Life as a manager is just a day at the zoo!

Michael Precious, Manager Team Orca


In the middle of April, Sydney Harbour witnessed a very rare sight – a pod of Orcas! No, they weren’t actual Orcas, but instead, eight very keen auditors who collectively make up AssuranceLab’s “Team Orca”.



Introducing the Pod

Orca mascotIf you’ve been audited by myself, Jack, Harriette, Tausif, Brandon, Kate, Kody, Sanjana or Sakib, you’ve met one of the Orcas! While our underwater-themed names at AssuranceLab have no relevance to auditing, we decided to at least stay on theme and name our team based on Harriette’s love of Orcas (and her plastic Orca mascot on her desk).


Our pod is about to embark on some pretty impressive life events. I’m about to become a Dad, Brandon’s about to get married, and Harriette is hopping on a plane and moving to Paris for a while! The time was right to get everyone together in Sydney for a couple of days of co-working, training, lots of food and a trip to the zoo!


Thursday 11th April: Co-Working!

One key recurring takeaway from previous team trips is that there are so many exciting things on the agenda that we never actually get the chance to sit and work in an office environment together. So, the first thing we decided when planning this trip was to dedicate an entire day to doing exactly that. Sit in a room and go about our day-to-day together. 


For many, sitting in the office with your team is a daily occurrence, but as someone who started their career at a Big 4 during the pandemic, and now works at a fully remote workplace, it’s a rarity to experience this. Prior to the trip, I had the team fill out a survey to anonymously state any anxieties, hopes and excitement for the months to come. This provided some key themes about managing change in a growing team, maintaining continuity of processes and expectations, and most importantly maintaining the culture and closeness we have built in Team Orca.


Our team has always been defined by big personalities and a LOT of laughter, more than you’d typically associate with auditing. So I challenged everyone to think about what makes our culture something we are so keen to keep intact. If someone were to start tomorrow, how would we describe it? While a lot of what we said aligned with the AssuranceLab values around being people-focused, accountable and transparent, what stood out to me most was that everyone is a leader. No matter what title, or level, every single person is willing to  teach, guide and learn.


That value of being a leader is something that all of us have to witness firsthand on this day. Sanjana, one of the newest Orcas, came into Sydney before her official start date and left Thursday’s session sprinting towards the start line. It was an immensely proud and fulfilling day to see consultants and senior consultants spend hours guiding Sanjana through a myriad of processes, clients, compliance platforms and nuances. Even putting her to the test and getting her to document some audit testing!


After a long hard day of work, it ended the way it always should, with drinks, great Italian food and some of Australia’s best gelato, Messina of course!


Friday 12th April: We’re going to the zoo, zoo, zoo, how about you?!

What better way to celebrate a few months of challenging work, and a coming together before big life changes than a day by the harbour at Taronga Zoo! No pictures could hide the smiles, laughter and joy this day together brought, it even provided the perfect backdrop for a team photo (pictured)!20240412-DSC01027



Two years ago, I was running audits 80% solo as a Senior Consultant, and 20% with the help of a part-time work-integrated learning student from the University of Newcastle. That student is now a Senior Consultant, and I am now the Manager of a 10-person team full of character, positivity, and a VERY exciting future! To say it was a few days of feeling immensely fulfilled and sentimental would be an understatement. Here’s to the next chapter! 

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