We caught up with Merran Kelsall, Non-executive Director, VicSuper, RACV Limited to learn more about her presentation at the upcoming Women in Tax Lunch: Empowering Our Financial Future.

Growing up in country Victoria, Merran boasts a remarkable career spanning some decades and has been appointed to many prominent boards, including; VicSuper, RACV Limited, Melbourne Water and Deputy President of CPA Australia.

Reflecting on her country upbringing, Merran was not like other girls, bucking the trend of ‘marrying well’ and rather choosing to further her studies and go to university.

Merran attributes this to her parents, who instilled in her that a superior education would help establish her future – and they weren’t wrong. Merran has extensive expertise in finance, audit, risk and compliance.

Working in public practice for 20 years, comprising of 10 years as a Partner of Business Services at BDO Melbourne. She is also a former Chairman and CEO of the Australian Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (AUASB).

Reflecting on her up-bringing, Merran admits “it’s a long way from the farm to the boardroom in New York.”

Looking back over her professional life, Merran admits it was a long journey to be a woman at the top of her game and acknowledges she was often sidelined simply because she was a female.

With a lack of maternity leave, Merran had to take annual or unpaid leave to have her children and part-time work was not a viable option if you were “serious” about your career.

Merran reflected that while maternity leave is now the ‘norm’, there are still career barriers to women who choose to work part-time after having their children.

When asked what it takes to be a great leader, Merran attributed it to three qualities, “Authenticity, persistence and humility.”

As for advice for aspiring leaders?

Merran encourages future leaders to “seek to understand yourself, play to your strengths then seek to understand others.”

Hear more from Merran and co-presenter Vicki Macdermid, Partner/Executive Director, Private Business and Family Advisory, Pitcher Partners, as they share their experiences and powerful life lessons at the Women In Tax event on Tuesday, 30 April 2019.

Due to popular demand, a limited amount of additional tickets have been released. Don’t miss out, register now!

The Tax Institute is dedicated to supporting the career progression of women in the tax, accounting and legal professions. As the leading forum for Australia’s tax community, we are committed to representing our 12,000 members and the continuous improvement of the tax system. Find out more about the benefits membership of The Tax Institute can deliver for your role.