Under the Spotlight: Beth Lawson

Beth Lawson, General Manager of Finance at National Australia Bank, is passionate about making a difference through leadership and people – focussing on the possibilities and making them happen. She shares with us, her experience as an actuary as well as some other interesting facts such as how she received an Olympic medal.

My interesting/quirky hobbies…I enjoy singing and try to perform at least once a year. And I recently have taken up Argentian Tango – Tango is the poetic revealing of the soul through movement, meditation.

Beth and her friend Michelle after completing the City2Surf
Beth and her friend Michelle after completing the City2Surf

My favourite energetic pursuit… walking my dog, yoga and now running – I’ve been thinking of doing the City2Surf for the 25 years I’ve been in Australia and finally did it!

The sport I most like to watch… if my kids are playing – AFL, Basketball, Netball but if my kids aren’t playing then rugby and NFL.

The last book I read (and when)… I’m in a non-fiction book club. We last read “Nothing to Envy: Love, Life and Death in North Korea”.

My favourite artist/album/film… My Cousin Vinny with Joe Pesci and Marisa Tomeii.

What gets my goat… apathy and someone staying silent when they disagree with what is being said.

Not many people know this but I… have an Olympic medal from the last Olympics in Los Angeles. I performed at the opening ceremony as part of the Olympic drill team and received a medal!

Four words that sum me up… passionate, caring, dedicated, musical.

If I hadn’t become an actuary, I would be… a teacher.

My work history… I worked for a life reinsurer for 10 years then moved to the NAB where I’ve had a number of roles – a few actuarial manager roles then moved into transformation where I have developed many important skills (important, not soft) and for the last five years into general management as General Manager, Finance.

What I find most interesting about my current role… I’ve had the opportunity to be involved in many different aspects of the construction of the 80% sale of the life company from NAB to Nippon – negotiating agreements, setting up the new Finance team and working with multiple stakeholders to ensure everyone knows how things will work when the agreement is completed later this year.

My role’s greatest challenges… Keeping everyone focussed on the most important deliverables – it’s too easy to get distracted by minor issues or “noise”.

Who has been the biggest influence on my career (and why)… I feel like I’ve learned from everyone I’ve worked with, both those I’ve reported to and those who have reported to me.

My proudest career achievement to date is … developed a high performance finance team culture through a focus on leadership and people that moved the team in leaps and bounds – doubling engagement on the brink of high performing and nearly doubling the business excellence score – also getting close to high performing.


If I won the lottery, I would… spend more time in the charity I’m a director of – Life Changing Experiences Foundation that runs a wonderful program called Sister 2 Sister which gives at risk teenage girls life skills and mentors to show them a different path.

Contact Beth: Beth.Lawson@nab.com.au

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