Being comfortable outside your comfort zone
Zoe Haseler walks towards uncomfortable situations when others might hesitate. Just weeks away from commencing a graduate role with global consulting firm Accenture, the ACU Bachelor of Commerce student was itching to demonstrate skills rarely tested outside the university and a handful of internships.
It’s the same spirit she showed tackling early course assessments as a self-confessed middling student. Or the admirable character that helped her transition from budding netball star to international rower when two serious knee injuries corralled her into a new sport.
“I’ve always been someone who triples down on my weaknesses so that if there’s an opportunity I know I can grab it,” she said.
A business career was not front of mind when Zoe was growing up in Gundaroo, a speck of a town near Goulburn in New South Wales’s Southern Tablelands.
What started as a passion for netball became an obsession. The more she played, the faster and craftier she became.
Later, as a student at Canberra’s Merici College, she featured as a midcourter in representative teams. The sporting highlight was selection in the 2016 Australian under-19 squad that included future national league stars Kim Jenner, Amy Parmenter and Tara Hinchliffe.
“School wasn’t my biggest focus,” Zoe understated.
Even when two knee reconstruction surgeries brought a premature end to her elite netball career, Zoe found another outlet in rowing. Rather than let her sporting drive atrophy, the young competitor took up rowing from scratch and was good enough to race for the Sydney University club at a regatta in China.
Finding her niche
So, how does an outdoorsy, sports mad young woman discover a knack for business?
It seems a little inspiration from a schoolteacher, and the application of the high-performance attitude that drove her to sporting success, was a winning combination.
“I chose commerce because I liked the flexibility of it. But once I got to uni it was mindblowing,” she said.
“My first assignment ... I was so nervous because I’d always been just an above average student. I got it back and it was a 94, a high distinction. I couldn’t believe it so I emailed the lecturer to ask, ‘Is this right?’.
“It was the first indication that, yep, I’m in the right place. But I was pretty shocked at the time.”
Like many athletes, Zoe turned the frustration of 2020’s COVID-19 lockdown into a sharper focus on study. Learning online for such an affable person had its challenges which were quickly reframed as opportunities.
“Everything that happened around COVID was a big turning point and made me realise what was important,” she said. "That high-performance mindset was still there – you never lose that – but I’d channelled it into work and family.
Zoe’s passion for rural communities made her a natural fit for an internship with farm management software company AgriWebb.
When a door to Accenture’s graduate program opened, she thought ‘I might just be in with a chance’.
A series of calls, emails, interviews and assessments later, Zoe accepted a graduate role with the global consulting giant.
“It’s a chance to learn and an amazing opportunity,” she said.
Interested in a career in business? Explore the courses on offer at ACU.