Carmel Macmillan

Director

MME_Macmillan_Carmel_1.jpgCarmel is the Principal of CM Strategy Consulting, a consulting firm that delivers results for organisations in the areas of corporate strategy, marketing and branding strategy.
Carmel has a 30 +years’ senior marketing and strategy career working for fast moving consumer goods corporations such as Nestle, Peters Ice Cream and Ingham Enterprises.  She also held senior executive positions with Golden Casket Lottery Corporation.
As a board Chair and non-executive director, Carmel is active in the not-for-profit and commercial sectors adding specific value to governance, strategy, marketing and fundraising discussions.  She holds director roles with Mater Foundation, MS Queensland, Lagberry Pty Ltd and Piovesan Nominees and is Chair of the Queensland Poetry Festival.  She chairs Philanthropic Relations Committee for MS QLD and is a member of Mater Foundation’s Lotteries and Community Fundraising Committee. 

What boards do you sit on?

I currently hold director roles with Mater Foundation, MS Queensland, Lagberry Pty Ltd and Piovesan Nominees and am Chair of the Queensland Poetry Festival.  I also chair the Philanthropic Relations Committee for MS QLD and am a member of Mater Foundation’s Lotteries and Community Fundraising Committee.

When and why did you decide to become a director?

I was very keen to transition from my executive career as a Marketing Director in fast moving consumer goods to a career as a non-executive director to utilise my skills and experience and add value to a range of organisations.  During my corporate career, I was already on not-for-profit school and charity boards and was often called on to present to the organisation’s board.  This provided me with exposure to some very talented directors and further developed my interest in overseeing the business from the boardroom.

What are your short and medium-term board aspirations?

In the short term, I aim to guide the not-for-profit businesses that I am involved with to an improved financial sustainability position.  I also will continue to improve on my governance skills by completing further training in this area and learning from my fellow directors and mentors.  In the medium-term, I aim for a board position with a SME organisation or government where I can utilise my 30 years of corporate experience, bringing customer insights into the boardroom.

Outline your career background.

I have 30 +years’ senior marketing and strategy experience working for fast moving consumer goods corporations such as Nestle, Peters Ice Cream, and Ingham Enterprises.  This also included senior executive positions with Golden Casket Lottery Corporation.  8 years ago, I formed CM Strategy Consulting, a consulting firm that delivers results for organisations in the areas of corporate strategy, marketing and branding strategy.
I have completed a range of qualifications in governance and fundraising including the Company Directors Course.

Touch on the challenges and hurdles that have presented themselves, either being on or getting onto a board, and how you overcame them?

It was extremely difficult to apply for roles and be knocked back continuously without an apparent reason. So, I asked for help from many sources.  Women on Board’s "Getting Started" course was brilliant and I soon appointed myself a talent coach to assist me to refine my offer and resume.  This assisted enormously in getting through to interview stage.  I read every book on how to secure a board role and every article I could find on the internet.  You need to build your governance skills and continue to build them, your confidence and your network.  You need to reach out to fellow directors and let them know that you are interested in a board role.  After 6 years of continuous effort I feel that I am well on my way.

Are there any directors/leaders you look up to? Why?

Elizabeth Jamieson is very impressive, not only for her governance knowledge but her capacity to deliver material and make it engaging.  She continues to have a very successful director career and is willing to assist others with their journey.
I would also like to thank Helen Brodie who has been my mentor for the past year.  A very astute director who has assisted me when I needed someone to turn to.

Have you had mentors and sponsors and how have they helped you in your career?

I have never engaged in a formal mentor program, although in the past year my colleague Helen Brodie has agreed to take on this role.  I realise I probably would have achieved my board aspirations faster with one.  There have been a number of successful female board directors who have assisted me enormously with networking.

What’s the diversity (gender & other) like on your boards?  

I am very fortunate that the majority of the boards I am on have significant diversity.  I strive for this with the board that I chair.

How did WOB help you in your journey to the boardroom?

The WOB courses and seminar lunches provided me with an opportunity to network and to gain skills on how to move forward with my board career.  Claire provided real inspiration and direction on which board positions I should be applying for.  I really appreciated her guidance. You feel supported at a WOB function.

Any tips for women starting out in their career?

Don’t be afraid to ask questions of those who are further ahead of you in their director careers.  I have always found women directors to be generous with their time and knowledge.  Learn as much as you can and keep learning and remember the importance of networking.  Only a small amount of board positions are advertised.