5 Minutes With...

Maria Cearns
The Co-operative Bank

Marie Cearns of The Co-operative Bank shares with us what a day as Managing Director of Current Accounts and Savings looks like, and what inspires her to inspire other women.

What does a day in the life of your job role look like?  

I have the pleasure of looking after the experience for all our retail current accounts and savings customers. It is my responsibility to ensure we deliver on our vision of delivering banking that makes a positive difference to the lives of our customers and communities. 

It combines understanding what our customer’s want, where we can create value and how we can continuously improve – whether that’s listening to our customers feedback, reviewing our customer journeys or developing new products for our customers, I try to ensure everything I do is linked to delivering on our vision for customers. 

My role requires me to work with creative and talented people from all over the bank and I hold overall responsibility for how our collective delivery impacts our customers from the exciting changes to our Digital offering or the excellent service from Branches and contact centres. 

What do you want to be when you grow up?  

I was inspired by politics ‘A’ level and felt I would enjoy improving things and making a difference in my community – and I think those motivators are still very much what drives me. I’m very luck in that I can stand by my beliefs in my role and I have plenty of opportunities to really get stuck in and make a difference, whether that’s with our own colleagues, our customers or out in our communities. One of the many great things about my role is that I’m able to truly live our values and ethics which have been in place for over 145 years. It’s the backbone of our business and I am honoured to be delivering something for customers I care about and with colleagues who inspire me. 

Who is your all-time role model?

I am a very proud feminist, and always hope, had I been around at the time, I would have had the same courage and conviction to be part of the suffragette movement so I think it would have to be Emmeline Pankhurst, a Mancunian, who shook society into a new world. 

What one thing have you learnt during your career that you could pass on?

I think the message I would pass on is that kindness in business is not a weakness. Over my career it has been the generosity of others – offering their time to coach me, or their experience to guide me, encouragement during a setback, taking a risk on me that has helped advance my career. Often it is a desire to repay this kindness, rather than salary or accolades, that has driven me. strive to emulate the kindness that others have shown me as they are the moments that count. 

Shout out 3 incredible people in your network that are doing great things!

Kate Allen, Director of Amnesty International UK  Kate is a key driver of defending human rights around the world. I’ve recently had the pleasure of working with Kate to support Amnesty International’s Write for Rights campaign. She’s passionate, caring and she’s committed to always doing the right thing to fight for those who feel they are not being heard.  

Jo Mayer, Managing Director of Customer Channels, The Co-operative Bank – Jo’s commitment to customer service goes beyond the workplace. Her drive and ambition to improve our customer’s experience is evident in our award-winning service. 

Tracey Kneller, Chief People Officer, The Co-operative Bank – Tracey shows compassion, honesty and commitment to getting the right outcomes for our people here at the Bank. She drives our culture right across our business, and is a true leader and embodies our values and behaviours. 

Do you have any advice for all of the 1480 nominees who have been part of Northern Power Women Awards 2020?

Firstly, I’d like to wish you all the very best of luck 

What I find incredible about these awards is the increase of those being recognised and celebrated for the fantastic work they carry out and contribute to our Northern Powerhouse – this is something to be really proud of.  

Find Out More About Our #NPWAwards Partners, Sponsors and Supporters

Learn More About The Co-operative Bank

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