Women in tech: Is authenticity the key to excelling your career?

November 4, 2021

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Darcie Bailey thought everyone who worked in banking would be “serious, stiff and always a bit angry because of all the pressure”. After joining NAB in 2019 on a six-month student internship, as the final requirement of her degree, she found it to be quite the opposite. 

Coming from rural Victoria, the big banks had always felt as though they were removed from the lives of the people around her – like they were “far off institutions, run by city people.” During her initial placement in the Digital Content team, Darcie was happily proved wrong and now enjoys a flourishing career as a Senior Business Analyst at NAB

Family values at NAB

One situation sticks out clearly in her mind as the moment she knew she’d made the right decision to accept a permanent role. 

At the end of every quarter, each department holds a Town Hall, where the team look back on what has been achieved over the previous three months and discuss their upcoming plans. Darcie remembers one she attended right before the end of her internship where a service manager was about to head off on maternity leave. After giving her presentation, their Executive stood up and congratulated her on delivering such incredible results, praising her and her team for all their accomplishments. He then, in front of the two-hundred people in the audience, “authentically and warmly wished her luck”. Darcie recalls him telling her that they would all miss her, but that she should go and enjoy her next big challenge with her new baby, and that they would look forward to seeing her when she returned. 

As a young woman starting out in her career, Darcie doesn’t yet know if she wants a family herself, “but for NAB to have people in management so clearly supportive of women having children and it not impacting their career, and knowing that his example will flow down to the other managers below him” makes her feel really good about working there. We are all aware of women who have been passed over for promotions or had their career progression stalled because of having children, and NAB’s approach makes a refreshing change to the narrative.

Follow your interests for a fulfilling career

As a high-schooler, Darcie, like the vast majority of teenagers, didn’t have a clear idea of what she wanted to do when she was older. She chose to study IT based on her “avid love of computer games.” And it goes to show that following your passions, even if they don’t seem to be an obvious route to a career path, can really pay off. 

In Darcie’s role as a Senior BA, she assists with delivering projects, balancing the needs and wants of many different stakeholders. More specifically, Darcie investigates, analyses, documents and communicates the business requirements for individual projects. Working directly with stakeholders, such as UI/UX Designers, Solution Architects and Product Owners, she makes sure the needs of each team are being met and clarifies any details to other areas of the project. There can be more than a hundred people involved in any one project, so it can be a challenge to ensure everyone is on the same page, especially when projects can change at very short notice.

The projects Darcie works on “impact on huge numbers of NAB’s customers” and it’s her job to “help make sure the millions of people who visit the website or use the mobile app get the best experience.” 

Banking no longer feels like it is something out of reach and unrelatable and Darcie feels she is able to have a real impact on people’s everyday lives:

“Banking should be easy and accessible, and with the new digital experiences I work on, I know that we are getting closer to that goal.” 

Your attitude is king

Darcie believes that “being authentic and having a good attitude is king” and that it can really help you as you progress up your career. At the start of her internship, she admits: 

“I just turned up and decided to have a real good go at everything they threw at me, and when I was bored, I asked to be challenged or given more work.” 

This positive, can-do approach was a huge success for Darcie and led her to “getting to do some pretty cool stuff, even post the internship” in her role as a BA. 

We all know the difference it can make to be part of a team where everyone is enthusiastic and gets along. Darcie recognizes this and makes a real effort to keep spirits high: 

“Your team is really important. They can make or break your job and completely change your view of the work you do.”

During the pandemic when people were working from home, Darcie ran daily video meetings for her team. Each morning she would greet everyone and talk about the weather or a little fact she has recently learnt. After several months, a developer said that his wife would often come in to hear her ‘good morning routine’ and several other developers agreed it really brightened the start of their day. Although “it’s not something you can put on your CV”, Darcie is proud to be able to make an impact in this way. 

“There’s just something so nice about getting to cheer people up while we’re all going through such a difficult time.”

Keep learning and growing your career

NAB engages interns to give them experience working in the industry, to meet people and network, and provide workshops to learn about different areas of tech. NAB paid for Darcie to receive accredited BA training, making her a certified Agile BA. Darcie feels she owes a lot to NAB for her career development so far:

“They took an intern and gave them a permanent job, which allowed me to continue to learn and grow. They allowed me to be flexible within my capacity and provided me with opportunities to learn how to manage product delivery, workshop problems for multi-million-dollar projects and how to manage and track budgets.”

After being in her BA role for around 18 months, Darcie was able “to branch out and try out being an Analytics Analyst on secondment, to get a taste of another part of the business.” Although it was a great experience, she missed working on projects, so interviewed and returned as a Senior BA at the end of her secondment. 

Mentorship matters

Mentorship has also been key to Darcie’s growth:

 “Whether by being a mentor or mentee, mentorship is one of the key parts of my career that has got me to where I am today. I have had so many people mentor me or give me advice, and being a mentor now helps me to grow and develop while getting to positively impact others.” 

Darcie believes so strongly in sharing experience and knowledge that she’d love to pitch to NAB CEO Ross McEwan “a program that enables one intern or graduate each month to spend a month with the Executive Leadership Team (ELT), to experience what it’s like at the top of the business and so the ELT can hear the perspective of those new in their career.” 

With her positive, down-to-earth attitude and give-it-a-go approach, Darcie has certainly dispelled any lingering perceptions that everyone who works in banking is “serious, stiff and always a bit angry”. And we don’t think it’ll be long before she’ll be part of the ELT herself, so she can implement that program when she gets there.

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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.

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. Check out the latest job vacancies with NAB