Ali’s pancreatic cancer blog: “There is a human side of banking”
This week, Ali writes about how a dedicated team of cyclists has changed her view of the banking profession forever.
This blog was originally published in the Mail on Sunday’s Financial Mail Women’s Forum and we have included a copy of the blog below.
There is a human side of banking….by Ali Stunt, Founder & CEO, Pancreatic Cancer Action
We’ve seen a lot in the press recently about banks and even individual bankers and not all of it is good. And I would imagine that should there be a competition today to find the most loathed profession, bankers would knock estate agents off the number one slot.
Bankers and other financial services professionals have been blamed for our current economic crisis and some decisions made have led to the near economic collapse not only of businesses but whole countries. Some of these bankers have been wrung out to dry and vilified in the press and some jolly well deserve it. However, like most of these things, it tends to be only the few who spoil it for the majority.
Until a few months ago I had very little to do with the world of banking aside from usual day-to-day activities involved in running a charity. Then I met the team at the Royal Bank of Scotland. They had just had the shocking news that one of their long-standing colleagues; Wendy Butler had been diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer. Their initial reaction was one of shock. But soon after, they got together to support their colleague who is trying while she can, where she can, to raise awareness of pancreatic cancer.
So came the “Corporate Dynamos”. In suits by day and Lycra at the weekends, nine colleagues from across the RBS business, some very senior, others more junior, decided to do a charity cycle ride in honour of their colleague. It took place between 8th – 10th July this year and involved a cycle of 165 miles from Banbury Cross to Charing Cross – the route planned to coincide with a stop-off at Wendy’s house.
We at Pancreatic Cancer Action were amazed not only by the dedication of the cycle team with their after work and weekend training schedules, but by the way that the whole business function got behind the event. In the run-up there were quiz nights, activity evenings, tin rattling at corporate locations – all instigated and organised by colleagues at the bank.
At the outset, the Dynamos set themselves what we considered a very ambitious fundraising target of £10,000. As I write we are looking at a total in excess of £17,000 raised – which for a small charity is just phenomenal. But it is not just the money (vital though that is to us!) This cycle event and Wendy’s story has raised a lot of much-needed publicity for pancreatic cancer in both national and local media. And just looking at the range of comments on the fundraising pages, we see very humbling messages of support and admiration for a colleague they truly care about.
The banking profession recently may have had a few rotten eggs amongst them. However, my experience has shown a completely different side; the very human face of banking and of those who work within the profession.
Perhaps what we all need to remember is that banks, like most large successful corporations are actually made up of hundreds and in some cases thousands of decent and considerate human beings who don’t deserve the negative labels the media is giving them at present.
We at Pancreatic Cancer Action are extremely grateful to Wendy’s RBS colleagues, their families and friends for their efforts to fundraise and raise awareness of this dreadful disease.
The Corporate Dynamos include: Nick Bailey, Sarah Berry, John Lyons, Iain Cullens, Simon Eacott, Jo Towers, Brian Stevenson, Chris Allen and Katie Warrington
The views expressed in this blog are the authors' own.