Gail Kelly, former Chief Executive Officer of the Westpac Group, has donated $1 million and her skills and experience as a business leader and mentor to UNSW for an international exchange program with South Africa.
The South African-born businesswoman will fund, in perpetuity, an exchange program between UNSW and the University of Cape Town (UCT) that will give one business student from each university the opportunity for a transformative exchange experience in the other country.
The Gail Kelly Global Leaders Scholarship includes direct mentoring and leadership advice from Kelly before and after the program.
Kelly retired from Westpac in February 2015 and has since devoted her time to global corporate advisory roles as well as supporting the leadership aspirations of others.
David Gonski AC, Chancellor of UNSW Sydney and chair of the UNSW Foundation, said: “Gail Kelly has always been a generous person and now following an enormously successful full-time business career she is continuing that generosity. Her gift involves both money and her time and leadership expertise. This is a truly generous gesture.
“UNSW Sydney is proud to be embarking on this new partnership with UCT. Building bridges across the world is part of the leadership journey for young aspiring business people and this will be a tremendous opportunity for the successful candidates at the very beginning of their careers.”
Kelly said:“It is an absolute delight to launch this scholarship. I am passionate about education, about learning and about young people developing a world view. Through this opportunity, students will experience different cultures and develop new skills that will assist them in becoming global leaders of the future.
“I am grateful to UNSW and UCT for their support in facilitating this exchange program, particularly as it links the two countries that are most special to me – Australia and South Africa. I look forward to meeting the scholars over the years to come.”
Professor Chris Styles, UNSW Business School Dean, said: “Few students have access to the business acumen and advice of one of Australia’s most successful CEOs,” he said. “It will be a great experience for these students to be mentored by Gail Kelly, given her exceptional track record in business.”
"This undergraduate scholarship will help to create the next generation of outstanding leaders in business. It will help UNSW Business School attract the brightest minds, enhancing UNSW's reputation as the first choice for business education in the region. Over time, this scholarship will generate a “community of scholars” and a global network of business leaders who have been afforded this unique experience.”
The scholarships will be for an undergraduate student from UNSW Business School to study at UCT and a student from UCT’s Faculty of Commerce to study at UNSW for a semester during the final two years of their degree. Each scholarship is valued at $20,000 including on-campus accommodation and meals.
Candidates will be selected based on their academic merit, leadership potential and a demonstrated commitment to contribute to the Australian/South African business community. The first scholarship awardees are expected to take up the exchange in 2018.
The UNSW launch of her book Live Lead Learn (published by Penguin Random House Australia) was held last night, hosted by Professor Styles and Mr Gonski.
About Gail Kelly
Kelly holds a number of international roles:
Member of the Group of Thirty, the Global Board of Advisors to the US Council on Foreign Relations, member of the McKinsey Advisory Council, senior global adviser to UBS, and director of Woolworths Holdings in South Africa. Within Australia, she is a director of Country Road Group, David Jones, and Australian Philanthropic Services. In addition, she is an adjunct professor at the University of New South Wales, and ambassador for Women’s Empowerment for CARE Australia. Gail retired as CEO of the Westpac Group in February 2015, which marked the culmination of her 35-year career in banking. She is married to Allan and they have four children.