To celebrate International Women's Day on March 8th, this week we will be bringing you a series of guest blogs from leading senior females in Leadership. They will be discussing their success, career defining moments and what advice they would give to another female looking to pursue a similar career. This is what Anna Matysek, had to say.
Anna Matysek, an experienced economist and consultant, is currently a Council Member of the Australian Institute of Marine Science, a position she has held since June 2017.
Ms Matysek’s proficiency in strategy, business development, and policy advice in the resources, energy and infrastructure sectors stems from almost two decades in both the public and private sectors. She has worked with global mining companies, utilities, industry associations, agribusinesses, and government agencies including holding an Executive position at TransGrid and positions in senior management at Rio Tinto, in economics consulting firms, at the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and the Productivity Commission.
Prior to joining TransGrid as Executive Manager Strategy and Stakeholders, Ms Matysek was General Manager for Business Development and General Manager for Corporate Strategy at Rio Tinto for five years. These roles involved development of business strategy, performance improvement, M&A, and customer and stakeholder engagement.
During her time at ABARE, Ms Matysek was a Lead author on the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fourth Assessment Report, and on the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development.
Ms Matysek was awarded a Master of Environment at the University of Melbourne in 2006, and a Bachelor of Economics (First class honours) at the University of Tasmania in 1999.
What factors do you think have been critical to the success you have achieved in your career?
My training as an economist has helped instill a structured evidence-based approach to solving problems. I have worked with some phenomenal people across many different disciplines who have also taught me a lot, not least a deep appreciation for the value of cross-disciplinary collaboration and diversity. I've been lucky to have a few brilliant mentors throughout my career who have been generous with their time and wisdom. Definitely good fortune has played a part - being in the right place at the right time and being willing to take on opportunities that have stretched me beyond my comfort zone.
What initiatives have you experienced within an organisation that you believe have helped you?
Leadership programs designed to build internal talent have diversified my capabilities in technical, interpersonal and leadership skills and helped me along learning curves when switching industries and moving between the public sector, consulting and private sector roles. The use of personal development goals and genuine 360 degree feedback from colleagues are fabulous tools for shining a light on opportunities for improvement. If you’re not continually growing, you’re stagnating, and in today’s competitive workforce that’s akin to going backwards!
Can you highlight any career defining moments?
My passion for resource economics led me into the public service and I received a wonderful grounding as a junior economist at the Productivity Commission.
As part of international multidisciplinary teams working on UN reports including the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change assessment, I was exposed to some of the world’s best researchers in their fields which not only taught me a huge amount, but gave a lot of exposure to scientific rigour and debate, and deepened my understanding of the politics underlying the climate issue.
At Rio Tinto as part of the team responsible for defending against BHPB’s hostile takeover attempt, I was thrown head first into an extremely fast paced M&A environment which was both challenging and rewarding as it expanded my skill sets and took me on a massive learning curve. A stand out was that it also provided one of the best team experiences of my career - there’s nothing like having a crystal clear objective around which an entire global business is focused to drive highly motivated collaborative effort.
Taking up an Executive role in a new industry just after the birth of my second child at a time of immense opportunity for the business as well as transformative change and public scrutiny for the energy sector generated a new set of challenges - I’m sure many working mums would at times like to have a clone!
Joining the Board of the Australian Institute of Marine Science has given me insight into a completely different field of endeavour and exposure to extremely passionate and driven people. It’s really exciting to be a part of an organisation devoted to improving the resilience of one of Australia’s greatest natural assets (The Great Barrier Reef) for the benefit of future generations.
What advice would you share with females on how to progress their careers within Leadership?
I wouldn't expect there is any conventional route. Follow your passion because it naturally leads to curiosity about the fundamental drivers of the world in which you operate. Being strategic requires thinking both bottom up and top down - you won’t get the helicopter thinking right without the industry knowledge. Strategy is a collaborative game; listen carefully and consult broadly to utilise a wide spectrum of information from different sources. Implementation is the biggest challenge so bringing your organisation on the journey with you will help in motivating the translation of vision into reality.