Community for Rachel in Outback Queensland
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Community, contentment and career development for Rachel in Outback Queensland

Category Our People

Rachel Bock Rabobank

Rachel Bock is a cheery and familiar face across the Longreach district, always up for a chat in the street or to lend a neighbour a hand.

It’s a stark contrast to her thirty years of urban living, and this Rabobank Rural Manager believes there is nothing better for the soul than rural life.

“I grew up on a cropping property in Brigalow, South West Queensland, and my family and I moved to Brisbane when I was in high school – I was so keen to get off the farm and move to the city, I never imagined a life back in the bush.”

Embarking upon a career in funds management, she laughs that many years were spent attempting to drown out her father’s familiar catch-cry, “Rachel, you really need to get back to the country.”

Eventually, 20 years of working in the city did wear her down.

“After the Global Financial Crisis there were some very difficult conversations to be had,” she explains. “I’ve always been very client focussed, so it was a distressing time for everyone, and our company took on pro bono clients to help them navigate through their situations.”

Whilst challenging, it was a period that became Rachel’s catalyst for change, and ignited her passion for helping people in hardship.

“I had a whole career turn-around and decided I’d work with charities, starting with 12 months at the Red Cross Blood Bank.”

While it was a great experience, the lure of finance still tugged – so it was somewhat serendipitous that she stumbled across a role advertised with the Rural Financial Counselling Service, a federal government initiative providing free financial counselling to farmers and small agri businesses experiencing, or at risk of, financial hardship.

The role represented a synergy of her passion for finance and people – and a shift out of the city to one of Australia’s most iconic outback towns, Longreach, was a welcomed opportunity.

“As soon as I arrived in Longreach I was reminded why I love the country life.”

“It’s the little things that contribute to a real sense of community, like people knowing your name down the street, or the ease in which people offer a hand. And living in a small country town certainly keeps you honest!” Rachel laughs.

Rachel spent ten years with the Rural Financial Counselling Service, her tenure coinciding with one of the most devastating droughts in living memory.

“It was a tough time to move to the central west, which was in the grip of drought, but it made my role even more rewarding. I met and worked with some wonderful people helping them through their challenges, and in some cases supporting them to exit or retire.”

In her rural financial counselling role, Rachel worked in close conjunction with her clients’ bank managers, and enjoyed a unique first-hand insight into the rural banking industry.

“Rabobank was the only bank I ever considered working for, I really saw how they proactively sunk their teeth into improving their clients businesses, or, during the drought, worked hard to support their clients in the best way possible.”

After a decade, and with most of her clients enjoying a run of good seasons, Rachel was ready for a change – but only on the condition that she could happily stay put in Longreach.

“It turns out my dad was right all along, I really did just need to move to the country to find contentment – and this is something he reminds me of constantly!”

A position with Rabobank caught her attention, and Rachel is now six months into a role, and company, she’s very much enjoying.

“Rabobank really aligns with my own values of supporting clients genuinely, and meaningfully, and you can really feel those cooperative roots throughout the bank.”

“It’s such a nice environment to work in, and so far removed from the ‘dog eat dog’ world of banking – you’re supported and encouraged to do really well here, I work with a great team, and we’re encouraged to help our colleagues, all so we can make a difference for our clients.”

Working closely with former Branch Manager Gus McLellan, who sadly lost his battle with cancer earlier this year, was another major drawcard.

“Gus is so keenly missed, and had a huge impact on this region over his 20 year career. I still have people say ‘we weren’t Rabo Clients, we were ‘Gus Clients’’, such was the love and respect for him amongst his client base.”

Rachel is getting out and about and meeting clients, and is looking forward to helping support local producers reach their business goals and aspirations.

“This role feels like a perfect crescendo of the skills I’ve developed in my career so far – I’m particularly passionate about helping clients understand their business, so that they’re empowered to make informed choices.”

“There’s nothing more powerful than someone really knowing their business, and I see quite a few producers who’ve learnt how to run their business ‘on the job’, so it’s exciting going through the figures helping clients understand the financial ins-and-outs of their operation and identify growth opportunities.”

“I know not everyone shares my enthusiasm for numbers,” Rachel laughs, “But I’m very excited to help people know where their business is going, so they understand the full implications of their decision making.”

“On the flip side, there are so many clients who are incredibly financially savvy, and it’s terrific that there’s so much additional value Rabobank provides beyond just finance.”

“There’s so many opportunities for upskilling, knowledge sharing and up-to-date market insights thanks to the RaboResearch team – and clients can leverage this information to run even more efficient and successful operations.”

Rachel is also championing for her beloved Longreach community, which she now well and truly calls home, particularly through the Advancing Queensland Western Queensland Regional Community Forum.

“It’s a government initiative whereby state government ministers visit every three months to hear issues directly from the community – making sure our concerns are front of mind and being heard, and hopefully, addressed.”

“I was very impressed when I learnt about the Rabo Client Council, which follows a very similar theme – groups of client representatives guiding the bank on where funding should be spent in the community.”

“Things get done when you facilitate connections, and whether it’s in the community, or with clients, I’m really excited to be working with a bank that is so focussed on supporting its people, and their ongoing success.”

Rachel will be on site at Barcaldine’s Westech Field Days on September 5 and 6, and is looking forward to catching up with the community at the event.