When Jacey Wheelwright interviewed with QSuper she made the point that family comes first, and they responded they would be worried if that wasn’t her priority. They’ve lived up to her expectations, and she enjoys a great work life balance, raising a family while working as the Senior Manager for Capital Market Operations.
Finding your feet and your confidence
Jacey joined QSuper four years ago; her first job returning to full-time employment after some time off with small children. In her previous job she found herself kissing her kids goodnight at midnight when she got home from work, and they were sound asleep. She says that was awful, and a big driver to her focusing on a family-friendly environment when she was ready to return to work.
At QSuper she joined as a Unit Pricing Manager, and although it was a step below where she’d been before taking time off, it was helpful for her to get back into the flow of things and find her confidence.
“In my previous two jobs I’d spent 16 years where I was completely comfortable, and I was well-known. I wondered, ‘Can I really go out into the real world?’”
But she could and she did! She took over as Acting Senior Manager for Unit Pricing, a role which helped her understand all of QSuper. At the end of the maternity leave Jacey was covering, she was asked to Act again as Senior Manager in the Capital Market Operations team, quickly took over project management alongside the operational position, and learned a lot. In January she was made the permanent Senior Manager for Capital Market Operations.
All those career leaps and bounds came after Jacey realized her skills remained despite her career break and early lack of confidence in her abilities.
For other people returning to the workforce after a break raising children – or for any other reason – she shares the following tips:
- Take brave steps. “Be open to change, taking the first step is the hardest. I was keen and motivated because I really enjoy work but it was really scary, and I didn’t know anyone at QSuper.”
- Get organized. “Home had to be organized. I knew exactly what was happening each day.”
- Believe in yourself. “You’ve got to have confidence that you can do the job. I was scared I didn’t know enough because I hadn’t changed jobs very often. I was always so confident in my old jobs; this was a reminder that I do know the things I know.”
Jacey shares, it’s scary, but it won’t be for long, and most workplaces are friendly. She added that QSuper is particularly friendly!
“The people are what make our team. Everyone is friendly and welcoming, and people work hard because the team gels well.”
Now, Jacey relies on a village that includes her husband, her supportive mother in law, and various forms of care. Knowing her children are looked after and happy makes it easier to concentrate on her work when she’s not at home.
How QSuper walk the talk
QSuper talk about the importance of family and encourage employees to also focus on their personal lives – not just work.
They strongly support flexible work options. There’s no problem if Jacey works from home if her kids are sick, and she sometimes ducks out for school performances and sports days. Lots of the men Jacey works with do school pick-up. The Business Unit’s senior management team all have children, and everyone recognizes the importance of family life.
Despite the support from QSuper, Jacey’s biggest challenge is juggling wanting to be home with her children but also really enjoying her work.
QSuper also recognize that their team work long hours in stressful, high-pressured roles, and do what they can to support people.
A love of learning
Jacey loves learning and being challenged. As a major player in the superannuation industry, her work at QSuper is really interesting, and she’s been able to apply her skills in new and different ways in her current role.
“My skills are more in communications and management, rather than the technical area. I’ve learnt an enormous amount. It’s been a busy period, but this role has been great, it’s been all learning. I’ve loved that and I’ve had loads of support.”
Jacey’s project-lead counterpart left not long after she became Senior Manager for Capital Market Operations. She admits she was asked a lot of hard questions initially, by people wanting to ensure she could handle the increased pressure and technical requirements, but she gained a lot of respect in that time.
She’s also been helped along the way by QSuper’s mentoring program. Jacey approached a Chief in another reporting line to mentor her, and was accepted. She supported Jacey to make the most of her initial Acting Manager role, teaching her how to approach people and how to use the acting position as a stepping stone in her career to something else.
“I was also part of a CEO mentoring circle for 12 months with six talented women. I not only received insights from Michael [Pennisi] but also got to know and develop both personal and business relationships with these women.”
A super approach to diversity
Jacey would love to see more women applying for positions in investments and investment operations.
“Women bring a different perspective and view to things. I’m an accountant by trade and fell into superannuation funds which led me to Investment Performance and Operations at QSuper. I think like an accountant does, and accounting firms are full of accomplished women!”
When we asked why she’d encourage women to transition into the super industry, she says,
“It can be really rewarding. I find it incredibly interesting. We drive the economy. Super funds own such a diverse range of assets. There’s so much that happens underneath the surface, and there are so many skills women have that they can bring. My particular skill is communication. Working with clients in the early part of my career helps me think from the perspective of my internal clients now. There’s always something happening. There are always deals and restructures, which are exciting. You learn something new all the time.”