Emma is the Group Executive Credit and Operations at Greater Bank. Celebrating success this International Women’s Day, hear from Emma as she tells us about how she started, hard lessons she’s learned and advice for today’s young professional.
To start with, can you tell us more about your background and career path that brought you to be Group Executive Credit and Operations at Greater Bank?
"I commenced my journey in Finance with a mutual building society almost fresh out of school. I quickly established a desire to learn as much as I could in what were predominantly customer facing roles over 9 years with my original employer. I then embarked on some overseas travel, where I was lucky enough to land a permanent role with a Japanese investment bank in London. This is where I found a real passion for all things operational and process oriented. Returning home after a few years living abroad, I tried my hand at several project roles across a number of both domestic and international banks in Sydney before landing a management role with one of the big 4 banks. This role delivered many challenges and opportunities across all facets of operations including transformative projects. I learned a great deal during this time and extended the passion I have for all things process oriented to leading people and seeing others develop and flourish. My current role at Greater Bank offered all of this and more – given that it afforded me the opportunity to return to my home town where my career in banking began."
You’ve been working in the banking industry for 25 years. How much do you think your profession has changed?
"The constant across all of those years has been providing superior service to customers, so in some respects it hasn’t changed at all. What has changed is the ability and desire to understand customers further and deliver on their expectations. Technology is the obvious enabler allowing a more informed and efficient service."
According to you, what are the best aspects of your profession?
"Knowing you have helped someone else achieve success, so from a customer perspective, that could be landing their dream home or getting a business up and running but it could also mean seeing someone else flourish professionally and knowing you had played a part in that." | Emma Brokate, Group Executive Credit and Operations
What is your recipe for a productive day?
"I am a mad to-do list person - not only does it visually remind me of my priorities but I get great satisfaction out of crossing things off once completed."
How do you maintain a good work-life balance?
"I don’t know that I have mastered this at all, however, I know when I work at my best, which typically involves early starts and what might look a little like crazy o’clock to others, but I almost always put the tools down earlier in the PM and hang out with the family."
Have you ever felt that you've had to work harder as a woman?
"I would be lying if I said no, however, I haven’t ever felt like it wasn’t anything insurmountable. I take pride in proving what I am capable of so if you truly believe in, and back yourself then let the evidence speak for itself."
What are the top 3 pieces of advice you would give to an aspiring young professional?
- "Seek out a mentor & preferably one that inspires! Also, be prepared to change mentors throughout your career as your needs from a mentor will evolve."
- "Be prepared to get uncomfortable in order to develop. This might sometimes mean taking on responsibility that you have no experience in, but if you’re prepared to ask for assistance, imagine what you can learn along the way."
- "Identify sponsors along the way, those that have first-hand experience with your output and can attest to your abilities. Networking is another fun way of establishing connections that can lead to sponsorship."
What’s your secret to success?
"Ability will often get you in the door, but authenticity will take you further once inside. People often want to establish whether or not they can trust you first."
#savinggoals – Imagine the genie of the lamp gives you $5.000, what would you do with it?
"For me right now, I would bank it in a high interest savings account to go towards our next family holiday. It really depends on needs and/or life stage, and whether you might need to allocate some to help reduce debt, especially those debts with a high interest rate."