Meet Marianne Roux, our Woman In Focus…

What is your current role?

I have a portfolio life – I have two roles. One is as a Professor or Practice in Executive Education at Monash Business School and the other is as Head of Consulting for Cirrus in Asia Pacific. The two organisations work closely together to bring world class Leadership and Talent solutions to the region. I also hold two Not for Profit Board Director roles at the Edmund Rice Foundation of Australia (ERFA) and YGAP.

These roles are critical for me to “give back” as ERFA runs schools in Africa and the Pacific and YGAP develops entrepreneurs in Africa, Australia and Bangladesh. Finally, I founded the Coalition of Female Social Entrepreneurs in order so support Immigrant women that are starting social enterprises.

How did you get started in your career?

Education is critical and continuous sharpening of your skills and relationships – I started with a Masters in Organisational Psychology and as a management consultant. The qualification gave me a sound behavioural understanding of individuals, teams and organisations and the management consulting roles gave me great skills in business development, project management, team work and various methodologies. It also gave me early exposure to various industries and international work.

What is your career story?

It is not a neat story at all – I took opportunities and challenged myself every step of the way – I wanted breadth and depth and followed my passions and interests. I started in consulting, then as Head of Change and HR, then as a Business School lecturer and running my own consulting firm and then back to consulting, an HR Head role and now again as Professor in a Business School and Head of Consulting for a global firm.

Who are the people that have influenced your career so far?

There are so many. In terms of developing my purpose and passions for leadership development it was Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu showing me what incredible leadership could look like.

My father was a banking and telco Executive as well as an entrepreneur and turnaround consultant – he instilled a deep sense of business in me as well as confidence that I could become anything I wanted to.

My social justice passion was inspired by my older brother who tirelessly fought for human rights in South Africa and my good friend Pat Pillay who runs LifeCo in South Africa – one of our most successful social enterprises.

Finally, I worked with beautiful and supportive women as associates in South Africa, Ntombi Langa-Royds and Dr. Caren Scheepers who worked alongside me and furthered my growth and interest in developing women.

What are your greatest career achievements so far?

Being a Human Resource Executive at 29 years of age, successfully re-establishing myself in a new country and being a Professor and Head of Consulting in something I love.

What have been your biggest career challenges?

Working in sport – there was very little appreciation for senior women and a lot of threats and challenges. Also, no one in Australia being interested at all in anything I had done or achieved and constantly being told not to be a tall poppy. I also had a couple of failed small partnerships over the last few years working with people whose values or interests were not at all aligned with mine. These challenges really knocked my confidence, but I learnt a lot from all of them.

What are the 3 biggest career lessons you have learnt so far?

  • It is not about you, it is about your team, the organisation, the people you are facilitating – be fully present
  • Be politically savvy – not everyone has positive intent
  • You can create the career you want by focusing on your purpose, values and goals and building the skills and relationships required to make this a reality

What advice would you give women over 40 about their careers?

You have time. You can work until your 70. What are you going to do with the next 20 years. Don’t slack down now. Make those dreams come true. Understand you purpose, values, strengths and interests. Build those skills and relationships. Tell people what you want to achieve and ask for support.

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