As State Manager for the ASX-listed financial technology company Iress, Georgina Boots helps some of the biggest names in wealth management reach their potential and drive successful outcomes. Having graduated recently with an MBA, which she fitted in around her career and family life, she’s every bit as ambitious as her clients. Although a lot of it is down to her determination and focus, Georgina says her achievements wouldn’t have been possible without the support of her employer, Iress.
Here, she opens up about the best career decision she ever made; sharing the mentality and opportunities that have got her to where she is today.
Go with your instinct
“I started as an account manager for Iress in Melbourne. I’d never heard of Iress before, but I remember having a good feeling at the interview. Something told me I had to work there – you know when you just get a good vibe about a place? It turned out to be one of the best career decisions I ever made.”
“Working for a technology company like Iress is exciting because it’s always evolving. There is a culture of continuous improvement with opportunities to get involved in projects outside of your day to day role, which has helped my career progression. I find it so motivating to be part of such a fast-growing, forward-thinking business.”
You can have it all
During her time at Iress, Georgina has had two children. We asked about her experience as a working parent at Iress, which is known for offering some of the best parental leave benefits in the industry.
“Like a lot of parents, being able to spend time with my kids and still be able to focus on a rewarding career is important to me; luckily, Iress makes it easy to do both. Their parental leave benefits are exceptional – I was able to return part-time after maternity leave and take extra leave when my kids started school. Iress also provided additional emergency leave when the pandemic hit to cope with the adjustment to remote working and home-schooling. Having that flexibility really helps with the life juggle. I feel able to be my best at work and home.”
Get out of your comfort zone
Georgina talks a lot about the importance of improving herself professionally through study, networking and reading. The ideal opportunity came up when Iress offered five MBA scholarships, one of which went to Georgina – marking a significant milestone in her career.
“The MBA helps you gain knowledge and confidence at a higher level which is especially useful if you’re at that mid-career stage. It helped me unlock a lot of things I wasn’t aware of before, and it took me out of my comfort zone, which is always a good thing for development.”
None of us gets to where we are alone
An MBA usually takes three years of full-time study, but Georgina completed it in just 18 months. How did she find the time with a full-time job and family? Georgina has this advice:
“If you want to better yourself, you have to invest the time to do it, commit to it and know why you’re doing it. Being highly organized I could ensure that I had quality time with my family, which meant studying after the kids had gone to bed and most Saturdays. There were a lot of sacrifices. Thankfully, Iress also gave me some Fridays off for study leave.”
The Iress culture of knowledge sharing means those who got the MBA scholarships are encouraged to invest their time back into mentoring future Iress leaders – something Georgina believes is essential. We asked Georgina about the role of mentors in her career.
“Anyone I’ve ever approached for mentoring has always generously said yes, and I make sure I am there to mentor others who want to develop themselves too. Iress encourages mentoring through a ‘Future Leaders’ program and also sponsors Financial Executive Women (FEW), which gives women in the industry access to other executive mentors and networks. Over the years, this has broadened out to include men, which has opened up the gender discussion.”
Be somewhere you can make an impact
And what about being a woman in financial services and technology? According to Georgina, the unique culture at Iress has made gender a non-issue in the workplace.
“I’ve always felt well-supported, seen and heard throughout my career at Iress. I feel like Iress sees me as a person – not female or male or anything else. I’m grateful to Iress for making the gender gap a non-issue for the women who work here.”
“Everyone at Iress has a license to change – if we don’t like something, we can change it. We’re encouraged to be open, to hold people accountable – every single person counts. We’re all here to make a difference and make an impact; gender doesn’t come into it.”
Georgina’s final piece of advice is to find your happy place.
“You spend so much time working; if you can find a place you enjoy coming to every day where you know you’re counted and making a difference, that’s what matters. I feel so fortunate to have this at Iress.”