NAB Women's Agenda Leadership Awards

Jacinta Carboon, NAB Project Director, Women and Money

6 March 2014

It’s so exciting and fantastic to be here again today and to be part of these annual NAB Women’s Agenda Leadership Awards acknowledging Emerging Leaders, the next generation of inspiration leaders. It is also a wonderful way to celebrate the lead into International Women’s Day this Saturday.

Congratulations to the team at Women’s Agenda for having the insight to bring these Awards to life and to celebrate wonderful women from all across Australia. Also I want to acknowledge my colleague Sandie Pullen for the amazing job she has done once again from a NAB perspective to help make these Awards happen. Looking through the list of finalists, I am sure you will all agree with me that we have a wonderful wealth of female talent in this country. And that’s worth celebrating!

Yes I work for a bank and yes I am truly passionate about empowering women economically.

At NAB we believe every woman deserves a life plan full of choices so she can strive to be the best she possibly can be. We also know that when women are in control of their money they feel in control of themselves.

This is why we are looking deeply at how life events uniquely impact women. Whether a woman is focused on her career, taking time out for herself, starting a family, choosing to be a full time mum or juggling any combination of these, the decisions and choices she makes will either hinder or enhance her economic prosperity.

We also know there is a fundamental shift underway with women. Women are increasingly out-earning and out-living men yet will experience significant economic disparity due to the unique life decisions they face. This is what we call the female paradox and I am sure many of us in the room today can think of lots of personal situations where we've felt both empowerment and disempowerment simultaneously - be that at work, in the home or in the community.

We are very much focused on helping women grow their economic prosperity and supporting the opportunities they have to succeed in every aspect of life.

All Australian women deserve to benefit from the increasingly significant economic role they have in today's and tomorrow's society. As Sheryl Sandberg would say…..now is the time to “lean in” and to be counted – in much the same way as the hundreds of women who put their hand up or were nominated for one of today's Awards.

Personally my passion for empowering women economically comes from deep within. I found my passion at a very young age. I grew up in a family with 10 siblings. Two of those were girls and eight were boys. I observed how we were treated differently depending on our gender. This played out in our roles at home, in sport, at school and in what we were encouraged or expected to do. This was magnified when I found myself as a single mum at a very young age and faced biases when trying to rent a flat and starting out in my career. All this just didn’t make sense to me. Why were things so different just because of my gender? I drew inspiration from a female family friend of my parents. Her name was Judith. I used to have many conversations with Judith talking about why things were the way they were and she instilled in me a belief that I could do anything I wanted and more importantly that I could do something to change the status quo if I really wanted to. Unfortunately Judith died when I was in my early twenties but her inspiration still lives on with me.

This passion and inspiration has led me to several different roles in my career where I could do something to change the status quo. These included national manager of the Telstra Business Women’s Awards nationally for more than four years as well as working on women related sponsorships at NAB such as the Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation and the Alannah and Madeline Foundation.

I now have the pleasure of leading the Women and Money team at NAB and our vision is to empower women to make wise life and money decisions.

On that note, today's Awards are about celebrating and recognising the extraordinary talent right across Australia. The women before us are leaders yet they are also mums, sisters, girlfriends and grandmothers. Each and every one of you are an inspiration and the sort of role models I personally want future generations to have.

I would like to congratulate all of the finalists and winners, to be announced shortly, for being outstanding in leading the way in your particular field of expertise. For those of you who win a huge congratulations, for those of you who are not selected as winners, my advice to you is to not dwell on that too much (although you may be disappointed), celebrate the fact that you are a finalist and an outstanding role model for all of us.

In partnership with Women’s Agenda, my colleagues and I are very proud to be playing a part in recognising and raising the profile of such extraordinary women.

Enjoy every moment of today and the opportunities that being part of these Awards will present to you in the year, and years to come.

Thank you.