Women's Week Interview 2: Pascale Toussat

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    Meet Pascale Toussat,
    Group Human Resources Manager Australia & New Zealand for ANL

    How long have you been Group Human Resources Manager for ANL in Australia? What does your job consist of? 

    I have been with ANL for over 6 years. I oversee the HR functions for Australia and New Zealand with around 600 staff.

    Have you always worked in that field or have you switched at some point in your career? 

    I started my career in Administration working as a PA for several years in France before coming to Australia in 1989. I spent a year as a tourist and loved the lifestyle so much that I was determined to find a sponsor to come back to live here. Thanks to the FACCI (yes indeed!) I managed to get a list of all French companies working in Melbourne. One of these companies was looking for somebody with a good understanding of the ‘French way’ of the corporate world. I entered my career in HR in 2001 after completing my qualifications at the same time as having 2 year old twin daughters.

    What do you love most about your job?

    My passion lies in educating Managers and caring about staff. For me HR can be seeing as ‘policing’ staff however fairness, open communication and treating people with respect are crucial to survive in any HR role.

    How long have you been living in Australia? What do you like most/less about the Australian business culture?

    I came (back) to Australia in 1991 to work for a French Company. My determination to come back to Australia was mainly due to the lifestyle and the openness of the place. Melbourne was very different from what it is now (CBD pretty much dead after 5pm and less cafes!) but the ‘Australian flair’ was very suited to what I was looking for. I love doing sport and Australia met my requirements from this point of view.

    More and more women now have high responsibility positions within companies. Have you witnessed the trend in your firm/field?

    This is a very contemporary topic that stimulates a lot of debate in the press. We now have some new Government organisations specifically appointed to look at such a topic. I must admit that women in the workplace will find the place they wish for if they have the energy to ‘fight for it’ and keep pushing some doors that at times, might still not be open to them. I believe that it is the culture of the organisation that makes it possible for women to be treated equally. It has to be a mindset from the organisation and its management team.

    I think the shift is happening slowly but there is still a lot of work to be done with regard to women returning from parental leave. 

    What is the biggest lesson you have learnt from a past failure?

    Don’t assume anything and check your data before you make any decisions. There are always 2 sides to a coin!

    What are the best advice you have ever been given?

    Don’t be afraid to fail. Failure is the best way to progress as long as one learns from his/her mistakes.

    How do you manage the balance between work and personal life?

    I am lucky enough that I can manage my time very well and I always find time to stay fit and active. My philosophy in life is that the hours don’t matter; you will be judged on what you deliver.

    Who and/or what inspires you? Any role model?

    I have been lucky enough to work for some great HR people both in France and Australia and these happen to be mostly women. They inspired me by their mentoring quality and patience to guide and teach me. They allowed me to make mistakes to grow into my role.

    Any tips for aspiring businesswomen?

    Determination is key to anybody (men or woman) to succeed. I truly believe that women are as talented as men. I could finish with this quote “women have balls but they keep them in their head where they can’t get kicked”!!

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