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Career Tips

Leading a career and life that doesn’t play by the rules

Katrina Waghorne, GM of DIgital at HESTA

Katrina is one of those amazing people you meet in life that constantly surprise you and bring joy to anyone she meets. Devoted to exercise, she is a black belt in karate, a mum of two daughters and enjoys a successful career as the General Manager of Digital at HESTA. 

Katrina with her partner and two daughters.

She believes women and girls can do everything they set their hearts and minds to, and we should never be discouraged by gender norms. 

“Don’t buy into gender stereotypes. The book Invisible Women was an eye-opener for me because it tells us how much data is gender-biased. Everything from the design of smartphones, medical research, technology to urban planning inadvertently favours men. This means we need women’s voices more than ever, especially in STEM and decision-making roles.”

Meeting amazing people every day 

Katrina has enjoyed every moment of working at HESTA for the past three years. She leads a team of very creative and talented people who dream up the digital experiences for HESTA members. She also oversees the technology experts who help bring these ideas and experiences to life. 

“It’s a fascinating role. My team and I look after everything from the HESTA website, the special portal that members use to track their superannuation all the way to supporting the technology that we use to send emails to members.”

There is so much variety in Katrina’s role and one of the best bits is the opportunity to work with so many diverse people from all over HESTA. 

“It’s all about building relationships in my role across the whole organisation. It’s exciting to work and collaborate with many different people from brand and marketing to risk and compliance. My role involves understanding the problem or business need, and finding creative solutions while remaining within the regulations. We’re always looking for ways to differentiate.”

Working towards a bigger purpose in our world

We asked what Katrina loved most about working for HESTA. She said without a doubt, it’s contributing to the greater good of our society, especially in advancing gender equality since most of the members are women. 

“HESTA has a great purpose and does advocacy work in the community. 80% of our members are women who serve the people who serve the community, that is, our nurses, childcare workers, aged care, community and disability workers.” 

Women generally live longer but retire with less money, so it’s crucial to close this gender gap in retirement savings. It’s an economic benefit for all.

“Some of them are in a lower-tier income and work part-time, so we also provide access to financial advice and education to make sure they make informed decisions and to give them the best retirement outcome.”

Be brave and push boundaries, even when you don’t want to

It was such a fun conversation with Katrina. We ended the conversation with her sharing five tips for young women for a fulfilling and successful career. We initially wanted three tips but Katrina was just so passionate and we could have gone on forever!

  1. Always show up, even when you don’t feel ready because you probably are

“Turn up and apply for the role anyway. Don’t be limited just by the job description, consider how else you can contribute and help solve the problem.”

2. Everyone is a leader. Don’t wait for the title in your name.

“Everyone can be a leader. You don’t have to wait until you have leadership in your job title. If you have a vision and passion for what you do, take charge and go for it. Don’t wait for that permission or someone to tell you.

3. Get out of your comfort zone.

“We have this tall poppy syndrome here in Australia, but we need women’s voices. We shouldn’t be discouraged by what society and stereotypes tell us. I had to force myself out of my comfort zone from an early age.”

“My daughters are constantly exploring different things like stage school, code camps, and different sports. It not only helps you learn new skills and meet new people but also gets you out of routine and that comfort zone.”

4. Seek mentors and role models.

“My parents worked hard to support us when I was growing up and taught me to seek role models early on, so I sought mentorships. I was in Scouts and Girl Guides, and you are exposed to leadership skills and met amazing people along the way. I always sought feedback from mentors, which has helped shape me into the person I am today.”

5. Be curious and always be learning. 

“I am learning every day. There is a myth that learning has to be a sit-down classroom style, but it’s much more than that. There are other non-traditional ways of learning. HESTA applies the 70/20/10 rule which I really love. It’s where 70% is on the job learning, 20% from my wider community and mentors, and 10% is formal learning.”

It was such a joy chatting with Katrina. Her energy and determination to break boundaries and stereotypes are truly refreshing. She is every example of being the change she wishes to see.

To find out more about HESTA, visit the careers page here.

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