Working for a venture-scaler at the country’s biggest bank was not a career path Product Designer, Jaime Di Laudo ever imagined herself on. But after discovering she had an interest in technology and user experience (UX) design early on in her career, the Media and Communications graduate found herself working for Commonwealth Bank’s x15ventures – and hasn’t looked back.

Ms Di Laudo is one of many young talents to find and pursue her passion at CBA, in line with the Group’s aim to inspire the next generation of female talent to take up careers in technology and innovation, and in turn deliver against its strategy of becoming a global leader in technology.

Having studied Media and Communications at the University of Sydney, Ms Di Laudo never thought that working in the financial sector, let alone in a STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) role was in her future. Through her degree and her previous job at a food delivery tech giant, Ms Di Laudo found she loved interacting with people and helping clients optimise their business. Yet it was her desire to help solve the problems customers’ were facing, through designing and creating tangible products that sparked her initial interest in UX design. 

“I have a real interest in people and enjoy chatting to them about their experiences and I think that's a fundamental part of UX itself. In my previous role, I was talking to customers on a regular basis. I kept seeing these problems and I wanted to change them, but I didn’t have the ability to do that in my role at the time,” said Ms Di Laudo.

“I always found product design interesting in terms of thinking, ‘What if it had this feature, what if it looked like this, or how can we make this easier to use …’ but it wasn't something that I thought about in an active way until I was exposed to that world through my previous role and then also when working at CBA.”

In 2018, Ms Di Laudo undertook work experience as part of her degree in the Enterprise Services (now Technology) Human Resources team at the bank, helping with communications. The team encouraged her to apply for the Summer Internship in Technology, expressing that the program isn’t just for students studying STEM-related degrees, but for those who enjoy problem solving, are passionate about technology and are customer-focused.  

This led to Ms Di Laudo joining the Emerging Technology team in 2020 as a graduate, empowering her to navigate the vast tech landscape across the bank.

“The great thing about the grad program is that they really try to identify things that you want to do and areas that you want to grow in. I said to my manager that I was interested in UX and he helped facilitate opportunities that allowed me to explore this.”

When a job came up at x15ventures, CBA’s venture-scaling entity that brings to life new digital solutions to help make people’s lives easier, Ms Di Laudo knew it was a unique opportunity. No day on the job is the same, with the design team often conducting customer interviews and ideation workshops, and synthesising that information to then improve a product for its next iteration.

“Within the design team at x15, you’re able to get exposure to a lot of different ventures and products, solving different kinds of problems, and that variety is really appealing to me,” Ms Di Laudo said.

Despite not having any formal design training qualifications, Ms Di Laudo is a keen learner whose strong communication and interpersonal skills allow her to keep the customer front of mind when solving complex problems.

“I really try to connect and empathise with who the user is, and that’s always front of mind when I’m thinking about anything the team is creating. I also enjoy breaking down problems into small chunks and then thinking systematically through those problems, which is a big part of the job when these ventures are in their ideation and prototype stages.”

Above all, the ability to make a real and purposeful impact in the everyday experiences of customers is the driver behind Ms Di Laudo and her work. 

“Making a positive impact really motivates me as I wouldn't want to work on products or experiences that didn't align with my own personal values, and I feel lucky that the things that we work on here at x15 and at CBA are helping our community in a meaningful way.”

To university students who are unsure if a career in STEM is for them, Ms Di Laudo suggests reaching out to people – whether that’s teachers, mentors, or peers – and asking them about their experiences in the field.

“When you’re in school, it’s hard to know what’s out there. I certainly didn’t know what roles were available in technology, or even if those roles were accessible to students like me.

“Start conversations with people around you who have experience in the area you’re interested in, so they can help build your own knowledge and expose you to new things, and then hopefully guide you to other opportunities that are available. Don’t close yourself off because you think it’s not for you.”

When it comes to encouraging more women to pursue tech related roles, Ms Di Laudo agrees that institutions like CBA have an important role to play in paving the way for helping women achieve this. 

“As one of the largest IT shops in Australia, we should continue to aim for gender equality across a number of areas. Having more women in leadership positions, supporting parents to work more flexibly, creating opportunities for women to network through forums like Girls in Tech and the Startmate Fellowship, and engaging young women early about STEM opportunities are all important steps in achieving this,” said Ms Di Laudo.  

To find out more about Commonwealth Bank’s intern and graduate programs, click here or consider joining CBA’s free Careers in Tech virtual experience program.

To learn more about roles going at x15ventures, click here or to learn more about the types of ventures Ms Di Laudo works on at x15, click here