Nowadays, more than at any other time, it’s become crucial for women to be knowledgeable in financial literacy. Caterina Nesci is the Director of ESG and International Partnerships for La Trobe Financial – as well as the head of the company’s Charitable Foundation – and she’s also a judge for the Australian Women’s Weekly Women of the Future Awards. In all of these roles, she’s had a great deal to do with encouraging women to be financially literate because this is a key part of La Trobe Financial’s overall philosophy.
The Carousel’s publisher and InProfile CEO Robyn Foyster asked Nesci what inspired both her and La Trobe Financial to back the cause of women’s financial literacy to such a high degree? Nesci said financial literacy in general is one of La Trobe Financial’s key objectives – and it was a major motivation behind becoming a sponsor for the Australian Women’s Weekly Women of the Future Awards.
“When Nicole Byers contacted La Trobe Financial and invited us to be a sponsor for these emerging women of the future, we were thrilled because this campaign is in line with our values and it’s one of those projects that will enable us to make a difference to people’s lives,” said Nesci.
Obviously you’re going to be judging these incredible women, what sort of support do the women get for being part of the awards?
I understand they’re going to be able to win a number of prizes worth $100,000. We’re also offering $40,000 in our credit fund and this could be awarded to an invention or go to a special charity the women select.
That’s wonderful. Financial literacy is so important for women isn’t it?
Exactly, we’re helping the women to become more empowered and take control of their finances. I come from an Italian background so I learnt these lessons early on in life because at the age of 18, I had to get a mortgage. I wanted a fancy car like an Alfa Romeo but no, no, I had to get a mortgage.
So those learnings from a young age have helped me and I want to do the same for other women – and we at La Trobe Financial want to do the same – helping empower women.
Yes, one of the highest statistics for homelessness is women in their 50s and that’s a pretty shocking statistic isn’t it?
Absolutely, and it’s never too late to take charge of your finances. It’s just taking charge – investments don’t have to be complicated. There’s so much literature out there it’s just a matter of getting your hands on it and understanding it. It doesn’t have to be complicated.
Can you tell us more about your new role at La Trobe Financial?
In June 2010, I was appointed head of Marketing and my mandate was to build the brand and that was significant then because no one knew us, but we’ve been operating since 1952. So, roll the clock forward, and ten years later we have a brand – a strong brand – and people now know us.
Recently, I’ve been given the mandate to build our international partnerships and also our environmental, social and governance credentials – which is what people understand as ESG.
On top of all of that, I’m Head of Foundation which is all our philanthropy work.
It is so welcoming to hear that companies like La Trobe Financial are actually doing such great work – both in philanthropy and in supporting really good causes. It must be very rewarding being in that role Caterina?
It is quite rewarding. For example, to be able to deliver our financial literacy campaign for women, I’m using what I’ve learnt over the past 10 years and I’m able to give back to the community – give back to women what I’ve learnt and this is so rewarding.
Tell me a bit more about La Trobe Financial and what it does?
To date, we’ve donated or gifted 17 million from our Charitable Foundation since it was formed in 1978. The company itself was formed in 1952 on the principle of serving the under-served market with the philosophy of others before self. So that principle and the philosophy, over the generations – seven decades – has become our DNA, our values and our culture.
It’s also embedded in our foundation so it’s an integral part of the company.
La Trobe Foundation has donated money to many different causes and we have four key areas we donate to which include financial literacy, supporting Indigenous Australians, health and Life Sciences.
An example is when the COVID pandemic started last year, we donated a million dollars to our front-line workers for equipment and merchandise for their safety.
We also help out in times of hardship so we’ve had the bush fires and the floods and now the pandemic.
Caterina, I’m such a fan. I think what you’re doing is great and I only hope more companies follow suit and do what La Trobe Financial’s doing. It’s been wonderful having you live on InProfile.
Thank you Robyn, it’s been a pleasure too.
Now in its ninth year, the prestigious Australian Women’s Weekly Women of the Future Awards recognises and celebrates Australia’s incredible young female trailblazers with one very deserving winner announced at an Awards Luncheon later this year.
Entries are now closed for the 2021 Women of the Future Awards. For more details on how to enter next year, visit: nowtolove.com.au/womenofthefuture2021