Leaders of Tomorrow – Annmarie Collins


Brought to you by CPA Australia

A project accountant at BUPA, Annmarie Collins, 35, knows how to get results with her CPA leadership skills – whether it’s taking a guidance role in business partnering or boosting female participation in rugby.

How often do you travel?

Currently I’m based in Melbourne but we have offices in Sydney and Brisbane. If a secondment came up I’d leap at it! My family is from New Zealand so I like to get back there. I try to take a big overseas trip once a year for at least three weeks to really take in the places I visit – last year I went to Jordan, Egypt and Morocco. It’s good to get a decent break from the Melbourne winter.

What is your favourite activity between meetings?

Let’s just say it revolves around food! My office is on the corner of Exhibition Street and Flinders Lane so we’re really spoiled for choice around here. And coffee. I have a strict one coffee per day rule, so it has to be a good one. Axil Coffee is my pick – they make a great coffee that’s a bit stronger than others.

What’s your secret to success in business?

Continually learning is no secret but it’s so important. It’s important not to become inflexible and closed to new things. I used to be an executive assistant and one of the reasons I went into finance is that I used to sit in meetings and I learned so much from listening to people talk about mergers and so on. Don’t be intimidated – feel that you can contribute. And remember that usually the biggest lessons come from things not going to plan.

What is the best thing about studying in Australia?

Studying in Australia is fantastic because of the access we now have to institutions and courses, and technology has helped a lot with this. I was able to study my CPA Program online, which means you can have a family and outside interests while completing your study.

If you could have a business dinner with anyone in the world, anywhere… who would it be with and where?

I have an interest in sport so I would love to meet women who are making a difference in this space, particularly from an administration perspective. I play and am involved in rugby, so the women on the Australian Rugby Union board – Pip Marlow, Elizabeth Broderick or Ann Sherry. I love rustic Greek food so would probably go to Jim’s Greek Tavern in Collingwood.

What is your number one packing tip?

Be efficient with your packing. Make sure you are taking clothes and items that do more than one job: for example, jackets and shoes that can take you around the city during the day and also see you through a night out. 

What has the CPA Program taught you about leadership?

You can lead from where you are. You can find yourself in situations where you may not be the most experienced person in the room, but if a leader is needed then that person can be you. You just have to take the opportunity.


As President of the Women’s Rugby Development Association, how have you used skills learnt in the CPA Program to promote and increase women’s participation in rugby?

The CPA Program really gives you a good all-round set of skills – you do technical subjects but the biggest components are ethics and governance and strategy and leadership. I’m trying to get more girls to play rugby, so I need a strategic plan, and I need to back it up with a lot of data. I’m putting out a survey to stakeholders to tell the story of what’s happening so we can then create that plan.

SEE ALSO: Leaders of Tomorrow - Catharine Payton

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