Karen Farrar, Citi Australia’s Head of Card Partnerships, explains why people who succeed when working flexibly are exactly the type of talent she wants on her team

Citi Australia

Karen Farrar, Citi Australia’s Head of Card Partnerships, explains why people who succeed when working flexibly are exactly the type of talent she wants on her team. They're independent, dedicated, productive, and resilient.

Karen Farrar joined Citi from David Jones as the Head of Card Partnerships. Karen and her team are responsible for managing Citi’s partnerships nationwide, including Qantas, Suncorp and Bank of Queensland (BoQ).

Citi is constantly improving how we operate to improve the customer experience, enable sustainable growth and optimise returns. As the team aspires to scale the Partnership business, Karen keeps flexible working front of mind; it not only allows her team to manage their work life balance, but also equips them with the entrepreneurship and time management skills necessary to manage and grow Citi’s partnerships.

“I came to Citi with the philosophy that in today’s dynamic business environment, we don’t need team members in the office from 9-5 in order to deliver results. What we do need, is to nurture talent by allowing them to work in ways that maximise their effectiveness.

In my team there is no correlation between working flexibly and less productivity. In fact, it is quite the opposite. As a leader, I support and encourage my team’s capacity to get the work done in the way that works best for them, our team, and the business more broadly."

Karen has made flexible working the norm in her team through open communication, transparency and accountability. There are a number of team members who work flexibly on a regular basis: each with their own individual arrangements. Some start and finish their day later (or earlier), while others work from home one day a week or as needed. Leaving early to pick up a child from school goes without question, as the team knows the importance of outcomes, not hours in the office.

“For me, the value of flexibility is about more than being able to work from home or rearrange my working hours. It’s the security that comes with knowing I can respond to whatever conflicts and challenges arise in my life. It’s the motivation that comes with working for a company that values results over face time, and the satisfaction of being part of a high-performing team that operates on trust and empathy.” – Yen Jabbour, Business Optimization Manager

Jorge Marrero, Senior Commercial Manager, sees flexible working as a critical factor to retaining highly experienced and tenured talent. He believes the foundational project management skills his team have developed as a result of flexible working has been invaluable.

“The Partnerships team manages a wide range of activities and internal and external stakeholders. Having teammates with diverse schedules compels us to set clear objectives and expectations from the onset. In every project, maintaining consistent communication is paramount. This has allowed us to execute initiatives seamlessly, co-ordinate better amongst each other and ultimately deliver outcomes we can be proud of.”

“10 years from now, I imagine that work will be something we do, rather than someplace we go. As a society, we still have some way to go in making flexible working more widely accepted, and to do this, continuing to invest in technology is critical. For now, I’ll continue championing the cause for flexibility and build my team around those shared values.” – Karen Farrar

The Cards Partnership team is hiring! Visit our Citi employer page to view open positions.