Top Public Servant Wins NSW Business Woman Of The Year

Former nurse turned public servant, Jeanine Biviano, who was responsible for consolidating 58 separate government entities onto a single finance and payroll system, has been named the 2013 Telstra New South Wales Business Woman of the Year.

Currently serving as Deputy Director General of the Department of Trade and Investment based in Orange, she also won the Community and Government Award at the Telstra New South Wales Business Women’s Awards at the Sydney Hilton last Friday.

Her appointment to run a 25-bed neurological ward at the age of 21 gave Jeanine confidence that she could achieve more senior leadership positions in the hospital system. She undertook a business degree, graduating with high-level results that led her to a role in KPMG’s Insolvency and Receivership Division – while still nursing at weekends.

Her career change to chartered accountant was complete after she undertook a Masters in Economics.

“The synergies between nursing and working at KPMG were that I was required to make observations, identify problems and fix them. These continue to be the driving principles of my career,” Ms Biviano said.

After five years in financial services, Jeanine returned to the health sector and management roles in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors. In 2002, aged 37, she became the youngest CEO in NSW Health when appointed to lead the Macquarie Area Health Service, covering the state’s Central and Far West.

Six years later she joined the Department of Primary Industries and when it was later merged into the Department of Trade and Investment, Ms Biviano was appointed Deputy Director General, responsible for finance, strategy and operations of the ‘super department’ that has a $2.5 billion budget and 8000 staff.

“I run a budget of 2.5 billion and look after 800 staff and this would not be possible without the team, I give my staff autonomy so they can thrive. I believe this fosters innovation, and my team success is testament to that,” she said.

One of the key challenges Jeanine confronted and now sees as her biggest achievement was rolling out an integrated payroll and finance solution across the department’s 58 statutory entities – including State and Regional Development, Sydney Opera House, Destinations NSW and the NSW Food Authority.

She led her team in implementing the first Software-as–a-Service (SaaS) enterprise resource planning system in the Australian public sector on time and on budget despite scepticism and resistance.

Accompanied by her husband who almost did not make it to the event with horrific bushfires raging, Jeanine thanked her soul mate and credited staff for her success.

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Krista Smith

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