WOMEN IN FINANCE MONTH: The CEO of aggregation group PLAN Australia, Anja Pannek, has been in the mortgage industry for more than 15 years, having held several senior positions at the NAB group (including as CFO of Advantedge and senior positions in NAB’s personal banking team) before becoming CEO of aggregation business PLAN Australia. We discover what inspires her in business and her top tips for women in finance.
What do you think is the mark of a good business leader?
A good business leader is someone who can bring together vision, strategy, understanding their customers and a strong commercial focus with integrity and values. Someone who takes accountability for their own actions and makes clear decisions.
They also need to trust their team – I believe you treat your people well and work with them, so they can lead in the future.
As a business leader, you are accountable to your shareholders, customers and your team. This means finding a way to navigate and balance complex and increasingly ambiguous problems and challenges. For me, what centres me is my values: what is the fair and right thing to do?
Who inspires you in business, and why?
I’ve been inspired by many amazing women and men throughout my career. The people that inspire me are the ones who demonstrate character, integrity and ambition in spades, and have made it a core part of what they do to develop myself, and others.
People who can lift future business leaders by sharing their experience and insights, successes and failures have been invaluable to me.
I believe creating a working environment where it’s OK to learn when things don’t go right is crucial; we all learn from our failures as much as our successes!
What’s the hardest thing you’ve had to do as a business lead/principal – and what did you learn from that experience?
Dealing with failure, and being able to learn from that, is vital as a leader. These types of experiences are amazing learning opportunities – it’s how you pick yourself up, address issues, and get better and learn as a result that make the difference.
What advice would you give to other female business leaders looking to succeed in the finance industry?
I would always say back yourself. Don’t second guess yourself and don’t undersell your experience and skills.
Play to your strengths – you know what they are!
And never lose an opportunity to learn, as that is the key to continuing to grow as a leader and a professional.
The month of November marks The Adviser’s Women in Finance month, as we profile some of the leading women in this industry.
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.
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