New DuluxGroup Executive believes in power of diversity
Diversity can be a huge strength. Diversity in teams - not just in terms of culture, gender, age or sexual orientation, but also in terms of thinking style and knowledge – can fuel innovation. This is the belief and experience of Angela Anthony, who was recently appointed to the position of Executive General Manager IT and Digital at DuluxGroup. She brings with her a wealth of experience in blue chip companies across diverse industries, ranging from health insurance, to banking, superannuation, retail, aviation, insurance and professional services. We caught up with Angela Anthony recently to find out more about her and what she can bring to the organisation.
In the few weeks that you have been with DuluxGroup (since 26 April) what have you discovered about the culture?
The DuluxGroup culture is amazing. I attended a leadership conference in my first week on the job and saw first hand the organisation’s phenomenal culture. At a gala evening, on one of the nights, I witnessed how people’s contribution is acknowledged and celebrated. What resonated with me is that DuluxGroup also recognized the contribution that people who were retiring made to the company. It came through strongly what people mean to the organisation. In the second week of May we had our DGTech strategy meeting. It has been like drinking from the fire hose. I’ve been given the opportunity to meet people at a high level and translate what that means to DGTech. Everyone has been very welcoming and very giving of their time. The DuluxGroup culture is very people oriented and inclusive.
How does DGTech compare to other IT divisions in large companies that you have worked at?
The last company I worked at, for five years, was Medibank. As a private health insurance provider, dealing with medical and personal information, it was a highly regulated environment. DuluxGroup, being in a different industry, doesn’t have the same level of regulation. I am still absorbing all that DGTech has to offer and how its capabilities can best be leveraged. DuluxGroup has 16 business units, as well as its European business, which DGTech supports. We need to look at delivery and architecture: how to support and enable the different business units. We need to work out how to get the best bang for buck while still working within the independence of the individual business units.
Please tell us about your work experience.
I’ve worked in blue chip companies across a range of industries, from private health insurance (Medibank) to retail (Coles), aviation (Cathay Pacific Airways), superannuation (Superpartners), Banking (ANZ), Insurance (AXA Australia) and professional services (Accenture). Over the years, I have gained extensive experience in infrastructure, digital and technology strategy development and execution. I will be able to draw on all that experience in my new role at DuluxGroup. For instance, I will be able to use the experience I gained during Medibank’s cybersecurity journey. I will also be able to employ the technology and digital implementation knowledge I gained while working in my role as Divisional (Passenger) Chief Information Officer at Cathay Pacific Airways. My cross-industry experience has taught me to think a little differently, to think strategically. While the technology doesn’t necessarily change that much across industries, the levers that make a business tick do change. One needs to understand the business’ needs and tailor the technology solution to best suit those needs. Over the years, I have honed my leadership and business partnering skills to deliver strong transformational and business performance management results. In my last senior executive role, at Medibank, I led the majority of the company’s technology arm. I was accountable for the end-to-end delivery of technology capability within Medibank, with a focus on strategic portfolio management and delivery, infrastructure services as well as service delivery.
Here is a snapshot of some of the roles I have fulfilled (in reverse chronology):
What can you bring to your new role as Executive General Manager IT and Digital at DuluxGroup?
I can bring my collaborative management style and diversity of experience in different organisations. My approach is to take time (usually the first one to two months) to listen and observe the corporate memory, history and understanding of people who have been in the organisation a long time. Once I have a clear picture, then together we can bring in new thinking, new styles, and improvements.
DuluxGroup is looking to build off an incredible base. In order to build, we also need to be open to what the rest of the world is doing. The DGTech team is great. My job is to take it to the next level. We need to partner with the different business units and better understand what they want to do. Technology has the ability to accelerate the direction you want to head in. You need to know the technology you want to utilise in order to boost your performance.
Your predecessor spoke French in addition to English. You speak Bahasa Malaysia and Tamil in addition to English. Is it a prerequisite for this position to speak another language in addition to English? :)
No but a different cultural background can provide an understanding of diversity. Diversity in a team can be a huge strength. Diversity can fuel innovation and creativity by leveraging the diverse perspectives and experiences of team members. You need diversity in order to have a good, strong team.
At one stage (mostly while you were working at Accenture), you spent seven years doing volunteer work - teaching English at an Adult Migrant Education Service. Do you have teacher training?
Yes. After doing a BSC at LaTrobe University, majoring in Chemistry and Maths, I completed a graduate diploma in Education at Monash University. I taught for a couple of years at a school.
Please tell us more about your education.
While I loved teaching, I felt that I had more to offer. At the time, Computer Science was really taking off. So, I did a postgraduate diploma in Computer Science at La Trobe University. I went on to complete a Masters in Information Systems at Monash University.
What are you good at – in a professional and personal capacity?
I’d like to think it is listening and understanding – both the business and technology. I can help organisations and business units join the dots to see what technology can do for them. I’d like to think I am a people person, able to engender the connections needed to develop and implement new and improved systems and processes.
How would people describe your management style?
Firm but fair. I am outcome focused and make no bones about that. We need to be outcome focused so we can show value. We need to ask the ‘so what?’, the ‘why?’. Why do you need to do this?
What do you value most in a team?
It is about the right combination of the ‘what’ and the ‘how’. Technology is an engineering mindset; you need smart people that understand technology and what it can do. The ‘how’ is just as important: how to effectively engage with stakeholders.
You are now based at DuluxGroup’s Clayton office. Have you always lived in Melbourne?
I went to university in Melbourne – both for my undergraduate and postgraduate studies. And I have been based here for most of my professional career. More recently, I spent four and a half years working in Hong Kong, for Cathay Pacific Airways and as an independent consultant.
Do you have a family?
Yes. I am married with three children. My eldest two are twins: a son and daughter. My youngest child is 17. She is in year 12 at the moment. My husband was born in Ireland and I was born in Malaysia (of Indian heritage).
What do you do for fun, outside of work hours?
Outside of work, I am a basketball tragic. I follow the NBA. And I volunteer on the board of the Bulleen Templestowe Basketball Club, where my children used to play. I played netball at school but I switched allegiances to basketball when my children took up the sport.