Life beyond Radford

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Last updated 17.05.2018

Amanda Descoeudres ( Millar )

Class of 1988
OCCUPATION Group Financial Controller
Lives Sydney, Australia
Attendance at radford Years 8-12
House Kurrajong
Work history
  • Group Financial Controller, Origin Energy Ltd, 2012-Present
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What does life look for you now?

I live in Sydney with my husband and two children. Like many mums and dads we juggle our work and home lives and most days manage to keep all the balls in the air!

Tell us what you are passionate about?

We love to travel as a family and have been fortunate to visit some amazing places together. I love music (playing and listening) and books. In my work I love leading teams and solving problems. I am committed to working for a more diverse and equitable workplace for all. My experience is that, despite all the talk surrounding diversity, we still have a long way to go to achieve a truly equitable work culture here in Australia.

When you were young, what were you hoping to be when you grew up?

An archaeologist! I have always loved history - something which started when I lived in the UK for two years when I was 11 years old and continued through Mrs Rasmussen's history classes at Radford.

What is your favourite Radford moment?

Getting enrolled - I remember my parents telling my sister and I that they were trying to enrol us in a new school in Canberra. At the time we were living in the UK and it was mid 1983. There was little hope that there would still be places available but they decided to write to Mr Mackinnon to ask. Somehow we managed to get spots and it is a bit of a family joke that perhaps the enrolment officer thought we were somehow related to Dr TB Millar......(we are not!).

There were lots of other moments but mostly I remember the fantastic group of people that I got to go to school with.

Do you have a particular role model or inspirational figure from Radford or now?

Mr O'Reagan for his sense of humour, Mrs Rasmussen for her love of history, Mr Rose for instilling in me a love of poetry and modern plays (something I never thought I would enjoy!) - all truly inspiring teachers.

How easy was it to decide what to do in life?

Very difficult - I found a letter the other day that I wrote at the end of Year 11 in 1987. It was an application for my GAP year and it said that I intended to study history. I did some kind of career aptitude testing at the beginning of Year 12 and it said I should go into hospitality. After much debate I applied for Commerce and Asian Studies after which I fell into a graduate roll with Deloitte and really enjoyed the people side of the job. After I qualified I moved to the UK and stumbled upon merger and acquisition work - loved it and worked in this area for 13 years. After this I needed a change and moved into commerce where I have more recently worked through a number of different roles. What I know now is that I love solving problems and managing teams. I really believe that finding what you love to do is a process of elimination - which is still continuing for me today!

Did your further study or career go exactly as you'd planned?

Pretty much once I had decided what to do the study part went to plan! I would say that the career part has been more of a rollercoaster - I don't think these things can be planned. There are so many factors which are out of your control, the key is being able to be flexible and resilient.

What do you know now, that you wish you'd known when you were at Radford?

That the feedback you receive at school doesn't always reflect your true potential - don't let anyone pigeonhole you - you have the potential to shape and reinvent yourself throughout your life.

What advice do you have for current students?

Find something to do that you enjoy!

Where are you now?