Claire Alexander

Director

Senior manager with expertise in strategic financial management and over 20 years’ experience in
both the public and private sectors, including local councils and the water industry and earlier experience in tourism.




 

What boards do you sit on?

I am currently a board member of the Southwest Hospital and Health Service (SWHHS). Established on 1 July 2012, the SWHHS is an independent statutory body overseen by a local Hospital and Health Board pursuant to the Hospital and Health Boards Act 2011 (Qld).

On this Board, I serve as Chair of the Finance Committee and as a Member of the Audit and Risk Committee.

When and why did you decide to become a director?

As a qualified Certified Practicing Accountant, I provide financial and accounting services to various local governments in the Southwest of Queensland. I love the opportunity to be able to travel in this region and assist these local governments to best meet the needs of their constituents. I decided to become a board member to challenge myself, grow in my leadership and strategic skills, apply my knowledge to continue to contribute to the region, and to continue learning.

My first appointment to the board was in May 2015 for a period of one year. I reapplied and was appointed for a further three years in May 2016, and then reappointed for the second time in May 2019 for a period of two years.

Through this role, I am given the opportunity to meet community members of the local governments that I serve, which is rewarding and motivating.  

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

A major and continuing challenge for me is conflicting deadlines. Between my daily work and serving on the Board, I find I have to be focused and prioritise my work. Through effective time management, I am able to juggle time in between my responsibility as board member, committee member and chair, and a consultant. Plus, I enjoy time relaxing and walking, for good health!

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

While I have had no specific mentor in this board role (my experience in finance and accounting have helped me carry out my duties as Chair of the Finance Committee and member of the Audit and Risk Committee), I have had mentors and supporters of my career for many years now. My role as Finance Manager at Noosa Council and Acting Financial Controller at SeqWater and my bosses in these organisations were very supportive even until now. In addition, local government members of Councils that I served helped me excel in what I do to their respective councils.

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

I have been a member of Women on Boards for about 5 years now. By reading and learning about some of the achievements by women in board roles, this has encouraged me to keep going and to advance the position of women on boards across the country. The more women we have on boards, the more chance we have that our decision and actions are inclusive, representative and equal for all people.

Any tips for women starting out in their career?

I have come a long way from my hometown in the Philippines. I studied and worked hard there, and when I arrived in Australia I did the same. My advice is to not be afraid to approach challenges and take risks in unfamiliar environments. Being a working woman is difficult: it takes dedication, perseverance and time. But if you follow your interests and passions and are patient, you can achieve goals more than you can imagine.

As for me, once I entered a door, another opportunity knocked. As a migrant to this country, as well as a mature student and a mother of twins, none of this discouraged me from achieving what I’ve become in this land of opportunities.