Over a career spanning more than three decades, Westpac director Nerida Caesar has learnt a thing or two about what it takes to be a great business leader.
Be agile, stay current, keep learning, and always maintain a laser focus on the customer, she says in a podcast interview with Westpac Wire. And when it comes to her own career, she’s always been open to taking on a new challenge.
“As I look back, every five years I decided to do a checkpoint with myself: Am I in the right career? Do I need a change?”
Those checkpoints were often the catalyst for a switch, and Caesar says one early defining moment was taking an overseas assignment with IBM in Hong Kong.
“At a very young age it was quite daunting – moving countries, learning a new culture, learning to operate in a customer environment in a different country – but it was a career that put me out of my comfort zone in everything I did.”
Working for IBM, Caesar led a major deal for key customer Cathay Pacific, which changed the way the airline did business. The experience set her on a path to become a top executive back in her home country, including roles with Telstra and as CEO of Veda Group, where she helmed its transition from private equity ownership to a public listing.
In a wide-ranging conversation, Caesar shares her insights on the importance of having strong mentors; what great companies do that sets them apart from the chasing pack; and the emerging trends in technology that most excite her.
She also speaks about the critical role Westpac has to play in the economy and society, and the influential voice the bank has on key issues such as climate change and promoting diversity.