People are at the core of the leadership principles of Kelly Bayer Rosmarin, Chief Executive Officer at Optus. She believes that engaging with people and fostering a customer-centric culture have been key factors to success in their organisation.
“You can appreciate people – but are you willing to put the time and energy into actually changing people's behaviours?” she said.
“Our purpose is to power optimism with options. That really allows our people to unite behind a common goal,” she shared in an interview with the UNSW Business School.
Kelly has an extensive leadership background; among them, her milestones and multiple roles at the Commonwealth Bank of Australia.
She also served as special advisor to the Engineering Faculty of the University of New South Wales, the Fintech Group of Australia’s Fintech Group, and the Digital Group of the New South Wale government.
She became CEO of Optus in April 2020 – a particularly challenging time for any business leader because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
As a leader who can admit that she does not know all the solutions to every problem, Kelly knew that she had to listen to the wisdom of the people in crafting the company’s strategy.
If, for many leaders, the pandemic was a significant setback, Kelly saw this period as an opportunity to implement positive change towards a customer-centric model.
“We had to be very creative in how we pivoted to get through that. And a lot of that involved us taking the teams we had and cross-training them on new things,” she said.
“We decided to really accelerate that push and move straight into a team-of-experts model, and really bring forward that change by multiple years.”
Data-driven innovation for the people
What helped Kelly further drive positive change within Optus during a challenging period was technology and innovation, she said.
At the height of the pandemic, she noticed how more and more Australians were turning to technology for many aspects of their life which – only some months back – were not yet digitalised.
In response, Optus turned to data to help them reach and identify the kind of support they need to provide for the people.
“We’re all about analysing customers trends so we can understand lifestyle shifts and explore new ways to provide our customers with service and offerings that meet and anticipate their needs,” she said.
For Kelly, the way forward in the era of COVID and for years to come is digital, but that there must be an emphasis on care to avoid worsening the existing digital divide.
Technology and the pivot to digital, she added, will also be key to creating more diverse and inclusive workspaces not just in Australia, but also around the world.