“But you are a woman”


CaptureTo some, being in financial crime may seem like an area where you’re deskbound, staring at a computer screen and crunching numbers, but to Michelle Weatherhead, the variety couldn’t be more interesting.

As BAE Systems Applied Intelligence head of financial crime ANZ, Michelle manages eight consultants and works primarily with financial institutions across the Asia Pacific. Her role takes her from Australia to Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand or the Philippines at any given time.

She says the appeal of working with BAE Systems Applied Intelligence is the ability to work with military grade technology; cutting edge and sophisticated solutions to combat a variety of problems in security – from cyber and fraud to terrorist financing.

“We help our clients detect fraud, comply with AML legislation and combat cyber crime through data, software solutions and professional services,” Michelle says.

“I really enjoy the variety of the work. One week, I am doing a presentation in Manila for one-hundred employees and the next week I am working with a client in Singapore helping them to solve a complex and high profile financial crime problem,” she says.

With an abundance of highlights to date, Michelle says she’s been very fortunate in her career so far and shares some memorable and noteworthy parts with us.

“In July, BAE Systems Applied Intelligence hosted a women in cyber security and financial crime networking event. Twenty women from a variety of roles across the industry attended and it generated a lot of positive conversations.

“As a networking evening, we placed an emphasis not on technical learning but on essential career and development skills and shared discussion. It demonstrated what the impact is of a positive mindset and the importance of networking.”

Michelle shared a very personal story at this event about working as a woman in this industry and the difficulties she encountered.

“Over the past ten years, I have worked in many countries and it hasn’t always been easy being a woman in this industry.”

“Prior to working at BAE Systems Applied Intelligence, I was sent to on a financial crime consulting engagement in the Middle East. When I turned up, the head of IT looked at me and said: “I thought you were Michael, but you are a woman!”

“Being a little naïve, my innocent response was: “Yes I am Michelle and I am a woman, but I am the best consultant to write your detection rules. Do you want the best consultant to solve your fraud problem or would you like to wait for Michael?”… Click HERE to find out more about this article