Frances Borg has spent her career with Deloitte and has worked hard to help create an environment that supports and motivates its employees. With this is mind, it’s easy to see why she received the 2017 Boss of the Year award.
When you entered your Bachelor of Business, was this the career-path you envisioned yourself in?
I started at Deloitte as a cadet, straight out of school, and, to be completely honest, I really had no idea. I grew up in the country and went to a very big school in the public-school system. Whilst careers were spoken about, there wasn’t a lot of direction provided.
I was going to the careers counsellor one day and there was a brochure from Deloitte. I didn’t even know who Deloitte were. So, I picked up the brochure and thought ‘you know what, I’d like to get a job and I’d like to get a job in the city.’ I applied for this job – it was the only job I applied for – and I was lucky to get the job. At the same time, I enrolled in university. I started at Deloitte when I started my Bachelor of Business.
How has your career evolved over the years? What did your path look like?
I’ve always been one for having ‘itchy feet’. I don’t really like doing the same thing for a long time. I do like change. So, in my career at Deloitte, I’ve spent most of my time in Financial Services, but I’ve had opportunities in other industries. I would say that my role has evolved over time into one of a leadership position. Leading people and influencing and leading the practice. I’ve done a lot of travel – which is getting a broader global perspective – and I’ve worked in about five offices. I’ve worked in Sydney, Canberra, London, Birmingham, and New York. Every time you go into a new office, you’ve got to re-establish yourself. You’ve got to build new networks, prove who you are – nobody knows you – and I think that’s a really good thing to do.
Thinking back on struggles you’ve face in your career, what did becoming Boss of the Year last year mean to you?
I have never looked at the hurdles in my career as being a struggle. One of my key traits is my resilience. I think my resilience has come about because I went to a pretty rough school. It was unfortunate, but it was a part of it, as a big school. It wasn’t a private school system, where everyone was high-achieving. I had to try to stay out of trouble. I think, growing up in that environment built a lot of resilience and lifted my ability to deal with stressful situations. That’s something I do really well. Where there is a problem, I just think about how we’re going to work through.
I think the reason my team nominated me goes back to how I treat them and how I make them feel. They are a brilliant team. We’ve come together to put together a vision and strategy for our team. When you do that and you make them feel part of it, they want to achieve that. It’s about what they can achieve in their career. Once we came up with that vision and strategy together, it became about ‘what’s everybody’s role in this? What’s my purpose? Why am I coming to work every day? What’s important to me?’
How do you, as a woman in an executive level position, manage the issue of gender equality in the workplace, without bringing politics into it?
I think I’m very fortunate to be a female in a leadership position. I’ve had really good role models through my career as well. I know, every day in my role, I’m a role model to the females around me, as well the males. Leadership roles can be filled successfully by females. I don’t aim to do it the same way that a male would do it. I always look to fill a leadership role in my own way and make it my own.
I will always do my very best to provide support. I don’t go out of my way to do it. I don’t want my team to think that I’m favouring females over males, and giving the females all the opportunities. Instead I try to distribute opportunities with equity. And, hopefully, they see me as a role model and they feel they can take on these opportunities with confidence.
How valuable are EAs in what you do every day?
Heather is my EA and she’s like my left arm. It’s unbelievable – I don’t give her, or anybody, a lot of direction because, I feel, we’re working with adults, everybody knows what they need to do. If people need some help, they’ll come and ask and if people need feedback, I’ll give them feedback. Heather knows exactly what needs to be done. She knows how I’m feeling and I think that’s really important. She’ll see if I’m frazzled or that there’s a lot on and she just knows what needs to be done. She knows the little things as well. You know, she’s very honest, very trustworthy and you need those sorts of people. Sometimes you just have dilemmas you really can’t share with a lot of people and you really need a trustworthy EA to be able to talk through issues you may be facing and how to deal with them. Whilst she provides a lot of assistance around the work that I do and organising me and so forth, I think her most valuable trait is listening to me and providing some direction and coaching.
As far as employers go, what sets Deloitte apart?
I think it’s honestly the people in Deloitte. The team is an amazing team. The culture of the organisation is what sets it apart from others. That culture has been building and evolving for many, many years.
There are seven Signals we are taught to follow: We continuously grow and improve. We have fun and celebrate. We play to win. We talk straight. We empower and trust. We recruit and train the best.
I think every single person stands by these signals and I think it provides and amazing culture to work in.