Cassandra Kavanagh is passionate about leading people to what she refers to as their most magnificent role, whether that is as a member of the Rethink Financial Planning team or as a valued client or stakeholder.

After over 20 years in the financial planning industry, working quietly behind the scenes, Cassandra has now taken on the position of CEO, or as she refers to her title – ‘Little Big Boss’.

Cassandra strives to do things differently and looks to lead by example, as she wants her team to be as passionate about their roles as she is.

For a snapshot of our audio interview with Cassandra Kavanagh, please view the above video.


  • What path led you to your current role?

Many things! Relocation to Newcastle, a number of career roles which were all very much learnt on the job as opposed to formal training.

But I guess the thing that really has led me to todays position is the connection that I have gained with my purpose. In a specific industry, yet having a different approach to business.

  • What is one action or task you ensure you incorporate into your diary each week?

My morning ritual. I’m up early and to me it’s that opportunity of quiet in the morning. It’s a walk for me or some sort of nature; it’s an opportunity for gratitude.

It’s an opportunity to define my intentions for the day. So I get really clear about what it is that I need to connect to and the people I need to connect with. Then reminding myself of my core purpose and my long-term goals.

  • What values should a leader embrace?

I would absolutely say that taking responsibility is a key one for me.

I also think it’s really critical for a leader to be willing to be led. I don’t for a moment pose that I have all the answers.

I do have a theme that I am high on my weakness, I think that’s extremely important for a business that’s growing. All the team members I’ve got here are pivotal to the growth opportunities that we have. So I think that it’s important to know what areas I’m not as strong in and work on those areas to bring them into the business.

A Leader should also embrace being open with the team and being honest. That human element is so important to me. There’s no faking it until you make it here. It’s about being real.

  • What tricks do you have to manage your priorities and your time?

I must say that time management is something that has me tripped up quite often! Everything is documented for me, everything is diarised. I need to do that. I need to put an appointment in, as if I don’t it doesn’t happen.

We have a theory that we talk about here about big rocks – put the big rocks in first. It’s a simple one but it does work.

It’s challenging because I have an ‘open door policy’. I sit out with the team, I don’t have an office. I do have an approach that if you need to speak me, come and talk with me. So that makes time management somewhat challenging, as you want to be available but there’s also time when you need to be away and get work done.

Relying heavily on the team for their support is important too. I am in the process of getting myself a personal assistant – I need to come up with a more creative name than that! But I am in the process of finding someone to support me.

  • How do you define the difference between a Manager and a Leader?

Both are key and pivotal roles in a business, particularly a business like ours, which is growing.

If I look at it from the perspective now as I leader I would say that my leadership is very much about being able to step out of the content and spend more time contextually on the business.

My purpose is to lead the business and to be 18 months ahead as to where we’re tracking. What I know is happening down the track from a business growth perspective, it’s really important for a leader to be able to reinterpret that from a today perspective.

It’s the opportunity as a leader to work my managers to ensure they are able to speak to their teams from a day-to-day content point of view to ensure those platform issues, that are required for growth, take place.


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