Joy Kulavong on keeping an open mind

Tamikah Bretzke
26 Jul 2019

Joy Kulavong on keeping an open mind

Everyone has a different approach, a different mindset and a different set of goals. According to Dixon Advisory’s Joy Kulavong, adjusting her mindset to see different points of view has not only helped her be a better person, but has also helped her to more effectively communicate with clients about important financial matters in ways that best resonate with them. And it has been Joy’s ability to meet people in the middle that has fast-tracked her career since she first joined the firm as a graduate.

After finishing up at the University of Canberra in 2012, Joy joined Dixon Advisory and quickly worked her way up to become Assistant Manager. During this time, she successfully managed a portion of her own clients while also furthering her studies to achieve her Chartered Accountant Graduate Diploma. Now, as Associate Director, Joy not only serves as the first point of contact for the ongoing accounting and administration requirements of clients, but is also a mentor to new staff. “In a way, I’ve always been involved in the learning process,” she reflects. “That’s how I
became interested in education and, later, the Wise program.”

"We get women to really think about what money means to them and where their habits come from..."

According to Joy, a financially restrictive upbringing influenced the cautious way she approaches her own finances today – a tough experience she has chosen to share with the women of Wise. “The way I approach learning is semi-personal,” she explains. “In our sessions, we get women to really think about what money means to them and where their habits come from, and we help them realise what they’ve got and where it’s held – all in a safe space where they can talk freely and sort all of that out.” In turn, the Wise seminars have proven to be an “eye-opening” learning experience for Joy, who has noted some key differences between the thinking of various generations of women. “For example, I’ve met many women who have never put anything on credit and only make purchases when they’ve got the money for it. This is very different to young Australians today, who increasingly have access to credit cards and buy now, pay later services which are affecting our relationship with money,” she elaborates, adding that the women of Wise are also very encouraging of financial education for the younger generation – something Joy sees value in on a personal level. “I see in my group of friends that many of them don’t fully understand how to manage their finances or taxes. Sometimes when I talk to them, I need to put my work hat on and push them, as I would with Wise women, to take the time now and make the effort to really understand their individual relationships with money.”

Joy also likes to challenge herself. In the workplace, for example, she values new ways of thinking that encourage her to expand her understanding of different points of view. However, she does concede that like anything, it’s a learning process. “This might sound silly, but sometimes I think everyone else is on the same page as me,” she confesses. “That’s when I like to take a step back and consider a situation before progressing.” In doing so, Joy has been able to connect with people from all walks of life and improve the way she works – not only with her team, but with clients too.

Joy’s mind-opening experiences haven’t stopped in the workplace. She recently completed a 37-day trip across Europe, where she toured 15 countries. “Travelling was another valuable learning experience that allowed me to see different cultures and different ways of life,” she shares. “I’ve definitely been bitten by the travel bug! Next, I’d like to see South America.” She also recently settled and moved into her first home – a “big step” she says was motivated by her goal to achieve the financial security she lacked during her younger years. But when she isn’t working, vegging out at home, or planning her next big trip, Joy likes to spend time with friends, try new restaurants, get her nails done and, as a long-time dancer, keep herself fit by doing the Brazilian Samba.

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