Latest Products

Take Control of Your Own Career

Tuesday 6 March 2018

Interview with Susan Cretan 

The theme for this year’s International Women’s Day is Press for Progress.

GRC Professional took the opportunity to catch up with one of those pressing for progress—both for GRC professionals and for professional women in general—GRCI’s own Director, Susan Cretan.

Cretan has worked across a range of sectors, from financial services, to regulation, to education. Currently, Susan is the Director of Integrity, Legal and Risk at Flinders University.

Your background has been varied, from financial services to education. How have you handled your professional development?
My approach hasn’t changed that much. I have always believed it is my responsibility to push for my own professional development, rather than relying on my employer to initiate it. Also, when I say professional development, I am not just referring to formal training or courses, but also to taking opportunities to be exposed to different business units wherever I have worked, and to keeping myself open to potential development opportunities.


What have been some of the key moments on your journey to where you are now?
A key moment for me was going back to study as a mature student, since I had not done any tertiary education until that time.

Completing a law degree after my many years at the National Australia Bank was pivotal thing for me, and for my own professional development. It created a lot of opportunities to move into other roles and other sectors.

It was that degree got me into compliance, and subsequently into risk, so that would be the key thing, if I look at my career today.


Looking back, is there anything you would have done differently?
If you are talking education, then ideally I would have started earlier. At the time, however, it didn’t suit me from a personal perspective. I started working for the National Australian Bank when I was quite young—I was 16!—and I worked there for 18 years. After that, I took five years out of the work force for full-time study while my daughter was young.  I returned to work as a graduate lawyer when she started school.


As mature student, I can imagine you probably took your studies little more seriously than you would have when you were younger?
Absolutely! I really loved it, and enjoyed my time studying.


The International Women’s Day theme for this year is ‘Press for Progress’. What does that mean to you?
It means we are not there yet. There is still a long way to go to achieve gender parity in the work place, and so there is still progress to be made.


Any advice for young, professional women in the workforce?
A couple of things: don’t expect a linear progression in your career; be prepared to do things you didn’t think you would do. Be prepared to grab those opportunities as they arise.

Now that I’m approaching my mid 50’s I’d also say to consider making extra contributions to your superannuation from the outset of your career.  It doesn’t have to be much, but you won’t miss it once you start.  Take responsibility for your financial independence.


Susan Cretan, Director of Integrity, Legal and Risk at Flinders University