Talia takes the road less travelled for career success
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Talia takes the road less travelled for career success

Category Our People

Talia Davis Rabobank

From serving coffee in the Rabobank board room, to having a seat at the table, Talia Davis’s career journey is the sort of metaphorical ‘rags to riches’ tale upon which Hollywood blockbusters are based.

“I was working for a hospitality agency helping serve drinks at Rabobank events and meetings, but never once did I imagine I would be on the receiving end, let alone so soon. It’s a career that fell into my lap, but not without plenty of hard work and initiative.”

Fast forward five years and today Talia is Rabobank’s Digital Workplace Experience Manager, essentially ensuring the bank’s internal IT user experience is streamlined and trouble free.

And occasionally she’s even involved in meetings in the exact same board room where she once served coffee.   

It’s meteoric career success powered by what Talia describes as her determination to embrace opportunity, coupled with a solutions-based mindset.

“It was while waitressing that I was asked if I could sit in at reception temporarily, to which I said yes, and four months later I was promoted yet again to the workplace coordinator role.”

Talia’s skills and work ethic spoke volumes, and in 2019, at age 22, she was made permanent – the photography diploma she had just completed, now on the backburner.

Finding solutions internally, and personally

It was quite literally a lightbulb moment that secured Talia’s future with Rabobank.

“I was coordinating all the facility requests, dealing with issues such as changing office lightbulbs via a ticketed system – and it really wasn’t a great system,” She explains.

“I reached out to the global team who built it to try and get some help, and was told it would be a nine month wait.”

They also questioned whether Talia’s suggested solutions ‘wish list’ was possible, further fuelling her determination for change.

“I knew there must be a solution, and had heard about Power Apps, which is low code app development on Microsoft, so I just gave it a go – it was at the start of 2020 during Covid and we’d shut most of the branches, so they didn’t require a lot of repair work and I had a bit of extra time up my sleeve.”

Her app was such a success, Talia ended up building five more for Rabobank premises and reception, catching the attention of the IT department in the meantime.

“I was seconded into an IT role, before being made permanent with a tenure just over a year before being seconded into my current role, which will also soon be made permanent.”

Her quest to find solutions to basic everyday problems elevated Talia onto her career trajectory, and it essentially solved any uncertainty she had in regards to her own future.

“Until that point I really didn’t know what I wanted to do. After school I lived and worked in the UK before returning home to study languages at University, I started dabbling in graphic design, but mine certainly wasn’t a typical transition towards a corporate career, even the notion of having a nine to five job was hard to envisage.”

Talia describes her less-traditional transition into what’s considered a ‘traditional’ industry as fascinating.

“You’d expect to get into financial services and banking through a commerce degree and climb the corporate ladder, and it’s been really interested to see how else this can be achieved.”

“I do think it’s unique that I could go from waitressing to being responsible for a ‘whole of bank’ function, there are very cool opportunities at Rabobank that I’m not sure happen across other large corporates.”

In a testament to the unique culture of Rabobank, she knows a number of colleagues who have been supported through personal and career development, and in turn, it gives Talia great pride helping others enjoy similar success.

“I have a lot of joy supporting a colleague, Sarah Testa, who joined reception with so much drive and potential.”

“She’s now been promoted into a workplace coordinator role, and I see a lot of my own drive and ambition in her. I try to be her sponsor, and give her a boost in the right direction because those are the boosts that end up turning into opportunity.”

Talia is grateful to have had colleagues in her own corner, including Reah Vos and Lisa Bradley, and believes the significance of mentors should never be downplayed.

“I think my journey really is a nod to the culture of Rabobank – working for awesome people, with really awesome attitudes and approaches to what they do every day.”

Minimising IT frustrations through support

Today Talia is charged with being the interface between Rabobank staff and the IT department, ensuring the user experience is optimal.

“I guess you could call me the voice of reason between anyone in the bank using their work laptop or phone, and our IT Department.”

Whether it’s Office 365 or the Windows operating system, Talia thrives on helping her colleagues get the most out of their technology every day.

She manages the communications when it comes to IT changes being rolled out, recently exemplified by a change in printing systems in a number of branches.

“It’s my job to make sure our Rabobank staffers’ day to day experience is as frictionless as possible, with minimal frustration.”

Describing her brain as wired to “work out the fastest way to get from A to B”, Talia believes she’s found her perfect role, helping solving problems.

“My mindset and approach to life is geared towards continual improvement – it’s what prompted me to rework the systems when I was in reception, and it’s incredibly satisfying to now find myself in a role where I can really help remove frustration and ease processes for staff Australia wide.”

An initiative Talia is rightly proud of is her weekly #TipTuesday, sharing useful and easy IT solutions internally each week.

An initiative of her predecessor Taylor Marshall, Talia believes staff really gelled with the idea of bite-sized ideas to improve their daily workflow.

“I constantly receive feedback from staff who say ‘Wow, that was such an easy fix!’ and it gives me great pleasure being able to share my knowledge and help others improve their IT skills.”

“Helping to serve our staff so they can help their clients and get the most out of their every day – that’s what really motivates me.”

Getting off the beaten track

Outside of work, Talia loves nothing more than getting out and exploring Australia on a good, old fashioned road trip.

“Up until about the age of 21 I travelled a lot through Europe and surrounding countries, and upon my return home I realised I hadn’t really seen much of my own backyard.”

“Now I take any opportunity I can to road trip, and love doing long five or six thousand kilometre road trips and really enjoying the culture of small towns off the beaten track.”

A road trip from Sydney to Parkes, Cobar, Wilcannia, Broken Hill, Adelaide, then looping back across the Great Ocean Road, through Bendigo and back up to Sydney is one of her all time favourites.

“Seeing all of that landscape was absolutely amazing - places like the Mundi Mundi lookout where you can see the curvature of the earth because it’s so flat and expansive, or staying on a station 60 kilometres north of Broken Hill and learning about station life, it was amazing and so unique.”

These trips also give her a greater appreciation for Rabobank’s rural clients.

“I grew up in Sydney, however my parents bought a small hobby farm a little over a decade ago which gave me a bit more exposure to agriculture, but getting out and about and seeing the communities, and farmers particularly during the drought, was a real eye opener.”

Whether it’s on a road trip or on her career path, Talia doesn’t shy from taking the track less travelled, and the result speaks for itself.

“I’m pleasantly surprised that my path has taken me this far. I can’t stress the importance of taking any opportunity when it arises. I’m here because I have an opportunistic mindset – I’ve said yes to a lot of things just to see where it takes me – and it’s taken me to a lot of very cool places, personally, and in my career at Rabobank.”