COBA Convention attendees return with insights to boost member experience


29 September 2023

Heritage and People’s Choice representatives at this week’s COBA Convention on the Gold Coast have returned with some key insights and renewed passion that will help us deliver for our members.

Customer Owned Banking Association (COBA) members assembled on 25-26 September for the annual COBA Conference and heard from a range of incredible speakers on this year’s theme – Lead with Purpose.

The Heritage and People’s Choice delegation included CEO Peter Lock, Deputy CEO Steve Laidlaw, Senior Executives and our Emerging Leaders. Some of our Emerging Leaders (pictured below) have shared their highlights from a packed schedule at the conference:

  • For me, it was learning about the strengths of different leadership styles and how to apply them to the right situation.’ – Jess Everingham, Capability Manager
  • ‘The quote that stuck with me is "Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should". This is from the Leading with purpose: The inspired company advantage session by Lisa MacCallum.’ – Arpana Andrews, Data Analyst
  • ‘The fact that every single one of us has the opportunity to lead with purpose within our respective roles and teams, and when we have an inspired purpose/vision as an organisation, this unites us and leads to the best outcome for our members and community.’ - Jade McGrady, Dispute Management Coordinator
  • ‘A key takeaway from me was reducing friction for our customers increases our relevancy and sustainability into the future.’ - Cameron Simpson, Senior Analyst
  • ‘The highlight for me was the session by Gus Balbontin. He spoke about the importance of being adaptable to change and how we can thrive in the ever-changing market.’ – Keithan Goona, Analyst Operational Risk
  • ‘Gus Balbontin was a real stand out for me. The way he explained how companies believe that excelling in BAU will keep them sustainable when in actual fact they become irrelevant as they have lost sight of what a member really wants. Additionally, the emphasis on that you will not become successful on your own, one can never underestimate the value of having a good team with good people. – Matt Fagri, Business Support Risk Leader
  • ‘I loved the opportunity to connect with and hear from so many different people with the common goal of helping customers or members. My key takeaway was that in a rapidly changing environment a more comprehensive understanding of challenges or threats allows you to prepare for a more effective response.’ – Emily Callander, Cyber Business Partner

Senior Continuous Improvement Consultant Sascha Jones, who took out the 2022 COBA Emerging Leader Award, returned to the conference to share her thoughts after attending the World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) conference in Canada earlier this year.

In her conference speech, she highlighted that research had indicated an increasing demand for self-service, omnichannel, seamless customer experiences, and interestingly, that’s regardless of age.


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