Spotlight on Jess Melville, our Australia representative

Tell me a little about yourself: I’m Jess (the Other Jess, for those that know the wonderful Jess Gao!) I live in sunny Sydney with my husband and our three children. I started out my professional life as an optometrist – that’s right, checking people’s eyes. I actually got sick of all the interacting with people, and not feeling like I was making much of a difference in the world. So I decided to make a big career switch, and finance seemed so dynamic and tangibly linked with the real world on a big scale. Via some roles in stockbroking and the buy side I ended up at what was then Watson Wyatt in the middle of the financial crisis.

What has been the highlight of your career so far? Getting to speak with the travelling TAI roadshow in Australia. I love their work, but even more I love how they take it to investors, so it was a real thrill to be part of that!

What is your favourite thing about working for TAI?
I’ve always admired TAG and TAI from afar, ever since I joined the company. It’s now such a privilege to be working closely with such a smart bunch of people who really understand the privilege and responsibility we have as an industry. 

What motivates you? For me its all about purpose – to make a difference to the lives of the mums and dads whose savings we advise, and more broadly to leave the world a better place than when we found it.

As a child what did you want to be when you grew up?  I always wanted to help people. My parents are nurses so I guess I sort of followed in their footsteps into optometry. But I was drawn to the scale and impact that the world of finance can have on our world and on people’s lives. 

Where is your favourite place to go to unwind? Outdoors – preferably a beach, or by the water, but anywhere outside and in the sun will do.

If you could give your younger self one piece of advice what would it be? 
Don’t worry about what you want to be when you grow up, because ‘grown up’ is not a destination.

Who have been the strongest influences in your life? 
My dad – he was and still is the ultimate gender role model. When we were growing up, he and my mum split all household chores 50/50 – child care, cleaning, cooking. Their work enabled this. He and mum are still very involved in looking after my kids while we work. 

Who does the cooking in your household? My husband mostly. I make the kids’ birthday cakes though!