Christine Bartlett – Executive Program Director

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Christine Bartlett, Executive Program Director, NextGen National Australia Bank Ltd, will be in Armidale on 7 March to address the Successful Women Series networking lunch for the PLC Armidale Foundation. This is an opportunity for the Armidale business community to benefit from lessons learned by this business leader, when she presents A Letter to My Teenage Self.

What are the knowledge and skills we need to teach young women in schools to prepare them for roles in senior management and on Australian Boards?

One lesson I have learned is that it seems that the harder I work, then the luckier I get. Aspiring to senior management roles requires commitment, dedication, resilience, persistence and hard work. The roles can be enormously rewarding, but you have to do the leg work and be prepared to put in a great deal of effort. Success is not effort free!

Tell us about your career, Christine.

I joined IBM straight out of university as a graduate. I had a fantastic 24 years with IBM, starting as a systems engineer and finishing as the Chief Operating Officer for the consulting and systems integration business (4,000 employees and revenues of $US4B) in Asia Pacific. They challenged me and gave me opportunities to develop and grow.

It included assignments in the USA and Japan, as well as the opportunity to do global, regional and local roles.

From IBM, I was head hunted to be the CEO of Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) in Australia, a commercial property agency. This was an opportunity to change industries and lead an organisation. After 4 years at JLL, I moved to my current role at NAB, leading their core banking, finance, risk and treasury transformation program.

Tell us a little about your early life.

I am the youngest of 4 children. I had a very normal childhood. I developed a love of the country and the beach, with holidays spent at my grandparents’ property in central NSW and at Avalon on Sydney’s Northern Beaches, where my parents finally retired to live.

Who do you remember as being significant role models in your life?

My mother; she was a social worker. As a teenager, she never told me I couldn’t do something, but would ask me questions until I came to the conclusion that perhaps what I was planning wasn’t such a great idea. I certainly learnt the art of the question from my mother.

I met my husband when I was just 18. He has had an enormous impact on me, encouraging me to take on challenges in sport, work and life. He has been incredibly supportive of my career and given me the encouragement and courage to take on each new challenge.

What do you enjoy most about your current role as Executive Program Director, NextGen? It is a once in a lifetime opportunity to work on a large and complex transformational program. I am working with fantastic people who are passionate and committed to making a difference and ensuring the program is a success. Their enthusiasm is intoxicating!

What is ‘NextGen’?

NextGen is the next generation banking platform for NAB. We are working closely with our strategic partner, Oracle, to build the new banking platform for the bank, and over time we will move our customers onto the new platform. It will be transformational for our customers and employees.

What do you enjoy most about National Australia Bank? 

Our current CEO, Cameron Clyne, was a key reason for me taking the role at NAB. He is very authentic and committed to creating the right culture in the organisation. He has championed the Fair Value agenda for the bank, which is much more than NAB’s stance on fair fees, charges and a competitive Standard Variable Rate for mortgages; it’s about deepening customer relationships and providing them with help, guidance and advice.

Women are poorly represented on Australian Boards. What do you see as the future of gender equity for women in the workforce? 

We have a wonderful education system, and women continue to graduate in increasing numbers from our universities. It hasn’t yet translated into significant numbers of women as CEOs, non executive directors or Chairmen of ASX listed companies. However, as women increase in numbers in the workforce and increasingly hold management roles, I expect this to change.

I am a great believer in tipping points. If a team is less than 18% women, then the women don’t feel as though they have a voice at the table; above 20%, then women start to feel they have a voice at the table and they are heard; and beyond 30%, then gender is no longer an issue. It might need a nudge to get to the first tipping point, and the ASX reporting requirements on gender that came into effect in 2011 will help.

What role do you see for professional networks for women in promoting the many Board-ready women into these positions? 

Professional networks provide support and opportunities for women looking to further their careers. Organisations such as the Australian Institute of Company Directors play an important role in ensuring that potential directors have the right skills, and mentoring in place to ensure they are successful once appointed.

They play an important role in identifying a pool of Board-ready women.

Thanks Christine.

How do you successfully run a $4 billion corporation with a workforce of 8,000 people? How do you grow the profit of a national company by over 350% in 5 years? Why has NAB selected Christine to transform their core banking services worldwide? 

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