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Jul 19, 2021

This week Claire talks to Suzie Riddell, the CEO of Social Ventures Australia (SVA).

Leading from the heart, Suzie Riddell is a unique combination of social and self-awareness and intelligence.

Graduating from accounting with the University Medal, Suzie talks to Claire about why she decided not to pursue a career in accounting, how she took a graduate role with Bain & Co when she didn’t really know what a consultant was, and how she boldly asked them to defer her starting date by a year, TWICE.

Suzie talks candidly about her self professed failed volunteer work in Guatemala, where she taught primary girls English, and reveals why she thinks her work with the girls had a negative impact on them.  Further down the track though, this experience inextricably shaped her life and guided her future approach to making an impact.

After finally starting her role at Bain & Co, she found it to be a surprisingly wonderful experience. With itchy feet after four years, Suzie started a role at SVA, where she planned to stay for two years.  Ten years on she’s still there, now as CEO.

Appointed to her first board at the YWCA NSW at age 27 and her second, Holdsworth Community, at age 28, Suzie says “I can confidently say that I would not have been selected as the CEO for SVA had not been for my board experience….from which I understood more, in my bones, about the complexities of running an organisation”.

She regales the importance of starting your board career early and backing yourself (she had the confidence to nominate herself and proactively seek her boss' nomination for the AFR Boss award 2017). 

She says that apart from helping her to truly understand the complexities of running an organisation, being on boards has provided her with invaluable access to a wonderful network of women and mentors whom she would not have met in her career roles.

This podcast is a must listen for anyone associated with the NFP space (Suzie explains their challenges so well); young and aspiring board directors; and anyone looking to understand what SVA does and why.

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Suzie Riddell | Claire Braund (host)

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