As Head of Marketing at Colonial First State, Nicole oversees brand, sponsorship, marketing, communications, content and all operational aspects of the marketing team. Nicole considers herself genuinely lucky to be in a role she loves and we thoroughly enjoyed getting to know what drives her both professionally and personally through our recent conversation as part of our Parity Picks series – showcasing leading executives differently.
We asked Nicole what she tells people she does for work when meeting them for the first time. She said that she can typically get away with saying that she does marketing in financial services – although many times people have a very old-school understanding of what marketing is! So, Nicole then explained that she usually makes it simple for others to understand by stating that she works in superannuation, helps people understand their super and hopefully choose Colonial First State in the process! As for her daughter, Mikaela’s understanding of what mum does, she says Nicole helps “very old people” have money in retirement… she’s not wrong, but we may have to talk about that framing!
Practically half full
If Nicole were to write an autobiography, she would title it Practically Half Full. As a practical thinker and doer in every aspect of life and looking on the bright side in any situation, being a resilient and resourceful person is how Nicole lives her life.
As to what Nicole would choose as a superpower if she could have any, funnily it would be to eat as much as she wants and never put on a single kilo; isn’t that the dream! On a more serious note, though, she would choose superhuman endurance because there are so many things she wants to do in life but eventually needs to slow down and rest.
As a young girl Nicole thought she wanted to be a librarian – surrounded by books of all sorts to read. That did not eventuate (which Nicole shared she is very happy about!) and instead she did a communications degree and landed a communications role with a financial services company. Shortly after, Nicole moved into a marketing role and completed her Masters of Marketing. She now loves the whole discipline of marketing, from the internal aspect – getting to collaborate with people across the business, as well as the external perspective – solving customer problems and growing the business.
If she could turn back time
As all good leaders do, Nicole took time to reflect on her past, particularly her 15-year-old self. If she could go back in time, she would tell herself to believe in herself more;
‘back yourself, go for the opportunities and know that life always works out.’
Reflecting and thinking is something that Nicole does best early in the morning. She also finds it useful to get her thoughts down on paper and then collaborate with her team be it via workshops or bringing together cross-functional teams to work through challenges or brainstorm exciting new projects.
While Nicole believes that every year of her life has had its purpose, upon reflecting back to a time in her life that she would redo, one thing she regrets is not taking the opportunity to live and work overseas.
Work and life since COVID-19
In terms of Nicole’s work-life balance, she considers herself extremely lucky to be in a role that she truly loves. Being in the office an average of three days per week allows her to stay flexible and spend much needed time with her husband and daughter. One delineator they have in place is that when Nicole is at the computer – it’s typically work time and she has ‘permission’ to be totally immersed in work. However even so, she feels very fluid in her working life, particularly with the added flexibility that has been a silver lining of COVID-19. Nicole also gave us her non-negotiables for maintaining a healthy balance of her and work and home lives:
Generally only book one social commitment each the weekend so the other day is free to allow herself time to cook (a passion of hers) and organise the family for the week.
Do Pilates three to four times a week to ensure she is keeping her body strong and healthy.
Make sure to log off from work by 8.30 at night latest so she can wind down her mind, get a good night’s sleep and wake up feeling refreshed for the day.
Now obviously we had to ask Nicole her view and thoughts on how COVID-19 has changed her perspective on work, in addition to the added flexibility. For one, she noticed how the whole situation has made her value people and human interactions more than ever before. Nicole is someone who definitely loves the energy and buzz that a full office often brings, and not having it as easily has made her appreciate it more. A positive that she noted was a general shift from being task-driven to outcome-focused. COVID-19 has allowed employees to be more autonomous, and as long as they get the finished product completed, the journey there does not matter all so much!
As this piece is just a snippet of who Nicole Mathias-Browne truly is, stay tuned for the second part of the interview - a full video interview to be released within the next month where Nicole shares more details about her life whilst showing us how to bake a family favourite cake. We better make sure our oven is clean!!
Vanessa is a Division Lead at Parity Consulting, Mother, Wife, bike rider, avid reader and volunteer at Gift of Bread. She has worked in the financial services industry for over 15 years and is known for building strong connections and relationships with both the Clients and Candidates she works for. Being responsible for matching great talent with the best companies is what she loves to do.
Parity Consulting works with clients who embrace diverse and inclusive environments and empower their teams to bring their authentic whole self to work. We encourage people with different beliefs, abilities, backgrounds and life experiences to contact us.