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Jan 29, 2021

It’s not often you get the chance to hear directly from Australia’s first female airline CEO, OAM and full-time Non-Executive Director, the admirable Andrea Staines. This week Claire Braund digs deep with Andrea on matters of living abroad, solo parenting, becoming NED at age 41 and why it’s crucial to understand your transferable skills.

Unlike many of her peers from country Queensland, Andrea, Australia’s first female airline CEO, OAM and full-time Non-Executive Director (NED), was fortunate to have the undivided support of her loving parents who encouraged her to be brave and to set her sights high. At age seven, she knew she would go to university and likely study medicine and become a GP for her local community. However, when she was awarded an all expenses paid for scholarship to complete her high school education in Singapore, her whole outlook on life changed. She took to international life like a duck out of water and has since worked and studied in the US, Asia and Australia.

She has been a Director in the listed, private, government, social enterprise and foundation spaces, and for the past decade, has been a full-time Non-Executive Director for a range of Australian and New Zealand entities in transport, infrastructure and retail service arenas.

Andrea worked in financial roles with American Airlines at their Dallas headquarters in the early 1990s before returning to Australia with her two young children to join Qantas. At age 38, Andrea became Australia's first female airline CEO for Australian Airlines (mk II), a Qantas subsidiary flying between Asia and Australia, which she co-launched.

At age 41, Andrea left her C-Suite career to establish herself as a Director; a decision she made to support her home life. But securing her first board role didn’t come without struggle and hustle, despite her impressive CV.

It was a further four years before Andrea scored an ASX listed position. It was her ability to step back and look at her career and skillset that gave her the insight she needed to propel her NED career.

Today, Andrea is highly sought after by companies planning significant transformation. She is the NED of Acumentis (ASX), SeaLink (ASX) and UnitingCare Queensland, and the Deputy Chair for Australia Post.

In 2010, Andrea was invited to join Australia's Chief Executive Women, and in 2019, she was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for her efforts as a role model and mentor for women. 

Hear from Andrea on why it's important to have two career themes as a NED in Australia, how to recognise your transferable skills and her reminder to be brave every step of the way.

Andrea Staines' roles at time of broadcast:

  • Deputy Chair for Australia Post
  • NED Acumentis (ASX)
  • NED SeaLink (ASX)
  • NED UnitingCare Queensland

Andrea Staines
Claire Braund (host)

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