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Dynamic Corporate Leader: Antonietta Sestito

Antonietta Sestito
Senior Vice President
Chief People & Marketing Officer
La Trobe Financial

Few executives in the dynamic financial services industry can combine marketing savvy and people management with ease. Senior Vice President and Chief People & Marketing Officer Antonietta Sestito of La Trobe Financial is a remarkable example of a Dynamic Corporate Leader who is not only revolutionizing her organization but also establishing new benchmarks for the sector. With over two decades of experience in financial services and a fervent belief in the power of people, Sestito is driving La Trobe Financial’s growth with innovative strategies and a keen eye on the future.

A Rich Tapestry of Experience

Joining La Trobe Financial in 2017, Sestito brought with her a wealth of experience from prominent roles at St. George, ME Bank, and Bank of Melbourne. Her extensive background in distribution, asset management, treasury, corporate, and private banking has given her a unique perspective on what it takes to excel in both people management and marketing.

“My professional background has given me a clear understanding of what a role that covers both people management and marketing needed, as well as how I could add true value to it,” Sestito shared with The CEO Magazine. This dual expertise has been instrumental in her success at La Trobe Financial, a firm that now boasts over AU$19 billion under management and a rapidly growing team of more than 520 employees.

Aligning Brand with Growth

Under Sestito’s leadership, La Trobe Financial has undergone significant brand modernization. Recognizing the importance of aligning the company’s brand with its business evolution, she has overseen efforts to ensure that La Trobe Financial remains recognizable yet reflective of its status as a premier alternative asset manager.

“This past year we’ve done a lot of work to modernize the brand and how our customers interact with it,” Sestito explained. This modernization is not just about aesthetics; it’s about reinforcing the trust and quality service that La Trobe Financial has provided for over 70 years.

Championing People and Equality

A firm believer in the power of people, Sestito has implemented numerous initiatives to attract and retain top talent. One of her significant achievements is the partnership with Future Women, aimed at promoting gender equality in Australian workplaces. Additionally, she launched La Trobe Financial’s first formal employee value proposition (EVP), offering comprehensive benefits and growth opportunities to employees.

“In times of change, like the pandemic and advancement in AI, it’s important that we focus on our people and how we can help them in an uncertain and evolving world,” Sestito noted. By introducing employee surveys, town halls, and CEO roundtables, she has created platforms for employees to voice their thoughts and concerns, ensuring that the company’s strategy genuinely represents their needs.

Fostering a Vibrant Work Culture

Beyond strategic initiatives, Sestito has also focused on fostering a vibrant work culture at La Trobe Financial. Unique programs like the concert series featuring Australian talents such as Jimmy Barnes and Jessica Mauboy, and insightful sessions with speakers like Ash Barty’s mindset coach, Ben Crowe, reflect her commitment to making work enjoyable and enriching for employees.

“We know they take their jobs seriously but we also want them to have fun,” Sestito emphasized. These efforts not only boost employee morale but also reinforce the company’s values of trust, excellence, accountability, and making a difference – encapsulated in the acronym TEAM.

Navigating a Rapidly Changing World

Sestito’s approach to marketing is as innovative as her people strategies. During the pandemic, she spearheaded the creation of a weekly webinar series to keep customers informed and connected. This proactive communication has been crucial in maintaining customer trust and engagement during uncertain times.

“Equally for our customers, we think deeply about the issues facing them in a rapidly changing world,” Sestito said. This customer-centric approach ensures that La Trobe Financial remains resilient and responsive to market dynamics.

A Visionary Leader

Antonietta Sestito’s leadership at La Trobe Financial is characterized by a visionary approach that seamlessly integrates people management with strategic marketing. Her commitment to fostering a supportive and dynamic work culture, coupled with innovative customer engagement strategies, positions La Trobe Financial as a leader in the financial services industry.

As the company continues its robust growth journey, Sestito’s emphasis on trust, excellence, and making a difference remains the driving force behind its success. In the words of La Trobe Financial’s CEO, Chris Andrews, “We manage people’s money. It’s quite a serious responsibility so we make sure that we never lose sight of the important fundamentals of managing and dealing with people and their money.”

Antonietta Sestito’s story is a testament to the impact of passionate and innovative leadership in navigating and thriving in the consistently dynamic financial services industry.

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