A good level of emotional intelligence and courage to speak up when things need to be changed have helped Kelly Brown, Head of Communications at ANZ, to win the top trophy in the marketing and communications category.
Brown has also credited her success to her ability of being able to “put yourself in other people’s shoes.”
“I think you have to be very good at connecting the dots and you often play the role of a connector between different parties for the business and among stakeholders as well,” she said.
“I think I have perspective, to understand what’s happening with individuals and that is always a good context to have. It’s about taking the time to understand people and what’s important to them and what’s the most efficient thing to work with them.”
Brown led the internal and external communications for three major divestments, with a combined value of approximately four billion to the ANZ Group and this has included transactions with CMC Markets for online trading, IOOF for aligned groups and platforms and Zurich for life insurance., which all required accurate, transparent and timely communications.
Additionally, these business changes were happening against the backdrop of the Royal Commission and its associated media coverage.
Brown, who oversaw the end-to-end communications program for these agreements encompassing around 3,000 impacted staff across four countries as well as thousands of advisers and two million of ANZ Wealth customers, said that the great thing about the financial services industry was that it was so big and therefore offered many opportunities.
“I loved communication so I stayed in communications for my career but so many of my colleagues have moved into a project management, or change management, to marketing – I think there’s a lot of – keep an open mind is what I’m trying to say there’s a lot of opportunities where you can go,” she said.
Brown has been also praised for mentoring numerous communications professionals, especially women, many of whom have progressed their careers through ANZ and the industry, both within Australia and globally.
Additionally, her strength as a communicator has helped position ANZ well for the transition of its wealth businesses to new partners while, at the same time, she manged to create new opportunities for ANZ’s teams to engage with their potential new employers by providing them as much clarity as possible.
She also stressed the importance that organisations played in helping women progress their careers by offering more flexible hours as well as promoting equally family roles for both genders. She stressed that the industry would need to focus more on making it more acceptable for men to take on the family caring roles and this needs to become more “socially accepted”.
“I can reflect back on the last few years in the industry as some of the most challenging of my career as a communicator but also one of the most rewarding and a time when I’ve learnt an enormous amount,” Brown said.
Other finalists were Madeleine Gasparinatos, Head of Content of GROW Super, Caterina Nesci,
Head of Marketing, La Trobe Financial and Zoe Winther , chief executive of Pickford Media.