ANZ Chief Financial Officer Antonia Watson wholeheartedly believes in the importance of supporting your local community. And that is just one of the reasons why she was chosen to chair the ANZ Staff Foundation Advisory Board.
The ANZ Staff Foundation is a charitable trust that collects money from participating staff members and donates it to local charities – for example counselling for disadvantaged young people, shelter for pets, and programmes supporting people with disabilities. The bank matches all staff contributions dollar-for-dollar.
“Wherever I’ve worked, I’ve made an effort to participate in payroll giving.
“Being part of the ANZ Staff Foundation is an important driver for staff engagement because it’s a tangible way that staff can help to make a difference in their local community.”
The Foundation has received unprecedented support among staff over the past three years due to a robust internal communications programme at ANZ.
In February 2015 the Foundation’s membership sits at 23%, an achievement that ANZ is very proud of when you consider that the average percentage of staff that donate to payroll giving schemes in New Zealand is only 6%.
Over the 15 years the Foundation has been operating, over $3 million has been donated to more than 530 charities.
Antonia recalls a heart-warming moment where she saw the Staff Foundation funding in action.
“Good friends of ours have a daughter with Down Syndrome, and the husband was on the Board of the UpsideDowns Education Trust, which funds specialist education programmes for children with Down Syndrome.
“A few years ago we walked the Milford Track with them and just as we were coming out of the forest back into cell phone range he got a text saying that ANZ had approved their application for a grant from the Staff Foundation. It was a great moment for me and made me feel really proud that The Foundation can support such worthy causes.”
ANZ New Zealand has two other pillars to its corporate responsibility agenda – staff volunteering and MoneyMinded financial literacy programme.
“All ANZ staff get one day off each year to volunteer at a community organisation.
“Volunteering is a simple and powerful way we can all connect with our communities and give something back.
“In 2014 ANZ staff contributed over 10,000 volunteer hours to their local communities.”
ANZ’s MoneyMinded programme aims – in its own small way – to try to at least give people some of the financial basics that they have missed out on learning elsewhere. Since the programme began in New Zealand in 2012 over 1,000 participants have completed the programme. The target in 2015 is for 1,000 participants to complete the programme.
In conjunction with the Corporate Responsibility agenda, ANZ NZ has five staff affinity groups – Māori and Pasifika, Asian, Indian, Pride and Flexible Working Parents.
Antonia is also ANZ Pride Network’s NZ patron. She says it’s all about encouraging staff to be themselves at work.
“We believe that celebrating a diverse New Zealand is not only the right thing to do but also makes good business sense given the make-up of our staff and customers.”
Antonia has been with ANZ for six years and a member of the Staff Foundation for five and the Pride Network for two. Prior to working at ANZ she held roles with Morgan Stanley in Europe and Australia and was a member of their payroll giving programmes.