Thursday 27 Apr 2017

Interview with Carly Baker, Wimmera UnitingCare

Please tell us about your background.

I’m a local girl, raising 2 beautiful children, 11 & 8, in Horsham. I came to work for Wimmera UnitingCare just over 6 years ago, after almost 14 years in the banking sector. I had worked many roles within the bank and at that stage in my life was managing home loans for 13 country branches and had a very young family at home – my son 3 and daughter 6 months at the time.

The demands of home loans and travelling to branches sometimes almost 2 hours from home, saw me seeking a career change to enable me to spend more time with my family.

Strangely – I never buy the local paper – but was on the last day of my holidays and decided to buy it and sit down with a cuppa making the most of my day. There was an ad for a part time position which drew me to picking up the phone and before I thought twice was calling. Of course then I went in to panic mode – what was I doing??

Anyway, that was the best decision as I accepted that position and within 3 months was also learning about financial counselling.


What motivated you to pursue financial counselling?

Well this is an interesting question for me. I actually fell into it because of my banking background. We had just had the floods in the Wimmera in 2011, and there was extra funding they needed to fill ASAP. Management thought I could easily take the position up so I did.

The funny thing is I remember hating it! It was so depressing. People would talk of their issues and struggles and I remember at the start sitting there trying not to cry!

But then I started to learn more, and it was such an amazing feeling to help people who presented to the service. How quickly my dislike for financial counselling turned into drive to learn more and push harder for outcomes to help these people in need.


What has been your proudest achievement to date?

Hmm, how to answer this...

I can think of so many outcomes I am so proud to have assisted clients reach but I guess on a personal level it would have to be receiving a Jan Pentland scholarship in 2014 and also having being nominated for the award that same year. What an honour being a new kid on the FC block to be nominated among many amazing FCs doing incredible things and to be a part of this work.


What do you see as the biggest challenge facing the financial counselling sector?

My answer to this question would always be funding – uncertainties and of course lack of overall funding for our very much demanded service.

I think we face new challenges ahead. As more and more industries, services, etc. recognise how valuable financial counselling is to assist clients within their businesses (which is a great thing) we really need to push for increased funding to service these demands and referrals for clients as at present we can’t help enough people now.


What has been the most valuable resource or advice you’ve had?

There have been so many helpful resources along the way but I think being able to draw on my fellow FCs with different experiences has always been extremely valuable, along with the support of FCRC and other contacts from the varied specific networks we work in.

I have found great benefits from attending the conferences, not only Victorian, but also FCA. They provide so much to assist us with our work, but also the networking opportunities are invaluable.


And now the easy questions:

What TV show are you currently watching?/ Favourite TV show?

I love Suits! If you haven’t watched it, go check it out!

What artist are you listening to at the moment?/ Favourite artist?

Well that could depend on the day – I love music!

Recently been listening to Adele after going to her concert in Melbourne – she went up the ranks in my books. Absolutely amazing!

But often you will find me playing music from Brazil after spending a month there almost 2 years ago with my kids – yes, take me back!