Natalie has always been one to embrace change; her open-mindedness and positivity have seen her take leaps and bounds in her career.
“Mum, have you got a new job? I knew it, I can read your mind! I heard you and Dad talking about Project Peso. I knew it!”
Natalie laughs as she recalls her daughter Stephanie’s words upon telling her they were moving. Natalie had recently confirmed with Vocus that she and her family would relocate, so she could continue her role of Country Manager on the ground in the Philippines.
“It’s so funny isn’t it? My husband Lachlan and I thought we were being so sneaky talking in code, but she picks up on everything! We told Steph two weeks ago and she just squealed with excitement. Lachlan was really looking forward to it too - he had a similar opportunity early in his career and didn’t take it, so for him, it’s a bit of an unrealised dream. That’s why we were so quick to say yes!”
“The way I see it, change is constant. It’s not always easy, but it’s about how you choose to respond. I am an unashamedly optimistic person by nature. I always think ‘what’s the worst that could possibly happen?’ Having that attitude affords opportunity.”
Natalie has a natural leaning towards change and loves a challenge. So you’d be forgiven for thinking she’s always worked in fast-paced organisations like Vocus. In reality, she spent the lion’s share of her career in the corporate sector and Federal Government.
“I worked in Government for ten years and had reached a point where I thought, ‘I’m either going to remain a public servant for life or jump back into the corporate sector’. So, I started with a larger telco, which felt like a natural extension from Government.”
“Unfortunately, my expectations of what it was going to be like didn’t measure up. It was steeped in a huge amount of bureaucracy, which is what I was trying to move away from. Due to the sheer size and hierarchy, I couldn’t be as impactful as I’d hoped. While I did learn so much, and it was a great way of transitioning from Government, it wasn’t an organisation where I felt I could thrive.
Natalie says it took some time to figure out what she needed to thrive in a workplace.
“You become a product of who you work with and who you work for. It took me 18 months to figure out where I was going to be the best version of myself. I needed to feel empowered in an environment that was less hierarchical. Somewhere that was still evolving. Somewhere you’re appreciated for who you are and what you contribute. Somewhere that values diversity.”
Little did she know, that job was just around the corner.
Natalie joined Vocus in 2017 as an Operations Manager for Commander and immediately felt a fit.
“There’s no end to the opportunities at Vocus. It’s a business that rewards contribution and commitment and is prepared to work with each individual to realise their potential beyond what they’re doing right now.”
“Jobs here aren’t confined to position description - they’re really broad. We don’t have a cast of thousands at Vocus, which means we roll up our sleeves and get stuck into whatever needs doing. There’s no concept of ‘that’s not my job’. This means people develop broad, varied skill sets.”
Natalie is a strong believer that culture is created by people, and never has that been more apparent to her than at Vocus.
“We respect the whole person, and that results in highly engaged people. We don’t have a dress policy. So far, no one’s turned up naked! Honestly, that stuff doesn’t matter. Who cares? We care about providing an environment where people can thrive. Everyone is different; there’s not a one size fits all.”
“If someone needs to work flexibly due to their personal circumstances, we’re not about to judge them. They need space to deal with that. We’re not robots. We’re not rigid. Everyone has a life outside this organisation and we respect that. This mentality makes Vocus unique and that’s why I love it.”
Reflecting on a whirlwind two years with Vocus, Natalie takes a moment to consider how far she’s come and what the future holds.
“My goodness, it’s been an interesting couple of years. I’m very grateful and beyond excited for this opportunity to move to the Philippines. I never thought this would happen. It’s ground-breaking for Vocus; it’s the first time the organisation has done this. I’ll pave the way and hopefully others will follow. Someone’s got to be the first!”
Having experienced the beauty and power of diversity and first-hand with Vocus, Natalie is confident the next chapter will be just as fulfilling for her and her family.
“Steph is six, so it really was the perfect time for us to take this step. I want my daughter to have a global outlook - to be really resilient and experience diversity. Moving to the Philippines, she’ll be exposed to a melting pot of cultures, and realise all the world has to offer. It’ll absolutely shape her.”