9 Quotes From Westpac CEO Gail Kelly That Give An Insight Into The Secrets Of Her Success

She is 56th most powerful woman in the world. She was the first female CEO of a major Australian bank in 2002, and three years later was the highest-paid woman in an Australian corporation.

As the CEO of Australia’s second-largest bank, Gail Kelly shattered the glass ceiling of corporate Australia.

Held in high regard in the local and international financial and business sectors, Kelly has balanced her work life and family life. She’s mother to four children, including triplets.

Here are some quotes from Kelly which reveal her passion for women in corporate executive roles, the importance of being positive and her passion for her work and her family.

[Update November 13th 2014 – this article originally appeared in August 2014 and is being republished on Kelly’s announcement that she’s leaving Westpac.]

On women in business

As a woman, you have to make choices with regard to your life and your career. There is no doubt it’s hard. I myself have four children, so life my life is very full. You make choices with regard to how you prioritise, and how you manage your whole life, but again, key to one’s success is loving what you do, being very happy in what you do, enjoying working with and through people and prioritising and being pretty focused on what matters. I prioritise my whole life, not just my work life. I don’t seek to compartmentalise my life and I make sure I prioritise the absolutely crucial family events, and absolutely crucial activities that surround my four children.

- Inside Business on ABC: May 2, 2004

On living life in the moment

If I’m watching my son play soccer, that’s what I’m doing. If I’m going to a school concert, that’s what I’m doing. I turn the phone off. I actively tune into whatever I’m doing. I walk every evening with one of my sons and for that half an hour, 45 minutes, that’s what I’m doing.

- Lateline Business on ABC: May 21, 2007

On how she has been able to achieve what she has

It is Allan. He is a most fantastic husband, fantastic support, clearly a professional in his own right...very generous, very hard working, great sense of humour, just a lovely person.

- The Age: July 3, 2005

On how she fits it all in

I don't sleep a whole lot - four hours a night - I'm very quick as well. I'm not talking about intellectually quick. Everything I do is quick. I'm fairly impatient. There's some element of stress in that, but you also just get things done.

I don't waste time. I move. I finish things. I don't try and do things to the ninth degree. I know what's important and what's not. I've really learned that. That's a judgement I've learned, what really matters.

- The Age: July 3, 2005

On the workplace

You should choose organisations that are going to be flexible and supportive and recognise people are going through different stages in their careers actually need different sorts of support.

- Lateline Business on ABC: May 21, 2007

On the importance of a positive attitude to life.

We’ve all seen the same situation happen to two people. One looks for the lesson, sets their shoulders back and presses on while the other asks ‘why does it always happen to me?’ You can choose not to sit on the fence. You can choose not to criticise. You must stand as guard at the door of your own mind and choose to be positive.

- Chamber of Commerce breakfast function Sept 2010

On what women should do if they wanted to rise up the ranks of corporate management

If you have chips on your shoulders you will never get there. The women in this room (senior Westpac executives) are no-nonsense, pragmatic women -- women who deliver, who go about their jobs in a pragmatic, no-nonsense way. That is the way you are going to get success.

- Speaking at a lunch marking the International Women's Day: March 7, 2010

On flexible working conditions

I am a huge believer in flexibility. If you give an individual a sense of accountability to shape their own worklife, their productivity shoots up.

- Speaking at a lunch marking the International Women's Day: March 7, 2010

On doing what you love and love what you do

When we love what we do it holds greater meaning for us. We care more. If you don’t love what you do, change it. You owe it to yourself to love your work.

- Westpac’s Ruby Connection: 2012

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