It’s easy understand why when Malini became FINSIA’s Most Outstanding Young Finance Professional award-winner (2011) and helped set up signature events – including what has evolved into Current and Future Leaders – along the way to becoming FINSIA’s youngest Board member and youngest Senior Fellow.
Malini – now Head of Community Engagement at CommBank – was also involved in the committee responsible for the launch of FINSIA’s ground-breaking Gender Divide Survey and both a mentee and a mentor.
“The FINSIA office was literally across the road from where I was working at the time and they joked that I should get my own office there,” says Malini, smiling at the comments.
“But I have to say FINSIA has been an invaluable foundation and platform for my career in the finance industry.
“Without FINSIA I wouldn't have had the exposure, the experiences, the mentors, the guidance, the additional intangible value add that's helped me and my career development.”
Recalling the reason for joining while working in investment banking, Malini says FINSIA, as a professional body provided her with exposure to role models and events and the opportunity to network and expand horizons.
“At that point in my career, it was good to engage with others in the industry and also gain a greater understanding of the different areas of the financial services industry,” says Malini.
When, enrolling on the Masters of Applied Finance and Investment, FINSIA’s structure also provided a support network to assist her throughout the course.
“We did a significant amount of group work and those groups helped establish strong relationships and I am still friends with some of them today. We bounced ideas and discussed assignments, prepared for exams together. And it's always a good opportunity to get different perspective and insights on things and engage with like- minded colleagues in the industry.”
Malini, who was on the Women in Finance Committee when the Gender Divide Survey was launched in 2010, says it sparked a passion for promoting gender diversity and inclusion which remains a strong passion.
“It’s an important tool to track progress and celebrate wins but also ask the hard questions when the results aren't trending or progressing as fast as we would like,” said Malini.
“That survey made me realise, while there has been some progress, we've got a long way to go in the sector.”
Another of the highlights along the way through the earlier years with FINSIA was helping to launch Leaders in the Midst, which has evolved into Current & Future Leaders, while Chair of the NSW Young Finance Professionals.
“That was a great event which could be likened to speed dating for leaders where we had about 20 tables with leaders from all parts of the finance industry speaking to the audience in small groups,” explained Malini.
“We rotated around the tables and heard about leader’s perspectives and their career journeys, which highlighted once again the critical importance of having role models and understanding different people's career trajectories.
“The event provided access to leaders we wouldn't ordinarily get to speak to – and the informal setting made asking candid questions much easier than if at a big event or forum.
“Often, people are reluctant to put their hand up in big events or large group settings, but are more comfortable in one – on – one or smaller group situations. These settings also allow more authentic conversations and more relevant, tailored and impactful insights.”
Malini’s growing stature as a leader was clearly becoming recognised and led to a seat on the FINSIA Board.
“Becoming a Board member was a good opportunity to be part of shaping the strategy and bring a different perspective to the table.” says Malini.
“I was also a lot younger than everyone else, but it also was an opportunity to learn from other Board members who had years of experience behind them in the sector, in various companies, in various roles.”
Another of those FINSIA benefits that is a two-way street was the Mentoring program which Malini was involved in for a decade.
“Those programs were so valuable for both parties so much so,I was a mentee once and proceeding to be a mentor eight or nine times’.
“Many people think that it's only the mentee that gets the benefit out of those programs, but it's actually also the mentor. Sometimes more so. It gave me tremendous satisfaction when someone you're mentoring achieves a goal that you had set together.”
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