29 November, 2023

Team Spirit profile: Maryanne

When not grappling with rivals in the jiu-jitsu arena or cheering on her beloved Geelong Cats, Maryanne is helping us connect with and support other businesses across the Geelong area.

How long have you lived in Geelong?

I’m proud to say I was born in Geelong. I was born at the Baxter House, which was located just around the corner from Geelong Stadium. Hence, I’m a big Geelong Cats supporter!

I did all my schooling and got my first job in Geelong, but moved to Melbourne for university.

I was always saying to my partner, ‘Geelong would be an awesome place to live. Why don’t we move?’ My hassling finally paid off, and we bought our first home this year in Lara, just outside Geelong.

Location wise, Geelong is perfect. It’s by the water, easy to get around, barely any traffic, lovely people, and I have family here. My mum and dad are here, and my sister and her family are only ten minutes away.

Do you remember when you first became interested in finance?

One day in Year Seven, we had a relief teacher who was passionate about financial literacy. He went off topic and said, ‘Right, we're going to dive into a budgeting exercise, and guess what? You get to buy your dream car!’

Initially, the thought of owning my dream car was exciting. But when we looked at all the associated costs – petrol, rego, insurance, ongoing maintenance – it was such a reality check. I was only 12 or 13. I honestly think that was the most valuable lesson I learned in school, and it definitely piqued my interest in financial literacy.

How did you end up working in super?

I studied for a science degree at Monash University in Melbourne, but was drawn to finance. I got a job in a contact centre with ESS Super. It was my first exposure to super and was a big departure from science, but I loved it.

I quickly worked up to a senior role, training new team members. Then I transitioned into member education, where I did superannuation education seminars and one-on-ones with members.

At around that time, I decided that I wanted to coach jiu-jitsu, so I took a step back professionally and went and worked in the contact centre at Vision Super. It was a nine-to-five job, so it allowed me to teach morning classes at one gym, work all day at the contact centre, and then teach evening classes at a different gym.

How did you get into jiu-jitsu?

When I was in Year 10, someone came to my all-girls school and held a self-defence class. A friend and I enrolled in a Brazilian jiu-jitsu course and, from that point on, I became obsessed!

Each day, I’d head straight from school to training. And on weekends, I competed. I spent my lunch breaks doing my homework because I had no other spare time.

All that hard work paid off, and I ended up becoming a three-time World Champion in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, a two-time World Championship Silver Medallist and, before receiving my black belt, I was ranked world number one brown belt female for no-gi jiu-jitsu.

I’m not currently competing. For now, I’m doing jiu-jitsu for fun and fitness. My little sister and I are also doing Thai boxing together, which is great.

Earlier this year, you joined Spirit Super as our Geelong-based Regional Partnerships Manager. Why is Spirit Super’s presence so important for the community of Geelong?

Businesses often group Geelong in with other regions, so for a super fund like Spirit Super to have a presence and invest in the local community through targeted strategic partnerships right here is unique.

For me personally, being able to work in the super industry and concentrate solely on Geelong is truly a career dream come true. We have such an active membership in Geelong, particularly within the motor trades.

Being the local point of contact for our members and employers is a game changer. Now they don’t have to travel to Melbourne for a face-to-face chat with us — we’re right here whenever you need us.

What’s the most rewarding part of your job?

Connecting with people and helping make a difference. I talk a lot with employers and about how we can help them, and they’re often surprised by the services we offer including support for members and employers, financial advice, workplace education visits, as well as system support.

I’m finding it really rewarding to be getting out there to spread awareness that Spirit Super is here. I love visiting organisations in Geelong, like Geelong Young Professionals and the Business Excellence Awards and starting that conversation about super.

What’s the most common thing members struggle with?

So many people are overwhelmed by super and they put off looking at it until they need to, which is usually when they’re counting down to retirement. But it doesn’t take a lot of effort to make a big impact on your super — especially if you start engaging with your super early in your working life.

What advice would you give to members?

Super doesn’t need to be scary, and it definitely shouldn’t be something that’s left to the last minute. Come and have a chat with us. We’re here to help!

Get in touch today 

At Spirit Super, it’s our job to know everything there is to know about super. We understand that everyone’s situation is different and that what’s right for one person isn’t necessarily right for the next.

So, if you’d like to speak with a Super Adviser who can make you feel more confident about the decisions you’re making about your super, give us a call on  1800 005 166.