Carmel Mulhern

Without mentioning your job title, how would you describe what it is you do now?

I am leader of a global team who are encouraged to uphold a high moral code that puts our customers first and compliance with the law as our minimum standard.

What was your main driver to enter the legal industry?

There was not one main driver. It was combination of wanting to make a difference and to help people, combined with the fact that I won the English prize at school so I was encouraged by my teacher to do it.

What are the first three words you think of when you hear the word ‘diversity’?

Inclusive, accepting, leadership

What do you think it will take to develop truly diverse thinking within the legal industry?

From my own perspective, diversity is very broad-ranging. The legal industry needs great people, with diverse skills, backgrounds and the most innovative, diverse and agile ways of thinking. We also need to reflect our markets and meet demographic challenges and responsibilities. Having a diverse workforce is a business imperative and an important ingredient for competitive advantage in business as we better understand our customers and retain talent. One way we can do this is by allowing flexible working which recognises that our people have important lives outside of work that don’t rigidly fit into the traditional work timetable. Flexibility means different things for different people and different work type, whether it is working different working hours (i.e. later starts or earlier finishes depending on an employee’s unique situation), working at other locations (i.e. from home or another office), or working reduced hours (i.e. part-time or job sharing).

Carmel is Group General Counsel and Group Executive Legal & Group Governance at Commonwealth Bank of Australia.