Introducing Georgina Last, part of the leadership team

By Insiya Challawala

Georgina Last is the Director of Starfish Executive Advisory and brings with her over 20 years of experience in leading and guiding people and organisations through change and transformation across diverse industries in Australia and globally, either at portfolio or project level.

She believes in putting customer experience first through challenging the status quo and thinking differently. She does this by simplifying complexity across operating models, systems and processes, and empowering leaders, managers and front-line personnel to achieve step-change improvements in customer experience, revenue, cost, and identify new sources of value.

Georgina joined the Digital Women’s Network as a Committee Member last month, and we interviewed her about what led her to join DWN and also about the changing trends of the digital era.

Here are her responses :

  • What does the digital era mean to you? 

Dynamic evolution and endless opportunity.  The digital era simplifies many processes and removes significant hurdles to trade, engagement and communication within organisations, across supply chains, national and international boundaries and transcends cultural divides.  It creates new industries and roles and means shifting mindsets and capabilities in readying for obsolete roles and planning for jobs of the future.  I’m looking forward to the day when “Beam me up Scotty” becomes the reality!


  • How does digital affect you?

As a Gen Xer, professionally, I’ve had a bit of catch up to do.  My MBA and training was pre-digital and I my career in Big 4 professional services to set up my own business just prior to all things digital.  Therefore, to catch up, I’ve sought out engagements with large companies in platform transformation, invested in online and workshop learning, networked with digital specialists, engaged mentors and immersed myself in masses of thought leadership (McKinsey, BCG, IBM, Harvard, etc).

Personally, I love it!  The fact that I can bank online, shop online, learn online, research at the tip of my fingers, and keep in touch with friends and family from overseas, is brilliant.  More importantly, I am able to see my overseas family face-to-face in real-time.  This had a significant impact when my father in the UK was terminally ill and died.  Whilst I couldn’t get back in time to be there with him when he died, I was there on the iPad, whilst my brother and sister were present with him.  So whilst not ideal, it was the next best thing.


  • Tell us your view of the changing digital landscape (how does this affecting your industry, your role?)

We’re just at the beginning of the era and seeing/experiencing great benefits from organisations large, small, entrepreneurial and innovative that are fully embracing what the digital world has to offer.  On the flipside, iconic previously successful large organisations are struggling to transform their business models at the speed required to maximise customer experience and keep up with the volume of new competition.

As a specialist who works across industries helping companies grow through operational and people alignment to maximise customer experience, I’ve seen the impact of digital through the Agile movement.  For my role, this means that projects that previously would have been 2-3 years in duration are now 6-12 months in duration, or less.  Larger organisations tend to see all of the benefits of executing transformation and change through Agile without recognising the cultural and people change needed to ensure its success, especially the acceptance of failing fast and early.   This means having access to real-time information, ensuring open dialogue and a trusted relationship with key decision-makers is critical to the role I play.


  • What are the trends you see in your sector?
    • Significant shift to an Agile environment
    • Greater focus on mobile and digital development for customer interaction
    • Applications to streamline core operations, manage risk and compliance, and improve business development and sales


  • What made you join the DWN?

The opportunity to meet new people and immerse myself in a learning environment that is dynamic and focused on new developments in digital


  • What the drives you? 

Being able to make a difference – one conversation at a time … and my lifelong goal to climb Mt Kilimanjaro with my sister, and look over the land where my father and mother lived, loved and worked for many years


  • What do you think of Networking?

Best thing since sliced bread ?!  I’ve met so many interesting people and been introduced to many opportunities through networking.  I don’t set out to see “what’s in it for me”, unless there has been a formal introduction for a reason.  When I meet someone new, I’m curious to find out what’s important to them and if I can help them in some way.  I make many introductions for people that I meet to those who are already in my network.


  • How did you start to marketing/promoting your product/service?

I started my business in 2010 and it was through my network and word-of-mouth.  Now I’m rebranding to leverage the digital platforms available to me.


  • What are your top 5 tips for someone starting in your industry?
    • Have your strategy and business/career plan in place
    • Find a mentor and network with contacts in the industry
    • Find a role which aligns with your strategy and business/career plan (permanent, contract)
    • Ensure that you have a robust online profile in place
    • Ensure you have your basic IP in place before launching (if sole practitioner)


  • What makes you unique?

I see the big picture and ask the right questions to understand business challenges, helping leaders make the right decisions and plan next steps to enhance customer-centricity, improve efficiency and revenue through operational and people alignment.


  • Where do you get your inspiration from?
    • My sister, husband and daughter
    • My mentors
    • Music

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