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Tanya Kaye had been working for

KPMG for two years when she

applied for a Jawun secondment.

‘I wanted to use the skills I’d

learned to make a difference,

and to see that difference on

the ground,’ she said. Tanya’s

secondment took her to the

remote town of Pormpuraaw in

Cape York for six weeks, which

turned out to be a period of

intense personal growth. ‘It

completely pushed me out of my

comfort zone,’ Tanya reflected.

‘One of the first things the

community asked me when I

arrived was, “What is your story?”

That sort of question forces self-

reflection and allows for a much

deeper understanding of who you

are, where you’re going and what

you stand for.’

During the secondment, Tanya

underwent a step change in

intercultural competency. ‘Through

working with new people and

a different culture, you develop

cultural sensitivity,’ said Tanya.

‘I learnt that you really need to

understand who you’re working

with and what their motives and

values and perspectives are; that

you can’t just go in with your

own agenda and your own way

of thinking about how things

should work.’

Cameron Roan, Partner at KPMG,

was Tanya’s performance manager

at the time. He reflected Tanya

was ‘a little apprehensive’ before

her Jawun experience, but he was

happily taken aback at the soft-

skill growth he observed in her

on her return. ‘Jawun exceeded

my expectations in Tanya’s

development,’ he said. ‘She grew

in confidence in her own abilities,

in her capacity to deliver positive

change and in her resilience to

take on new challenges.’

This year Tanya put her hand up for

an opportunity to work in KPMG’s

India office, which Cameron saw

as further evidence of the impact

of the Jawun experience. ‘The

proof’s in the pudding,’ he said.

‘Tanya put herself forward for this

India placement and that wouldn’t

have happened pre-Jawun. The

secondment really enhanced her

ability to work effectively in a new

country and a new culture—you

can see the impact she’s making

over there.’

Cameron’s experience of Jawun

has led him to advocate the

program internally at KPMG. ‘What

we’ve seen in terms of people

who’ve done Jawun secondments

is that it really rounds them out

and they thrive,’ he said. ‘In my

view, encouraging our people to

undertake a Jawun secondment

directly reflects the journey our

firm aspires to take when working

with our clients, and should be a

key focus for all leaders in driving

a high-performance culture locally.’

Growing global

intercultural competency


Simon Veitch (Department

of Agriculture and Water

Resources secondee), Rosie

Upton (Strathgordon Elder)

and Tanya Kaye (KPMG

secondee), Cape York, 2014.

Photo: Vit Koci

Tanya Kaye’s secondment enhanced her ability to work

effectively in a new country and new culture.