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Though it may have been brief, Maria Cheung’s time on the Qantas Super Board was certainly eventful.

The former Head of Wine and Retail Operations at Qantas Loyalty, Maria was elected as Group E Director in February 2020 and formally appointed to the Board the following month. This coincided with the spread of the pandemic around the world, and the stand down of thousands of staff across the Qantas Group.

“It was one of the most complex situations the Board has ever had to work through,” Maria explained. “From understanding the impact of the stand down on super, to navigating the market volatility, and Qantas Super getting ready to bring a new insurer on board, it was a very busy time.”

Despite the baptism of fire, Maria said it was a privilege to serve on the Board through this time.

“Our focus was always on how we could best protect and support our members. Seeing everything that we were able to do for members despite the challenges of the pandemic, and seeing the fantastic investment results we achieved for members through the 2020/21 financial year, feels good,” she said.

In addition to delivering exceptional investment returns to members over 2020/21, through Maria’s time on the Board Qantas Super lowered administration fees for members in Gateway and Divisions 6 and 7, launched a new low-cost investment option, and committed to reaching net zero carbon emissions across our investment portfolio by 2050.

Stepping down in July 2021 after a 30-year career at the Qantas Group, Maria said she’s grateful for everything she learned during her time on the Board, from the importance of good governance to how to maximise the diverse talents and expertise of a group of people.

“There’s a lot of diversity on the Board, particularly given we have five Member-elected Directors with different working backgrounds and expertise. That diversity results in a very good dynamic,” Maria said.

Helping foster a good dynamic, Maria said, is Qantas Super’s culture of feedback and engagement, with the Board and management team both regularly reflecting on their performance and how to improve in order to ensure they are serving members.

“The Board’s culture is very strong. It may be the first Board I served on, but if I look at the Qantas Super Board as the standard, then it’s set the bar very high,” she said.

“Qantas Super is in good hands.”

Lyle Brownscombe was recently elected to take over from Maria as Group E Director. Lyle is now a Director designate and will be formally appointed to the Board later this month.

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