Where are they now A

Past Students
Where are they now?

Amanda lacaze_web

Amanda Lacaze ('76) - Malaysia

Q. What you are currently doing?
I am the CEO and MD of ASX listed Lynas Corporation, a company that mines and refines rare earth materials. Rare earths are valuable because they are important to new technologies like wind turbines and electric or hybrid-vehicles. Our mine is in WA and our refining facility is in Kuantan Malaysia. I live in Kuantan, but I travel extensively, particularly back to Australia. My job is complex and challenging and over the past two years our team has turned the company around including improving operating performance, financial management and staff performance. I am also a Non Executive Director on the Boards of ING Bank Australia and McPherson’s Ltd.

Q. Tell us about your journey from St Margaret's to now.
Straight after school I completed a BA at UQ. Not quite sure what to do next, I started working in sales and then moved to marketing. My early marketing life was at Nestle, during which time I completed a postgraduate Diploma in Marketing from the Australian Graduate School of Management (UNSW).
I worked in marketing in a variety of industries, ultimately as Managing Director of Marketing at Telstra. I worked at Telstra through the 90s – a period of huge change. We introduced mobile phones and the internet to Australians; the industry was deregulated and Telstra was privatized. It was a great time!
After leaving Telstra I was CEO of AOL|7, then Executive Chairman of Orion Telecommunications, CEO of Commander Communications and now CEO of Lynas. These companies all had serious challenges when I joined and my job has been to turn them around. I seem to have created a reputation for turnarounds, and, whilst it can be very satisfying to see positive change and improved results the path is always very difficult. 
From the early 90s I have also held various non-executive roles on government, public and private company boards.

Q. Can you reflect a little on your St Margaret's experience? 

I loved school and I learned lessons at St Margaret’s that I use every day. 
At St Margaret’s I learned the skills required to achieve the academic excellence which was so highly valued. The foundations of this excellence included approaching challenges with an open mind, gathering information from a variety of sources, critically analyzing this information, forming my own view and then presenting it in a carefully considered argument: all this whilst paying attention to detail in areas that are rather less fashionable these days like grammar, spelling and process. These are the same skills that are required to be successful in business. Creating successful business strategies is founded on diligent preparation and the ability to synthesize information from multiple sources. Executing business strategies successfully requires a disciplined approach and attention to detail at all stages.
At St Margaret’s, I learned the value of engagement and empathy from my teachers. They spent time with each of us individually and ensured we appreciated the lessons from each experience. The ability to engage with my staff and other stakeholders is a key part of my success in business.
At St Margaret’s I learned the value of teamwork and friendship and of ensuring you contributed to the team to the best of your ability – I learnt I could generate a lot more house points in debating than I could in athletics!
But finally, St Margaret’s is, at its core, a feminist institution. It is devoted to assisting girls to achieve their best, to preparing young women so they are able to address the world with confidence unencumbered by notions of gender. And this is the most important element of my experience at St Margaret’s. I left St Margaret’s confident I could do anything I chose if I applied myself diligently to the task. Of course I have since discovered there are always trade-offs in life, but the early lessons I learnt at school are as relevant and alive to me today as they were then.
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Robyn Wilson web

Dr Robyn Wilson (’77) - Singapore

Q. What you are currently doing? 
I've lived in Singapore since 1996. I have a business here called Praxis Management Consulting Pty Ltd, and I specialise in working with the leaders who are working on their businesses. Basically, I work in the area of leadership, senior teams and facilitated strategy working specifically with “leaders in Asia”. This takes me across most of Asia, and my clients include multi-nationals and Asian corporations. I also have a strong interest in supporting founders/entrepreneurs as well as social enterprises. I've recently started investing in women-led agriculture-related initiatives in developing countries, and am spear-heading the development of a leadership program for working women in Nepal (under 35). 

Q. Tell us about your journey from St Margaret's to now.
I had studied a BSc (in Mathematics, UQ) after leaving school, and it took me a while to get going in my career, doing various jobs (and a bit of travel). I had just started a GradDip in Computing (Curtin), when I managed to get a computing job at The University of Western Australia. It was when micro-computing and the internet came into being, changing the IT landscape forever. Being in the middle of that was wonderful, and my career basically took off at this stage. I worked myself up the organisation, learning much about leadership on the way. During this time, I also studied a PostGradDip in IT and did a Masters of Engineering (in Intelligent Information Processing) at UWA.

At this stage, two successive VCs encouraged me to get a PhD.  This took me to Singapore, and after a few years, I resigned my tenured position and decided to stay there. Post PhD, I set up my current business on the small, unique opportunity. The rest is history.

Q. Can you reflect a little on your St Margaret's experience? 
I spent 11 years at St Margaret’s.  I remember having a very full experience at school that included not only the fundamental subjects (I studied maths and the sciences in Years 11 and 12), but much sport, music and art!  I still swim, rattle off the school and house war cries, can put a shot, play “Oh Joyful Light” on the piano, and sing “Silent Night” in German and know all the lyrics in HMS Pinafore! There were years that were difficult too. I still remember fondly many teachers who I know watched over me.  It was a stable environment, and one in which young women could participate in everything as well as leadership.

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Julia Whiting web

Julia Whiting ('01) - Hong Kong 

Q. What I you currently doing?
I live in Hong Kong where I work as the Regional Advertising Director – APAC for The New York Times. In my role, I lead the sales strategy for Asia for the Times and manage the advertising team in the region. My team is responsible for generating revenue from advertising and content sales in order to support the Times’s print and digital consumer products. I work in media and specifically at The New York Times in order to promote the publication of quality content so that people around the world have access to great ideas, stories and information. 

Q. Tell us about your journey from St Margaret's to now.
After graduating, I had no idea what I wanted to do vocationally so I began a Bachelor of Arts at UQ in order, as my dad put it, ‘to learn how to think’. I undertook the last year of my degree in Paris within an exchange program at La Sorbonne. I then moved to London where I found my first real job within the finance industry. I had a ball working in London for four years, but I knew deep down that numbers were not my passion so I moved to Melbourne where I began my career in publishing, initially within book publishing and now within newspaper/online publishing.

Q. Can you reflect a little on your St Margaret's experience? 
My experience at St Margaret’s means a lot to me for two main reasons: the amazing friends that I made and appreciation for learning that I gained. Some of the most special and memorable experiences of my life were at St Margaret’s with the girls in my year. I feel incredibly lucky that my best friends today are the girls that I met in Grade 8 at St Margaret’s. Further, the school is founded on a deep respect for learning and for ‘striving upwards’ and these qualities have superseded all of the choices and steps that I have made since leaving my school days behind.

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Taryn Pieterse ('07) - London

Q. What you are currently doing? 
For the past year, I have been living and working in London. I work as a Financial Associate in the Investment Banking Division for Goldman Sachs. Specifically, I work with consumer, retail and healthcare companies and assist in providing strategic advice and assist with mergers and acquisitions. I've also had the opportunity to travel and experience European culture.  

 Q. Tell us a little bit about your journey from St Margaret's to now  
After graduating from St Margaret’s I undertook a dual degree of Bachelor of Commerce and Science at the University of Queensland. During my studies I worked as a tutor at the university. In my penultimate year I completed an internship in the Investment Banking Division of Goldman Sachs in Sydney and accepted a full-time role with the firm following my graduation. After two and a half years working in the Sydney office I was fortunate enough to transfer to London where I have spent the last year.  


Q. Can you reflect a little on your St Margaret's experience? 
St Margaret's provided me with a caring environment and the opportunity to achieve my academic goals as well as participate in numerous extra curricular activities. Today St Margaret's represents a wonderful community wherever you are in the world and has given me an incredible group of friends who I will admire and cherish forever. 

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Maddie edmunds_web

Maddie Edmunds ('09) - Canberra

Q. What are you currently doing?
Since finishing school, I have been travelling around the world and Australia pursuing my dream of rowing at the Olympics. This year I was privileged enough to be a member of the Australian Olympic team, when I was selected in the Women’s Quad. It hasn’t been any easy journey. I have had to overcome many injuries and I have had to make sacrifices in other areas of my life. One thing I have had to sacrifice is the speed of which I am completing my Bachelor of Business at Griffith University, but with great support from my university I am getting there slowly. I have been lucky enough to be working for Sealy Australia for the past four years; having an employer who is willing to support elite athletes and all the travel that comes with them is hard to find. Looking to the future, I hope to be going to the Tokyo Games in 2020, completing finish my degree with honours (even if it takes forever).

Q. Tell us a little bit about your journey from St Margaret's to now.
St Margaret’s was the starting place for me realising my Olympic rowing dream. I played netball and swam at St Margaret’s to start with, but quickly realised that rowing was going to take over my love for netball. With many past students such as Sally Kehoe and three Brown sisters representing Australia, I made it my goal to try and do that. St Margaret’s was always so supportive in allowing me to follow my sporting dream. This supportive attitude resulted in me making my first under age team when I was in Year 11. 

Q. Can you reflect a little on your St Margaret's experience? 
When I reflect on my time at St Margaret’s, I remember all my teachers, classmates, coaches and crew mates and the unwavering support they always showed me. This is the sort of spirit that is instilled within St Margaret’s girls. For that reason I love being involved in the rowing community or greater school community whenever I can. This is the least I can do to give back to a school that has given me so many opportunities within my sport and my academic life.

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