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‘Scale your impact’: Lessons on leadership from an REA executive

by Malavika Santhebennur12 minute read

As women assume leadership roles, it is essential for them to scale their impact by mobilising team members to create value for their organisation, according to an REA executive.

REA Group chief people and sustainability officer Mary Lemonis has encouraged women to leverage their leadership skills to gain the most out of their team.

“The way I think about it is, you only have 24 hours in a day and there’s only one of you,” she told The Adviser ahead of her keynote address at the Women in Finance Summit 2023.

“How do you leverage what you bring to the table to maximise what you can get from other people through your leadership? When I say scale your impact, it’s about going beyond yourself and thinking about how you can get the best out of the people that surround you to deliver the things that you need.”


While employees achieve promotions because of their technical skills, they would be required to transition from technical roles to leadership and business manager roles, Ms Lemonis noted.

“You’re mobilising people to deliver towards a goal, so a valuable leadership lesson is being able to scale your impact,” she said.

Ms Lemonis encouraged women to be mindful that scaling their impact through their leadership could create ripple effects that impact the entire organisation.

In her keynote address at the Women in Finance Summit, Ms Lemonis – who is a founding member of the International Women’s Forum Australia – will share lessons learned from almost three decades in executive roles across the globe, including how to scale impact and why value creation begins with self-leadership.

To become an effective leader, Ms Lemonis said it is important for women to invest in themselves while being mindful of what is within their circle of control.

“I’m a big believer in the fact that you can only control yourself. You can’t control other people nor the business context,” she said.

“Sometimes we get frustrated with other people in business because they’re not doing what we want them to do. But you can’t change that. All you can change is the way you react to that situation.”

This could be an uncomfortable prospect for some leaders as it places the onus back on them to respond in a manner that yields a productive outcome, Ms Lemonis pointed out.

“It’s easy to blame someone else or point the finger at some other issue. We’ve all been there,” she said.

“But when you accept that you can only control your own state, it can be very empowering and liberating because it’s about the choices you make.”

It is equally important for leaders to become more resilient in order to recover quickly from setbacks and challenges (which are unavoidable in a workplace), Ms Lemonis emphasised.

“What I’ve seen with successful people (irrespective of their gender) is that their elastic band or rubber band as I’d like to call it are a lot shorter,” she said.

“They potentially tend to bounce back faster than others.”

Ms Lemonis concluded that when women in leadership positions create value for each other, they create value for their organisation.

“This is an important dynamic that organisations need to understand,” she said.

“While I want people to feel great at work, that shouldn’t be the end in and of itself. I want them to feel great at work because that creates great outcomes for the business. While we talk about creating shared value for customers, this is about creating shared value for yourself and your organisation.”

To hear Mary Lemonis’ keynote address about how women could create value in their organisation, come along to the Women in Finance Summit 2023.

It will be held on Friday, 10 November 2023 at The Star, Sydney.

Click here to buy tickets to the summit and don’t miss out!

For more information, including agenda and speakers, click here.

[Related: How to service clients from Indigenous backgrounds]

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Malavika Santhebennur


Malavika Santhebennur is a content specialist at Momentum Media, focusing on mortgages and finance writing.

Before joining Momentum Media in 2019, Malavika held roles with Money Management and Benchmark Media, where she was writing about financial services.


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