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From trainee to Team Leader


"I set myself a goal: I wanted to further progress my career and I set out to be Team Leader. In October 2021 I was successful."

Kaya (hello), my name is Emily Knox. I am a proud Noongar yorga (woman) from Balardong Country living on Whadjuk Country. I am the youngest of my siblings, with four brothers and two sisters. I grew up in a single parent household in a low socioeconomic suburb in Perth, Western Australia.


My journey to adulthood began in year 11 of high school when I became pregnant with my oldest son. My mother instilled strong values in our household with education being very important. I knew that to better myself and my child’s life, I needed to complete high school. So I started year 12 as a teen mother with my son six weeks old. I worked hard and not only completed my school education but finished top of my class. I won multiple awards including the Dux Award.


Entering the workforce


From school I went on to complete a full-time traineeship at the Western Australian Industrial Relations Commission where I completed Certificates III and IV in Business. I was still unsure of what career I wanted and saw traineeship pathways as a great opportunity to get into the workforce, building on my skills and qualifications. 


I joined ANZ in 2010 through the Indigenous Traineeship program and completed my traineeship within 18 months with a nomination for the ‘Trainee of the Year’ in Western Australia. I was offered a job permanently at the Ellenbrook Branch, which I accepted.


I spent the next 10 years in the Ellenbrook branch which worked well for me with my growing family. During my time at Ellenbrook I went on to have two more children.


The highlight of my time working on the frontline in the branch was mentoring and looking after trainees who joined our branch. I enjoyed it and felt it was so rewarding to be that person of support who gives back to community and helps others on their journey, whether they were school-based or full-time trainees.


I spent time building on my knowledge in the branch becoming one of the senior members of our team. I was given multiple opportunities to step up into the Senior Personal Banker role from time to time, taking on greater responsibilities.


Making it happen


Then COVID hit and our world changed. I moved from the branch into the Collections and Hardship team as part of ANZ’s ‘Beyond the Branch’ program in 2020. This was an amazing program that helped to assist branch employees to move into business areas which required additional resources to help with the increased customer demand during COVID.


Initially I applied for the Team Leader position, where I was unsuccessful, but I gained the Customer Connect Associate role as an operator.


I set myself a goal: I wanted to further progress my career and I set out to be Team Leader. In October 2021 I was successful.


Bringing country to the office


Just before becoming a Team Leader, I joined Ngarga Wangaddja, ANZ’s First Nations Employee Reference group, which was formed to represent the voices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees. I became involved with the group because I hadn’t heard of anything like it during my time with ANZ. It’s new and evolving. It’s a way to give back to community, uplifting all the First Nations employees across the entire ANZ network.


ANZ gave us the opportunity to come together face to face and connect with each other and gel as a group – something that was profoundly impactful. I have formed real relationships with our members to the point where we feel so comfortable sharing our wins and hardships. We now know we can bring up issues and that not only Ngarga Wangaddja but also the Inclusion Team at ANZ have our backs if we need them. The support is there. We can stand together for each other, all First Nations employees, and the wider community within ANZ.


Ngarga Wangaddja has opened up my world at ANZ. I’ve been able to meet many different people from all walks of life, opening up further career pathways. This has enabled me to reassess who I am and where I want to go in my career. I have set new goals.


The relationships we are forming are really setting up Ngarga Wangaddja for success. To have a voice and be heard is the first big step. It’s going to benefit everyone across the business. We are at a point in time where we can make history in Australia.

It is time for First Nations people to be heard and changes to be made to continue a path to true reconciliation.


Its win – win.


Emily Knox is Secure Customer Connect Team Leader at ANZ

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A review on how ANZ has performed against its Reconciliation Action Plan from 2021 to 2024.

Ngarga Wangaddja – Lighting the wiinj (fire) of ANZ’s Reconciliation Journey

Committed to closing the gap, several First Nations ANZ employees created Ngarga Wangaddja. This group shows us what successful reconciliation can look like in corporate Australia.