Dr Monique Beedles
With over 20 years of experience as a board director, Dr Monique Beedles is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and the Author of Asset Management for Directors, published by AICD. Monique holds a PhD in Corporate Strategy and established Teak Yew, as a specialised strategy practice in 2004. Monique works with Boards, Executives and Asset Managers to unlock value from their assets through a strategic approach. Monique is a Non-Executive Director of the Asset Management Council, a Certified Asset Management Assessor and Chair of the AMPEAK International Asset Management Conference.
What boards do you sit on?
I currently sit on two boards, the Asset Management Council and the Institute of Management Consultants. These are both peak professional bodies. Over my 20 years of board experience I have been on up to 7 boards simultaneously and these have included commercial, government and not-for-profit organisations.
When and why did you decide to become a director?
When I was 25 I was approached by my then boss to nominate for the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia Queensland Branch Council. At that time it was a company incorporated by letters patent prior to federation in Australia. I enjoyed being part of making decisions that had long term impacts and from there I started to seek other board appointments.
What are your short and medium-term board aspirations?
I'm currently seeking my first listed company role.
outline your career background.
I have a PhD in Corporate Strategy and my early career was in the health care sector. In 2004 I established my consulting practice and since then I have worked predominately in asset intensive industries such as mining, rail, ports, utilities and defence. I am internationally recognised for my expertise in asset management and my most recent book, Asset Management for Directors, was published by AICD. I now do a lot of speaking and mentoring, working with companies to ensure they are making the most of their assets and delivering value for their stakeholders.
outline the challenges and hurdles that have presented themselves, either being on or getting onto a board, and how you overcame them?
Seeking my first listed board is a challenge because they usually want someone who already has listed experience. I have been short-listed for a number of roles, but I'm still working on the first one. In some cases, including my most recent appointment, I have had to go through an election process. This can be a difficult balancing act, but I have been successful in these.
Are there any directors/leaders you look up to? Why?
I look up to those who demonstrate integrity and who understand the nuances of collective decision making. I also admire those who have made a career as a director despite not being a lawyer or an accountant. I think that diversity of thinking around the board table is important for the company's success.
Have you had mentors and sponsors and how have they helped you in your career?
My first boss was an important mentor because he encouraged me to take on a board role at an early age. At that point I didn't even consider my age to be a factor. Unfortunately, 20 years later, age can still be a factor and even though I have considerable experience, in many cases I am still considered 'young' from a board perspective. There have been many others who have encouraged and supported me along the way, including those who have singled me out to take on Chairman roles. In some of these roles the CEOs were men of my father's age. The CEO-Chairman relationship is critical and in each case these individuals have had great respect for my role and for my experience without age being a factor.
What’s the diversity like on your boards?
On both of my current boards I'm the only woman. In the case of the Asset Management Council I am the first woman to be appointed to that board. They have had two female CEOs.
How did WOB help you in your journey to the boardroom?
I have been involved with WoB for about 10 years. The most important thing Ruth ever said to me was that if you want to be on boards you need to tell people that. This seems obvious, but it's not something I had really thought about prior to meeting Ruth. I was brought up to believe that you have to wait to be asked. So, this was an important lesson to learn.
Any tips for women starting out in their career?
Take responsibility for your own professional development rather than waiting for your employer to offer you opportunities. In seeking out mentors, you might need different mentors for different stages of your career and for different aspects of your work. So, don't expect one person to fill every need.
Interview published: June 2018