as this will create opportunities and a better career for you.”


Financial Planner/Adviser of the Year

Jackie Kirkwood
Shadforth Financial Group

“Show genuine empathy, compassion and interest in your clients and you will have a rewarding and fulfilling career as a financial adviser.”


Fintech Leader of the Year

Marianne Young

“Step out of your comfort zone. The goal is to constantly continue to grow.”


Innovator of the Year

Kelly Smith
AIA Australia

“Be true to yourself and act with integrity, treat others with the same respect you personally would expect and remember every role no matter their level in the organisation plays an important part to contributing to your organisation’s overarching purpose and you can learn from all of them.”


Marketing Professional of the Year

Andrea Roberts
Connective Broker Services

“Don’t wait to become a leader. Actively reach for opportunities and promotions and let your opinions be heard. Remember that staying positive and solutions focused will help you in every interaction. Always assume best intentions and believe that everyone wants the best for the company.”


Mentor of the Year

Sue Hayter
Quality Financial Group

“Believe in yourself. Have a good attitude. Work very hard. You can make it!”


Mortgage and Finance Broker of the Year

Evelyn Clark
EVERLEND (formerly Accession Finance)

“Become a lifelong learner and never be afraid to show the authentic you.”


Office Administrator of the Year

Olivia Palfreyman           
Palfreyman Chartered Accountants

Challenge yourself to learn something from every person you meet and use this to achieve an extraordinary standard of work. Never settle for being ordinary.”


Principal of the Year

Joanna James
Mortgage Ezy

“You will only see the full picture when the last piece of the puzzle fits in – keep searching for the next piece.”


Regional Professional of the Year

Shannon Smit   
SMART Business Solutions

You are 100 per cent responsible for your career. Own it! Others will provide knowledge and support, but only you can bring the right attitude and skill to help you succeed. Take the time each year to set annual goals for your own career, and then go smash them!”


Small Business Adviser of the Year

Donna Bates     
On Point! Strategy

“Always look ahead and keep moving forward. It’s easy to get stuck in the day-to-day grind of today or the done tasks of yesterday. Have a growth mindset, and be constantly building your business no matter the economic climate.”


SMSF Adviser of the Year

Rosario Carbajal              
Wealth Inspired

“Take on the challenge of your biggest fear.”


Thought Leader of the Year         

Melinda Howes

“Just because you’re a woman doesn’t mean you can’t ask!”


Young Leader of the Year             

Alexandra Grigg              
Artesian (Alternative Investments)

“Determination, dedication and a lot of effort.”




Employer of the Year                     


“Anyone can lead from any chair at any time – regardless of your role, focus on how you can champion ideas, be a role model for others, and make a positive difference.”


Employer of the Year (SME)

Truon Chartered Accountants

“Our best piece of career advice is to stop and consider what your purpose and context of career life are. Be clear on your objectives and mission before you dive into life, as this way you can appreciate your growth and celebrate your achievements with others. Consider who you will empower throughout your journey, and how you will make a positive difference in the lives of those you care about.”


Training and Development Program of the Year                 


“Don’t buy into guilt. You are enough, as long as you are being (or striving to be) the best version of yourself.”


Wellness Program/Initiative of the Year                

Zurich Life and OnePath Life      

“If the next role makes you feel sick in the stomach, then it’s the right next move for you!”


Women’s Community Program of the Year                          

Women with Cents        

“Back yourself and don’t be afraid to go for the job you don’t think you can get!”

Career advice from the Women in Finance Awards winners 2020
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Annie Kane

Annie Kane

Annie Kane is the editor of The Adviser and Mortgage Business.

As well as writing about the Australian broking industry, the mortgage market, financial regulation, fintechs and the wider lending landscape – Annie is also the host of the Elite Broker and In Focus podcasts and The Adviser Live webcasts. 

Email Annie at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



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