VoiceOver users please use the tab key when navigating expanded menus

Leading from the heart

“Something Jane excelled in was really caring about her people. She was my mentor, sponsor and champion - and I know I wasn’t the only one.” – Kate Russell.

Jane Yuile, Mackenzie Russell

Many of us fondly recall important mentors for the key words of advice they offered or the professional achievements they fostered.


For Kate Russell the strongest memory of her mentor, Jane Yuile, is the moment her former boss cradled Kate’s new-born baby, Mackenzie.


Even before Kate met Jane, she had heard of her “legendary” ability to build relationships with business chiefs and boards in the tight-knit South Australian market.


As senior adviser for ANZ’s South Australia institutional customers, Jane was a driving force for the bank – dealing with everyone from the boards of mining giants to senior figures in the State Government.


But the fact Kate even got to work with Jane is a testament to her former bosses’ courage and tenacity.


Electrify the team


In 2018, Jane was in Wellington, New Zealand for her niece’s wedding when she severely injured her back jumping off a pier.


Several operations lead to a laminectomy, a common procedure to remove part or all of the vertebral bone to ease pressure on the spinal cord. But it also left Jane a quadriplegic.


Many had expected Jane to quit her career. But after six months in hospital and 18 months in rehabilitation, Jane returned to work.


This is when Kate, who was working in the South Australian Diversified Industries team, first met her mentor.


“Everyone talked about Jane as this amazing person. You knew she'd had this terrible accident and was intending to return to work,” Kate says.


Jane’s return electrified the team.


“She'd turn up with this massive smile on her face, just so pleased to be contributing again to her lifelong work of relationship building and caring about people, whether it's the internal staff or the customers,” Kate says. “Customers were just so pleased to get time with her.”


Jane supported Kate as she returned to work after having children.


“When I first brought in my daughter, as Jane was a quadriplegic I asked ‘would you like to hold Mackenzie?’ And her face just lit up that I would trust her enough to do that and put Mackenzie on her lap. Her smile was incredible.”


“She was so pleased to share in that moment – something that had nothing to do with work. It showed how she was supportive of me and my career after having two young kids – that real support on the ground, it really meant a lot as  I was navigating the return to work.”


Jane passed in May last year and her memorial service was held at the Art Gallery of South Australia, where she served on the board. It was attended by everyone from the Governor, to the Premier, to business leaders and a large ANZ contingent.


In the wake of Jane’s passing Kate and Rachel Leach were appointed Co-Heads of ANZ’s Institutional business in South Australia.


Rachel was previously Head of Corporate Finance SA. She moved to Adelaide in 2021 and is responsible for managing ANZ’s portfolio of Resources, Energy and Infrastructure customers.


The co-head approach for South Australia mirrors the arrangements for ANZ Institutional in Queensland and Western Australia.


Legacy to build on


A key task for the team was bedding down a deal which took place under Jane’s leadership – becoming the sole banking partner of the South Australian Government.


The agreement signed in November 2022 see ANZ providing transaction banking and card services to all South Australia Government agencies for five years, with the option to extend for another five year. Merchant services are provided by ANZ Worldline Payment Solutions.


“I believe the SA Government chose ANZ to help them navigate the significant changes within the banking industry while supporting their own transformation agenda,” Kate says.


“It’s one of the most significant deals our Transaction Banking team has won to date. Government business is so important because it touches so many different people.”


“It's not just about the banking services. We can really make an impact on the people of South Australia. There's so much change in banking over those 10 years and they needed to choose the right partner to work through that change.”


The next big thing to consider is the development of real-time payments and the “PayTo” function, she says.

PayTo – part of the Federal Government’s New Payments Platform – is essentially a new form of direct debit which will improve payments for South Australians.


“PayTo brings simplicity and efficiency to transactions revolutionising the way we handle payments,” Kate says. “We are excited to work with SA Government on enabling PayTo to help the people of South Australia.”


Fostering the future


Ultimately, Kate and Rachel want to cultivate the same connections Jane Yuile was responsible for developing.


“Something Jane excelled in was really caring about her people. She was my mentor, sponsor and champion - and I know I wasn’t the only one.”


Kate and Rachel want to now provide the same support for their team.


Tammy Medard is Managing Director of Institutional Australia for ANZ.

Related Articles:

A life changing injury hasn’t stopped this leader

2020 was a year that taught us to adapt in ways we never would have thought. ANZ’s Jane Yuile is someone who is acutely aware of the importance of adapting and staying positive.

Model for change

Role models can change lives. A ground-breaking campaign by the Dylan Alcott Foundation aims to revolutionise disability representation in Australian advertising.

Smashing through barriers

World champion athlete. Community advocate. Loving husband. Don’t tell James McQuillan that disability brings limitations.