UNSW’s Sarah Hyland will spend a day in the top job at ANZ after winning a spot in a national competition aimed at ending Indigenous disadvantage in the workplace.

As one of 10 aspiring leaders to win the GenerationOne competition, Sarah will shadow ANZ Australia CEO Philip Chronican later this month and gain valuable insight into what it’s like to lead one of Australia’s big four banks.   

The competition invited young Indigenous Australians to write a short statement on why they think spending the day with a CEO could assist in their career path.

In her submission, Sarah wrote that she is “fascinated by how companies can be used as a vehicle for change and social good”.

“It will be incredible to gauge how much of a CEO’s personal values drive the direction and social brand of a company,” she said.

Since completing her UNSW Commerce degree this year, Sarah has been working as a Project Officer with Indigenous Accountants Australia, where she is devising strategies to address the under-representation of Indigenous Australians in the profession.

“We want to help foster meaningful careers. There are some misconceptions about the career path – that it’s boring and just about numbers. So we aim to address these issues as well as cultural barriers which might exist in any field, not just accounting,” she says.

Economic empowerment for Indigenous Australians has long been a passion for Sarah, who was the University’s first Indigenous Co-op Scholar to study in the Australian School of Business.

While she is enjoying her current position, Sarah says she looks forward to learning more about the ANZ culture and pursuing her professional accounting qualifications in the years to come. 

“Companies are large and complex structures, and in the early stages of my career, society’s idea that you need to start at the bottom and work your way up is overwhelming,” she says.

“The opportunity to spend a day with a CEO would be invaluable in helping me decide where I want to take my career as an Indigenous businesswoman.”

Media contact: Cassie Chorn, UNSW Media Office, 9385 8107, c.chorn@unsw.edu.au