A Westpac veteran of 24 years, Ross Miller, the bank’s consumer and small business chief customer engagement officer, opens up about what makes him tick for Westpac Wire’s “10 Qs with…”.
What’s your morning routine?
I’ve always been an early riser. I try to get up around 5am to give me some time to myself at the start of the day. Our two dogs keep me company until my partner and kids wake up at a more socially acceptable hour.
I find this time really important, particularly during the latest lockdown because I’m spending such a huge amount of the day on the phone or on Teams calls. So, it gives me a chance to get set for the day, I read the news and do some exercise.
In a normal world, I’m committed to getting to the gym before work. I have a great bunch of mates who I train with – most importantly Janice, who’s been my trainer for over 15 years and is a Fitness First legend! I’ve missed them a lot. My biggest lockdown investment has been a cross trainer, so I could keep it up.
Are you a morning coffee drinker?
We’re big coffee fans in our house and we’ve had to upgrade from Nespresso to a proper coffee machine since lockdown. I’ve mastered a mean piccolo.
What’s your go-to breakfast?
I don’t usually have breakfast during the week. But on weekends I love making my kids poached eggs on sourdough, and it’s also my time to cook dinners – and during lockdown I’ve been able to create some awesome family meals. My favourite café for a treat is Bell & Brio so I look forward to seeing them again soon.
Are you a WFH fan or not so much?
I’m a people person, so not being able to be around my colleagues and visit our teams across the country has been really difficult. You miss the hallway banter where you can get things off your chest, have a laugh, rest and reenergise. I make sure I call my colleagues to do the same thing and laugh about the funny things that happen.
Improving how we’ve all used technology has been huge for us. Last year we provided an iPhone to all branch employees across the country, and it’s really helped us stay connected, even when we physically can’t see each other.
I’m immensely grateful to our branch and contact centre teams who have come to work every day, come rain or shine. They’ve continued to provide an essential service and contributed to keeping the economy moving. I think sometimes they can be a little overlooked as essential workers, but they deserve so much recognition for the way they’ve conducted themselves during this pandemic.
One positive that’s come out of working from home is that I’ve absolutely loved spending more time with my family.
How are your virtual meetings going?
Like many households, we have the usual distractions at the most inconvenient time during a Teams meeting.
It’s generally either the new normal of AusPost or DHL ringing our bell or, despite constant coaching, my 14-year-old daughter still asking “What’s for lunch?” or “What’s for dinner?” at least four times a day!
And – we’re all guilty of it – “You’re on mute, Ross”. We’re 18 months into the pandemic and still struggling to find the unmute button!
How do you relax?
I love getting back to the country, where I grew up, and to visit my dad as often as I can. I am actually feeling it at the moment as Dad went into care during lockdown so I haven’t been able to visit him. I can’t wait for more restrictions to lift as it’s been a long time since we’ve been together.
I’m actually a fan of classic old cars. I still have the very first 1961 Holden EK ute I bought, and it’s always great to get back out to the farm and play around with the cars and show my kids what life is like in regional Australia.
I’m definitely an outdoors person. I also love sport. If there’s sport nearby or on the TV, you’ll likely find me watching it – although there’s always a bit of a battle for the TV remote in our house.
Do you enforce any technology/work free time?
Definitely no phones at the dinner table – we are always a sit at the table for dinner family.
Are you a 9-6 or work at all hours sort of person?
I’d love to say I’m 9-6, but the nature of my job – and the current environment – means that I’m pretty much on call all the time.
I’m looking forward to things calming down as we hit the required vaccination rates, and I’m really proud Westpac has played such a proactive role in helping get us to those levels. Hopefully we’ll all start to have a little more structure and can get back to doing the things we love the most.
What’s the best thing you’ve read, watched or listened to recently?
It’d have to be the Olympics and Paralympics, surely? Maybe it’s because they happened during the depths of our lockdown in Sydney, but our athletes made me incredibly proud to be Australian.
And a special shout out to Matt Levy who represented Australia and Westpac in the Paralympics. Matt added a gold and bronze medal to his haul, and it’s been amazing to follow his journey.
What career advice would you give your younger self?
It’s to acknowledge that no matter what stage you’re at in your career, you never stop learning.
It’s great to have a mentor, and great to have a plan, but it’s also about luck and being ready to jump into the unknown to take a chance when the opportunity presents itself.