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Nothing is impossible

“Nothing is impossible when you set your mind to it. I’ve learned about the value in having a network, a positive attitude and being self-aware.”  - Olivia Kyomugisha, ANZ Plus Coach and Given the Chance program participant


A family of four taking a selfie at the airport

With a background in banking and finance, Olivia thought that her five years of solid work experience in Uganda would set her up nicely in find a job in Australia.


“I thought I could just knock on a few doors and get started. But I learnt very quickly that I needed to build up my networks and work out a game plan,’” says Olivia.


Olivia left Uganda in 2014, escaping a domestic violence situation in a culture that still has a long way to go in supporting women.


Seeking a better life in Australia, Olivia’s main motivation to find work was so she could earn enough money to send home to her daughter in Uganda, who was two years old at the time.


“When I arrived in Australia I did every kind of job put in front of me. Babysitting, cleaning, short certificates to further my education and community volunteer work,” recalls Olivia.


During her time volunteering at an Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, Olivia introduced a running program for women who had never exercised before.


“I’ve always been active in sport, and at school in Uganda, so I wanted to put this to use. I then did some work for Big Issue magazine on a soccer program for homeless people and women experiencing domestic violence.”


Dressed for success


Olivia remembers her first day at Big Issue magazine, when she put on her corporate clothes and made her way to the office.


“I’d done my research on the magazine and thought, this is big. I’ll dress up for it,” she says.


While most of Olivia’s colleagues were dressed in hoodies and trackies, Olivia enjoyed the feeling of looking professional again.


“Getting back on the computer and dressing up felt good and reminded me of what I used to do,” says Olivia.


It was during Olivia’s time at the Big Issue where she met a colleague who had participated in the Given the Chance program.


Olivia was put in touch with the Brotherhood of St Laurence and through the MoneyMinded program she was connected to ANZ.


The Brotherhood of St Laurence then called Olivia and prepared her for an interview at ANZ.


From safe deposits to banking apps


“The first project I worked on at ANZ was decommissioning safe deposits - one of the oldest products the bank had. We used to store little boxes in a safe for customers for their jewellery and other valuables,” Olivia reflects.


Olivia was part of a small working group responsible for handing the storage of safe boxes over to a new provider. Her role was to make sure it was done effectively and securely.


Since then, Olivia has seen a lot of change in banking.


“I’m now a coach for the new ANZ Plus product and my role is to provide support to customers with queries they have about the ANZ Plus app and provide financial wellbeing workshops to encourage customers to do all their banking through the app.”


About Given the Chance


Given the Chance is an initiative of the Brotherhood of St Laurence (BSL) to help disadvantaged job seekers gain employment and training in a wide range of fields.

Since 2007 ANZ, in partnership with BSL, has welcomed more than 300 participants to the bank with about 45 per cent leading to permanent employment over the past year.

So far this year ANZ has hired 51 participants through the program and we’re still recruiting:


  • Participants have been hosted in 37 ANZ branches around Australia
  • Twelve participants have been recruited permanently to roles
  • An additional seven participants are in the onboarding phase to become permanent ANZ employees

The road to reunion


Speaking of her experience starting in Australia, Olivia says she has learned many lessons that shaped her journey and made her the person she is today.


“Nothing is impossible when you set your mind to it. I’ve learned about the value in having a network, a positive attitude and being self-aware,” says Olivia.


A woman and a girl smile with trees in the background

Earlier this year Olivia and her daughter, Michaela, were reunited in Australia – eight years after they were separated.

“She’s adjusted very well and is involved in activities at school like cross-country and basketball. I’ve been so impressed with how resilient she’s been and her attitude to give everything a go.”

Qualities Michaela has clearly inherited from her Mum.


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