Deanne Stewart is the CEO of Aware Super, Australia’s second largest superannuation fund. She grew up in the regional Australian town of Bathurst, a tight-knit community where she was always aware of the need for social responsibility. These strong morals have shaped Deanne’s approach as a leader in the corporate world, where she has been a strong advocate for inclusion and diversity. Under Deanne’s leadership, Aware Super was named one of 119 Employers of Choice for Workplace Equality by the Australian Government’s Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA), with Deanne herself being appointed a WGEA Pay Equity Ambassador in 2019. Deanne’s passion for driving positive change in the workforce has also been instrumental in fostering Aware Super’s reputation as a socially and environmentally responsible super fund.
Job satisfaction: The two most rewarding aspects of my role are, firstly, developing an ambitious vision and strategy with my team and working together to achieve them, and, secondly, coaching and supporting the team and watching them develop and grow as individuals.
Values you admire in others: "Compassion, positive energy, determination, care for others
Describe yourself in 3 words: "Determined, curious, caring
People who strive to push the limits – whether they be scientists, sports professionals, entrepreneurs, academics, or business leaders
Key to success is: "Grit, and determination to make a difference; humility and compassion; and the ability to connect and communicate."
Biggest sense of achievement? When I was younger, I was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to study an MBA in the USA, which really opened my eyes to the amazing world out there and helped shape the way I perceive things. Today, leading Aware Super is truly my dream job and gives me an enormous sense of achievement.
The future is…"there for the taking"
Can we have it all? Yes… but not all at once. I think life is a journey and there is time for family, for travel, for achieving amazing things, for sport etc…. but you can’t have everything at once.
Favourite motto: "I believe it's possible for ordinary people to achieve extraordinary things”
Jody Williams – Founder of International Campaign to Ban Landmines.
Best piece of advice?: the most important things you need in life are unconditional love, confidence and resilience.
Proudest moment? As the CEO of one of Australia’s largest super funds, I feel incredibly proud of how we can “be a force for good” in life, both in the way we invest responsibly (including leading the way on climate change and affordable housing) and in how we help and guide our members to create their best possible futures.
How do you balance your life? Firstly, life is a marathon not a sprint, so there’s no point in getting frustrated if you need to slow down or make trade-offs in different parts of your life, but you should be very deliberate about it. Second, it’s essential to know the key two or three things you must have in your life in any given week or month that enable you to feel happy and content – and don’t compromise on these.
My greatest joy is… Having fun and a great laugh with the family.
Happiness is... "being content – with life and what you are doing.”