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Face of Triodos
Kate Donovan – Relationship Manager
Tell us about your role & a bit about your career background.
I'm a relationship manager within the Small Loans team in the Business Banking Department. Predominantly working with the businesses and organisations that Triodos finance, I manage my own portfolio of customers in addition to assessing new applications for finance. The customers I work with represent a wide range of sectors from sustainable tourism to philosophy of life, housing co-ops and many charitable organisations. Many customers approach us for finance in order to help them further their mission and achieve their objectives. I carefully assess their plans and, wherever possible, will support applications by submitting a proposal of recommendation to the Bank's credit team.
I have worked in banking ever since I left school at the age of 16. I initially joined Bank of Wales on a Modern Apprenticeship scheme whilst undertaking an 'on the job' NVQ level III in Business Administration. At that time, my duties were mainly admin and secretarial, but I gained my first insight into the world of banking. I subsequently joined a high street bank where I learned the basics of Customer Service and Operations within the Business Banking department. Although I gained valuable experience, after 7 years I became disenchanted and began to look for a new role.
Why did you choose to come and work at Triodos?
A friend of mine worked for Triodos and told me what a great organisation it was to work for. Admittedly, when I first joined Triodos, I was pretty ignorant and barely knew the meaning of words such as 'organic' and 'ethical'. Compared to today, we were a much smaller organisation - there was an alternative vibe to the place and everyone was friendly and welcoming. It was a far-cry from the working environment I had come from and it didn't take me long to understand just how different Triodos was and the fantastic things we were doing to change the face of banking.
How does the work you do within your role/department contribute to the mission of Triodos and what we are trying to achieve?
The businesses and organisations that Triodos work with are all having a positive social, cultural and environmental impact. They will sometimes need financial support so that they can continue to meet (and further) their aims and objectives. As a relationship manager, I'm often able to help them to do this by supporting existing and potential new customers through the process of obtaining finance. When the Bank provides finance to customers and you've been directly involved in making that happen, it's not simply a case of money out of the door, there's a real sense of satisfaction that you have helped to have a positive impact by making money work for positive change.
Can you describe what a typical day looks like within your role at Triodos Bank?
I'm usually assessing applications for borrowing which involves looking at customer's business plans, financial statements etc, and working on a number of credit proposals for submission to the Bank's credit team. I'm also regularly undertaking customer reviews on existing borrowing and writing review reports also for consideration by the Bank's credit team. In addition, I speak to customers daily - taking calls and replying to emails from customers on lending related queries.
What makes Triodos Bank different to other companies you have worked for?
Our ethics and principles are at the heart of everything we do. Triodos genuinely lives and breathes our values and are constantly looking at how we can apply the values both within the organisation and beyond. During my time at Triodos, I have seen many changes and although we have some serious ambitions for growth in the future, I know that these will not be to the detriment of co-workers and customers and will not compromise our values.
What does it feel like to work at Triodos?
I feel part of a community working together to make a positive impact and not just an employee at a Bank. That in itself gives me a sense of empowerment and I feel proud to be a part of something different and special here.
What do you like/love about the workplace and the people who work here?
Everyone is passionate about what we are doing so there's generally lots of energy and enthusiasm and a good vibe around the place.
How has Triodos Bank had an impact on you?
Working for Triodos is very inspiring and makes you realise that there is a different and better way of doing things. Being a relationship manager in particular, where we offer a bespoke and tailored approach to lending, has taught me to have a more holistic approach and 'think outside of the box'. The diversity of co-workers and customers has taught me to appreciate and embrace individuality and as a result, I have become a more rounded person.
What do you do in your free time?
I have a very energetic two year old daughter and when I'm not at work I'm generally busy being a mum and housewife! Like most toddlers, my daughter's incredibly interested in everything so my husband and I can often be found out and about at the weekend helping her to burn off some energy at the local park / community farm / softplay centre! Most importantly, we get to spend quality time together as a family and have some fun!
I joined a running club last year in order to get fit and I never thought I would say this but now I actually quite enjoy it! It's very therapeutic and a great release after a stressful or busy day. I try to go running each week. In my downtime, I love to socialise with friends, dining out and going to the theatre.
We are all different as individuals, but what do you think is the common thread through all Triodos Co-workers.
Everyone's energy and enthusiasm.
How would you describe Triodos Bank in one word?