In her words – Anna Sutton

 Where were you born and where did you spend your childhood? 

 I’m a Sydney gal through and through!  

 Where did your professional dream begin? 

 As a teenager I knew I wanted to be a lawyer- I used to spend my school holidays up at Court watching trials in the public gallery (much better entertainment than the midday movie!) and there are also a few lawyers in my family who I looked up to. Within a few days of sitting my HSC exams I had talked myself into a full time job at a law firm, and the rest was history.  

Tell us more about what you do? 

 Since 2010, I have had the privilege of working for Syngenta, a leading global agribusiness who help to improve global food security by enabling farmers to make better use of available resources. In my current role, I look after Syngenta’s legal and compliance function in Australia and New Zealand. It is an extremely broad role – one day I might be working on a transaction with the business, the next talking to a regulator, the next working on improving diversity in our industry. I am also on the leadership team, which I enjoy enormously. I started with Syngenta in Singapore, and then moved back home to Sydney in 2016. 

My passion for my role is due to 3 things: the incredible people, our culture, and our mission.  

 What have you learnt about yourself during your career? 

 Be proud of your journey: My path to my role has not been a traditional one, and I believe that because of that, I have been able to do many interesting things and move more quickly in my career. One key thing I have learned is to be proud of my unusual career path – it can be easy to think that you must follow a traditional path, but there is enormous joy and reward in doing things differently, too.  

 Knowing how I operate:   through a Myers Briggs test organised by Syngenta, I learnt that I am an introvert. Although it sounds simple, this learning was life changing. I used to feel immense guilt that I yearned for time away from my family and friends. But now I know it is absolutely critical for my sanity and energy.  

 Not to be afraid of pursuing personal passions, they do help you at work. I recently organised a fundraiser for Foodbank Australia which raised over 11,000 meals to help fight hunger in Australia. Although not immediately tied to my role, the process of marketing, selling and fundraising for the event actually made me better in my general counsel role.  

What 3 key gems of advice would you share? 

  1.  Trust your gut. It is rarely wrong.
  2. Always ask. The worst thing that can happen is that they say no.
  3. Authentic relationships are key. Everything goes back to relationships.

What are some of the mistakes you made and learnings from them? 

I firmly believe that mistakes are the best way to grow and I have been lucky enough to have some very supportive bosses who have given me the space to make mistakes, learn and move on. 

But one mistake I make far too often is waiting until things are perfect. It holds you back. I am trying to get into the habit of taking imperfect action, but it is a daily struggle for this Type A.  

 What keeps you going? 

 Amazing family and colleagues, and the possibility of personal growth.  

What’s next in the journey of BRAND YOU? 

In the spirit of taking “imperfect action” I have been thinking about doing a podcast series on leadership for over a year now. I am finally going to take that imperfect action, and launch the This Leader Podcast this year. Now I have said it here, I better bloody do it !  

Your favourite things: 

*Destination: So hard to narrow down. Three favorites: Blueys Beach (NSW North Coast), Nashville (I am a proud country music fan!) and of course, Sydney. 

*Drink: Champagne, darling! 

*App: Zoom. For face to face communication.  

 If you were a hashtag what would it be? 


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