Executive Member in Focus: Joanna Andrews

Joanna AndrewJoanna Andrews is a results driven person, with a focus on good governance to achieve positive, long term outcomes. Through her Company Director portfolio and Facilitator role with the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD), Joanna helps educate others on the importance of a well functioning board, to underpin business success at the highest level. 

Joanna Andrews Career Journey: 

Joanna joined Mellor Olsson in 2003 following completion of her law degree with Honours at Adelaide University. In 2013, at the age of 33, Joanna become a Capital Partner and the youngest female partner at the firm. Throughout this time she simultaneously raised two children, which added a level of complexity and minimised her hours of sleep! 

By focusing on the bigger picture, and her long term goals, Joanna made the conscious decision to commit to her career progression. This required both time and financial sacrifices, especially in the first few years after her daughter was born, which coincided with her appointment as a Salary Partner. Now in her position as Capital Partner, Joanna has increased flexibility and freedom in her role, which was always part of her long term goals; having this focus helped her navigate some of the more challenging times. 

An interesting challenge of Joanna’s role is the work required to manage the expectations of her junior staff. In managing a number of millennials Joanna finds herself spending time normalising career expectations to help them understand that it takes both time and hard work to succeed and that this will include lots of unglamorous grunt work.  

Some of the aspects that Joanna finds most rewarding is through well exceeding the expectations of her clients, through growing and mentoring young solicitors, especially young women, and seeing the growth and business successes of the boards that she has guided. 

Joanna Andrews Advice for Women in Business: 

Coming back to work as a Salary Partner soon after my daughter was born was challenging, and then my son was born 14 months later. Through a demonstrated dedication to my career, my Partners understood my commitment and were very supportive of me. My advice to help achieve the juggle of family and full time work is to establish a very good support network. My support network had to be paid, but however you set it up you need it.

The other aspect of managing a family and a career, is to be kind to yourself. Over the years I frequently felt torn – either I was a terrible Mum and terrific lawyer, or vice versa. However you’re the only driver of your destiny and there’s no such thing as perfection, so give yourself some slack. It’s also very important not to judge other women. You choose the journey that’s right for you, others need to make the decision that’s best for them. We need to be supportive and not judgemental of the decisions we make so that as women we don’t feel the pressure to question our decisions.

Unfortunately, throughout my career, I have like many women experienced an element of unwanted male attention. I hope that we are moving towards a time where this will become less frequent, but in the meantime my advice is for women to be strong, be clear and be transparent. 

Joanna Andrews Role Models:

One of my key role models is Donny Walford who taught me to never give up. She helped me to embrace the idea that if you don’t have any failures you haven’t pushed yourself hard enough. Donny also helped me understand the critical importance of being very selective with your time and who you spend it with, to be smart with your networking. I know now not to waste time on networking that won’t further my career, as that’s time I could instead spend on my career or with my family – we only get to spend our time once.  

In summary, my professional role models are:

  • Donny Walford for how she has established strong networks (with hard work), a high profile and drive to give back and support women.
  • Kate Costello for her Board achievements and business success in Governance which has helped pave the way for future female directors.
  • Gail Kelly for her ability to juggle her career with young children whilst also succeeding in a male dominated industry. I admire her candour.

Joanna Andrews Top Three Business Book Recommendations: 

  • The Wife Drought” by Annabel Crabb it is an entertaining, thought provoking and blunt assessment.
  • Duties and Responsibilities of Directors and Officers by Professor Bob Baxt it is a great reference guide that is easy to read.
  • Not Just Lucky by Jamila Rizvi it is a confronting read and a book I would recommend for women in their early career years.

Joanna’s BCD Experience: 

I joined Behind Closed Doors (BCD) many years ago at around the same time I became a Salary Partner. Joining BCD was critical for my confidence, it gave me the confidence to tackle challenges that I wouldn’t previously dreamed of doing. Donny and others in the network actually encouraged me to offer my services to the AICD which seems like a small step from the outside, but to me it was quite big. That opportunity has grown into an incredibly important aspect of my career progression. 

As a girl growing up in regional South Australia and attending the local public school I didn’t have access to a network of supportive women, so joining BCD this was new to me. It helped broaden my network of corporate women and has been one of the really critical steps in the success of my career progression.

I absolutely recommend BCD membership to other women because it provides access to a guaranteed network of women that will give you honest, constructive advice and feedback. To me, you can’t put a dollar value on the importance of that.

Find out more about behind closed doors Executive Membership today.

One thought on “Executive Member in Focus: Joanna Andrews

  1. Pingback: Member in Focus: Sally Woolford - Behind Closed DoorsBehind Closed Doors

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