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Colleen grew up in Port Macquarie, and moved to Glebe when she reached Year 12. After completing high school she attended TAFE in Kogarah and studied an Advanced Diploma in Fine Art, while working in hospitality and retail.
After completing the course, she soon realised her only career path was an Art Teacher or Photographer, and she didn’t really want to be either of those things! Her degree had taught her some valuable skills, including critical thinking, social influence, history, and writing comprehensive essays which seemed a good fit with business.
With her skills fitting closely with the business world, Colleen started looking for a 9 – 5 job in administration, and found a position as a filing clerk at a company called Smart Salary. She started to progress within the company working in their call centre, and then as their on-road education person talking about salary packaging and super to the clients. This switch in roles sent her on a trajectory of a career in employee benefits.
Four years later, she landed the role of Regional Manager at Selectus – a financial services company specialising in employee salary packaging for the education sector. Here she gained skills in tendering, and made a shift to employer relationship management and realised working with clients directly was something she loved and thrived on. During this time, she had Melody her daughter, and left the company just before she had her son Dylan. Although she left before she had her son, she was finding the industry pretty hostile to women at the time, for example her super wasn’t being paid into while she was on paid maternity leave, and started to become passionate about gender equality.
After her maternity leave, Colleen noticed that the Salary Packaging Industry was struggling. The government at the time made announcements that effected the industry and as a result, 3000 people were to lose their jobs in leasing. She worked at a couple of different places when she went back to work after maternity leave, and during this time her marriage started to break down.
With the salary packaging industry under stress, Colleen decided to try a different industry, and started to work for NeoPost. Colleen describes this as the hardest sales role ever! She was selling franking machines, and the sales tactics the company used were hardcore old-fashioned sales. They had a turnover target each month, and it was hard to meet. None the less, she met her targets, and met her current partner there too! The franking machine industry was on its last legs as companies were moving to digital postage, so Colleen saw the writing on the wall and decided to move on. She worked some small stints in different roles to pay bills while she looked out for a role where she could make a difference.
Sometime later, she found a role at NLC - again in Salary Packaging. NLC is a car leasing company, and Colleen had forgotten how male dominated the car industry can be! She enjoyed her experience there, but it also reminded her of how much still needed to be done in the workplace regarding gender equality. Her interest in gender equality led her to have a chat with a friend who suggested she should think about working in the super industry. Colleen had her own lived experience of losing super during her time off work to have children, plus had experienced the complexities of how divorce can affect super balances for women, so Colleen agreed the Super Industry would be a good career move. Her friend recommended she apply for a position at Care Super, so Colleen applied for the role of Employer Relationship Manager and got the position.
Her role at Care Super allows her to assist her clients in finding value in Salary Packaging and understanding the complexities of super. She has a keen interest in helping women get the most out of their super, and educating them on the importance of understanding their finances. During her time at Care Super, Colleen has gained her RG146 license which is a professional financial standards qualification, and she loves working for a company that has a female CEO, and a 50/50 female / male workforce. Because Care Super is member-centric, all major decisions come back to the members, and their charter is such that all decisions made must have a beneficial outcome for the members. As a medium sized Super Fund, Care Super can be move quickly and be more agile than the larger funds, which has massive benefits for the members of the fund.
The “care” in Care Super stands for Clerical and Related Employees which means that it’s a fund for people in professional, managerial and administration positions, and therefore the majority of fund members are women. Care Super has excellent member benefits, one of which is free limited Financial Advice, which is a great addition to the funds existing services.
Colleen has found her perfect role at Care Super, and is passionate about helping women be financially better off.
If you’ve not done much with your super, or have had your super with a fund your employer picked, then get in touch with Colleen for a chat. Women have less super than men as a general rule, so having a good super fund is an important part of building financial independence and safeguarding for your future.
You can contact Colleen by emailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org
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