Four of Matthews Steer’s shining stars have been recognised for their exemplary achievements during the COVID-19 crisis, Judith Nguyen, Belinda Torr, Joseph Seneca and Amanda Marianayagam earning promotions in what is the toughest economic climate Australia has experienced in decades
Managing Partner Ken Matthews said that while Matthews Steer’s executive team can’t avoid the uncertainty of COVID-19, they are committed to investing in their business and their people, and they’re proud of the degree to which they’ve been able to support their staff and protect the continuity of service to clients.
“Back in April I told the staff: ‘we’re going to continue to invest in our business and our people. We're going to run lean, but no one will be left behind in this pandemic,’ and I'm so proud of how the team responded,” said Matthews.
Amanda Marianayagam (Team Leader, Administration)
Previously a Senior Client Services Administrator, Marianayagam joined Matthews Steer in 2011, and stepped up to fulfill an additional role when a colleague left at the start of the year. One of the firm’s quiet achievers, she says Matthews Steer’s corporate structure had benefitted her career progression.
“If you asked me nine years ago, I would never have thought I’d be where I am today,” said Marianayagam. Matthews Steer isn’t a small firm, and it’s not big firm, but its big enough to give you the freedom to design your own role. Along the way I’ve expressed interest in things I've enjoyed doing like project work, database management, IT, and the finance side of things, and they’ve allowed me to run with it and grow in my role.
“The business is very open to new suggestions or ideas to help us work more efficiently. I’ve never been pigeonholed in the admin box here.”
Belinda Torr (Supervisor)
Torr has been systematically working towards levelling up during her monthly professional development coaching sessions with her manager Matt Caruso, ensuring she mastered all the competencies she needed to become a supervisor.
“To be honest, the assurances we were given by Ken and Catherine around job security were good enough for me,” said Torr. “By recognising some of us for our efforts in the current economic climate they’ve gone above and beyond.”
Matthews Steer’s 2019 Employee of the Year, 27-year-old Torr, says the promotions have been important to the firm culturally, representing a significant motivator for her and the rest of the team, and providing a living example of the firm’s purpose: ‘Empowering our communities to live their potential’.
“I really take my hat off to everyone for how they’ve managed the COVID-19 situation,” said Torr. “Right from day dot the communication from the executive and throughout the whole team has been nothing short of great. They’ve made it clear that staff and clients are their top priority, so we've all got that mindset. Matthews Steer has always been a business that ‘walks the talk’.”
Joseph Seneca (Manager)
Seneca joined Matthews Steer 12 months ago and his manager, Nidal Mazloum, said he made an almost instant impression on the firm.
“I remember sitting in Joseph’s one-month review and his exact words were: ‘I need you guys to let me show you what I can do,’” said Mazloum. “The most difficult thing about recruiting senior people is that they can come with baggage, bad habits, or they’re resistant to change and used to doing things in certain ways.
“Joseph didn’t have any of that. He embraced our culture and how we managed our people and the way we run our business; he had the right energy from the start. He respects the people around him, he’s technically great, and he’s shown all the attributes to go far in his career.”
Seneca said the promotions were an affirmation for everyone on the Matthews Steer team, not just the recipients. “It's a tough because no one's been in this position before,” he said. “In the past it was almost the norm to progress up the ranks if you put the work in, with nothing really standing in your way. But when something like COVID-19 comes about there’s a lot of uncertainty about job security, let alone career progression.
“It’s a testament to how Matthews Steer runs its business that they haven’t put a halt on everything, and that we’re able to continue growing and moving forward.”
Judith Nguyen (Senior Accountant)
Nguyen joined Matthews Steer 18 months ago, attracted by the corporate culture and professional development opportunities.
“I was at a very small firm previously and I felt like I wasn't getting enough technical training, and that I wasn’t progressing,” she said. “Matthews Steer felt like a really good culture fit and the level of training and effort they put into their employees was a massive selling point. It’s a progressive firm that’s always trying to find innovative ways of doing things and it’s also great socially, with firm-wide activities, and a mix of older and young people.”
Nguyen said the timing of her promotion was unexpected. “All you hear is bad news so it's definitely great that the business takes an interest, looks after their employees and recognises the work that everyone puts in.”
Managing Partner Matthews said the business is determined to navigate the difficult waters of COVID-19. “We can't control the instability that's out there, but we can continue to support our people, our clients and our alliance partners,” said Matthews.
“We’re continually investing in future of firm, and we’re doing everything we can to attract and retain the best people. Absolutely these promotions go against the current trend in the accounting industry, but Amanda, Judith, Joseph and Belinda deserve to be promoted. They worked really hard in tough conditions and we wanted to reward them for that.“