october 4 2019

Mentor's Advice - Sally Loane

Striving for perfection is something that elite sportspeople and business women have in common.

Financial Services Council chief executive, Sally Loane, has lived through the pressure.

She has enjoyed three successful careers: in journalism, a corporate career, and currently, as head of a peak industry organisation.

“You’ve just got to back yourself,” she said.

“There are all sorts of times in your life where you think ‘gee I should’ve done that’, at a sliding door moment.

“The thing that is most helpful to people is to not look back with regret.”

Ms Loane said striving for perfection, although “hard for women” in business, is not necessarily bad.

“It’s a good thing because it drives you, but it sometimes makes it very difficult to keep up levels of confidence,” she said.

“We all watch, and we all judge.”

She believes the pressure to achieve perfection is “even more onerous for sportspeople”.

Ms Loane credits the passionate businesswomen at Minerva Network for bringing their knowledge and expertise.

The not-for-profit organisation, founded by some of Australia’s top business women, helps female athletes prepare for life after sport, while offering pro bono, one-on-one mentoring.

“The opportunity to help and mentor young women in elite sport is quite unique,” Ms Loane said.

“There is that element of drive, passion, determination and single-minded focus that sportspeople bring to the table.

“That’s a really attractive trait for anybody who’s mentoring… and putting people into positions.”

Like some of Australia’s elite female athletes from the regions, Ms Loane moved to Sydney to crack the big time.

Having grown up in the middle of a “terrible” drought, she said the situation taught her toughness, patience, and most important of all, resilience.

“I learnt that life is not delivered to you with a pink bow tie around it,” she said.

Ms Loane believes women have not had the benefit of “hundreds of years” worth of networking like men do.

“For men, networking from sport into business is like breathing,” she said.

“It just happens naturally.

“For women, we need to make that normal as well.”