Casey Nixon enlisted in the Australian Army at 18 before transitioning to a corporate career supporting the defence sector. As ANZ Veterans Lead for Accenture, she’s helping to create a supportive environment for ex-military in their corporate careers. Read her story.

As well as being the proud daughter of a veteran and a veteran myself, my fiancé Dan is also a veteran. Together, we have my beautiful daughter Isabelle and I’m a bonus mummy to Dan’s son, Jack. In addition to my busy job at Accenture as a Business and Technology Delivery Manager and the ANZ Veteran Lead, I’m in the final year of my master’s degree in business administration. It’s a pretty full life!

Supporting fellow veterans is something that I’m passionate about and the I work do with a range of not-for-profits that support veterans and their families is so important to me. I’m an ambassador for Wounded Heroes, a not-for-profit supporting veterans who are experiencing homelessness and also RunArmy. I’ve also worked with War Widows, I’m also an advocate for Go2 Health, a medical organisation in Brisbane which is one of the largest veteran care practices in the country and I’m also a long-term supporter of Legacy. I support these organisations because of their dedication to helping defence members and their families.

My step-dad, Andrew Smith, came into my life in 2001 and has been my mentor, my biggest supporter and my best friend. I’m proud to call him dad, not just my step-dad. He had a tough upbringing on the streets of Kings Cross and joined the army at 17 to create a better life for himself. He spent 25 years in the Australian Army and seeing him and his army friends sharing such strong mateship, courage and integrity inspired me to enlist. I was inspired to be like him and have the courage to serve our country, as proudly as he did. During my time in the army, I found that supportive sense of camaraderie I was looking for and it has provided me with an excellent foundation for my life since then.

I joined the army straight out of year 12 and I made the friendships I had dreamt of, but it wasn’t easy. Through the 90 days of training, I was determined to be the best soldier I could be. Standing tall – well, as tall as someone 5 foot 2 can do – on the parade ground when training finished and seeing my family in the grandstand was the proudest day of my life. Every time I put on my uniform, I felt a sense of belonging to something that was greater than just myself.

 With my Dad (Dan Smith), sister (Elliot Nixon) and my mother (Diane Smith)

Leaving the military to join the corporate world definitely had some challenges. When I first left the army, I felt a bit lost, but I think that’s a common experience. In the military, there are strong boundaries and clear expectations. You’ve got someone telling you what to do and where to go, but there’s also an incredible family-like bond with your unit. When you leave and shift to the corporate environment, the sense of purpose you had that comes from serving your country can result in you feeling a bit diminished. These days I get that sense of purpose from supporting the defence industry in other ways. And in my role as the Veteran's Network Lead, easing the transition into the corporate world is something we’re working on.

My corporate career has certainly leveraged my military experience. I’ve worked with organisations like Thales and Raytheon, and now am a manager in defence and national security. Once I left the army, I knew I wanted to keep supporting the defence sector professionally, as I strongly believe in the importance of the military for our nation and its role in keeping our country strong. It’s a way to continue being of service.

As a woman working in defence, I’ve experienced the best and the worst of people, but strongly believe in the power of diversity to make the industry stronger. Fortunately, my time in the army was overwhelmingly positive and I never felt that my gender was an issue despite being one of only four females in my platoon of 56. In my corporate career, I’ve faced more challenges from being a young woman, but found that there are always people who will support you as a woman trying to get ahead in your career.

 My fiance, me, CEO Legacy Brisbane Brendan Cox, my mother and father at the Anzac Day Lunch 2021 at Tattersall Club Brisbane.

Championing for veterans
We have around 140 self-identified veterans at Accenture in Australia and expect that there’s probably more. Most of these people, like me, work on projects with Accenture’s defence clients, but one of the things we’re keen to do is use the skills of our veterans more broadly throughout the organisation. We want veterans who are considering a career with Accenture, to know that their skills are valued; and the diversity they bring provides opportunities to gain experience working beyond the defence sector.

Veterans bring a large range of skills and specialisations that increase the diversity of thought we can offer. Soldiers are trained to work with precision, even under pressure, and bring teamwork like you’ve never experienced before, and high-level leadership skills. Their integrity, loyalty, focus and self-discipline are an asset to any workforce.

Accenture’s Veterans Network consists of veterans, current reservists, spouses and allies. Together we’re creating an environment where people can share their life experiences to better solve problems for clients as well as fostering a supportive culture.

I’m looking forward to supporting and celebrating our veterans more over the coming months and increasing the number of programs we can offer to support military families. Not only do we support veterans but we also offer paid leave for reservists and we’re exploring options for spouses of currently serving Australian Defence Force personnel. I encourage people within the broader military ecosystem to get in touch - we’d love to hear from you.

Casey will be speaking at Accenture’s Equality Week event on Thursday, 21 October 2021. To register and hear more about how Accenture is promoting a supportive workplace, visit this page.


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Casey Nixon

Accenture Veterans Network Lead – Honorary Ambassador for Wounded Heroes

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