MILESTONE: Jellina White celebrates 10 years as the owner and manager of Gympie's Bank of Queensland.
MILESTONE: Jellina White celebrates 10 years as the owner and manager of Gympie's Bank of Queensland. Scott Kovacevic

'I nearly killed myself proving to them I was way better'

BANKS are known for loose change, but Jellina White has spent the past 32 years cutting a swath of social change through the financial industry too.

This week the businesswoman was joined by more than 40 guests to celebrate 10 years at the helm of Gympie's Bank of Queensland branch, a major milestone in a career that includes time working as the only female regional manager in Australia.

And they are achievements that were made despite sexual discrimination.

"When (my first managerial) role came up instead of putting me in there they put someone into the role who had been in Australia for six weeks," she said.

 

Karen Brus and Ms White celebrate the BoQ manager's 10 year milestone.
Karen Brus and Ms White celebrate the BoQ manager's 10 year milestone. Scott Kovacevic

"I had to train him in how to do that job.

"I really did get my nose out of joint about that."

He eventually resigned and she got the job, only then to be hobbled when they took one of her staff members away.

"I think I nearly killed myself proving to them that I was way better."

 

Dannii Herron, Bridget Connolly, Jenna Dudley, Tammara Walker and Julia Lomax celebrate Ms White's decade at the top of Gympie's Bank of Queensland.
Dannii Herron, Bridget Connolly, Jenna Dudley, Tammara Walker and Julia Lomax celebrate Ms White's decade at the top of Gympie's Bank of Queensland. Scott Kovacevic

She succeeded, receiving branch and manager of the year awards working as the only female regional manager in Australia at the time.

Over the years, Ms White has managed branches in Victoria, New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory.

Her return to Gympie was borne out of a moment spent trapped in a taxi in Sydney traffic.

"I was thinking 'what am I doing?'

 

Tracy Salter, Debbie Dugdale and Nikki Leis at ms White's celebrations.
Tracy Salter, Debbie Dugdale and Nikki Leis at ms White's celebrations. Scott Kovacevic

"I just felt like a mouse on a wheel going around and around," she said.

Ms White said there was still a long way to go, but there was clear evidence the world was moving in a better direction.

"When I look back to how it used to be, there's a lot more women in positions now, being heard a little bit more," she said.

In fact, she said the pendulum may be in danger of swinging too far.

"Sometimes I think the women are in the roles because they have to have that quota," she said.

"I don't believe in that. I think it has to be the best person for the job whether you're male or female. As long as everything is fair and equal."

Gympie Times


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