‘Back yourself’: Gail Kelly’s advice for women in the business world

Westpac’s outgoing CEO Gail Kelly started her career in banking more than 35 years ago in her native South Africa, as a teller in Johannesburg .

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She since climbed up the corporate ladder, enjoying a six year stint as St George Cheif Exective, before stepping up as Westpac CEO.

During her tenure which started in 2008, both the company’s share price and the company’s market capitalisation more than doubled. She managed to steer the company through the global financial crisis relatively unscathed while successfully overseeing the $19 billion merger of St George.

She’s also a mother of four and a wife, to husband Allan for 37 years.

It is no surprise then Gail Kelly, is an inspiration to many. She often appears on global lists of the world’s most powerful, but she has never apologised for her success.

So at today’s press conference, I decided to ask her what kind of adivce she would give to other aspiring female leaders.

The advice? “Back Yourself.”

Watch to what she had to say here:

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When Gail Kelly steps down in February, there will only be 5 female CEOs running Australia’s top 200 listed companies.

Businesswoman, Angela Vithoulkas, who runs Sydney CBD eatery VIVO Cafe and contributes to small business radio station, Eagle Waves, says female leaders should be embraced.

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While the number of female leaders may be outnumbered by their male counterparts, some of the world’s biggest financial instutitions are run by women.

Janet Yellen took over from Ben Bernanke earlier this year as US Federal Reserve Chairperson.

Christine Lagarde has been the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund since 5 July 2011.

Angela Merkel has been the Chancellor of Germany since 2005 and was ranked at number one the World’s 100 Most Powerful Women list by Forbes this year.