Margot Faraci leads CommBank’s Regional and Agribusiness Banking division in NSW, believes women have always been disruptors, innovators and powerful economic contributors.

Margot Faraci leads CommBank’s Regional and Agribusiness Banking division in NSW, believes women have always been disruptors, innovators and powerful economic contributors.

Regional women and rockets to the moon

Regional women and rockets to the moon

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Sponsored: The woman at the head of CommBank’s Regional and Agribusiness Banking division in NSW, says women have always been at the heart of regional economic success.

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Article sponsored by Commonwealth Bank of Australia

What do you say if your daughter tells you she wants to fly to the moon? Margot Faraci says her mum would have told her she’d help her find a rocket.

Margot didn’t end up on the moon.

She ended up leading CommBank’s Regional and Agribusiness Banking division in NSW, and she thinks there’s a lot of opportunity for women to fuel regional prosperity, by taking risks, seizing opportunities and recognising that every option is there if you want to take it.

Margot grew up in Victoria’s Swan Hill region where her family ran a business.

“My mother was a huge force and she would never have imagined putting any limitations on me,” says Margot, who has a firm and passionate belief that women are disruptors, innovators and powerful economic contributors – and always have been.

“Women used to power the economy through the private sphere, by raising families and making it possible for men to work, and that matriarchal role should not be underestimated.

“More recently there has been a model in a lot of regional businesses where the husband was the tradesperson or the professional and the wife ran the office, and actually that’s still a highly successful model for a lot of businesses.

What we see now, though, is women being the professional or the tradesperson and pursuing that course that they love. That’s the biggest change in one generation.

“The point though is that women have always been at the heart of regional economic success: it’s just that now we get paid for it.”

Everyone’s different – and the same

Helping customers achieve business success is what really ignites Margot’s passion. Ensuring both men and women can succeed just makes sense to her.

“What drives me and has always driven me is the opportunity to help create good businesses.

“I grew up in a business that made a big difference in the region we were in.

“Being in business is partly about providing jobs and contributing to the economy but it’s also about letting others think well, if they can do it, maybe I can.”

While Margot agrees that individuals make different contributions in business, she rejects out of hand the idea that women and men are inherently different.

“I’ve led probably a thousand men over the years and what I can say is we are all humans with the same vulnerabilities.

“Men are not automatically more self-confident. Women are not always more nurturing.

“The full range of humanity is within each of us, it just comes out in different ways. We’ve seen men and women pushed into roles through a lack of choice.

“My grandma was always going to be a stay at home mum.

“My grandpa was always going to be the provider. Who knows if that’s what they wanted? No one asked.

“Today we all have economic power and we can choose to exert it or not.”

Harnessing talent

Ensuring women can access the opportunities available to them is a job for everyone, Margot says, particularly in regional Australia where women are less likely to be in the workforce than they are in metro areas. She says the key lies in taking innovative approaches to recruitment, to ensure great talent can be unearthed.

“In my own role, it’s about very deliberately casting the net wide when I’m looking for talent because women haven’t always had the same professional experiences as men.

“For example, I’ve just recently put on an excellent regional leader with exceptional skills and she is doing very well. And she’s not a banker. If we hadn’t thought laterally, if we hadn’t cast the net wide, we would never have found her.”

For women to recognise the options open to them, Margot says it’s vital to keep telling stories and keep living a life of choices.

“I always say ‘if you can’t see it, you can’t be it’.

“We all need role models. When my kids were little – two under two – and my husband and I were both working full time, my friends would ask why I did it, and I always said it’s because the best thing I can do to change the world is to keep going.”

As we celebrated International Women’s Day in March, listen here to Margot talk more about how women are fuelling the prosperity of regional Australia.

Women in business and work in regional Australia

  • Across Australia, the workforce participation rate for women is 59.2 per cent. In rural and regional Australia, it’s 56.5 per cent.  Read more
  • Just over a third of Australia’s business operators are women (34 per cent). Read more
  • In 2011, one in six start ups were launched by women. By 2014 it was one in four. Read more

Article sponsored by Commonwealth Bank of Australia

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