I’ve been with ANZ for 10 years and I am a senior adviser responsible for relationships with the CEOs and boards of ANZ’s institutional customers in South Australia. I’m also a director on several company boards.
(And also, as an aside, our current CEO Shayne Elliott was my first boss at ANZ.)
Around this time last year, Australia was sent into lockdown in response to COVID-19 and we embarked on a year like no other. It’s been challenging. It’s brought about change to the way we work, the way we interact and to our freedom – but it’s also been a testament to our resilience and ability to adapt.
Once you read my story, you’ll soon realise I am someone who is acutely aware of the importance of adapting.
Around three years ago my husband and I were in Wellington, New Zealand for my niece’s wedding. The day after the wedding we had been out for lunch with some friends and were getting an ice-cream down at the harbour – something I rarely do.
I sat and ate my ice-cream, watching all these people – young and old – jumping into the harbour. I’m a jetty jumper from years back, so it looked like a lot of fun. I distinctly remember watching one little boy. It would get to his turn and he would stand on the edge but he’d get scared and back away. He did this about five or six times.
I was 60 years old at the time and I thought to myself ”Well if an oldie like me can do it, that might give him some confidence’, so I approached him and said “Listen, I’m 60. So if I can do it, you probably can too”.
So then I jumped.
As soon as I hit the water, I felt this terrible pain. I was able to gingerly swim to the ladder and somehow climb the 10 steps to get up onto the pier.
I managed to walk to my husband and friends and they helped me get dressed but I said “Look, I’ve done something bad”. It was then I noticed the top of my thumb was numb. I think they thought I was crazy because I was so insistent – I kept repeating “I’ve got to go to the hospital. I’ve got to go to the hospital.”
Truthfully, I don’t remember much from there. I had one operation which was fine at the beginning but then we ran into some complications. There was swelling which caused my heart to stop twice so they had to do a second operation in order to save my life.
The second operation was a laminectomy, which is quite a common operation where the surgeon removes part or all of the vertebral bone to ease pressure on the spinal cord or nerve roots.
It was from the laminectomy I came out a quadriplegic.
Obviously this brought about massive changes in my life. I think being a naturally optimistic, happy person helped a great deal in adapting to the magnitude of what had happened.