Managing motherhood and a meaningful career
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Managing motherhood and a meaningful career

Category Our People

Helen Hume

Helen Hume is a passionate Tasmanian local, mother-of-three, farmer and senior rural manager, proud to be living, working and contributing back in the region where she herself grew up. 

And for Hobart-based Helen, it’s a deep personal connection to the area that she acknowledges can’t be replicated.   

“I feel really fortunate to be living and working in such a unique and special part of the world, and when it comes to helping support my clients, it’s valuable knowledge, and a genuine affinity that is very much appreciated.”

Walking the walk, not just talking the talk

Helen and her husband James run a Merino and fat lamb operation an hour from Hobart, and she believes helping run a farm business also adds value for her clients. 

“I think it’s reassuring that my clients know I have a first-hand understanding of farming, particularly at the moment when times are tough – they know I’m facing the same challenges personally, and we can talk about it.”

Although she’s mindful to tread carefully. 

“The emotion around money and debt has changed dramatically, my generation seem to discuss their debt openly, as opposed to some of the older generation – when you’re entrenched in the community in which you work, you need to be sensitive.”

The couple is also raising three young children, six-year-old Freddie, three-year-old Annabel and one-year-old Stella, and while she admits it doesn’t leave her much time for her once beloved hobbies, she’s proud to be raising another generation on the farm.

“We’re at an incredibly busy time in our lives right now, but it’s so nice that our kids get to grow up on farm, with space to roam and an understanding of where food comes from – they really don’t realise how lucky they are!”  

An unexpected ag-career journey

Having grown up on a beef and vineyard enterprise in the Derwent Valley north west of Hobart, Helen admits that she wasn’t actively hands-on when it came to the farm.

“I’m from a family of all girls, and we often got the call up from dad when it came to grape picking or pruning – we were pretty handy in the vineyard as youngsters but that was about it, I didn’t really consider agriculture as a passion.”

However after completing school in Hobart, Helen ventured to Armidale, NSW, to complete a rural science degree at The University of New England, lured by the lifestyle agriculture afforded. 

“I probably didn’t appreciate the lifestyle element of agriculture when I was younger, but when it came time to look to the future I knew ag – the people, the opportunities, the open spaces - was where I wanted to be.”  

Having envisaged a future in agronomy, after just two days on the job Helen knew it was ill fated career.

“Agronomy wasn’t for me, at least not straight away, it was back the drawing board.”

But not for long, Helen soon gaining a graduate position with an agribusiness bank in Albury, NSW – and while she admits she never imagined working in banking, it was the start of an exciting and diverse career. 

“I worked in Albury and Deniliquin before heading back to Tasmania where I was based in Burnie,” she explains. “I then had an opportunity to join the finance department of a national agribusiness, where I progressed from managing southern Tasmania, to all of Tasmania to south east Australia, which was a real thrill.”

Thanks to this role Helen had the opportunity to meet rural managers from across the whole banking sector, and she noted that Rabo staff all seemed to really enjoy their roles.

“I had always worked closely with Rabobank’s local managers, both from a family perspective and through mutual clients at work.”

Helen said she was struck by the ‘family feel’ of the organisation, and the tight-knit Rabobank community, staff and clients alike.

“Many clients were familiar to me from my previous role, and I can honestly say I have some of the nicest clients, running really progressive and visionary operations – it’s a privilege to be a part of their business.” 

“My clients know me, they know my family, and that’s the beauty of being with a relationship- focussed bank – I’m grateful they’ve accepted the value in me knowing that phone calls may come with a bit of additional childrens’ back seat car noise sometimes!”

Helen Hume & her children

While she’s often surprised by the level of support she receives from clients, Helen acknowledges the respect is mutual, and she embraces the opportunity to get out on farm and meet with her clients face-to-face at every chance.

“The real point of difference working for Rabobank is that a big part of what we do is meeting with clients on-farm, and it’s one of the greatest joys of my role.”

“My husband jokes that I’m like a personal relationship counsellor because I’m talking with clients so often, yet it’s an honour to be involved so intimately in their businesses.” 

Providing clients with the ‘Rabo Difference’

Recently, Helen attended a Rabobank Carbon Neutral Agriculture Workshop in Hobart, aimed at providing local producers and Rabobank staff with a basic understanding of emissions in farming, helping support the start of their carbon journey.

“It was extremely well received, and everyone in the room was engaged and asking lots of questions and it was an opportunity for everyone to learn together – staff and clients alike – in what can sometimes be a confusing space.”

Themed around building knowledge on the fundamentals of emissions sources and sinks in farming, the workshop also included the completion of a carbon calculation using the Greenhouse Accounting Framework developed by the University of Melbourne and the Primary Industries Climate Challenges Centre.

The region has also enjoyed a visit from the RaboTruck earlier in the year – a purpose-built B Double featuring a knowledge sharing and networking space.

“The RaboTruck embarked on a three-day knowledge sharing tour, with RaboResearch Analysts Angus Gidley-Baird and Pia Piggot giving first-hand commodity updates.”

More recently, Helen welcomed Head of Country Banking Marcel Van Doremaele to Launceston for a dinner for clients in the northern part of the state, with Angus Gidley-Baird sharing up to the minute market insights.

“It’s always hard to get people out when things are a bit tough, but we don’t want our clients to feel like they’re on an isolated island, that’s why these events are so important, beyond the knowledge sharing they’re a valuable opportunity to get off-farm, network and enjoy a night out – and it was great to see so many clients have a bit of a break.”