Valda Berzins

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Valda Berzins is an Australian business woman, entrepreneur and award-winning general manager who has held senior high-profile executive roles in Australian organisations including Australia Post, Victoria Police and Foster’s Group.

In 2008, she founded the interior and exterior design house, Valdasigns, and currently holds the position of director of the business.

Biography[edit]

Valda Berzins was born in East Melbourne, Victoria on the 26th of January (Australia Day), to Latvian parents who migrated to Australia in their efforts to escape communism. Berzins’ parents originally arrived at Port Melbourne by ship during the post-war immigration boom and were transferred to the Bonegilla Migrant Reception and Training Centre in the north east of Victoria. Prior to his arrival in Australia, Berzins’ father pursued a degree in mechanical engineering. Due to the on-going war in Latvia, he was forced to abandon the final year of the degree.

Despite the fact that Berzins’ father had almost completed his degree and her mother being a fully qualified nursing Sister, they had to work in unskilled jobs to support themselves. During this time, Berzins’ father held a day job and attended night school. After years of hard work, he finally attained an accounting diploma from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT). As a child, Valda grew up in the suburb of Glenroy, along with her parents and sister, Nora. Later on, her family relocated to Pascoe Vale where the family lived for numerous years. It is also in this same suburb that Berzins purchased her first house at the age of 22, a large seven bedroom house on a 1,000m² block of land.

Her love for gardening and home renovation began to blossom during this period as Berzins personally redesigned and decorated the house in her own vision. Berzins spent only a small sum on renovations but managed to sell the house 7 years later at triple the sum of her initial investment.

After that, Berzins relocated to North Balwyn and lived there for many years. She currently resides in Mount Martha, Victoria, with her husband of 23 years, Brian.

Career[edit]

Prior to 1995, Berzins held various accounting positions and strategic planning roles with Carlton & United Breweries (Foster’s). She was promoted to Assistant Company Secretary and Finance Manager in a short span. During her time at Foster’s Berzins directed significant mergers and acquisitions that helped propel the business. Later on, she became the Executive Director of Information Systems for Foster’s Group.

From July to November 1995, Berzins worked as Finance Director for the American based toy manufacturing company, Mattel, Inc.

Berzins career came to prominence as she took on the role of Group Manager of IT Services with Australia Post. After a few years, Australia Post specifically created the role of Chief Information Officer (CIO) for Berzins. She served as CIO for Australia Post from 1996 to 2004.[1]

After an illustrious career with Australia Post, Berzins stepped into the role of CIO with Victoria Police from 2004 to 2008. During her time with Victoria Police, Berzins successfully implemented innovative tech policies as well as transforming the set up of major IT contracts.[2]

In 2008 Berzins left Victoria Police under a cloud after being heavily criticised in a Victorian Ombudsmans's report into mismanagement of the IT contracts for the police.

In November 2008, Berzins reignited her dreams of becoming an interior and exterior home designer/renovator and established her own company, Valdasigns. She has been widely applauded for her ability to recognise and fuse the personal style of her clients with innovative designs whilst working on home renovation projects.[3]

Education[edit]

Berzins has successfully obtained numerous credentials and tertiary qualifications.

  • Bachelor of Commerce - University of Melbourne
  • Bachelor of Science-University of Melbourne
  • Diploma of Professional Interior Design – The Interior Design Academy (Double Bay, New South Wales)
  • Fellow of Australian Computer Society (FACS)
  • Certified Practising Accountant (CPA)
  • Registered Tax Agent
  • Real Estate Agents’ Representatives’ Qualification

Awards[edit]

  • Winner of Scholarship to the Australian Graduate School of Management. ( 1993)
  • One of Australia’s 30 top leaders in IT in Robert Williams’ book “Success in IT” ( 2000)
  • Awarded prestigious Computerworld Fellow ( 2001)
  • IT &T’s CIO of the Year (2002) (Equivalent to the Financial Review’s CFO of the Year [4]
  • CIO’s Executive Council Top 20 Asia Pacific CIOs (2007)
  • Committee member of various University IT Boards and CPA Working Groups
  • Keynote Speaker at select Australian and overseas seminars[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ (1) http://www.cio.com.au/article/179865/post_haste/
  2. ^ (2) http://www.cio.co.nz/article/470451/tech_squad_chief/
  3. ^ (3) http://valdaberzins.wordpress.com/
  4. ^ (4) http://valdaberzins.blogspot.com.au/
  5. ^ (4) http://valdaberzins.blogspot.com.au/