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Taking charge of your career

Meet Jo-Anne Tee, who first joined UNSW in 2003 as Finance Officer for the Faculty of Medicine. 

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What is your role within the University?

I currently have two roles, one as Finance Manager in the Strategy Office and as of January 2017, I have been appointed Director of Research Finance.

Research Finance is my passion. I see it as a critical component to the success of the research in the University. One of my biggest desires for my new role is to fully articulate the real cost of research for the University. 


How has your career progressed within the University?

Over the last 13 years I’ve gone from a junior staff member to director level. I started at UNSW in 2003 in the Faculty of Medicine as a Finance Officer progressing to Finance Manager 2007. I then moved to  Decision Support and Financial Planning (DSFP) as Budget Manager and later as an Associate Director.

In 2012 I took a secondment back to the Faculty of Medicine and was offered the General Manager position for the Faculty a year later.  In 2016, having been at the University for 13 years, I decided to take on a role outside the University with KPMG. I was asked to return to  Finance late last year to help with the UNSW’s 2025 strategy to oversee the $3b expenditure required to achieve the University’s vision/mission. 


How did working in Finance help you career?

The people in Finance were  very supportive and behind me every step of the way. 

I had leaders and managers to whom I could speak with openly and who were open to suggestions.  I also had people I could speak with in confidence to about any career goals.

I think the managers and directors are really interested in their staff and staff development .They are willing to work collaboratively and are open to constructive feedback.


What did you do to contribute to your own success?

I have always been transparent and communicative, I think those are key things. 

Networking, maintaining relationships and the ability to work at different levels is also important. When you can work across multiple levels you learn so much from everyone else. If you have a wide network you can get other opinions and informed understandings. I never approach anything thinking that I have all the answers.

I also keep looking for ways to make things better or to make things more transparent.


What advice would you give to current and future Finance staff?

I’d say speak up, don’t ever be afraid to speak up, to suggest something new or provide constructive feedback. Speak to your manager if you are interested in a long term career and work closely with them to figure out what your career might be.