If you work in advertising, you’ve probably picked up the phone to hear your client blurt excitedly: ‘we’ve got a Canstar rating. Let’s make an ad!’ But behind all the awards buzz, Canstar’s online content is empowering everyday Australians to make informed financial decisions through free information, tools and resources. Driving it all is Nina Tovey, Canstar’s Editor-In-Chief.
With a Bachelor of Journalism and a Bachelor of Arts (with a double major in English Literature), Tovey has worn many hats from experienced presenter, YouTube host and agency Director to running PR for American Express. Mavens corresponded with the Brisbane-based mother of 2 for advice on career pivots, leadership and why a man is not a financial plan.
You worked in communications, PR and advertising before stepping into the role of Editor-in-Chief. What inspired you to ‘pivot’ into Editorial?
I previously spent a decade consulting in these areas, which involved juggling the needs of a number of clients at once. This experience made me a far stronger and more resilient leader. That said, I reached a point where I was ready to give my all to one business and see where I could take it. Growing your own small business is a unique experience and one I’m so glad I’ve had, but I did miss being a real part of a larger organisation where I could get stuck in and make a difference.
I also found as my career progressed I was leaning towards the area of content, and enjoyed applying my writing and communications background in a different way. So when the opportunity came up to lead the editorial team at Canstar, I jumped at it. This involved taking on the management of the SEO team, and I’ll always be grateful to have been given the opportunity to stretch in this way and learn about such a fascinating and dynamic area, and one that is integral to the success of our business.
What might a typical day look like for you, as head of the Canstar Editorial Team?
I have an incredible leadership team I’m so proud of, and a typical day would involve working closely with them to get clear on our content schedule, keeping the broader team engaged and thriving, while also driving hard-to-grow traffic to our site as much as possible.
What guides me daily is our mission – to help our readers make more informed financial decisions.
Every day I ask myself ‘how do we make our existing content even better and more relevant?’ And ‘what will people be looking for help with from a finance perspective, both today and into the near future?’ I also work closely with the leaders of our corporate affairs and marketing teams every day to ensure we work seamlessly to grow traffic to our site and boost brand awareness.
It’s a very busy role, and I find that exercise and making time to get enough sleep are essential to helping me perform at my best. So on any given day I’ll be making time for hill walks, reformer or dance classes, and making sure (mostly) that I switch off for the day before 10pm. Because who doesn’t work at their best after a good 8 hours sleep? I also find it is important for my role to read as widely as possible; to keep on top of what is happening in our industry, in the world of SEO and also to come up with new story ideas.
Right now, women over 45 are the fastest growing homeless group in the country and the national gender pay gap is 13.4%. What should Australians be doing now to create financial independence for women?
We know that housing and rental affordability is a serious issue that has been exacerbated by the pandemic, and this is hitting a large number of older female Australians. We need to see meaningful change in this area, and sadly with stagnant wage growth and the general state of the market this won’t be a quick or an easy fix.
I’ve always really resonated with the saying ‘a man is not a financial plan’. We should encourage and support women to fight to be in a position to support themselves and their families, come what may.
We should raise our daughters to back themselves and teach others their worth – whether this means having the confidence to negotiate fair pay and actively manage their careers, starting to save and invest early, and appreciating the joy of spending mindfully as well as watching that nest egg grow.
It all comes back to financial literacy and one of the biggest hurdles can be knowing where to start. Luckily there are so many reputable and free financial resources available today, and Canstar.com.au is a great option that offers information, guides, tools, newsletters and allows you to compare finance products to help people find the right option for them.
How would you describe your leadership style?
Our senior management team just completed leadership training with Hindsight Leadership and they described me as ‘collaborative and pace-setting’, which I think hits the nail on the head. I’ve hired phenomenal people for a reason and I want to hear their ideas, insights and their frustrations too, and work together to drive the team forward. I always say our team is at its best when we are all pulling in the same direction, and firmly ‘on the bus.’ So it’s my job to keep us there.
The pace-setting part of my style is about setting high performance standards for myself and the team. This is essential when working in a growth company, and it needs to be balanced out with taking good care of our people.
As a mother yourself, what do you think Australian workplaces should be doing to retain and attract great female talent?
I have chosen to work for an organisation with excellent female representation at senior management, executive and board level.
We know diverse teams are the most resilient and efficient, and this needs to start at the top.
It’s incredibly powerful to be able to see how the women that have gone before you have risen through the ranks because they deserve to be there.
Equal pay, flexibility, and strong parental leave benefits are all so important in supporting female talent. For me the chance to work flexibly when I need it (so that I can be fully present for my kids) makes such a difference to my life and makes me a more rounded leader. Yet it’s also the everyday gestures that can make such a difference in championing top talent. This could be backing someone by giving them the opportunity to lead a high visibility project, taking an up-and-comer out for a coffee or a simple ‘thank you’ email to a superstar (don’t forget to copy in their boss) to acknowledge them for pushing so hard. I find these types of actions can be the most personal, and most meaningful, to top performers.
Lastly, who is your favourite female role model?
Journalist, author and activist Sarah Wilson is someone I’ve looked to for inspiration over the last decade. I love the fearless way she chases meaning in her life, how she’s helped normalise (and even celebrate) anxiety. And, more recently how she’s committed her energies to helping fight climate change – she’s such a free spirit. I admire her bravery and how, as a creative, she’s used her skills and strong voice to speak up and fight for change even when she’s pushing into uncomfortable areas. She’s a real guiding force in my life.