Alumni Story: Kellie’s Journey from Banking to Business Partnership

To celebrate 20 years of empowering leaders, we're showcasing success stories from past participants in our women's leadership programs. Kellie shares the transformative impact of her participation in a Women & Leadership Australia program.
Kellie Crocker
Women & Leadership Australia
3 mins

In the competitive world of finance, Kellie Crocker’s journey from working in home loans at Westpac to becoming a Partner at RLA Finance is inspiring. In celebration of 20 years of supporting leaders in their professional development, we’re sharing success stories from previous participants of our women’s leadership programs. We hear from Kellie about the transformative impact of participating in a Women & Leadership Australia program in 2016.


"Anyone at any level should have a go because it'll increase your knowledge, it will increase your confidence. It'll take you to places you didn't think you could go. It’s there, you just need to tap into it." — Kellie Crocker on the impact of the Women & Leadership Australia program.

Toward new opportunities

Kellie’s career began in home loans at Westpac in New South Wales. Initially, Kellie found it difficult to advance in her career, particularly as a woman trying to enter the male-dominated commercial finance sector.
Seeking further opportunities, she moved to Queensland and got a job with Ralph Lawson and Associates (RLA) in 2000, starting out there as a Credit Analyst and quickly progressing to Senior Credit Analyst. Keen to continue her growth, Kellie still wanted more for her career.
Encouraged by her then manager, Mike Steel, Kellie applied for the Women & Leadership Australia and CAFBA Scholarship program in 2016.

Women & Leadership Australia and CAFBA have enjoyed a long-term partnership providing scholarship opportunities to women in the commercial finance space over many years. More details here:

“Mike saw something in me that needed to be elevated, to give me confidence and something to work towards…I thought [the course] looked fantastic so I signed up straight away,” said Kellie.

Motivated by a desire to effectively lead her small team Kellie saw the program as a beacon of opportunity in steering her career toward broader leadership responsibilities.

The Program Experience

Kellie was accepted into a comprehensive program providing the skills, behaviours, and mindsets needed to advance into senior roles. Kellie praised the program’s facilitator, highlighting the comfort and confidence built among the women participants, empowering them to share ideas openly.
Kellie particularly recalls the ‘People Styles’ model which explores how people perceive and process information. 6 years on, this still helps Kellie to navigate the diverse personalities of those she works with.

“….[the program] was about leadership, how we see things and … females see things differently. We felt that we could open up with each other. When women get together we feel comfortable to come up with wonderful thoughts and ideas.”

Building Confidence: Dismantling Imposter Syndrome

Living in a regional area, Kellie stresses the importance of online programs like our individual courses, which make connections and insights accessible to participants all over Australia. The unique challenges of regional finance professionals make such programs essential for growth and understanding.

For Kellie, the course instilled the confidence she needed to break traditional barriers in the finance sector.

“I remember going to a conference in Brisbane with one of the lenders and walking into a room full of men, I was the only female. I knew some of them so it didn’t worry me. And that’s the point; it didn’t worry me. I was going in there happy to put my hand up and be part of conversations in that room,” she reflects.

Following the program, Kellie achieved a significant milestone – becoming a partner at RLA Finance. She credits the program for helping her overcome internal apprehension and imposter syndrome, to truly see herself in a leadership position.


I remember signing the contract and I was still shaking. I knew it was the right thing to do for my career, even though it was a frightening task to take on. Whereas I suppose some people would be excited about it, I think I still had that internal apprehension and imposter syndrome, but I’m really enjoying the step up since taking it on.

Looking to the future

Balancing family, work, and personal development has presented its challenges over the years. However, despite life’s complexities, Kellie remains committed to ongoing growth and development.
For aspiring leaders at any career level, the advice is straightforward: do not second-guess the decision to undertake a leadership course. Kellie emphasises the tangible, long-term benefits that extend beyond individual growth to career opportunities that positively impact businesses.

“It’s not one of those 40 minute courses. This is real development. It’s personal growth for yourself, and it’s going to benefit your business as well.”

Kellie’s story is a testament to the potential within every leader, waiting to be unlocked through tailored professional development. Discover our courses today.