The tenacity to push boundaries

WOMAN OF THE YEAR — SPONSORED BY METLIFE

WINNER

Anne Loveridge - Partner
PricewaterhouseCoopers

PwC's Anne Loveridge paved the way for flexible working conditions almost two decades ago before the concept was in vogue, and showed women everywhere they could climb the ladder while managing the home.

When Anne Loveridge climbed the corporate ladder at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and was made partner at a relatively young age 18 years ago, she was very clear about her goals and priorities.

She knew she wanted to combine a successful career with family responsibilities, and that would involve her working part-time for four days a week for a while to look after her two children.

She set the bar at PwC and in the financial services industry by becoming the first female partner to negotiate an agreement to work part-time.

Anne's mantra to becoming a successful senior partner working across a range of clients in the banking, property, private equity and wealth management sectors, has always been to focus on outcomes and outputs, rather than inputs and processes.

"For me to be successful, I didn't need to be in the office from nine to five or whatever was the tradition to achieve the outcome we needed to achieve happy clients, earn revenue and keep the team motivated," Anne said.

Anne had entered a male-dominated profession with working conditions that suited males with family support at home, but she spearheaded flexible working hours before the concept was in vogue.

She was able to rally sponsors and supporters within PwC, who recognised the firm needed to change to attract and retain more women.

However, Anne met her fair share of detractors along the way, with some saying the firm and the industry was "no place for a mother".

Knowing she had asked for something her male peers would never ask for, she believed the onus was on her to manage her client deliverables and the economics of profits and losses, delegate tasks efficiently to her team, and generate revenue, in order to draw minimum attention to the fact that she worked part-time.

"That was a big part of the responsibility I took on myself that I had to make this successful so that others would be able to come behind me and do the same.

"If I failed on this, it would be years before another woman was given the opportunity to do it."

QUICK ASCENT

Anne came to Australia 31 years ago from Britain as a young accountant on a two-year secondment with PwC, and never left.

As a senior partner in the Financial Services Assurance practice, which has 40 partners and over 400 staff, Anne provided advice and assurance on financial and regulatory reporting, controls, and compliance frameworks to chief executive officers, chief financial officers and boards across the region.

During her time in audit, Anne improved process reporting transparency in different parts of the industry, and advanced the industry's reputation through reliable reporting and regulation adherence for good outcomes for businesses and consumers.

In 2012, she was appointed as the deputy chairperson of PwC Australia's board of partners, and was Chair of the Partner Evaluation and Income Committee.

Anne is passionate about diversity in the workplace, whether it is gender, race, style, professional background, training, or ways of thinking.

Her global outlook resulted in her nomination as the member of the nominations committee for the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC), which oversees the ethical, education, public sector accounting and international auditing standards for almost three million accountants worldwide.

She selects candidates for membership of the IFAC Standard Setting boards.

After three decades on the job and ready for a new challenge, Anne announced in May that she would be leaving PwC in December to join National Australia Bank's board.

"The appointment is based on her undoubtable market reputation and passion for diversity," PwC Australia chief executive, Luke Sayers said.

LEADING THE CHARGE

One of the Women in Financial Services awards judges commended her for taking her role as a mentor for women very seriously in addition to her duties in financial services.

She has been pivotal in the development of many talented females, who are now industry leaders in their own right.

"Anne has role modelled undertaking leadership roles at early stage in her career through a focus on collaboration, teamwork and openness and authenticity," PwC partner and Anne's colleague, Julie Coates said.

"Additionally, Anne has been a key mentor within the firm for "Building Female Leaders" — a firm initiative aimed at developing PwC's next generation of leaders."

FINALISTS

Debby Blakey - Chief executive officer
HESTA

Penni James - Non-executive director
Colonial First State

Deborah Kent - Financial adviser/director
Integra Financial Services

Karen Volpato - Senior policy adviser
Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees




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