Rosanne Brand knows a thing or two about being a woman in business.
Not only is Rosanne a Partner at PwC Consulting, where she helps organisations adapt, transform and restructure for the better but she’s also a business mentor, and champions a global PwC program, Business Align & Connect—helping Australia’s leading technology Scale Up businesses to grow and contribute to Australia, and in particular Canberra; both socially and economically.
We sat down with Rosanne to chat about her experience as both a female investor and mentor, her passions and how she uses her knowledge and experience to uplift women in business.
What is something you’re passionate about outside of work?
I am so fortunate that my passions outside of work are actually part of my work. My parents invested their careers in helping people in vulnerable circumstances, and this has left an indelible desire to also want to make a difference for Australians. This was later reinforced when I attended a lecture in Singapore on macro-economic levers, and what it would take to grow our economy. In that moment my interest became a passion to lift our national innovation and digital ecosystem so we each can experience the social impact and value that comes from it. Certainly, makes it easy to get out of bed in the morning!
But my heart is with my family, making magic memorable moments together like making pizzas on Thursday nights to enjoying international travel. I very much enjoy being near the water and love to get out sailing on Sydney harbour—and I am beyond excited for the arrival of my first grandchild later this year.
Who inspires you and why?
Inspiration can be found in so many places, and my energy gets lit by the problems I am invited to help find solutions to—fromto working with extraordinary people, through to the cool tech we are seeing coming. Canberra has been home to a small but powerful number of bold and bright women who led the way in the national innovation and technology space, some of whom remain investing their talents in Canberra through the networks in and around CBRIN. Moments with these women are very uplifting. Importantly though, I recognise I have a tendency to expend energy seeking inspiration from external sources, and I am getting better at balancing this with inspiration coming through times of quiet, nature, and travel.
What inspired you to become a mentor?
For me, it was a very natural progression from people reaching out to me for the occasional coffee or offering my networks to connect people with those who can help or accelerate their ideas. At the heart of it for me, is a genuine connection with people and their vision for making a difference, I just want to cheer and help them.
As a woman, did you feel like there was space for you as a mentor/investor?
Absolutely! Its important for us to be aware of connecting women to those seeking mentors and investors. One of the challenges women have is being where opportunities or connections are being made, from personal and social networks to the board room. CBRIN is tackling this in a very effective way, and we have a network of inspiring and bold female investors linking up in Canberra because of this—many of whom are well connected nationally and globally with those who can help our innovators and entrepreneurs in Canberra.
Why do you think it is important to have female representation and women’s voices in mentorship?
A large part of my business is helping to accelerate Australia’s next unicorn businesses from our leading technology Scale Ups. Australia, and in particular Canberra, has some of the most remarkable contribution to make to the world with for purpose businesses, many of whom are being born in our world leading academic and research sector. It will take all of us to make this happen. Women are by far underrepresented in this sector and I am excited to see more women embrace their desire to contribute. We also need women in mentorship roles to supporting the next generation of women in business.
How can businesses benefit from having a female mentor?
Women bring powerful perspectives and insights that can be quite different to men. The key is balance, and striving to gain perspectives from a range of people, considering gender, networks, technology expertise, business capability and background. Diversity brings strength.
What would you say to other women looking to get involved as an investor or mentor? What can be done to make this more accessible?
I would strongly encourage women to be part of networks like CBRIN or the other innovation and business communities in Canberra. Support each other and say yes when asked. Use your curiosity and passion to open conversations that lead to these opportunities. And, for something more practical, just reach out and ask— business women, CBRIN and others will welcome your interest!
Dying to hear more?
Come along to the Canberra Innovation Network’s Female Founders, More Than Money panel event to hear more words of wisdom from Rosanne! Rosanne will be joining Elaine Stead, another experienced mentor, investor in companies like Shoes of Prey, Blue Sky, CM Capital, ANU Connect and Professor Tim Hirst, an entrepreneurial academic with wide-ranging experience in establishing new venture-backed companies.
For more information visit cbrin.com.au.
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