Johanne Parniczky


Opening the door to new career opportunities

For the first 25 years of her career, Johanne Parniczky was in aviation. First as a flight instructor, then as a commercial airline pilot. Today she is a Change Director working on one of Westpac’s biggest technology infrastructure programs.

“Being an airline pilot and working in technology may at first seem worlds apart, but in fact it’s surprising just how transferrable skills between industries can be,” says Johanne.

According to research published by the Foundation for Young Australians in The New Work Mindset, today’s 15-year-olds will likely navigate 17 changes in employer across five different careers. At Westpac we recognise that careers are changing and we are supporting our people to keep developing their skills and to take a broader view of how experience and skills gained in one area can bring fresh perspective and innovation when applied to different roles.

As a flight instructor Johanne became very interested in ‘human factors’ – the science around understanding how humans respond to events and make decisions and how this can be used to improve processes and systems. In aviation the focus was on operational performance and safety, however this way of thinking can be applied to any industry.

“Technology is all about helping people – finding ways to make things better, simpler, easier, faster,” says Johanne.

Westpac employee Johanne Parniczky has transferred her skills and is helping drive the digital revolution.

With the program Johanne is currently working on – migrating all Westpac employees from various IT operating systems to one standardised platform, this is particularly relevant. “There’s a huge opportunity to bridge the gap between unmet needs and technology - making sure we’re designing solutions with the customer in mind,” says Johanne.

Why the career change? “I don’t see it as a career change. I see it as a very natural evolution,” says Johanne.“I’ve now built a diverse team from many different backgrounds and sectors and many have gone on to build a flourishing career in technology. I couldn’t be more proud.”

Johanne Parniczky

“For me the financial services sector was very appealing as banks are driving some of the most innovative technology change programs and are really setting the agenda in change management practices.”

“There are so many different career paths available in technology. Obviously there are very technical roles which can scare people, especially women, but in reality there’re all kinds of opportunities.”

“I’ve now built a diverse team from many different backgrounds and sectors and many have gone on to build a flourishing career in technology. I couldn’t be more proud.”

Johanne is a great advocate for continuous learning. Having completed her MBA last year, she’s always reading and takes advantage of the learning programs available through Westpac. “We’re very fortunate to have LearningBank, an online learning portal through which employees have access to literally thousands of online courses, learning modules and articles. I’m forever exploring new content.”

With a young son, Johanne also likes the ability to work flexibly. “I work full time, however my husband is a pilot and is away every second week so on those weeks I plan my work around school drop-offs and pick-ups and I work from home one day that week. I’ve set up a great home office and find this really works for me and my family.”

The office of the lady typewriters at the Bank of New South Wales head office, 341 George Street, Sydney, circa 1900.
In 1898, 16-year-old Tennyson Beatrice Miller and 40-year-old Edith Lamb became the Bank’s first female employees. Employed as ‘lady typewriters’, they had an office separate from the rest of the premises and were not to be seen or heard. In a letter to management in 1907, to prove their worth, Edith described the work as ‘distinctly stultifying’ and they were eventually given more challenging tasks.



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