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CIOs to watch: ME Bank's Kathryn Hawkins

Australian CIO talks about their industry, career and favourite smartphone
ME Bank CIO, Kathryn Hawkins

ME Bank CIO, Kathryn Hawkins

Name: Kathryn Hawkins Role: CIO Company: ME Bank Industry: Finance Smartphone: BlackBerry Bold 9000

Kathryn Hawkins is not a gadget person but she does have a soft spot for the Nintendo Wii and its fitness games.

That’s because after working at not-for-profit organisation, Masonic Homes, and seeing how the Wii improved the physical and emotional wellbeing of aged residents, she decided to install a console at home.

She says the games help to relieve stress, aid fitness and at the end of the day, are a bit of good fun. She uses the same mix of work and fun in her approach as chief information officer of Melbourne-based industry super fund bank, ME Bank.

The institution started in 1999 with the goal of providing industry super fund members low interest rates and higher returns on investments. It currently has branches in Victoria, NSW, Queensland and WA.

“I believe in ensuring that leadership not only guides the way but is also in touch with the day-to-day running of our operations,” Hawkins says.

An average day involves spending time with the executive team working on strategic initiatives, attending steering committee meetings, assessing the bank’s IT transformation program and meeting with her leadership team and department.

“Regardless of the volume of work, I believe it is important to take the time to celebrate with staff our success and inject some fun into our working lives,” Hawkins says.

With ME Bank embarking on a three-and-a-half year transformation of its IT and operational excellence functions, work commitments have been a constant for Hawkins. “We have a clear vision for the program and, to ensure it is reached, have developed a roadmap of 15 projects split into four phases over that threeand- a-half-year period.”

Phase one, which has already begun, involves what Hawkins refers to as implementing technology that will support integration, business process management and security.

“It lays down the integration standards and governance to enable subsequent projects to proceed without having to address these factors again,” she says.

“The technology will also enable integration with our business partners.”

Hawkins says she is lucky to have worked across a range of ICT projects, including the establishment of a processing centre program at Adelaide Bank, as well as programming the assembly line bar codes at Mitsubishi Motors.

On a more personal level, she is proud of her work to expand the operational ability at Masonic Homes, while reducing costs for the organisation.

“We improved connectivity between the staff, volunteers and head office. I was lucky enough to see first-hand the benefit this brought to the aged community we served.”

The most significant aspects of her career, however, are the people she has met and worked with.

Read more in the CIOs to watch series - Cochlear Australia's Mark Salmon.

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