Zoe Piper has over 16 years' experience across management consulting, technology, manufacturing and investment. She has a strong interest in cross-sector interaction and is actively engaged in a range of roles and appointments. Alumni Relations recently caught up with Zoe to talk about her career.
What's keeping you busy?
I'm currently completing a PhD in Public Policy at the Crawford School (after completing a Master of Management at ANU in 2004). My research is focused on cross-sector collaboration, looking at how industry, academia and government interact with each other.
Tell us about your career?
I've had a fairly diverse career, starting out in IT, then private equity, procurement, manufacturing, security risk management, and business productivity. I've worked full time since the day I left high school (and have managed to fit in a fair bit of full time study around that!). I always knew that I wanted to be involved in a range of different things, and having my own businesses was always going to be part of that.
Delmata is the company I started to invest in different assets (including real estate and business opportunities), Allaran is my consulting business, and Ecolour is the paint manufacturing business I co-founded back in 2009. I knew nothing about paint when I started, but I recognised that there had to be great opportunities for a superior product that could be offered at the same price as the established major brands. It's great to be a part of a company that is actively helping to clean up indoor air quality and make a difference to peoples' health. We are just now getting to an exciting point in the business where the growing demand is enabling us to significantly expand nationally and internationally. Recently I was on stage in New York presenting the Ecolour story at the Shared Value Leadership Summit in New York.
What about your plans for the future?
In terms of future plans, I hope to keep doing more of the same, but on a bigger scale. We are just in the process of securing additional capital investment for Ecolour to support our expansion plans. I also want to continue to operate at the intersection between industry, academia and government, helping to facilitate connections and productive collaborations. I really enjoy helping businesses to grow so consulting will always be part of what I do. At the moment I'm providing advice to the International Research Centre for Healthy Ageing and Longevity (IRCHAL) on a fantastic project they have underway that is aiming to put Australia at the forefront of evidenced based wellness (and generate inbound medical tourism for the country). Moving forward I'd like to secure directorships, and find additional businesses to invest into. I also hope the future brings more speaking and publishing opportunities as I prepare to share my research findings over the coming years.
The key advice I would offer to those in the early stages of their careers is to never doubt yourself. Your experience and skills are probably more valuable than you realise. For those still at university I'd also say don't wait until you graduate to build your connections and experience in business/government. Take every opportunity you can to develop practical experience along the way, and get engaged in as many different extracurricular activities as possible. ANU offers plenty of opportunities for this, but it is also worth looking at the value that organisations like the Australian Institute of Management (AIM) can provide through networking and professional development.