This week on Comms Spotlight, we get a glimpse at what working as a Communications professional in the banking sector looks like. Our spotlight is on Sarah Banda Ortiz and she is the Head, Reputation, Brand, Communications and CSI at Stanbic Bank, Zambia. In our interview with her, Sarah shares highlights from her career journey and tips for communications professionals workin in the Banking sector.
Tell us what you do as Head, Reputation, Brand, Communications and CSI at Stanbic Bank, Zambia.
It’s a bit of a mouthful, right? (laughs) However, my role is an interesting one as it has internal and external aspects. Internally, my role focuses on positively engaging and aligning Stanbic employees to the business goals and objectives.
Externally, my role focuses on enhancing the bank’s brand and visibility as well as positively impacting the communities in which the bank operates via sustainable and environmentally friendly Corporate Social Responsiblility programs.
Why did you get into Communications?
I have always been fascinated with the power of communication and its ability to motivate, inspire and sometimes destroy businesses and countries. Effective and direct communication can transform a business from bankruptcy to profit. It can also create incredible team engagement and a sense of belonging making workplaces enjoyable and productive environments to be in. If not used well and strategically, it can also lead to destruction and losses.
Can you share tips for Comms professionals in the banking sector?
1. Keep calm, and love what you do. I love this quote by Phillip Green. “You’ve got to love what you do, to really make things happen. I find that when I am enjoying my work is when I am the most creative and productive”.
2. Have faith in the decisions that you make and stand by them. You need to stand by what you believe in despite some people who will try and sway your decision. It’s normal to second guess yourself sometimes, but learn to listen to that little voice and action it.
3. People are your greatest asset. Learn to work with your peers even the difficult ones, as you will never be able to achieve anything alone but through teamwork and mutual respect you can move mountains.
Which books/ podcasts have provided inspiration for your career journey over the past year?
I am currently reading, “Think Like A Monk” by Jay Shetty. It reminds me that I am still a work in progress. The book is teaching me how to manage my emotions, my thoughts and my words which tend to be a very powerful combo once you know how to master them.
What is a major highlight from your professional journey that you’d like to share?
Winning both the Africa Outstanding Professionals Award and the SHE Achiever in Corporate Social Responsibility at the 2023 African Women Awards. I am still in awe at these awards as they are a continental recognition of the work that I have done thus far in my country. It has also been a humbling experience as I am constantly reminded of the many shoulders that I have stood on to get to where I am today.
What professional advice would you give to your younger professional self?
Keep at it, keep your eye on the prize. It’s not easy but you will eventually get there.