News  & Insights

What’s the most rewarding thing you’ll do in your career?

by Daniel Papallo, Qantas Loyalty – Manager, Commercial Strategy & Projects

Celebrating the achievements of over 100 graduates of the CareerTrackers program at their 6th annual gala dinner.  Over 1,700 people, including 20 CEOs, got to hear some inspirational stories of adversity and achievement. The difference that an organisation like CareerTrackers can make is truly life changing.

For me, the answer came about by accident. I fell into a management committee position in a community based not-for-profit childcare centre. Although I started with very low expectations, after 6 years I left with one of the most rewarding experiences of my career.

Skilled volunteering gave me a unique opportunity to make a difference to a not-for-profit (NFP) organisation providing a real and tangible community service. What I found surprising was that it also provided a great professional experience as well. It gave me opportunities to apply my finance skills in a new industry and learn new skills in a governance role. Furthermore, it connected me with a diverse range of really passionate and committed people.

Following that experience, I had a vision to develop a pilot pro bono program at Qantas. My goal for the program is to help others tap into skilled volunteering experiences and to create a model that supports important community services by giving NFP’s access to the Finance profession’s skills. Hopefully providing everyone involved an equally rewarding experience.

Setting up a pro bono pilot program

My first milestone was reached in 2015 with the launch of the Qantas Finance pro bono pilot with CareerTrackers.

Qantas has a long history of supporting community initiatives. But the pro bono pilot was the first time that we had connected a Qantas community partner with the broad skills of the Qantas Finance team.

Along the way I found that my colleagues enthusiastically embraced the initiative. I got support from many parts of the business including the Qantas Group CFO; the Finance leadership team; the Insurance and Legal teams; the Qantas Brand & Marketing team and dozens of volunteers ranging from junior analysts to very senior executives in developing the program.

Who are CareerTrackers?

CareerTrackers is a not-for-profit organisation that creates professional career pathways for talented indigenous university students by matching student aspirations and private sector internship opportunities. Qantas has joined several other leading Australian companies in committing to a 10 year partnership with CareerTrackers to provide internship opportunities across our business.

How the pro bono pilot works?

The pro bono pilot focuses on matching CareerTrackers’ needs with the skills of volunteers from across the Qantas Finance teams.  The projects that we deliver will expand the skills and capacity of the CareerTrackers team as well as supporting their business performance, processes and governance.

Through this work, volunteers will have the opportunity to enhance their skills, build networks across Qantas Finance and make a difference to the success of an inspiring community partner.

The first 4 projects have been scoped out with CareerTrackers’ management team. They include a risk management framework, a controls review, a new business review and support for a government contract tender.

What makes volunteering so rewarding?

Many Finance staff find skilled volunteering to be the most rewarding work that they do. For a small commitment of time, they can make a big difference to the success of a small NFP and their community programs. The work also creates opportunities to build networks across the Finance team, gain new experience in a different work environment and affirm the value of Finance skills in a positive and tangible way.

Skilled volunteering provides a unique opportunity to make a difference in your community while at the same time benefiting from a great professional experience. My goal is to make these opportunities available to others across the finance profession.

The success of the pilot demonstrates how much community organisations, businesses and volunteers can benefit from such partnerships and how enthusiastically people will embrace the opportunity to make a difference. You should consider how much of a difference you could make by setting up a pro bono partnership with your business or volunteering your skills in a not for profit or community role it could be the most rewarding thing that you do in your career.

For more information on the Qantas pro bono pilot and CareerTrackers or find out how you can become a skilled volunteer, connect with Daniel Papallo via LinkedIn or email directly at

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If you would like to find out more about the program visit The CFO Incubator page.

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