Dominique Hogan-Doran SC



Dominique Hogan-Doran is a well-regarded Senior Counsel at the independent Bar in Australia, specialising in commercial disputes resolution, regulatory investigations & enforcement, and public inquiries involving governance or integrity issues. She is also experienced in policy development, directorships, and a broad range of committees. She is interested in further pursuing her directorship career, particularly in public companies and government corporations & agencies.

What boards do you sit on?

None right now. Due to my client load with the Banking Royal Commission, I took a step back from directorships during 2018.

When and why did you decide to become a director?

I have had 3 periods of directorships. The first was at University in the early 1990s, when I was a director (and President) of the University of Sydney Union and its associated entities, including Wentworth Annexe Limited (which oversaw the construction of a significant retail complex), the staff super fund, and two child care centres. In the early 2000s, I was a non-executive director of several not-for-profit foundations and associations, including the Menzies Foundation, the National Foundation for Australian Women, and Australian Women Lawyers (as President). Recently, I spent 2 years as a director of Club Plus Super, a Public Offer industry superfund. 
I became a director because I wanted the challenge, and I like working collegially towards tangible outcomes.

What are your short and medium-term board aspirations?

I have been re-applying for boards as I finish a very busy year associated with the Banking Royal Commission (I have acted for a number of clients, including the Commonwealth Bank of Australia’s mortgage broking subsidiary Aussie Home Loans) and the RSL Inquiry (I acted for RSL LifeCare). In the medium term I aspire for an ASX listed entity in the banking and financial services sector and a large charity.

Outline your career background.

I have worked in the law since I was 19, as a paralegal at Freehills. I became a lawyer at 24, a barrister at 26, and a Senior Counsel at 45. I specialise in commercial dispute resolution, regulatory investigations and enforcement matters, and public inquiries involving governance and integrity issues. I have also worked as an academic, including with the Executive MBA at the AGSM and currently as an Adjunct Associate Professor with the UNSW Centre for Law, Markets and Regulation.

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

Undergoing the competitive interview process for the Club Plus Super board was quite confronting. I had not actually done a job interview since applying for my graduate position at Mallesons! I was relieved to see fellow WOB member, Janet Torney (Chair of Whitehelm Capital and former Qantas Super CEO), in the waiting area during the final round. I was delighted when we were both appointed.
Once on the Club Plus Board, I engaged an executive coach (Denise North) for 6 months to help me best engage with, and influence, my fellow directors and senior staff. I was quickly reminded that staff do not like to be cross-examined! That coaching process was a very beneficial exercise – for all concerned!

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

I have followed Christine Lagarde’s career with interest, since first meeting her when she was Chairman of international law firm Baker & McKenzie in the early 2000s. In my recent delegate work on the G20 Business Dialogue and the International Bar Association’s Regulation Committee I get to see her up close at some international events. She continues to impress with her breadth and depth of learning and tenacity.
I also look to other women directors for inspiration – although due to time pressures, I seem to keep abreast of much of their activity via Twitter! Women like Rebecca Davies, Sam Mostyn, Nicci Wakefield Evans, Ming Long, Diane Smith-Gander, Ann Sherry – they are great role models for diversity, and exemplify the advantages to business of more women on their boards.

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

Justice Margaret Beazley (of the NSW Court of Appeal) and Dr Annabelle Bennett (later a judge of the Federal Court, and Chair of CEW) were key mentors for me as a younger barrister, as they each had children at a time when very few women were in legal practice. Dr Bennett and her husband David Bennett QC (later Commonwealth Solicitor General) sponsored me on my return from my first maternity leave, and through the next two which closely followed. Their intervention was critical to me pursuing my career at the Bar.

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

When we joined the Club Plus Super board, Tara Moriarty (Senior Vice-President of the ALP’s NSW Branch), was the only woman to ever serve on that board. Tara and Janet alternated as Chair/Deputy Chair during my tenure. My replacement was Jingmin Quin, a NED with Abacus Property Group. ClubsNSW, which appointed all 3 of us, is to be commended for its commitment to improving diversity and strengthening the skills mix on the Board. Club Plus Super has risen to the Top 5 for investment performance since we joined.

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

I have been a member and supporter of WOB since its inception in 2004, when I first met Ruth Medd through the National Foundation for Australian Women. I found the financial analysis courses very helpful in re-focusing my attention from a forensic, backward-looking view to an operational, forward-looking perspective. I used the CV writing services and the top-up D&O Insurance. The round-table lunches with senior women in business have been particular standouts for networking and insights.

Any tips for women starting out in their career?

Consciously broaden and deepen your skills. Actively network – you never know who you might meet. Don’t presumptuously expect something from those you do meet, but always remain open to opportunities. And join me on Twitter!
Interview Published: September 2018