Date posted: 15/11/2021

From flipping burgers to CFO: ‘keep learning and seize opportunities’

McDonald’s Head of Commercial Insights & Planning Olivia Cameron CA has had a 24-year career with the company that’s taken her from the front counter to the head office.

In brief

  • Embracing McDonald’s corporate culture from her teens, Olivia Cameron CA loved the work ethic and camaraderie
  • After completing an accounting degree, she secured a head office job in Sydney which set her on a career trajectory
  • Today, she’s honing her leadership skills and mentoring those in her team.

Olivia Cameron’s career started when she was 14 years old, flipping burgers at her local McDonald’s in Mooloolaba in southern Queensland. And she’s stayed with the company ever since, working her way up the corporate ladder through more than a dozen roles to become the Head of Commercial Insights & Planning for McDonald’s Australia today.

“I love walking into a McDonald's restaurant and I see where it really started for me; the work ethic, the camaraderie we had in the restaurants and the support that we gave each other. It was very much a healthy, competitive environment,” Cameron says.

When she was a teenager and then at university, Cameron had no clear vision of where her career would take her. “It still blows my mind to think about starting out working on the floor every day as a crew person, serving our customers, and then going through a number of different opportunities in the head office. I never expected to be here where I am 24 years later.”

Following the footsteps

To get a job at McDonald’s, Cameron had followed in her brother’s footsteps and then, because she loved maths and analytics at high school, she followed him again into an accounting degree at the University of Southern Queensland.

Soon after graduation, McDonald’s offered her a role as an assistant accountant in their national corporate headquarters, so she took the leap from her childhood home in a rural area of the Sunshine Coast south to Sydney.

“It still blows my mind to think about starting out working on the floor every day as a crew person, serving our customers, and then going through a number of different opportunities in the head office. I never expected to be here where I am 24 years later.”

Since that career move, Cameron has consistently sought feedback from her peers and managers.

“No matter what role you're in, what level of the organisation, you're always wanting to learn more and find more opportunities, and I continue to look at my own development thinking what can I do to make a better me,” she says.

This enthusiasm to continue to develop her career and seize opportunities saw Cameron make the leap from Financial Controller to the Head of Commercial Insights & Planning.

“This role is focused on strategy and pricing, allowing me to draw on my experience and expertise, and collaborate with teams that drive business and consumer insights and analytics.”

Showing leadership

As Cameron’s moved to more senior roles became more multidisciplinary and dealt with a range of stakeholders in the organisation, she’s realised that it's less about your knowledge base and rather how you portray yourself as a leader that counts.

Nurturing and mentoring her team is also important to her. “I continually reinforce with my leadership team, how they build talent underneath us so that we can get the best results,” she says.

Cameron is continually exploring what professional development courses she can take to become more strategic in the organisation. “My focus needs to be on my leadership competencies. I also continually surround myself with good mentors who teach me great things all the time,” she says.

Olivia Cameron CA, Head of Commercial Insights & Planning for McDonald's Australia speaks about leadership and the importance of education.

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