Career Conversations with MWI: Suzie McInerney

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Welcome to another instalment of our new series, featuring Marketing Women talking about their careers.

Suzie McInerney’s career is anything but linear and we loved hearing about it! From marketer, to restauranteur to the CEO of Six Degrees Executive, Suzie discusses her career changes, entrepreneurial spirit and thirst for continuous learning. Find out who inspires Suzie, the importance of learning from experiences and how the benefits of mentoring can be felt long after the mentorship has occurred. 

Suzie, where do we begin? Let’s start with a snapshot of your career so far.    

After completing a Double Degree in Arts (Politics) and Marketing I set about pursuing a marketing career straight out of university. After eight years in a fast-growing toy company I landed as the GM Marketing for an ASX listed company at 30. While that was quite a ride, an opportunity fell in my lap to open a restaurant with friends and I had an entrepreneurial itch to scratch. Again, 4 crazy chaotic years later, a coveted Chef’s hat under our belt and more wrinkles and grey hair than I had anticipated, another career change was on the cards. I fell into the arms of Six Degrees and commenced my recruitment career – 10 years later and I am now the CEO of the national search business of 80 people. I am loving every challenge it is throwing at me.

Wow, that is quite the ride. Have mentors played a role in your career?

Personally, I think mentorship is critical for every person – professional and in life.  I have had (and still have) many mentors, some of whom I didn’t realise had played that role until long after the mentorship occurred. I recently reached out to one of my first bosses and thanked him for being so influential early in my career. He shaped my leadership style in a really significant way – not so much because he was my boss per se – but more because he always slowed down and took time to counsel, advise, explain and scaffold my thinking at such a foundational time in my career.

I love that you thanked one of your first bosses. Sometimes we can overlook the important role that mentors played in the early stages of our career. You’ve inspired me to reach out to one of my previous bosses who helped shape my growth! Are you involved with any mentorship programs?   

More recently I have been really motivated to give back. I have joined the Mentor Walks NFP organization, am doing what I can to support MWI, and have taken on some industry mentors in recruitment. It is just as enriching being the mentor as it is being the Mentee (which I also still am in many cases). At Six Degrees, we launched a Mentor program and it is an amazing way to leverage the talent we have in the business and connect people from different States and business units to learn from each other.

Do you look to others for inspiration?

I am inspired by the authentic and down to earth leadership style of Jacinda Ardern, by the fortitude and steely resolve of Julia Gillard and by the temperament and sporting genius of Roger Federer. Turia Pitt is also incredibly inspiring for her resilience, courage and determination.

Does goal setting play an important role in your life?

Goal setting is incredibly important. Having a vision or goal for 3-5 years is just as important as daily goals to keep you on track. I am a fanatical planner these days. I love to ask myself and my teams questions such as ‘When you are sitting at the Xmas table this year, what do you want to say you’re most proud to have achieved this year?”

In effect this becomes a goal – and thinking about what needs to be done today, this week, this month to get one step closer to that goal is incredibly motivating.

How do you ensure you’re staying relevant?

I am a super curious person and have a thirst for continuous learning. I subscribe to a handful of really amazing blogs and newsletters, seek out L&D opportunities wherever I can, and I have really pushed myself to join CEO forums and round tables with people I respect both in Professional Services, and from outside the industry.

There is so much amazing content these days – curating it is the hardest challenge. There really is no excuse not to be continually learning – there are hundreds of ‘nano degrees’ you can complete yourself online. We also have the privilege of learning from clients and candidates in a cross section of industries and disciplines everyday through our work in recruitment – it is one of the things I love most about my job.

It sounds like you’ve always been quite curious, what do you wish you could tell your younger self? 

Everything happens for a reason – just look for the lessons and learn from them, but keep going, it will work out as it is meant to.

And finally, if you could have a billboard with anything on it, what would it say?


Recently, Suzie McInerney hosted MWI’s event Resilience in Redundancy. Click here for the event recap and redundancy resources.


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