Expect the unexpected - (more) things you may not know about your industry peers

Thursday 17th October 2019

Expect the Unexpected

Our interviewees constantly surprise us, particularly with their answers to 'what’s something most people wouldn’t know about you’. We’ve discovered stories of romance, murder (kinda), sliding door professions and time spent on the inside. We've also uncovered musicians, actors, pilots, UN negotiators, and a key account manager that's been published by NATO!





You may not know that...

Danielle Welsh-Rose

Aberdeen Standard Investments new ESG investment director, Danielle Welsh-Rose, has ‘murderers thumbs’

For better or worse (depending on which family member you ask!) I like to have at least one ‘BHAG’ (Big, Hairy, Audacious Goal) going at any one time… which means I’ve completed iron-distance triathlons, a handful of other ultra-endurance events, (almost) three postgraduate degrees, and travelled to some pretty amazing places. Oh, also I have ‘murderers thumbs’. I will leave you to look that one up…
Read our Q&A with Danielle here.

Melissa Birks

AIST's new head of advocacy, Melissa Birks, is a fan of the 80s

I do a radio show on northwest fm the first Sunday of each month, called ‘80s is enough’ where I play only 80s music. Daggy, but lots of fun!
Read our Q&A with Melissa here.




Michael Wright

Xplore Wealth's new CEO, Michael Wright, worked for an abalone diver.

When I was a teenager I worked as a deck hand with my mate for an abalone diver in Cape Shank and Wilson Point. It was an incredible time, experiencing the rawness of the ocean as well as its beauty and surprises.
Read our Q&A with Michael here.


Suzanne Holden

Former CEO of Link Group's fund admin business, Suzanne Holden, was invited to join MENSA, the high IQ society

I think many people would know that my undergraduate degree is in the rather unusual combination of Maths and Drama but probably not many people would know that whilst I was at University I was invited to join MENSA, the high IQ society!
Read our Q&A with Suzanne here.


Andrea Slattery

Professional non-executive director and founder of the SMSF Association, Andrea Slattery, was literally 'knocked out' when she first met her future husband

I met my husband for the first time when we both filled in for a mixed basketball team. We both competed for a rebound and I headbutted his elbow instead which knocked me out (Paul is 6 foot 4 inches and at the time a very good basketballer and I am 5 foot 3 inches and a bit competitive!). He looked after me that day and we have been together ever since, including nearly 40 years of marriage, 4 sons, 4 daughters-in-law and soon to be 12 grandchildren.
Read our Q&A with Andrea here.


Angela Emslie

Professional non-executive director, consultant and former HESTA chair, Angela Emslie, has a fascination for ports

It was the early 80’s and graduate jobs were few and far between. I had completed an economics degree and was accepted into an honours year but applied for a graduate position in the economics department at the Port of Melbourne. I didn’t get that job but was offered one in the public relations department as a Port Hostess. We wore a navy-blue uniform with a scarf, high heels and a slug-like hat and covered every inch of the port taking educational boat tours and visiting all the different workers and operations that went on in the second largest port in the southern hemisphere. It sounds pretty cringeworthy with today’s sensibilities, but it turned out to be a fantastic opportunity to learn a whole lot of communication skills which in those days didn’t come with an academic education, and to see the many different aspects of a large port and its adjacent business operations. After 18 months I decided it was time to move on and make use of my economics degree (and eventually pursue a Master of Business) but to this day I still have a fascination for ports.
Read our Q&A wth Angela here.


George Fishlock

George Fishlock, former Chair at AvSuper spent nearly 10 years in prison

I think most people know about my passions for skiing, the Melbourne Football club and marque sports cars, but not too many know I spent nearly 10 years in prison??? Not as an inmate, but as an Independent visitor whose role was to report on the conditions and environment within the Prison. Direct contact with prisoners and the staff and management was needed, and it was a humbling experience when you "got to know" the background of some of the prisoners. It is very easy to draw on an eastern suburbs, white, educated background as the norm until you realise the person who has sought your help may be illiterate, intellectually challenged, abused, drug affected or simply terrified by the prison experience. The smallest improvement in their life would be seen as trivial on the outside, but could change their world inside. It was also humbling to meet some of the people who worked within the prison in sometimes telling conditions, and the wonderful work they did and understanding they displayed.
Read our Q&A with George here.


David Holston

Former JANA Executive Director and current Statewide board member, David Holston, likes to get in touch with nature.

"Despite living most of my life in the city, I am probably a "bushie" at heart. This means that I often talk to our horses, expecting that they will understand...there is a real life skill in listening and nodding from time to time."

Read our Q&A with David here.


Karen Gould

Palisade's investment manager, Karen Gould, was a lead negotiator at the UN climate change negotiations.

"It was a privilege to represent Australia as part of a dedicated team of diplomats and policymakers. I was responsible for the negotiations on areas like emissions targets and mitigation policy, which was both interesting and challenging (and at times controversial). The job sounds glamorous – with trips to places like Cancun, Tokyo, Tianjin and Bonn – but the focus was always on the work, with negotiation sessions typically extending well beyond midnight and over weekends (decisions required consensus among the (then) 192 member countries)."

Read our Q&A with Karen here.


Bruce Watson

WorkCover Queensland's CEO, Bruce Watson, has been in an earthquake.

"My wife, three children and myself were climbing the mountains in Nepal when the 2015 earthquake hit. A very uneasy time that saw us endure 67 tremors over 4 on the Richter scale in the week before we were able to get a flight home."

Read our Q&A with Bruce here.


Joanne Warner

Former head of global resources at CFSGAM, Joanne Warner, has an artistic eye.

"Before heading to Oxford to do my PhD, I was the coordinator of a gallery for a cooperative of 20 ceramic artists for 9 months. I greatly enjoy the arts and my role was business manager. Most artists find it difficult to seek publicity and speak with clients about their own work as it’s so personal. I loved telling their stories and helping the public understand the processes that result in the final, unique piece. In a world of mass consumerism it’s wonderful to be able to use or admire work that was created with passion that connects one person to another."

Read our Q&A with Joanne here.


Anne Ward

Professional non-executive director and former chair of QANTAS Super, Anne Ward, has run a marathon

I have run a marathon. Whilst I’m exceptionally proud of that achievement, I don’t think I will run another.

Read our Q&A with Anne's here.



John Moore

Omega's senior portfolio manager, John Moore, can operate a helicopter.

"Seven years ago, I decided to go and learn to fly helicopters and get my private licence. It's something I have always wanted to do since my mid 20’s."

Read our Q&A with John here.



Alva Devoy

Fidelity's managing director, Alva Devoy, has a Doctorate of Philosophy in Molecular Engineering.

"I had the romantic notion that I was going to be the next Marie Curie. What I discovered was that when you work in research, for every question you answer, ten more appear so there is never a sense of closure or a job well done. I am very goal oriented so this was not a good fit for me. I was also doing my Ph.D. during the Gulf War, Desert Storm and the Iraqi War in the early 90s and I was hooked on the influence of the war on stock markets and finance. This is where I became particularly interested in the sociology of economics and finance. Half way through my Ph.D. I began researching a switch to finance. Research is the common thread; if you can undertake research in one discipline, you can do it in another. I was an unusual employee for a period of time, having had a hybrid career. Nowadays this is the norm and a very positive development for business in particular. By bringing that cognitive diversity into the workforce; it brings different lenses through which to approach problems and business development, an area I am particularly interested in for Fidelity."

Read our Q&A with Alva here.


Charlie Wapshott

Walsh & Company's key account manager, Charlie Wapshott, had his Masters thesis published by NATO.

"I wrote my thesis on Cognitive Bias of Military Intelligence. I started the course thinking that I would move into a Doctorate research position, however, over the following 12 months I realised that this career path was not meant for me. After speaking to my Dad, who is an Investment Manager, I completed the degree and then looked for an investment company to join, settling on a fintech business in London."

Read our Q&A with Charlie here.


Robyn Petrou

Energy Super's CEO, Robyn Petrou, has a flair for acting.

"I undertook a course at NIDA. It was for fun with my husband – still waiting for casting calls!"

Read our Q&A with Robyn here.




Jessica Ellerm

Zuper's CEO, Jessica Ellerm, has an ecclectic mix of hobbies.

"I've dabbled in fencing and I play the violin, viola and piano. Just last weekend I helped out a music camp for primary school kids. It was lots of fun and certainly different from running a superannuation company!"

Read our Q&A with Jessica here.



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