Unprecedented with Rachel Kolebuk

Published 11th June 2021

At Unprecedented, we had the opportunity to speak to Rachel Kolebuk, Chief Commercial Officer of The Melton Building Society, who spoke to us about how the pandemic has affected her professionally.

A background into you and your business?

I have been working at The Melton Building Society for seven months now as Chief Commercial Officer. I am responsible for the Marketing function, which includes responsibility for the full product and service range, as well as internal and external communications. I also look after the Mortgage Intermediary team, a key part of the business as we receive 100% of our mortgage business through Intermediaries and the Society partnerships. I’m responsible for those partners who support the delivery of our range of products and services to customers.

I have always worked in Financial Services in Banks and Building Societies across the Midlands. I particularly enjoy working in the Building Society sector as values and purpose are at the heart of everything we do, something I also bring into my personal brand.

Define leadership and what being a leader means to you?

There are three key areas for me that define leadership.

Vision - A leader must have a clear view of where the business/ function is heading and an ability to motivate teams with a plan to achieve goals.

Humility – A leader must have a strong listening ability and be able to accept that they don’t always have the answers and won’t always get things right.

Integrity – A leader must be honest with themselves, and others, and build trust with teams and colleagues.

What would you like your Leadership legacy to be?

A favourite expression that I hold myself to and encourage others to as well which would be great if it were adopted widely is:

Be yourself – But – Be your Best Self

What impact has Covid had on your business?

Like all businesses during this past year, we, at The Melton, had to react quickly and execute plans and technology at a speed that the Society hadn’t done before. The Society, and all colleagues, managed this very well and it has shown us what we can achieve by working together.

As a Financial Services provider, we remained open throughout the last year, and all colleagues worked very well to continue to service our customers in a professional way.

What was your internal comms strategy at the start of lockdown? Has that changed in lockdown 3.0?

Communication has been critical and well managed by the Society throughout all lockdowns, and by lockdown 3.0, we were all well-practised in communications. I believe that valuable lessons have been learned, especially concerning ways to communicate, inform, gain feedback and celebrate together as a Society, which is something that we will continue to do post-COVID. 

How have you (your business) coped from a mental health/stress perspective?

As a Mental Health First Aider myself, I am very passionate about raising the profile of this important subject. From my own perspective, it has been important to invest more time into activities in order to protect my own Mental Health and to ensure that I am able to lead and support colleagues. For the Society, we have a team of Mental Health First Aiders who have stepped up their visibility over the last 12 months and have been spending more time with colleagues and sharing hints, tips and activities.

At the beginning of 2020, we were in a talent short market. What is at the top of your people strategy agenda for 2021?

The Society is focusing on two key areas:

Leadership and People Development – providing training and support for all to help develop and train to be the best they can be

Engagement and Inclusion – to increase engagement levels further to support the delivery of strategies and to increase inclusion to give opportunities for all to contribute.

Fast forward to 2050, what would you say to your future self that you did well or badly in 2020 to learn from?

In 2020, I was pleased with how I adapted and overcame challenges over the last year. A key lesson that we can all take away is that you can never be sure of what is going to come along, but the key is to adopt an open mindset in order to enable yourself to change and evolve to new situations as they arise.

If you have enjoyed this blog and would like to learn more about Rachel, or The Melton Building Society, you can visit The Melton Building Society’s website here. Alternatively, you can browse some of our other blogs, here.

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