Meet Caroline Lovell, Chief Regulatory Officer at nbn.
An exciting career journey
"I joined nbn in July 2010 from Clayton Utz, where I was the joint head of the firm’s Telecoms Media & Technology practice," explains Caroline. "I’ve had a number of job titles at nbn and have experienced a number of moves around the company as it has grown and developed but essentially the role has been to create and manage nbn’s regulatory strategy and team. As a wholesale-only, open access and non-discriminatory operator created in large part to solve industry competition issues, nbn is heavily regulated.
"My team’s purpose is to continue to shape nbn’s regulatory environment to maximise the value of the company as it delivers on its objectives. We pursue regulatory certainty, where that is desirable, and preserve commercial and operational flexibility wherever possible."
Big opportunities and challenges
To date Caroline has expereinced many amazing opportunities that have provided her with rewarding and intellectually stimulating work. During her career, whenever she got to the point where her role was beginning to feel repetitive, she would find a new door to open up. The most significant of these has undoubtedly been the opportunity to work at nbn, including experiencing the company’s journey from a relatively small start-up to the more mature organisation it is today.
Working at nbn has been both more fascinating and more challenging than Caroline had anticipated. In retrospect, she says that she probably under-estimated the differences between a private sector professional services firm and a corporate environment like nbn, where there are people from many different disciplines and backgrounds working together.
"By comparison, a law firm is more homogenous, and its organisational structure much simpler," comments Caroline. "A times, it has been challenging to formulate and pursue a regulatory strategy during periods of uncertainty surrounding the company’s strategy and priorities and because there's inevitably tension between the Government’s role as shareholder and the Government objective of industry policy reform."
Caroline believes that it has been a great privilege to build a fantastic regulatory team of diverse individuals with a range of complementary and deep technical skills.
Achieving work-life balance
"You need to take some calculated risks and be a bit fearless," says Caroline. "All of my major career steps involved taking a really deep breath and just giving it a go, while telling myself that the relevant decision wasn’t irrevocable if it all went pear-shaped. And don’t be afraid to ask for help or guidance as it’s amazing how much you can learn by observing others and trying to work out where other people are coming from - why do they do the things they do and what drives them?"
Caroline believes that work life balance is a bit of a misnomer if it’s intended to mean something static because it’s a constant recalibration exercise. "You have to do what works for you and your family circumstances, and that may vary at different points in time," says Caroline. "And diversity is fundamental to any organisation that wishes to fulfil its potential. Why wouldn’t an organisation want to make sure it could leverage all possible skills and perspectives, rather than just a subset of those available? Given its mandate and the amount of tax payer funding it has and will receive, this is obviously an important objective for nbn. Diversity, including gender diversity, helps an organisation to make better decisions, and find creative ways of solving complex challenges," she reflects.
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