Australia. Known for beaches and love of the outdoors, irreverent fun, and athletic overachievers supported by fans who tend to the raucous side. (Aussie Aussie Aussie! Oi Oi Oi!) Don’t expect Samantha Murray, CEO & vice president for Australia and New Zealand, to declare these to be unwarranted stereotypes. Rather they are reasons to celebrate the Antipodean life, which is marked above all by resilience and optimism, as she tells it. She’s here to talk DI SW Down Under, practically a startup since it’s only been a legal entity since July 2018. In our conversation, we discussed her passion for Siemens as well as why she is such an outspoken advocate for mental health within organizations.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
The most rewarding part of my job is the people I work with. My team is phenomenal, and I have the best customers and partners. I am very fortunate in this role to be able to see what our customers and partners in Australia and New Zealand are doing every day, both on the local and global stage. Australia is very small compared to the United States, but we are punching above our weight and being recognized globally. We do some amazing things here.
Is there a particular customer story worth looking at?
I suggest you follow HeliMods’ story. HeliMods is a company that specializes in modifying helicopters. Using our software, they enhance helicopter capabilities to transport patients faster to medical facilities. HeliMods saves lives by shaving seconds off the time it takes to get people in and out of the helicopter. This story was powerful because it wasn’t just about putting a screw in a car or building a ship, which we’re very good at. Instead, it was about people and saving lives. HeliMods is powerful and touches our hearts with technology, which is awesome.
Samantha behinds the scenes of the HeliMods video shoot.
How is the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) transition going in Australia and New Zealand?
We’ve done exceptionally well with the transformation of moving to SaaS. Because we’re a small country, we tend to take on tasks or responsibilities earlier than the rest of the world. Australia has been at the forefront of SaaS technologies for a long time, so when we made the transition at Siemens, it was a natural process for us. SaaS is the driving force behind every conversation we have. We had a lot of positive feedback from our customers because there was an understanding that this was something they had to do. My talented team was instrumental in moving customers from on-premises to SaaS.
I noticed on your LinkedIn that you’re looking to expand and acquire more talent. Why should people work at Siemens?
Siemens is an excellent global organization and very flexible. One of the great things about working for a global company like Siemens is that there are so many opportunities, not just in Australia or New Zealand, but overseas. There are a lot of opportunities for our employees to grow not only in software but also in other areas of the Siemens business. The people at Siemens are really what makes working here special. Everyone is so friendly and helpful, but overall, just fabulous to work with. You have the privilege of working with amazing companies, customers and partners. So why wouldn’t you want to work here? Why not be with the best?
As a woman in leadership, what advice do you have for someone who aspires to follow a similar path?
My advice is to take ownership and be accountable of your career. Don’t expect anyone to do it for you. I was on a call with a young lady that I mentor who wants to be in a national leadership role like me. I told her to be bold. There are so many others who want to move up the career ladder and especially in organizations like Siemens, you must own it. I truly believe that hard work does get rewarded. You don’t have to be the smartest or get the top marks, but you do have to be passionate about what you do today and going forward. I also believe that you have to be passionate about people and that’s where prioritizing mental health comes in for me.
What do you do to prioritize your team’s mental health post-COVID?
The mental health of many people really suffered during COVID. Melbourne, Australia had the longest lockdown in the world at 262 days. There was a curfew, and you could not travel more than 5 kilometers from your home for more than one hour a day. It really affected everybody – young people, old people, healthy people, physically fit people, mentally healthy people. With what happened during COVID and with the lockdowns here, it’s extremely important to maintain and continue the mental health habits we established during COVID. Make sure you get some exercise, even if it is just 10 minutes. Take a break and set boundaries. Get out and gain a different perspective and some downtime. Know that there are always supporters around you who are willing to help, and that hasn’t changed. Resilience is important and if you didn’t have any before COVID, I reckon you’ve got more now.
Samantha enjoying the fresh air and outdoors on a walk.
Who would win a fight? The sun or 1,000,000 lions?
1,000,000 lions. Yeah, the power of the people.
Do you have any entertainment suggestions? Movie, book, TV, music?
Movie: The movie that I do like and would watch over and over again is “The Bridges of Madison County” with Clint Eastwood and Meryl Streep. It’s a love story and it makes me cry. Music: My favorite band is a band called The Indigo Girls. They’re American. My husband is a musician, so it’s very musical in my house. We have a lot of music playing all the time and that’s always on my playlist. We love sport on TV, but we don’t turn it on for anything else.
So what’s your favorite sport to watch?
Probably cricket and car racing. I love tennis as well and we’re very sporty, right? Australia is one of those countries where we’re more often outside than inside. I love football…Australian rules football that is. You put sports on and I’m there. I love the competition. That’s maybe why I’m in this role because it’s very competitive as a salesperson.
I love Asian food. The more chili, the spicier, the better. I love, love, love chili and spicy.