Making progress in your career journey can sometimes feel like climbing a mountain with no end in sight! That’s why it’s best to treat it as a marathon instead of a sprint. To last the distance, you need to build your skills and experience, while also maintaining a strong support network and work-life balance.
But what does this look like in practice?
To gain some understanding, we spoke with Great Southern Bank’s Senior Manager, Insights, Reporting and Analytics, Christy McFadden. Not only does Christy manage a team of seven data analysts, she’s also a single mum of two, competitive athlete and long-distance running coach.
“We have a huge variety of data requests from KPI dashboards to regulatory reporting,” said Christy.
“We support all areas of the business with their data needs. Outside of work, I run ultra-distances and recently completed my longest distance of 160km in the Glasshouse Mountains. I also dabble in triathlons and am planning for my first Ironman this year. I’m a single mum to two amazing teenagers and I love hanging out with them and watching all the sports they’re involved in.”
Here’s what Christy shared about maintaining your energy, mental and physical wellbeing, and long-term job performance throughout your career journey.
Starting at base camp
Everyone has a starting point. Christy’s was growing up in a small farming community in an underprivileged family, starting work at eleven years old to afford clothes.
“I used to babysit during the summer and worked in the cornfields – tough manual labor for a twelve-year-old! I had lots of other jobs in farming, manufacturing, cooking, cleaning and even worked at the racing track and car spring factory. It was a very different way of life, but it also shaped who I am today.”
Christy graduated with a Master’s degree in Education. Since then, she has been involved in data, programming and insights.
“It was during this time I began doing quantitative analysis, which sparked my love of data and analytics.”
Making the climb
In launching her career, Christy worked in the United States as a programmer, then moved to Sydney to work in a variety of technical roles for a software vendor. She then travelled across Canada, establishing and presenting to user groups.
Since moving to Brisbane over 13 years ago, she has experienced several data analyst roles, predominately focusing on marketing campaigns and customer insights. She joined Great Southern Bank in 2013 as a Senior Insights Analyst, receiving promotions to her current role as a senior manager.
“I knew right from the start that Great Southern Bank (formerly CUA) was different to other companies I’d worked for. The culture was amazing, and everyone was so good to work with. Over the years I’ve learned it’s the people around you that make it a great place to work.”
Setting up camps
But career journeys, especially for women starting families, don’t always travel on an upward trajectory. For Christy, having children and taking two years off hindered her career progression; but spending time with them was a priority.
“When you take time off work, you aren’t going to be promoted or progress. In taking parental leave, the company I was with at the time supported me in taking a full year off. And thankfully, the Canadian government granted a good maternity scheme. I knew I wanted to spend time with my babies.”
Now, when she’s not at work, Christy switches off to be fully present with her family, build her fitness and enjoy time with friends.
“I turn off my team chats and emails. When the kids are with me, they get me 100%. I also wake up very early in the morning to get my exercise in. I belong to a triathlon club and a running club, so my social activities and friends are built around that.”
Great Southern Bank offers employees gender-neutral parental leave policies, carer’s leave, flexible work arrangements and more.
Find out more about Great Southern Bank’s benefits and policies.
Navigating the slopes
While data and analytics is typically a male-dominated field, Christy shares she hasn’t been impacted as much by this, as her data analytics roles exposed her to multiple areas of the business.
“I’ve noticed though, when I represent data in IT meetings or at conferences, it is much more male-dominated. I just go with the flow, because I know what I’m talking about, which gives me confidence. I’ve done many presentation courses over the years. I’ve found male voices tend to portray more confidence, so I’ve learned to present clearly and confidently.”
Reaching new heights
For Christy, being a goal-focused and optimistic person has enabled her to overcome adversity, grow her skill set and reach career milestones. In her current role at Great Southern Bank, she leads a team of data analysts, analyzing extensive data, excelling and leveraging the department across the business.
“We work on anything that relates to data – from corporate KPI dashboards and remediation projects to customer behavior analysis. I love the crossover from the technical side to contributing to business decisions using data. We deal with stakeholders throughout the business for all sorts of projects and requests. It keeps my job really interesting!”
Success, for Christy, means enjoying what you do in all aspects of life, and achieving a good balance between work and personal life. Her goal is to be known for getting things done, being a trustworthy expert in her field, and being a good boss and person people want to work with.
“I’m proud to work in such a great company and make a difference. For me, I’m looking forward to continuing to grow and learn. So much is changing in the data space and it’s exciting to be a part of it. I think it’s important for people to see you as a person and an employee. Share your personal stories. Work hard! Work well with others. Empathize with people. Think big and share solutions, not problems.”