How rowing prepared this champion for a successful career in consulting

June 7, 2023
careers in consulting

Have you noticed how common it is to use an image of a rowing team to epitomize the power and value of teamwork? Usually captured from a distance so you can see the full team and the satin smooth surface of the water, these images are a symbolic depiction of drive, coordination, and the efficiency you can create as a team. You will see this image in countless annual reports and presentations. 

For Libby Gatti, these aren’t obscure metaphors, they’re reality. Once an Australian rower, Libby is now capitalizing on the same teamwork and drive in her career at the multinational consulting firm, EY.

Libby joined five years ago and, in that time, has progressed to her current role as a Senior Manager in the Business Consulting team at Ernst & Young, Australia (EY Australia). Her role is focused on working with clients on their strategy, operation model and transformation designs, and strategy implementation and value realization. 

Photo of Libby and her family

“Much of my work is in the mining industry, and with an environmental science background I’m increasingly looking at how we can contribute to solving the decarbonization challenges in our industry.”

It’s easy to visualize how Libby’s rowing experience and tenacity helps her promote collaboration as well as understanding of the best ways to set and achieve goals amongst her consulting and client teams. 

From sport to business

“I studied part-time while I was rowing at a national level. I rowed on three Australian teams and won two silver medals at U23 World Championships – quite some years ago now – but I learnt so much about discipline, perseverance, teamwork, and perspective along the way.”

After completing her degree, she worked as an environmental scientist and project coordinator. She worked in the resources industry focussing on tree health monitoring program, mangrove monitoring, and oil spill response planning. 

“While I was working in environmental science, I studied my MBA part time. A few years and a few children later I started at EY.”

Find out how EY nurtures a diverse and equality-driven workplace culture.

Learn more here 

Family values remain a key

Finding the balance between kids and work is a constant juggle. I have found it’s vital to get good support at home,” says Libby. 

“Initially, I was concerned about returning to work because of the cost of childcare. But it paid-off in other ways as I gained experiences that progressed my career, allowed me to work full-time and I could take an opportunity that I otherwise wouldn’t have been able to take. It also means I still have the energy to do the things I want to do.”

Photo of Libby and her family

“I’m disciplined about protecting the weekends and being clear on my boundaries. Spending quality time with my family is important to me.”

Understanding her values, priorities, and boundaries has helped Libby manage family, work, and her other interests over time. Besides Libby’s work and family, she makes time for exercise in the outdoors. 

She likes to start early most days to exercise or work, ensuring she can capitalize on the extra quiet time before everyone wakes. Libby also commutes to work on her bike or runs to get extra exercise and some thinking time. And she ran the Cape to Cape track in Western Australia, covering the 127 km over three days. Her goal is to run the Overland Track in Tasmania later this year. 

She still dabbles in rowing, though mostly now it’s surf boat rowing.

How EY Australia is supporting other women to build rewarding careers

Photo of Libby and her family

“You read all the challenges about women in the workplace as a younger person and think ‘yeah, yeah surely it’s not that bad’. But then when you start seeing and experiencing these barriers, it’s really eye-opening. EY shines a spotlight on these issues, and the company culture expects everyone to challenge the assumptions.”

In fact, EY Australia was recently named the “Top Workplace for Women in 2023” by us here at WORK180, topping a list of 101 employers. They also won the 2023 Equitable Workplace award for Career Development. The company’s efforts have meant that EY Oceania professionals are now 52% women. 

Libby is quick to credit her team and the culture at EY for giving her the opportunities she has had to develop her professional career whilst balancing her family’s growth. 

“I’ve had lots of support from successful leaders in the EY network, and I’m really grateful and appreciative of that.”

“To have contributed to my client’s success and the organization’s purpose of Building a Better Working World is rewarding. It aligns with my personal motivations on providing value and wanting to make a difference.”

Libby tells us she considers herself “competitive and driven”, adding that “these are what motivate me to chase new experiences, challenges and to be successful.”

You wouldn’t be surprised to hear the same words from any leading athlete today, which only underlines how successfully Libby has applied what she learnt in sport to her career, as well as in personal life.

Want to learn more about the benefits of a career at EY?

The views expressed in this article are the views of the author, not Ernst & Young. This article provides general information, does not constitute advice, and should not be relied on as such. Professional advice should be sought prior to any action being taken in reliance on any of the information. Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation.

Share this article:

Discover more about these Endorsed Employers

Related articles

Get informed

Sign up for monthly updates on news, advice, inspiration, and career resources

About the Author

Jacynta Clayton’s career started in recruitment advertising and employer branding, working with global clients to create and deploy strategic and creative content. Now she combines her industry experience with the knowledge from her psychology and professional writing degrees to write unique and resounding stories. As a WORK180 storyteller she relishes the opportunity to elevate the voices and experiences of so many amazing people, while also empowering and educating audiences on how to choose a workplace where they can thrive.

Want to keep the conversation going?

Looking for a new opportunity?

Our transparent job board only has vacancies from employers we endorse and lets you see what benefits, policies and perks come with the job.

Want more articles like this sent to your inbox every month?

Just let us know what kind of support you’re looking for so we can sign you up to receive the right newsletter for you.