Hayley Watson, Shannon Sarow and Shannyn Hammel on behalf of Bank of Queensland

Meet Hayley Watson, Head of Enterprise Capability at Bank of Queensland Group, winner of the WiBF Award Diversity & Inclusion of the year Award and avid traveller!


Introducing Hayley Watson, Head of Enterprise Capability at Bank of Queensland Group. Hayley has the privilege of leading two amazing teams, and together they work to build a skilled workforce who deliver exceptional experiences for the customers of their diverse brands (BOQ, BOQ Specialist, ME, Virgin Money).

Hayley attended WiBF’s 2022 Award Celebrations at the Ivy Ballroom in Sydney on the 2nd of September and here is what she had to say about the event. “Sitting at a table of inspirational, friendly and successful women from the broader finance industry was fabulous. I’ve only been in banking and finance for three years, so hearing about their careers was eye-opening to the broader financial services industry,” she said. When asked how it felt to win a 2022 WiBF Award, Hayley said that it has given her “the confidence to continue practising human centered design when developing programmes, and to coach and develop others to do the same.”

When it comes to her own career journey, Hayley shared the following advice. “My expertise is not so much a specific field but more so ways of thinking that act as strengths across a few domains. Two of these are systems thinking and human centered designed. By applying the frameworks and practices of these, you can quickly get to the root cause of an opportunity and bring people on the journey of solving it holistically (very rarely does a learning module alone cut it!).” Hayley adds that she “encourages everyone to do some learning on these topics and then have a go at using the practices and frameworks to solve a business problem. It might seem slow to start with, but the outcomes are far more likely to stick.”

As a 2022 WiBF Award winner we asked Hayley to share her tips on how to get recognised within the workplace and gain recognition. Hayley shared the following. “Firstly, pay the recognition forward by celebrating the people who have helped you deliver or develop, even in the smallest way! Secondly, always seek and be open to feedback, and work on your reaction to it so you can continue to get more. Lastly, be vulnerable and share with others what you’re working on developing. As a leader doing this with your team makes it safe for them to do the same. With colleagues, it will open more doors than it closes as you might just find people want to help,” she said.

Besides Hayley’s impressive career journey, she shares that she was born in Scotland and moved to Australia when she was 6 and notes that there is “no accent left sadly!”. She is an avid traveller and lover of watching electrical storms in the distance from an airplane window. The keyword there being ‘distance!’. You might be surprised to learn that she has an irrational fear of being swooped by magpies, a fear most likely shared by many Australians! If you have been experienced the swoop before, you will know the fear!

With a 2022 WiBF award in hand, Hayley leaves us with the following words. “If it doesn’t feel right, share that and ask curious questions. The answer might not change, but you show respect for yourself when speaking up!” Watch Hayley Watson’s acceptance speech – here.

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Anastasia Cammaroto, National Australia Bank
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Nancy Tchou, Morgan Stanley
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Paula Nassif, King & Wood Mallesons
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Jorden Lam, HESTA Super
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