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Westpac’s Ruby Ambassadors – so much more than just the obvious

02 October 2013

In the go-ahead business climate of Australia’s Top End, women business owners recognise more than just the obvious opportunities networking can provide.

Lisa Grundy

Westpac’s Lisa Grundy, Bank Manager Darwin, Retail and Business Bank, is a Ruby Ambassador. She speaks from her experience organising Ruby events for the business women of the NT.

“Ruby events are recognised immediately and immediately recognisable. People are always asking us what we’ve got coming up and when will it be happening. ‘Recognition’ and ‘wanting more’ are important for building relationships. They put you on the shopping list,” says Lisa.

“Our Ruby events have a core group that come to everything and there are core events that get a great turn out. People come to see old friends and meet new people. They work the room and meet different contacts, build relationships and actively promote themselves and their business.

“One of our clients who hated networking is now at every function. She’s comfortable with networking in the safe environment but it’s the results it’s brought her she loves.”

Lisa believes, being invited and being able to invite women clients and their friends and contacts to a Ruby event is seen by clients as something specifically for them and quite personalised - something no other bank is doing: “We know our guests see it as an opportunity for time out in an environment where you can have really honest conversations in safety. They talk about their concerns at work and at home, get feedback from others in a similar boat and form personal and business relationships.

“The events are a reality break. It’s why we get such a great turn out to things like our annual IWD lunch (International Women’s Day). Women know it’s a long lunch and they look forward to it. It’s in the diary.”

Lisa points out that for her and her team “the networking can sometimes take courage. Standing up and talking in front of groups of people when you’re not used to it adds a new dimension to our own personal and professional development.”

And on the Queensland Sunshine Coast, the story continues...

Karen Brading

“Give me a woman with a passion, who’s forging a path, any day,” says Westpac Bank Manager and Rubyite, Karen Brading.

“These are the sort of women we come across and they want you to understand the ‘what’, ‘how’ and ‘why’ behind what they’re doing. I think, as a woman, you get the distinctions and understand the challenges they face. Ruby events give us the opportunity to support women in what they do.

“Women don’t just go to work. They also shoulder much of the family care duties. Understanding the challenges inherent in that is an asset. Men, potentially, have someone looking after the care side of things,” says Karen, explaining why Ruby has become a tool of support for business women in the Noosa area.

One of the big drawcards for Noosa is its International Food and Wine Festival held annually in May. Karen has close associations with the festival as does Ruby.

“Customers,” she says, “are always blown away by the ability to support women with Ruby and how we do it. It’s a real advantage.”

Importantly, Ruby team members get to exercise their banking and their relationship skills for the benefit of women customers and businesses.

“I know myself,” says Karen, “I have the banking, figure side of my head and then there is this other outlet, the developing of relationships and that calls on me to express myself in a very different way. When you’re involved in Ruby, you get to develop data bases, plan events, send out invitations, hire photographers… It’s a chance to get your teeth into something very different and really drive it. That’s great for professional and personal development… it mixes up your day.”