RSM Australia

International Women's Day 2019

We have some highly active and entrepreneurial women at RSM, the juggle also comprises another source of competition for their time.

International Women's Day

For most of us, the daily juggle is between managing priorities at work and taking care of the needs of our families. For some highly active and entrepreneurial women at RSM, the juggle also comprises another source of competition for their time – developing a passion project, talent or interest, outside of their chosen career path, an escape and source of happiness which puts them into a state of flow.

On International Women’s Day, we highlight the stories of six our fantastic females who are doing just this.  From running an online business for sewing patterns to selling art frames with positive messages at craft markets and teaching classical ballet, these inspirational stories may get you thinking differently about ways of spending your downtime.

Click on the below names to read their story! 

Brittany Pettitt 

International women's day
Senior Accountant in Business Advisory and high jumper

Libby Lechte

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Assistant Accountant and volunteer, CinefestOZ Film Festival

Anthea Christian

International women's day
Administrative Assistant and owner, Angel Lea Designs

Paula Murnane 

International women's day

Personal Assistant and pilates instructor

Margaret Taylor

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Senior Manager in Assurance & Advisory and ballet teacher

Meiy Cheng

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Design and Brand Coordinator and owner, Miss Sunshine Art

Brittany Pettitt 

Senior Accountant in Business Advisory and high jumper

When did you discover you had a passion and knack for high jumping?  International women's day

After my first high school athletics carnival. That was my first time jumping and learning how fun it is.

How do you manage your time?

I have to prioritise, there are only so many things you can squeeze into one day!

What are some lessons you’ve LEARNED ON the field, that have been helpful to managing and developing your career as an accountant? 

Resilience - learn from your experiences, especially setbacks or failures…and keep going! Hard work - always work to improve your skills. Hard work means more, it’s just a matter of time. And also preparation - it’s key whether it be for a competition or a client meeting. 

Image: Brittany Pettitt high jumping

Libby Lechte

Assistant Accountant and volunteer, CinefestOZ Film Festival

What led you to volunteer with CinefestOZ Film Festival? 

A close friend told me of her volunteering for this relevantly new local film festival. The festival was mostly run by the support of the local community and constantly looking for volunteers to help run the event. It was a great opportunity to meet new people (other volunteers) as well as actors, directors and scriptwriters of the films vying for the prizes on offer.  With its 11th year approaching, the event now includes WA’s South West region, a Perth launch, and was recently voted WA Tourism’s best in 2018 -

How long have you been doing it? libby-1.png

Each year volunteers receive a gold star for their berets for participating (received at the volunteer thank you function on the last evening). I first volunteered in 2010. Each year can be a different role and volunteering in different areas can provide some memorable experiences:

  • Films – hostess, ticketing and cleaning the venue
  • Industry events – setup, hostess and breakdown
  • Directors Lunch – setup, hostess and breakdown
  • Bars - service of alcohol at all the above
  • Driver – pickup or drop off of film guests at resort accommodation

How do you manage your time? libby2.jpg

Each year I volunteer at least three days/nights over the five days (Wed to Sun) and I like to attend one premier event! I either take annual leave for the day events or leave early on the weekday evening events.

What is the value in hosting a movie festival in a regional town like Busselton?  

Personally, I love meeting people and supporting the local community with volunteering. Last year we sponsored the 300 volunteer gift bags and I put these together with a flyer in the office. It gave great exposure for RSM to individuals and organisations involved and an opportunity to connect me personally with RSM as a team member.

Image 1: 2018 Director’s Lunch wearing seven stars with WA home grown actor, Myles Pollard and other volunteers.

Image 2: Libby dropping off our gift bags to a volunteer coordinator.

Anthea Christian

Administrative Assistant and owner, Angel Lea Designs

Tell us about your small business and what led you to start it.

My business is Angel Lea Designs, it is an online digital sewing pattern and applique store. You can check it out here.

Angel Lea Designs started off as a hobby in 2008 after my second child was born. I’ve always had an interest in sewing so started making children’s clothing and selling it online.

After selling my creations for a couple of years I realised that what I enjoyed the most was the design process rather than the repetitive sewing of items, so I decided to launch my own line of patterns.

My main focus is on designing stuffed animals however I don’t restrict myself to just that. If I get the urge to create something different, then I do. I have quite a range of different patterns from clothing and hats to bags and floor poufs.

I’ve had eight patterns published in craft magazines which has been great for business and getting my name out there. I was lucky in that the magazines approached me after seeing my products online. Two of my designs, for Homespun Magazine, were sole cover stars which was super exciting, and I received a lot of great feedback about them.

How do you manage your time between the business and work at RSM?anthea.jpg

I started at RSM in 2013 as a part-timer. By this time, I had built up quite a range of patterns and found I was able to manage my time quite well spending three days a week at RSM, and the other two, plus evenings and weekends, on my business.

All of my patterns are available in digital format so customers can jump on my website, purchase and download themselves without me having to lift a finger. I love this about it. However, I do like to add new patterns every now and again to keep things fresh and that process, from design to finished product, takes many hours of time and effort. There are also the daily tasks of checking and responding to customer emails and mailing any hard copy patterns that have been ordered.

I’m now working five days a week at RSM so don’t spend as much time on my business as before, but it is still ticking along nicely.

What are some lessons you’ve learnt managing and growing the business that have been helpful to your current role?

Running my own business has given me a better understanding of the business needs of our clients.

My business is run solely by myself, so I’ve had to learn better time management skills and have realised that for my business to grow my processes need to be efficient and streamlined.

I’ve learned to embrace and accept change. The online world is always evolving so we need to change too in order to keep up.

Finally, I’ve learned that good record keeping makes tax time a lot easier – for my accountant and myself!

Image: Anthea working in her house sewing office

Paula Murnane

Personal Assistant and pilates instructor


What sparked your interest in Pilates? 

Being physically active is an important part of who I am, I have always played sport, ran, gym and completed home workouts. I started pilates when I had my daughter Chloe, who was born with CP, which in turn would require me to maintain good core strength to lift her as she got older. I also practiced yoga however I found pilates is more for me as it focuses on flexibility, muscular strength and endurance.

What led to you to become professionally qualified in pilates? 

I set a goal last year, to do something for myself that I enjoyed, to work for myself and to help others, Pilates ticked all the boxes! A friend who is also qualified encouraged me to do it.  Pilates is something anyone of any age or any level of fitness can do and receive the many benefits both physically and mentally. I enjoy seeing clients achieve their personal goals and get stronger each week. 

How do you manage your time?

Balancing work, solo parenting, and instructing is challenging so at this point I teach one to two classes a week in a local park.  I also schedule in at least half an hour a day of some form of exercise for myself to keep my mind clear and focused.  Instructing also gives me the satisfaction of helping others to achieve that balance and 'good vibes' feeling. 

Image: Paula doing pilates

Margaret Taylor

Senior Manager in Assurance & Advisory and ballet teacher


When did you discover you had a passion for ballet?

I cannot exactly recall but I used to dance with my dad as a very little girl. He used to pick me up and twirl me around to the sublime music of the Romeo and Juliet overture by Tchaikovsky. My mum relented (after much nagging from me to take lessons) and I started ballet lessons at the late age of nine. I went on to complete all my exams in the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) and the Cecchetti methods and danced professionally for five years in a classical ballet company. I still love dance in every form and still do open class every Saturday (and whenever else I am able to).

How do you manage your time between your audit clients and teaching ballet? 

On Tuesdays, I teach classical ballet for a full day to students who wish to dance professionally. I try and get some RSM work done before I start teaching and I finish off what I have not done on Tuesday evenings. Most of my clients are aware of my passion for ballet, and they find it interesting and support me by being very understanding and not demanding my time on Tuesdays. My audit partners and audit team are equally supportive of my Tuesday ballet day.

What are some lessons you’ve learned on the dance floor, that have been helpful in managing and developing your career as an auditor?

Certainly resilience as you never give up, and always keep trying. You always have another go at perfection. Auditing can present some tricky issues which are not resolved at the first attempt, resilience to keep on at it until an issue is satisfactorily resolved.

Self-belief is essential for if you do not believe in yourself nobody else will. This follows through to the corporate world as well.

Team work in a corps des ballet is fundamental. You certainly do not want to be the weak link in the chain or the dancer that moved at the wrong moment and ruined the illusion, the musicality or the line. That very much is what we do as an audit team we work together and everyone in the team has their role to fulfill in creating that perfect audit file! Funnily the auditors always move as one….we go together to get coffee, get lunch or leave together at the end of the day.

Technical perfection is insufficient without the soul that goes with it. Similarly during times in audit, one has to look past the purely technical and see the logical application of the standards to make the financial statements understandable.

A dancer tells a story and you use your body to tell the story to the audience. Financial statements also tell a story and the numbers that we audit behind the financials is what makes the story true.

Dealing with difficult people was common as dancers can be very egocentric and management in dance companies are not kind. This is also very true of the corporate world where personalities of clients can be tricky to manage. I always say to my staff that the client cannot possibly intimidate or scare me as I worked in a ballet company!

Keep dancing until the music stops and always end well, and enjoy the curtain calls as they are the ultimate accolade.  In the corporate world, you also always aim to leave an excellent impression so that your client wants you to come back for more.

A sense of the dramatic and certainly a sense of humour are virtues which a dancer will draw upon often in their career, similarly a sense of the dramatic when conveying information to clients and getting them to give you their undivided attention can be very useful. Always maintain your sense of humour and find the fun and enjoyable aspects of the work place.

Image: Margaret at ballet with an RSM branded notebook

Meiy Cheng

Design and Brand Coordinator and owner, Miss Sunshine Art 


How was this passion project borne?

I was at a point in my life where I wondered if there’s something 'more' than the mundane duties of a working mum and wife. I started exploring new hobbies and decided on learning to draw, which became art therapy for me. Eventually, I ended up creating conceptual illustration art frames with empowering messages and called the business Miss Sunshine Art, hoping to bring positivity and sunshine to each individual who gets their hands on them. 

What are some lessons you’ve learned about running a mini-business that you didn’t anticipate?

I started off creating each art frame as gifts for close friends and colleagues, using the best materials and spending a lot of time on each product. But when I started my online business and being a stall holder at craft markets, I realised I had to change my working style and do more research on material costs and better processes in order to make business sense for each sale. 

How do you manage your time? meiy2.jpg

I spent the early weeks of learning to draw and developing the product concept doodling during lunch breaks at work and at nights after putting the kids to bed. When I started my online business and craft markets I would spend nights, weekends and holidays making the orders and preparing stock. 

What are your future plans for the business?

At the moment I’m happy with my Etsy online shop, social media promotions, and bi-monthly craft markets. But there are intentions to partner with not-for-profit organisations and putting my products in retail stores. However, I am careful not to deviate too far from the fact that this is ultimately a sacred passion project and a creative outlet for me. 

Etsy online shoP >>

FacebooK >>

InstagraM >>

Image 1: Meiy with her designs at one of the markets she has sold her products at

Image 2: Some of Meiy's designs