VICKI HARTLEY | Deputy Chair of Dress for Success Sydney


Vicki is a Non-Executive Director in the not for profit space, she currently sits on the Board of Domestic Violence Service Management Limited, Bondi Beach Cottage and Dress for Success Sydney, in addition she is a member of the Finance and Investment Advisory Committee for Western Sydney University. In her prior Executive roles, Vicki has over 25 years of financial services experience and most recently was CFO of Lendi, Australia’s fastest growing fintech.

LinkedIn Profile

1          Your story? 

I grew up in a working-class family in the middle of England, I was the first person in my family to be able to go to University and I will always be incredibly grateful to my parents that they went without in order to send me because that has given we some amazing opportunities and allowed me to be ‘portable’ around the world.  Since leaving University I worked in Accountancy, banking and financial services –all male dominated industries, I began achieving great success becoming the youngest and only female in many meetings and positions.  As a result, I became a role model for the women coming behind me, not something I took lightly as I was breaking new ground at a time when diversity and equally were not something management and boards were held accountable for. I feel like I am still doing this today in my work as a Non-Executive Director in 3 not for profits working to support and assist women.

2          Best advice? 

Take a leap of faith and jump into new opportunities before you think you are ready. This is something I have applied repeatedly in my life with positive results – for example deciding to come to Australia, accepting senior roles in corporates and then more recently moving into Non-Executive roles in the not for profit space.  Most recently I have put my hand-up to be the acting CEO of Dress for Success Sydney. 

3          What happened that steered you to success? 

I developed a high degree of resilience from moving around when I was younger, this meant that despite being an introvert I was forced to socialise and adapt to new schools, towns, accents and friends.  This resilience encouraged me to keep trying when other people expressed about my ability – you could also call this stubbornness.

4          Best personal development tool to help you through challenges?  

Realising that other people (women) also suffer from the imposter syndrome was a light bulb moment for me…… The other tool I use if when as an introvert I get nervous about public speaking I use a tool my husband taught me of shape shifting into someone who I admire as an orator.

5          What is the issue with society today? 

The way we are letting technology take over our world.  Everyone nose down in their devices, all the time, I think it is killing the art of conversation and shortening every ones concentration times.

6          Teach me something I don’t know 

If one million women bought their next price of clothing secondhand instead of new, we would save 6 million kg of carbon pollution from entering the atmosphere.

7         Biggest shift in your life and why? 

First is my move from London to Sydney in 2000 – the move from the investment banking world of the city of London to our amazing harbour city that felt like home from the minute I saw the harbour bridge out of the window of a plane.  I didn’t know anyone here but I wanted to change my life as I couldn’t see myself as one of the masses of accountants sitting in rows like battery hens, I wanted more, to see the sunshine and live by the sea.

More recently, I have decided to use my skills to help others, I want everyone to have dignity in their lives, with my work at Dress for Success Sydney I feel like I am making a real difference to the lives of women and their families if we can get them back into the workforce, that is what I want my legacy to be.


(Watch interview for full answers)