Global game changer
Finance isn’t all about the money! Here’s how you can support the community, too.
Growing up in the country town of Tamworth, Benson Saulo never thought careers in finance would be the right job for him. “You didn’t see Aboriginal people working in the bank,” says Benson. “I didn’t perceive it to be my world.”
Benson was even considering dropping maths until his Year 10 teacher suggested he apply for a traineeship at ANZ bank. He soon discovered that careers in finance are much more diverse than he’d realised. Senior maths was essential for his traineeship, which included a Certificate III in Financial Services. After high school, Benson worked in ANZ’s foreign-exchange services, which, he says, “planted the first idea about being a global citizen”.
In fact, Benson is so focused on global responsibility that he spoke at the United Nations General Assembly as Australian Youth Representative in 2011. As if that wasn’t impressive enough, he also founded the National Indigenous Youth Leadership Academy, which develops youth-led social action campaigns.
Benson had never considered careers in finance a tool for social good, until he attended a global economics conference in Switzerland in 2015 called the St Gallen Symposium There, he had a stroke of genius: what tools could help people bounce back from financial hardship? Working with financial services provider Good Shepherd Microfinance, he helped bring together 10 companies to promote financial inclusion in the community.
Benson now works at one of those organisations — Australian Unity, a provider of national healthcare, financial services and aged care — where he heads Community Strategy.
“You didn’t see Aboriginal people working in the bank,” says Benson. “I didn’t perceive it to be my world.”
The key to his success? Financial expertise, which helps him track spending in areas that support diversity. Benson says maths helps him analyse and understand the data, showing how the business is performing and how people’s lives are impacted. Benson finds it incredibly rewarding using finance as “a tool to uplift and build capabilities in people.”
– Larissa Fedunik-Hofman