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Series Six, Episode Six: Rising to the diversity recruitment challenge

This episode was recorded live at the Women in Payments Conference in Sydney, Australia on 20 November 2019. Our host Julia Streets is joined by Jackie Kallman, Head of Payments Industry and Engagement at ANZ, Deanne Keetelaar, General Manager of Payments & Financial Services, Product & innovation for Australia Post, and Felicity Blake, responsible for ACI’s New Zealand client portfolio. This discussion explores the changing and challenging dynamics of the recruitment process, what organisations can consider in order to appeal to entry level talent and retention over time, the importance of culture, changing leadership dynamics and why we must keep D&I on the agenda during more challenging economic times.

Links & Resources

For more information on Women in Payments please visit

Felicity Blake, ACI New Zealand

Felicity Blake

Felicity Blake is responsible for ACI’s New Zealand client portfolio with more than 20 years’ experience in the payments industry based in Auckland, New Zealand. Her key focus is developing relationships to build strategic partnerships in the complex environment of payments technology. Felicity is well connected with the payments industry in New Zealand to drive thought leadership. She is an active member of Payments New Zealand, bringing her global knowledge and expertise to the local conversation on payments innovation in the region.

Prior to her current position, Felicity has held roles in startup organizations, business development and consulting at Diners Club, American Express and Fisher & Paykel Finance.

Felicity co-chair’s ACI’s Womens’ Initiative employee program where she helps drive activities throughout the year to connect, educate and recognise employees at ACI and in the payments industry.

You can follow ACI Worldwide on Twitter @ACI_Worldwide.

Jackie Kallman

Jackie Kallman is the Head of Payments Industry at ANZ. Commencing her career in consulting, Jackie joined ANZ in 2010, and has worked in several roles across Product, Innovation and Industry. Within these roles, Jackie has managed diverse payment product portfolios, and supported the development and management of ANZ’s strategy, standards, and thought leadership in the Industry. Jackie’s strengths include a depth of payments knowledge and experience, combined with a collaborative and strong customer centric approach. In her current role, Jackie leads ANZ’s collaboration across the payments industry to influence its strategic direction, while ensuring ANZ’s business is in touch and connected into the broader payments ecosystem. She represents ANZ on the Board of the Australian Payments Network (AusPayNet) and on SWIFT’s Australian National Member Group, and is a member of the Women in Payments Advisory Board in Australia.

You can follow Jackie on Twitter @JackieK15.

Deanne Keetelaar

Deanne Keetelaar is the General Manager, Payments & Financial Services, Product & innovation for Australia.

As General Manager Payments and Financial Services at Australia Post, Deanne Keetelaar is responsible for a range of products and solutions for consumer, business and government customers.

Previously, Deanne was General Manager Payments at NAB, where her portfolio included domestic and international payments, and the New Payments Platform.

With experience in payments spanning 15 years, Deanne brings a passion for delivering exceptional customer experiences through innovative payment and eCommerce solutions.

You can follow Australia Post on Twitter @auspost.

Series Six, Episode Six Transcript

Julia: Hello, my name is Julia Streets and welcome to DiverCity Podcast, talking about equality, inclusion and diversity in financial services. As regular listeners will know, on occasion we record episodes from leading industry conferences around the world. Today’s episode is recorded live on stage on 20th November, 2019 before a capacity audience at the Women in Payments Symposium in Sydney.

On the podcast, we seek to shine a light on positive progress, call out areas requiring further focus, and offer lots of ideas to help drive change. Today I’m delighted to be joined by Jackie Kallman, Deanne Keetelaar and Felicity Blake.

Jackie Kallman is the Head of Payments Industry at ANZ. Following a 10-year tenure at ANZ her work has been extensive across product development, innovation and the industry as a whole. She has managed a wide range of payment product portfolios and she plays a key role in ANZ’s strategy standards and industry positioning. To top it off, Jackie is also a member of the Women in Payments Advisory Board in Australia.

Deanne Keetelaar is the General Manager for payments and financial services at Australia Post where she is responsible for products and innovation for a wide range of constituents including consumers, businesses and government’ customers. Her career journey has included serving as a General Manager of Payments at NAB where her portfolio included domestic and international payments and the new payments platform. 

Felicity Blake is responsible for ACI, New Zealand’s client’s portfolio with more than 20 years of experience in the payments industry based in Auckland, New Zealand. Her key focus is developing relationships to build strategic partnerships, and it is no surprise therefore that she is an active member of Payments New Zealand, bringing her global experience and expertise to the local conversation on payments innovation. 

Jackie, Deanne and Felicity, welcome to the show.

Thank you for joining me here on the stage at the symposium, which is very exciting. On the series, we talk a lot about diversity and inclusion in general and today we’re particularly keen to explore the conversation about recruitment. Before we do that, I wanted to just give you each a moment to talk about your own diversity and inclusion initiatives and particularly the impact that they’re having. Felicity, why don’t you kick us off?

Felicity: ACI Worldwide is as the name would suggest a global company. If we think about diversity and inclusion, we have that inherently built into the need that we have, doing business in 37 countries. We’ve got about 4500 people in working with ACI and they’re in different markets, which have different cultures, and that is a huge area of focus for us, making sure that we are catering for that diversity.

Not only are we catering for them where they live and work, but of course, they move around and we have our technical consultants and our executives, various people moving to other markets so they have to be aware of other cultures. That is a very strong area where I think that we demonstrate and really walk the talk around diversity.

In terms of gender, we have our own Women’s Network, we’ve had it for the last six years. I’m the International Co-Chair. Another layer of diversity within the Women’s Network is that we are a US based company and we need to have representation outside of the US so that we’re not so US-centric in everything that we think about.

We also are very aware that we need to be helping the pipeline for growth in Women in Payments. To support that initiative, we have some Coding For Girls workshops that we are doing, we’ve done them in eight markets so far and the concept is that we will use that as a footprint, which we can then take out to other markets.

Julia: Because starting young makes a huge difference.

Felicity: Exactly.

Julia: Jackie, let me bring you in here. Talk to us about your initiatives and what you’re doing at the moment.

Jackie: It’s actually a really big focus for ANZ, diversity and inclusion. We’re focused on diversity but also the inclusion side. We are proud to say that our diverse groups in our surveys, our diverse groups are as engaged as our general population, which is great because that’s a testament of both diversity and inclusion. In our recent engagement survey, 94% of employees think the organisation is accepting of individual differences.

For us those are really good measures of inclusion. In terms of diversity and actually creating that opportunity for differences, we have a number of initiatives that we are proud sponsors of, and I thought I’d just talk to a couple of those. We have a programme called “Given the Chance”, which we’ve partnered with the Brotherhood of St. Lawrence with refugees, helping refugees and giving refugees an opportunity for a six month work placement, which I think is fantastic.

I think when we’re talking about diversity here, it’s not just about gender diversity. We are talking about refugees, we’re talking about the indigenous community and we have work placement full-time traineeship, school based traineeship. A lot of focus on indigenous population. We’ve partnered with the Sydney Mardi Gras for grants for not for profit organisations. We are part of the Australian Network on Disability Access and Inclusion Index and have been noted as a role model there.

Our D&I function within ANZ is actually relatively small in people. The impact that we have comes from our network groups around the organisation, and so that’s part of how we maintain the engagement is actually getting people within the businesses involved in the conversation and really having those networks drive the conversations, not just coming from the D&I specialists.

Julia: Because that’s the risk as it becomes the preserve of the few rather than engagement to the many.

Jackie: Correct, so we’re really proud of those networks and that’s been really effective.

Julia: Thank you for that. Deanne talk to us about what you are doing at Australia Post.

Deanne: As you can appreciate diversity and inclusion is incredibly important to Australia Post. For those that aren’t aware, we are a postal network. We also run a large logistics company focused on e-commerce and getting parcels to us all, because of course we’re all busily online shopping. We have more than 4,000 points of presence across Australia. That’s a really large network and we offer a diverse and a wide range of products and services to our customer base.

Essentially every Australian is a customer of Australia Post if you think about it that way. And so from a workforce perspective, it’s incredibly important that our workforce represents our customer base. That’s why diversity and inclusion is incredibly important to us and has been a big focus. And of course, like many organisations, we have had our challenges in that space. If you think about the fact that a large percentage of our business is a logistics company that is in particular traditionally a male dominated workforce and also quite challenging in terms of other inclusion in terms of other diverse groups including people with disabilities.

Our diversity and inclusion focus has been on a number of areas. One is obviously ensuring that we have the right gender balance across the organisation. I’m pleased to say that we’ve made some really great inroads in that space. We still do have some work to go in those areas that are traditionally male dominated, but we have a clear action plan around how we will address that, including establishment of targets and different programmes to assist in ensuring that we are recruiting females into those roles.

Also other diverse groups as I mentioned as well, we have partnerships and programmes with community organisations to ensure that we are also placing people with disability into particular roles. We’ve got a couple of trials happening at the moment, both in our network and our frontline as well as in our corporate office, and ensuring that we are recruiting people with disabilities and providing them the support that they need.

Obviously LGBT has been a major focus for us like most organisations as well and we also spend quite a lot of time actually surveying our staff and understanding where we can do better, how people feel about us being an inclusive workforce, and then taking the necessary actions and steps to address that.

Julia: The feeling part really matters because we talk a lot about today the roadmap to get to better diversity. If you want to call it that, and inclusion, there’s a risk that we end up with this in quotas and numbers, but actually the human being that presents everyday at work has to feel that they are included, and recognised in them. It’s interesting that you’re talking about the roadmap, and clearly a really key part of that is the recruitment process.

The reason why we want to talk about recruitment particularly today is because organisations are striving very hard to change, and the recruitment industry has a role to play in that. I appreciate that not all of you recruit directly as such, but you’re all leaders in your field. It must be thinking about this in regards to talent, and the inclusion conversation. Jackie, let me come to you first of all, what sort of changes have you seen when it comes to recruitment?

Jackie: ANZ recently underwent a major restructure and change and move towards scaled agile called New Ways Of Working, as part of that we introduced personality and behavioural testing as part of our job placement. I think that’s really interesting because, while we’re not looking at individuals and going all the strengths, weaknesses, we don’t want those people. What we’re looking at is the mix of skill sets, mix of personalities that we need to build a really good and effective team, placing people in the right roles and having those differences and inclusion. I think that’s a really good initiative that we’ve done, we also have multidisciplinary teams and squads who are involved in the recruitment process. You’re not just talking about a single manager making a decision. So again you have that diversity of thinking.

Another thing that I think is really important is how we lead in the culture from the top around who we select. We have a programme called New Ways Of Leading and it focuses on attributes or concepts like connecting with empathy, empowering our people. We look to bring in leaders that do these fundamental things that again, it’s about accepting the individual, working with the individual within the organisation and creating teams that are diverse and really thrive.

Julia: Deanne, let me bring you in here, as you’re thinking about the changing mix and Jackie’s point about the engagement of the many and also the squads being part of that recruitment process, at the other end of the tree if you like, are you finding that the sort of talent is being presented by your recruitment partners? Are they using that shift at all as people are becoming more aware of the value of diversity?

Deanne: Yes, and I think Australia Post is certainly taking steps as part of the diversity, inclusion action plan that I mentioned earlier to ensure that as we are thinking about recruitment, as we’re going out and we’re sourcing candidates, that we’re putting in the right frameworks and processes in place to ensure that we have a diverse pool of candidates for us to review and to select.

To pick up on Jackie’s point, there is an increased awareness from a leadership perspective around the importance of ensuring that we do have a diverse range of candidates for us to review and to choose from and to ensure that we have diversity in our workforce, so that when we’re selecting people, there is an expectation on us as leaders to ensure that we’re selecting people to create that diverse workforce, and we’re not just selecting the same people time and time again.

Julia: I think one of the questions that comes from that is, as current top of the career leaders and also aspiring leaders in this room, what advice would we give to hiring managers in your position who are thinking about how to recruit and how to bring greater diversity as well? Any tips, any advice you’d give the room?

Felicity: We recognise as a technology company that diversity is absolutely an essential element for sparking innovation. We’re working with our customers who we talk about as partners because that’s important to us. They are also doing the same and it is incredible how much it matters to them. I heard on an earlier panel about making purposeful decisions from a consumer perspective, but it can equally be said from a corporate or a business perspective.

When we think about beyond that entry-level diversity, thinking about, getting a lot of different people contributing, our recruitment processes have changed to a more values based one. Yes, you need to have the skills and the experience, depending on what level you’re entering into the organisation. But the really big success factor is, do your values, your core values align with ACI’s core values. We have our values, we have a strategy day every year where we talk about our values. They are very, very important core to the business. Respect is one of those, we need to have that respect. It is absolutely key to understanding and appreciating the individuality that diversity brings.

Julia: I think part of that is when you are hiring it’s quite easy to hire from paper, but when it comes to the respect to the values piece is about interviewing in a slightly different way and being very open as leaders to where those individuals fit within the organisation, you’re nodding Jackie, other thoughts from a leadership perspective about what leaders should be doing to play a part in all of that change?

Jackie: I think it’s hiring outside your comfort zone too. I mean it’s really easy to hire people that are like minded that are similar to you, that’s the safe space and I think it’s about going, “Well what do we actually need? What’s the set of skills that we need? The set of ways of thinking that we need.” It might be something that you’re not necessarily comfortable with but it stretches you as a leader and what you’re doing is actually bringing together a team that will be better for that.

Scott Page who does a lot of research in this area talks about a diversity bonus in the fact that once you really achieve that cognitive diversity, which comes in part from identity diversity that you actually have greater performance as a team and for your business.

Julia: Deanne you’re nodding along with that … what are your thoughts on the topic?

Deanne: Yes, absolutely. I think there’s a world of information out there now and evidence to support the impact of having diverse leadership teams, whether it’s diversity on boards and we’re not just talking to gender diversity here, right? We’re talking diversity more generally, so whether it be race, age, sexuality, to bring that diversity of thought to the table, which in turn delivers better business outcomes. I think all of us as leaders should be thinking about that all of the time. I can’t agree more with Jackie. It does require us, as individual leaders to step outside of our comfort zone and think differently and think outside of the square about the people that we’re interviewing and what are their backgrounds?

We don’t necessarily need to hire people that have 15/20 years of experience, when actually, we can bring in somebody who’s got the right energy, enthusiasm or perhaps a different set of experiences that might bring in a fresh set of thinking. Just because I don’t have experience or skills in one particular area, it doesn’t mean those things can’t be taught.

Julia: Thinking then about younger talents coming to the organisation to get into the world of payments or indeed any organisation. There are two parts of that. One of them is how organisations appeal to young talents. Young talent that doesn’t have that experience you’re talking about. Young talent that comes into an organisation going, “Actually does this feel like the right fit? And actually do I want to stick it out through that, those hierarchies?” And then also about how young talent presents itself to the organisation. Times when we need data scientists and we need skills in certain areas as well.

Felicity what are your thoughts around where does leadership and young talent combine and and what we should be thinking about particularly to appeal to young talents? And I deliberately used the word young talent because I’m not thinking graduates necessarily because a part of the diversity is finding young talent from many pools as well.

Felicity: Well I think it’s important for us all to be talking to young women, whether it’s in a formalised programme like our Coding For Girls initiative or whether it’s just talking to your kids and your kids’ friends, they don’t have to be your kids. The children in your life about what opportunities there are.

When I was going through school, well I knew about a certain number of career roles. The options have certainly increased. But even then, there wasn’t a lot of talk about the deeply technical roles or I worked for a tech company, but I’m not a technical person. There were roles within organisations which don’t have to conform to what you think it will do. It’s helping the young people understand what their options. That’s the beginning of the pipe.

And then once they’re in, it really is providing that encouragement, that mentorship. We were talking at the table earlier about the need to really reinforce that confidence in people. I think that women are sadly less confident in our own selves and promoting our own selves against the men. We need to be each other’s cheerleaders, provide that guidance with guidance and that real confidence boost.

Julia: Jackie, would you agree with that? Do you think it comes down to starting young? How young should we start to encourage that young talent into the organisation?

Jackie: As you say, it’s not just going to graduate programmes and graduates. We have a programme with refugees. I mentioned indigenous Australians previously. We have a spectrum programme that targets people with autism coming into the workplace and the roles and giving additional support as they transition to the workplace. I think it’s about looking at our population. Again, diversity of skills and diversity of background means that you don’t just go to one source for that entry level. I think historically maybe in Australia we’ve done that a bit, but I think that’s changing.

Julia: Deanne, in terms of talking to listeners who are young talent and they’re thinking about coming to the world of financial services or indeed payments more specifically, is there any advice you’d give to those listing about how to present themselves, to a corporate organisation to appeal?

Deanne: I’m a big believer that product management, more generally, but certainly payments and the financial services space is a really fantastic career development opportunity for lots of different people. Not necessarily because they want to come in and all of a sudden create a career as a product manager and be in that career for forever and a day. But an opportunity to come into this type of environment, to learn skills that they might not actually have the opportunity to learn elsewhere, including people who are quite entrepreneurial and looking for building their commercial skills for example, and building their strategic skills or strategic development or strategic management skills as well.

I would encourage young people who are thinking about roles in payments and financial services to really consider that and give that a lot of thought. In terms of how to present themselves, I think just have the confidence as Felicity said before in what they actually do bring to the role, look, don’t get me wrong, there will definitely be roles and financial services is such a broad industry, so it’s very hard, but there are obviously definitely skills that people may need or training that people might need in order to step into particular roles. Have the confidence to be able to put yourself forward.

At the end of the day when I think about ensuring that we have the right pipeline of talent in my business, I think about the fact that, and I come back to the point I made before about making sure that our workforce is representative of our customer base. We talk about the rise of the millennials, at the end of the day, as we know, millennials think very differently to the way that the baby boomers think, or some of our traditional customers think. And we need to make sure that we have people in our organisation that think differently to the way we do and to bring that sort of fresh thinking and fresh set of eyes.

My last bit of advice would be, just have the willingness to learn. Come in with an open mindset, bring that energy and enthusiasm that we love, but also come with a willingness to work hard and to have that willingness to learn.

Julia: I’m going to stay with you on this one because we’re going to the last section, which is something I’ve been thinking about quite a lot. I don’t want to be the doomsayer that says we’re going into an economic downturn. However, depending what you read, I think that might bear out to be true, so I worry quite a lot that actually it’s very easy to keep D&I on the agenda when you’re growing, but at a time of economic downturn when organisations will have to reorganising or retrenching in some way, it’s really important that we don’t lose this conversation.

Picking up on your point, I mean one of the compelling reasons to keep it on is being reflective of your customers as well. I’m really keen to hear your thoughts as we go to the last concluding minutes of why D&I should stay on the agenda. Deanne, let’s come to you, first of all.

Deanne: I think just as I’ve already said, it’s important that any organisation, regardless of the economic environment needs to stay relevant to its customer base and continue to reinvent itself and continue thinking about how it develops its products and services to remain relevant. If you work force isn’t representative of your customer base, you very quickly become irrelevant.

My view is that even in an environment of economic downturn, when people are cutting budgets and things like that, if an organisation is taking the steps to integrate D&I into its DNA and become part of the culture and just the way we do things around here, then there shouldn’t be any reason why we stop thinking about diversity and inclusion as an important, integral part of the way we do business.

Julia: Felicity, what are your thoughts on the topic? What would you add to that?

Felicity: I actually think it’s more important when times are tougher. I’m from one of the smallest markets in the global economy and we have to think innovatively about how to solve for any issue with less funding than larger markets. So diversity is really important, as I’ve said, to spark that creative thinking. You can’t all have all of the same people in the room and get a different outcome to the last time you all met. You have to have people challenging the status quo and thinking about how could we do this differently to get a different outcome. I really do believe that it’s core to creating that innovation and therefore even more important when economic times are tough.

Julia: Jackie, again, you’re nodding along with this. You’re very compliant. What I really enjoy it. Not only the energy in the room because I can tell that there’s an enormous amount of attention and everything that you’re saying, but also the fact that actually you’re building on each other’s comments which is wonderful. For final comments, I’m going to come to you Jackie.

Jackie: There’s not a whole lot left because I completely agree with everything that’s been said. I think sometimes when times are tougher, it’s easier to fall back into that comfort zone. I think it’s even more important that we, as you say, we build a workforce that represents the population. We work towards that diversity bonus because it’s even more important now than when we’re growing and we’re thriving as an economy. Yes, it’s critical.

Julia: It is critical. What are the compelling words with which to end the conversation. I have to say it’s been a fantastic conversation and if you think about in this relatively short period of time, how much we’ve covered and we’ve talked about organisational structures, leadership, culture, recruitment, retention, and also leadership as well.

 I thank you all so much for your thoughts, and the only way we need to wrap this up is to turn to the audience at this amazing conference at the Women in Payments symposium in Sydney, to please thank the panel today. Thank you very much.

Kieron: This episode of the DiverCity Podcast was produced by me, Kieron Yates, on behalf of Julia Streets Productions. You can find out more about the guests on this week’s show on our website, Whilst you are there, you can also sign up to our newsletter for all our latest updates.

To be sure of catching all our future podcasts, subscribe to our feed on iTunes, or your favourite podcast app. And, if you’ve enjoyed this episode DiverCity Podcast, remember to give us a rating or review. This all helps promote the show to a wider audience. Finally, our Twitter handle is @divercitypod. Thanks for listening.