Sam’s career spans more than 25 years of diverse experience across the financial services, education, health, resources, logistics and supply chain sectors. She is currently ticking past her fourth year as General Manager (Corporate Services) and Company Secretary of the Hunter Valley Coal Chain Coordinator.
Sam is also a Non-Executive Director of the Newcastle Permanent Building Society, and Chair of its Remuneration and People Committee. She serves on the Salvation Army Advisory Board, is a University of Newcastle conjoint lecturer of Law and Business, and is a member of the MBA Advisory Board at the University of Newcastle Business School.
Why did you initially join HYP and what did you gain from that?
I joined to learn from others and to establish and grow a network of connected, like-minded professionals in a safe and friendly environment. At the time, I was able to leverage my relationships and support network from the Newcastle & Hunter Junior Chamber (and beyond) when I was nominated and successfully elected as a candidate for a Board role with the Hunter Business Chamber. It was around this time also that I was honoured with the NSW Telstra Young Business Person of the Year award.
Can you explain your career trajectory?
My career has spanned a variety of sectors, mostly in highly regulated environments. I would say that whilst the diversity of industries was not planned, a common theme of transferable skills punctuates each role. Culture, change leadership, business performance and stakeholder engagement have been core skills throughout my career. Regardless of the role, the sector or the level of business maturity, these skills continue to get lots of attention. Over the course of my career, I don’t regret making any career decisions because I have always learned from my experiences and the challenges have brought about opportunity for significant growth.
Do you have or have you had Mentors?
I have always had informal and formal mentors from many different fields including Government, Not- for-Profit sectors and listed entities. My mentors have been active sponsors of my capabilities and continue to support me with introductions, insights, guidance and advice. They challenge me with constructive feedback and at times, ask difficult questions and provide clarity when I can’t otherwise see a way ahead. I’ve learned through my mentors when to ‘lean in or lean out’ of certain situations, and when doing nothing is a legitimate option.
What’s your biggest goal for the future and how do you get there?
To continue to promote and grow the importance of Regional leadership and engagement by highlighting talent and opportunities in Regional Australia. This could be via regional events, media, messaging, promoting regional visits, strategic partnerships, advocacy and business opportunities.
How do you find out about job opportunities?
Through my local and international network of colleagues, mentors, coaches, business associates and friends. I place great value on this eco-system of contacts by actively staying connected and paying forward opportunities that may come my way by keeping them in the forefront of my thinking.
Do you have a normal workday and what does it look like?
A typical day would involve actively managing a range of distractions to maintain focus, whilst being agile enough to pivot and prioritising a healthy dose of people focussed activities before tasks.
What do you do when you’ve had a bad day?
Remind myself to maintain perspective: things could always be worse as my son says!
What’s something people might not know about you?
I have just returned from an Australian Women Leaders Study Tour to San Francisco and Silicon Valley with 30 amazing female leaders. The focus of the tour was AI, big data, digital transformation and the future of work.
Hot tips on structuring your week?
Look after your own physical and mental health and wellbeing as a priority because if you are not good to yourself, you’re not so good with others.