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Sarah Casha: Looking for opportunities that challenge you

Sarah Casha says there’s no secret to success, however, for her the key to shaping a fulfilling career has been hard work, ambition and being generous. She started as an Executive Assistant in 2008 and juggled full time work with extensive study, which ultimately led to her career trajectory with Macquarie. Now an Associate Director in the Financial Management Group she shares the story of her career to date.

 

Sarah Casha has a long history with Macquarie and says it's the people who keep her coming back.

“The generosity, support and intelligence of the people I've worked with at Macquarie has been a major drawcard each time I’ve returned,” Sarah says.

“I think I'm a Macquarie lifer now,” Sarah laughs. “I’m part of the furniture.”

 

The journey from Executive Assistant  

In 2008, Sarah joined Macquarie as an Executive Assistant in the wholesale and trading division of Commodities and Global Markets with a background in events after completing a Diploma of Marketing, and part-way through completing a Bachelor of Arts.

Commodities and Global Markets didn’t yet have a marketing department and with her Marketing experience behind her, she offered to lend a hand.

“I started working with the brand team and it gave me a taste for marketing at Macquarie,” Sarah says.

After four years, Sarah transitioned to a role in Banking and Financial Services.

“As an Executive Assistant to the Head of Marketing I helped improve culture and operational processes and had the opportunity to work with the design and events teams,” she explains. “It provided me with a great opportunity to transition fully into marketing in Macquarie Asset Management as an Event and Communications Associate.”

After six years with Macquarie and progressing from administration to marketing, Sarah left the organisation to  pursue a role to uplift marketing production at an independent asset management company.

A year later she decided to travel. Landing in the UK she expected to work in a bar, but instead accepted a contract desktop publishing position in Macquarie Capital’s London office.

“It was a good gap year,” Sarah explains. “I built up skills in PowerPoint, graphic design and gained exposure to tenders and pitches.”

 

Returning to Macquarie

Returning to Sydney, Sarah was offered a community and social engagement role for an online startup business. While she enjoyed her time there, she soon missed the flat structure, people and environment she’d grown to love at Macquarie.

After arriving at a career crossroads, Sarah approached an old mentor from Macquarie who suggested she apply for a Business and Communications Manager role, despite lacking some of the formal skills required for that type of role.

“Macquarie saw potential, rather than just a resume,” Sarah says. “He reminded me that I have transferrable skills and, more importantly, the ability to rise to challenges and get the job done.”

“Although at the time it scared me that I did not have the formal training, I reminded myself to be curious and that I could learn and find people who could teach me within the Group.”

Sarah was successful in her application and spent three years as a Business and Communications Manager, which included a secondment in Corporate Affairs drafting communications for Macquarie’s C-suite executives. She also completed a Master of Arts in Organisational Change Communications during this time.

By actively seeking opportunities to further challenge herself, Sarah then moved to become the Communications Lead for the Financial Management Group, supporting the Chief Financial Officer and consulting on business strategy.

 

New horizons as Associate Director and Operations Lead

In 2021, Sarah decided to return early from parental leave to take on a newly developed role as the Operations Lead for the Financial Management Group.

“I’ve always put my hand up for jobs where there was no owner for the task,” Sarah says. “And my new role as Operations Lead is a dream job for me where I get to draw on my many career experiences.”

She is currently working on several projects, including analysis of the post-COVID hybrid work environment and how it affects people, culture, leadership and technology. She’s also consulting on the Group’s business strategy and questioning the user experience of how operational policies are embedded, such as those relating to supplier governance.

“My team was very supportive of my gradual, part-time, return to work,” Sarah says. “My manager is amazingly helpful with making sure I get the work-life balance right.”

 

The key ingredient

Sarah believes more than anything, that her determination has been the key factor in her career progression.

“I’ve worked hard and I’m always asking ‘what’s next’,” Sarah says. “I’m always putting my hand up and I always want to do more.”

Sarah says she feels fortunate to have had a lot of strong female mentors, role models and champions.

“I really enjoy the operations side of the business, and I’d like to model the leaders who provided the encouragement and generosity that I've received,” Sarah says.

She has also embarked on an MBA to support her future career goals.

“I want to continue to put my hand up, to explore the gaps and find opportunities that challenge myself,” she says.

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