Hello 2023! Here’s what Team Madden are up to in the new year.



2023 is well underway and so we spoke to each of our team members to learn their New Year’s resolutions. We will have to see how long these last…

What is one personal and one professional goal you have for 2023? 

Mary-Ann Heaney, Account Coordinator, says:

Personal – Finish off my university degree

This year I will be going into the final semester of my undergraduate degree while continuing to work part-time at Madden. And because almost half of my degree has been online due to Covid, I aim to make the most of being back on campus and face-to-face learning. Working alongside studying has definitely complimented each other and I aim to bring more of the skills I learn in the workplace to my studies and vice versa.

Professional – Improve my pitch writing

Learning to write engaging content for journalists is something I would love to hone in on this year. In the past, I have often found myself rambling and providing too much extraneous detail in my draft pitches instead of being succinct and providing only the necessary points. I aim to improve this by seeking out examples of well-written pitches from colleagues, as well as keeping my finger on the pulse of what beats journalists are currently covering so I can accurately tailor my pitches.

Natasha Lim, Account Executive, says:

Personal – Consistently journal and wake up 1 hour earlier

I picked up journaling a couple of years back and it has done wonders for me! While I’ve kept it going, I haven’t been as consistent as I used to be. Over the holidays, I was gifted the Daily Stoic and its journal – filled with daily prompts to reflect on in the morning and evenings. I want to consistently journal as it opens my mind and allows me to become more self-aware about what I can do better.

I also read in “Think Like a Monk” by Jay Shetty about the benefits of waking up earlier in order to have “enough time to move with intention and do things completely.” So often we are getting up with just enough time to brush our teeth, shower and have breakfast (if we’re lucky). We are then rushed out the door to get to class/work on time wondering why we feel drained before the day has even started. That rushed feeling we start our days with carries on into the rest of the day. So, this year I am focusing on slower mornings, in doing so I would also have that time to reflect and journal.

Professional – To do more speaking roles (client/team meetings) and become more knowledgeable on the financial services sector

Public speaking is a weakness for me, but this year I am changing that. By practicing it at every opportunity available (in team meetings and client meetings) I can get comfortable with the uncomfortable. Before I know it, it won’t be uncomfortable anymore! My other goal is to become more knowledgeable by taking the time to do extra readings and staying on top of the headlines.

Sarah Lagana, Account Executive, says:

Personal – Random acts of kindness

Sometime last year on a dreadfully rainy day, I was driving along my street and noticed a lady walking in the rain, her hands full with heavy grocery bags. I pulled my car over and offered to give her a lift home (which is not something I have done before but something was telling me to help her, and I figured ‘well if she’s walking here then she couldn’t possibly live too far away from me.’) The weather was so awful she obliged even though she didn’t know me.

She was so overwhelmed with gratitude during our short car ride, and I thought to myself ‘wow, making someone’s day in an unexpected way truly is a great feeling!’ So, this new year I’d like to continue making small gestures to spread lots of smiles and positive energy – even as simple as giving a compliment or leaving a positive customer service review can really brighten a person’s day.

Professional – Increase Media Intelligence

One key professional goal for 2023 is to be further immersed in the media landscape which involves following journalist movements or what stories they are covering closely; as well as practicing keeping a steady finger on the pulse of the conversations relevant to our client’s brands.

Natasha Johnston, Senior Account Manager – New Zealand Lead, says:

Personal – Get married!

I am getting married this year and have recently begun the planning process. The main goal there is survival! Our friends and family are spread across five continents, so we are very much looking forward to having our nearest and dearest in the same place at the same time.

Professional Drive growth in New Zealand

Professionally, I am looking forward to what the future holds in New Zealand, both for the firm and for myself as New Zealand Lead. There are loads of exciting opportunities awaiting in Aotearoa, and with the support of the stellar Madden team, I can’t wait to see what we achieve. 2023 is sure to be a big one!

Taryn Silver, Account Director, says:

Personal To keep reading in 2023

Since the pandemic, my reading habits have picked up dramatically, and I joined a book club. Last year I read over 20 books (and countless articles on financial services), so I’d like to keep the momentum going. I’m currently reading a book on German migration to Bolivia in the lead-up to WWII, which is where my father-in-law was born before he migrated to Australia.

Professional – Making more time for thinking

Over the last few years, the pace of work accelerated dramatically, and I feel as if we have all been in fight or flight mode. So this year, I want to take more time to think through critical decisions and recommendations for my clients.

What is one thing you want to implement in your workday this year to help you be more productive? 

Mary-Ann Heaney, Account Coordinator, says:

Time blocking is definitely something I want to get better at this year. I often find myself with a million tabs open, jumping between several tasks instead of giving one my undivided attention. In doing this, I often find myself making silly unforced errors in my writing.

This year, after our daily team WIP meetings in the morning, I aim to make a plan for the day and block out certain times for certain tasks so that I can focus wholly on that one thing, completing it to the best of my ability before moving on to the next.

Natasha Lim, Account Executive, says:

I want to implement single-tasking which is dedicating myself to one task at a time and keeping my tabs/windows clean. This would keep potential interruptions to a minimum and allow me to work more efficiently without having to flick through multiple windows to find what I’m working on.

Sarah Lagana, Account Executive, says:

Actually standing up from my desk and stretching or walking around every hour! When you consistently neglect to give yourself time-out for a few minutes, you can become fatigued or burn-out. When this happens, we lack the energy or motivation to continue making progress with our work. My partner who is in healthcare has also engrained into my brain the adverse health risks of a sedentary lifestyle and it is safe to say that I have been scared into taking regular breaks.

Natasha Johnston, Senior Account Manager – New Zealand Lead, says:

To move more. Throughout the day, if I find myself losing focus, reading the same sentence 10 times, or otherwise struggling to do something, often the answer is to get up. Walk around, drink water, maybe do a quick tidy up of my workspace. Then come back to it with fresh eyes. I’m often surprised how helpful this simple trick can be.

Taryn Silver, Account Director, says:

I want to focus on a single task at a time rather than splitting my attention between multiple tasks and distractions. So as I write this, I have closed off my second screen to help me focus on the task at hand – writing this blog post, after all my team gave me a deadline!

How are you going to stay informed with what is going on in the world of financial services this year? 

Mary-Ann Heaney, Account Coordinator, says:

I really enjoy listening to podcasts, as I can get the daily scoop on what’s happening while getting ready for the day or on my commute into work. In 2022, I got into a good habit of listening to ‘The Squiz’ as well as ‘Fear and Greed’ daily. This year I aim to add a couple more into my week, including ‘My Millennial Money’ and ‘Australian Finance Podcast’.

Also, I aim to make better use of those around me with more extensive expertise. Picking the brains and asking questions (whether I think they may sound silly or not) of some of my colleagues, as well as my brother, who works in the industry, is another way I aim to stay informed in 2023.

Natasha Lim, Account Executive, says:

Another one of my professional goals is to become more knowledgeable! I plan on staying informed and up to date with the latest financial services news by taking time to do extra reading on topics I’m not familiar with and by listening to business podcasts like Fear & Greed and Chanticleer.

Sarah Lagana, Account Executive, says:

Besides continuing to read the Australian Financial Review, I will commit to listening to Fear and Greed, (Australia’s most popular business podcast) daily on my walk or commute. While I often say “there’s not enough time in the day” (to do everything I would like to do) each daily episode is typically only 15-20 minutes long, so there really is no excuse and I must hold myself accountable!

Natasha Johnston, Senior Account Manager – New Zealand Lead, says:

Podcasts! I am keen to add to the list. In addition to Fear and Greed I’d like to explore some of the other great podcasts out there, especially in New Zealand where I live. NZ Everyday Investor and Cooking the Books are the two I’ve recently followed on Spotify.

Taryn Silver, Account Director, says:

Unfortunately, or fortunately, I’m a news addict – I read The AFR, The Australian and the New York Times religiously and a host of other outlets. My goal is to skim less and read more deeply. It will be an interesting year for markets as investors ask whether countries like the UK or the USA will enter recession so all the more reason to stay informed.

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