To launch our new ‘Q and A’ series, we sat down with Tanya Dobeli, Director to talk about the challenges and opportunities for women in the finance sector. As a mother of two young children, and as a newly appointed Director to the firm, Tanya has a first-hand lens on how women can succeed in accounting roles, while juggling a busy life at home.
How long have you been at HCQ, and tell us about your current role as a newly appointed Director?
I joined HCQ in 2006 as a Graduate accountant. Currently, I am one of the Directors in the Redlands Office on the Brisbane bayside. We have a smaller office of 14 staff that services our clients, which are predominantly based on this side of town.
What made you decide on a career in finance, or perhaps more specifically, accounting?
Initially when I went to University, I started a business degree with a major in Marketing, but I decided to move into a double Accounting major after doing a couple of accounting subjects as I really enjoyed them.
When I first interviewed at HCQ I instantly knew the company was where I wanted to be long term. The Directors, their values and the company culture was something I wanted to be a part of. From those very early days at HCQ I aspired to being a Director of the firm.
You recently attended an event in Sydney, the ‘Young Executives Summit 2023’ run by the AFR, what did you find were the key topics discussed by the panelists?
Before I arrived at the event, the topics really got my attention. I found the event very current and relevant with the areas discussed primarily being:
- Work life balance including hybrid working
- Managing multigenerational workforces
- Wellness for executives
- Driving & embracing change.
Was there any particular speaker that stood out to you, or any key messages you took away?
One panelist, Tiffany Slater who is the Managing Director of Wellbeing, Diversity & Performance for the NRL, spoke about wellbeing of professionals. The key message she discussed was that of a professional athlete. For an athlete to perform to the best of their ability, their nutrition, sleep and exercise all need attention. This can be easily be replicated for the life of any executive, focus on eating the right things, getting enough sleep and exercising regularly in order for you to perform at peak condition in your working environment.
You mention crafting an elevator pitch. What are some ways to put this together?
I haven’t thought about my elevator pitch for quite some time, but it was mentioned at the Young Executives Summit, and I thought this is such a critical skill when you meet someone for the first time. You have 30 seconds to introduce yourself and make yourself memorable to a stranger and in a work sense, make this potential client want to make contact with you in the future. How can you make yourself be memorable… be confident and show the person you are genuine and how you can assist them to succeed with their business goals.
What do you feel is the biggest opportunity for women in finance in the next decade?
I feel like there is a great opportunity for women to ascend into leadership roles in the next decade in the finance industry. I’m a strong believer in having different types of people in the room making decisions for the collective good of a business.
There are a lot of big issues on the horizon that businesses need to work through. These are new issues and they will require new solutions. What we’ve done in the past may not work in the future and having men and women with different opinions and perspectives on life making those decisions, can only be a good thing when trying to work through these items.
I also feel that the overall perception of hybrid working being more acceptable will enable women in finance to continue the upwards trajectory of their careers without having to make sacrifices in their family life. Whilst women (and men) before us may have had to make difficult decisions between work and family commitments, it is becoming more and more accepted that you can attend those important events for your children/family without it affecting your work commitments.
What would be one piece of advice you could offer to young women considering a career in finance?
Be confident, in both yourself and in your abilities, but also in your weaknesses and know when to ask others in your network for their assistance.