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New Board Members for Community Bank

5 May 2020 |Community news

Robe Community Financial Services Limited has recently welcomed two new board members. Both have experience and gained knowledge of the community banking model. Today we’d like to introduce you to Board Assistant Sam Matthews.

Sam joined the Community Bank team in October 2018 as Board Assistant. Her role is to assist the Board with the running of the monthly meetings and AGM. She ensures all board members are up to date with branch activities and board meeting correspondence, as well as minute taking.

With a background in design, Sam has the ability to contribute at another level. She creates quality marketing and advertising material for us and other branches in the Limestone Coast region. Sam also manages shareholder activities. She takes care of the buying and selling shares, and liaising with the share management and accounting team. She describes herself as a “bit of an all-rounder” taking on any task that needs an extra set of hands.

Her background in design began at UniSA in Adelaide. During her last year of study, Sam began her freelance graphic design business. Moving to Brisbane for better employment opportunities, Sam was able to broaden her freelance scope. This includes print management, learnt at a printing and signage manufacturing business. After 5 years she moved south to Melbourne and explanded her portfolio by offering social media management. She completed a Master of Business Administration (MBA) specialising in Marketing. All this while working for an advertising agency that serviced Coles Group. Her freelance business, Sam Matthews Design, is still in full swing. Sam having retained many interstate clients, and including local businesses such as Pure Luxe, Sails and CCOWS.

It was fortunate for our community to see Sam return to her hometown of Robe. “My son was born in Melbourne and 8 days later we had moved to Robe. For me, it was returning to a town I always knew I would one day. For Thomas, it was a chance for him to have the same great childhood that I had, even though at 2 years old, he doesn't realise how good he has it yet! We are very happy to be home and can't wait to live in the house we're currently building.” The move back to Robe for Sam and Thomas has been a positive one. The Matthews extended family all live in the same region and this also means lots of cousins to play with for young Tommy.

Sam must love a challenge, as it took no time at all for her to open a new business – Original Skin Clinic. While she states it was not her intention to start a business in this field, Sam had identified a gap in the market. After training to work in laser hair removal and cosmetic skin treatments, she made the decision to buy equipment and began offering the beauty service. Her sister Lisa was instrumental in assisting with the business set up. She offered her space to share in her hairdressing salon (Robe Hair Affair).

With the overwhelming support Sam and her son Tommy received since moving back home, it's no wonder she has chosen to give back to her community. As a Board Assistant, she was able to observe that each Board Member has a varied set of skills. “I see how each member shares their views and opinions with the group, all to ensure decisions allow our community to become the best it can be.”

Now as a Director, Sam is “excited to play a more significant role in that decision-making process”. She finds it “very rewarding to see community groups flourish and meet more of their goals with the bank's help.”

“The board has the important role of allocating sponsorship monies to various not-for-profit community groups. They also play a vital role in the running of the company, in areas such as HR, operations management, marketing and strategic planning. It is important for board members to have a vested interest in the community as well as profitability of the company.”

Sam hopes to share her views as a “newish” community member and young mother. She wants to learn from people around her and share her knowledge with them. Sam is looking forward to “aligning herself with a meaningful cause that has a big impact on our community.”

Robe & District Community Bank branch has been operating for more than 16 years, giving over $390,000 back to the Robe, Kingston and Lucindale communities. “The community banking message is an important one to share and it's amazing to see the difference it can make. I was not aware of the community banking model before returning to Robe. I only wish more people would get on board and support the bank that supports them. There are huge differences that can be achieved in these fantastic little towns! I have enjoyed becoming part of the community of Robe again and hope to help the bank give back even more.”

There is much to love about living in regional Australia, and this is a view shared by Sam. “I enjoy the small-town feeling. As they say about most small towns, 'everybody knows your business'. But I like that, because it usually means that everybody cares about your business. I like that when we walk down the street, everybody knows my son's name and we all look out for each other. I enjoyed city living (for almost 15 years) but I am loving being back in my hometown even more. Now more than ever (COVID-19) we all pull together and get through whatever comes our way.”

Samantha Matthews has proven to be an asset to our Community Bank since she started as a Board Assistant. We believe she will do great things heading into the future as a Director of the Board.

For as a community we share our lives with each other. Caring for each other. Helping each other. Bringing out the best in each other. Now, more than ever, community matters.

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much” – Helen Keller.

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