Luciana Scofield - Humans of Finance

Humans of Finance

Luciana Scofield

I arrived into this world 7 weeks early in 1976 – this is where my impatience must have started. I had a normal upbringing. My weekends in primary school were spent doing extension homework thanks to my mum being a teacher. Really looked forward to weekends as you can imagine!

My high school years I retreated to wallflower status. Focussed on my study. My only child status was ruined when in Year 8, my little brother (aka the planned child) was born. My brother’s arrival shattered everyone’s sleep and any chance of me being able to have a social life. I finished school and straight into Uni to study Commerce but dropped out after 18 months as the lure of the tavern and holding 4 casual jobs seemed to be more important than getting a piece of paper with a stamp on it. It was during my last few months at Uni that I landed everyone’s dream role. At the age of 18, I was a bank teller at BankWest!

I quickly realised my dream job was actually a nightmare and after a few months I no longer wanted to work there anymore as customers were just plain rude! And working on family pension pay day………… I never knew you could hide your money in those places until working in branch land. After the second hold up I decided that branch land was too dangerous (hand sanitiser didn’t exist back then) and I had to get out. However, I didn’t leave the bank – I went to the Computer Operations Department – the nucleus of any bank. A 24 hour non stop centre of fun. Where all transactions are processed and stored and backed up. Where all the little plastic cards were posted out and where we monitored which ATMS were about to run out of money! It was the mid 90s and email was just being implemented in the office. WOW! We also had speed dial phones installed too which meant we were all constantly winning the radio station competitions and would take it in turns to win. Apart from a pair of sunnies and a CD, I was lucky enough to win a trip to Adelaide to meet and greet with Shania Twain with front row seats for her concert. Then I backed it up with winning a trip to Singapore to see Ricky Martin in concert! After 3 years of shift work and the radio stations now catching on to what we were doing, I moved into the E-Commerce department which was newly created as the internet and online banking had now arrived. I had fun testing and trying to break online banking systems on a daily basis and training all the branch and head office lending staff in how to use the internet and online banking and lendnet. The bonus for me was that I got to go back to Uni and finish my degree and the Bank paid for it as it was relevant to my job role – WINNING! No HECS/HELP debt to declare on loan applications!

From there I moved into marketing and was responsible for managing the customer database systems – yes, if you got BankWest marketing calls or materials in early 2000, I was the one who extracted your name into a contact list! Sorry about that. It was during this time that I was honoured to be selected to be on the Bank’s New Wave Panel which was a panel of 10 staff specifically chosen due to them going above and beyond the call of duty and always helping others. We lived and breathed the Bank’s Guiding Principals. We were a leadership group who chose which staff were going to receive monthly awards and annual champions for those who displayed all of the Bank’s Guiding Principals having being nominated by their colleagues and internal and external stakeholders. I loved being on the panel and being a role model and mentor to others.

But all good things must come to an end and after 8.5 years, my time at BankWest finished. I was headhunted by Telstra Marketing (technical side) and I managed a team of around 30 all across Australia. If I thought that was challenging, the hardest role of my life was yet to come – I became a mum. To this day it is still the hardest but most rewarding role I have every experienced. My little mini me came into this world screaming her lungs out for 3 hours straight. Today, at age 13, she still doesn’t know what an “inside” voice is. But from the moment she was born and to this very day, she is the main reason for me always wanting to be the best that I can be and to always be kind, patient and look after others. Treat others how you would like to be treated and if you want something really bad, and work really hard, you can achieve anything.

Skip forward a few years from the birth of my little miss “I don’t need any sleep at night as it’s more fun playing and staying awake in the dark” – and we come to my arrival of my first time in this industry as a broker. I loved it! I got to work from home and go into the office when I had to. I got to meet lots of wonderful people and help them achieve their goals. I pounded the pavement with my flyers and went to every networking even I could find. I had an incredible mentor who to this day I still credit to how I have excellent out of the box thinking. However, after 2 years, I said goodbye to broking as I was offered something too good to refuse – I was offered a role working as a New Homes Sales Consultant for a builder and so I left broking and embraced my new challenge. I had built 3 homes by this stage and fully renovated another one and I loved building! For 5 years I helped people get into their dream home. It was so rewarding to design a home to then see the look of joy on their faces when they got the keys and moved in. It was during this job that I met my now husband. The CEO of the building company told us to get to know your land agent – so I did this literally and ended up marrying him! Combined we are like the Brady Bunch with my daughter and his 4 kids! All was great, but then the GFC hit and I had moved to a sister building company that was in the top end of the market and no one had the money to build in the top end anymore. So, when I was offered a role to start selling a new land estate and manage that, I jumped at the opportunity to try something new.

Going into real estate was the completion of my trifecta of skills being finance, construction and land/real estate and I am eternally grateful for being able to have that experience and knowledge gained from these roles. After 3 years of selling a land estate to first home buyers who sign up to purchase a home and land package and then decide to quit their job, get pregnant, buy a V8 commodore and go to Bali the day before you have to lodge for finance ……………a life changing event occurred.

On Monday 27th October 2014, at 1.15pm I received a phone call that just writing about makes me feel sick. My sister in law called me to tell me that their 5.5 month old baby boy, our little nephew, had contracted Meningococal B and wasn’t expected to survive. This had to be a joke. It couldn’t be reality because this type of story is what you see on the news or read about happening to others but not in your own family. She told me to come in ASAP to the ICU ward at Princess Margaret Hospital. I was in shock. This wasn’t happening. It’s a bad joke. Sadly, it wasn’t. It was real. I went to the hospital and he had a team of specialists and ICU nurses allocated to him. I was prewarned before I was allowed in to see him that it wasn’t good. He’s barely hanging on but he is hanging on. He had contracted the worst case of meningococcal the hospital had ever seen. After getting the complete sequence of events and how quickly a happy healthy baby had ended up near death, I was taken into his isolated room. I wasn’t allowed past the doorway. I looked in and that image is burned in my mind and is something I will never forget. My little nephew was connected up to at least 14 different machines all pumping him full of antibiotics, pain killers, fluids, oxygen – mostly bandaged like a mummy but the parts of his little lifeless body that were exposed, they weren’t a healthy pink colour, they were deep purple and black. The signs were there. It was bad. I was lost for words and had nothing to say.

I left the hospital that day feeling numb and came home and hugged my daughter extra tight that night. I could write a novel about this whole journey but why am I telling you this? Because it was through this event that I have witnessed how belief and positive thinking can turn things around and how if you truly believe in something, you really do never give up on it. The specialists held no hope for him to survive. There was no recorded case world wide of such an extent of damage from this brutal disease and a baby surviving. And the only way others have survived was if they had their limbs amputated straight away. We could see his limbs dying by the minute. After a week where everyone was amazed he was still alive, we were told to prepare ourselves that if he does make it through, infections could take him at any moment. There could be brain damage. He would lose both arms and legs. But, his incredible parents never gave up hope that their little boy would make it through. As he made it through each day, there were more complications to deal with. As the disease was leaving his body, the extent of the damage was clear on the surface but we had no idea what damage was done underneath. If you think you have experienced pain and suffering think again. I felt completely useless and helpless. All I could offer was time and an ear to listen and support his parents for whenever they needed. I was always looking for ways to try and brighten up his day – from balloons, toys, dvds – I made it my mission to find things to try and bring a smile to a little boy’s day. Both he and his parents are inspirational and I truly witnessed a miracle of survival which can only be put down to such love and an incredible bond between a little boy and his forever positive and encouraging parents.

For 18 months he was in hospital. He is the only recorded case of delaying amputations for more than 40 days because 40 days was the longest in the world until our fighter which was a year and a week. His body also started to regenerate itself and started to self-amputate which meant less chance of complications and nerve damage. It was 12 months and 1 week after he was first admitted that the surgery for the amputations commenced. He has created medical history and provided the learning opportunity for medical teams around the world that if they just wait, more can be saved as the human body is an amazing creation.

He turned 4 last week and I am in constant awe and amazement at what he can do and how he does every day things that we take for granted. If I am having a bad day – client hasn’t disclosed debts or not giving me their supporting docs straight away, I just have to stop and think that one of my bad days, wouldn’t even come close to one of his. I now know how to turn any negative into a positive and only I can do this by changing the way I think and do things. Most importantly, I have learnt to Never. Give. Up.

I made the decision to come back to broking as I could see with my new found experience in the other industries that all worked in with each other, I now had the best knowledge possible along with my building, construction and real estate formal qualifications – I could REALLY help people with a full circle one stop shop of helpfulness. I also knew I had changed my whole concept of thinking and dealing with various scenarios thanks to our little family fighter. This was just over 2 years ago and I am still here………What a time to come back into broking though. The market in Perth turned to poop. Then there was this new thing of living expenses and no more low doc loans where the client writes down whatever income they wanted and signed with no evidence – what was I thinking??!?! My file notes now are even more impressive than before so are my notes to the credit assessor about every application I submit.

It’s definitely uncertain and challenging times. But what makes this all worthwhile is those typical battler clients whose lives we can turn around completely when we help them to sort out the financial mess they got themselves into – whilst those deals stress me out to the max, they are the most rewarding and satisfying and reinforces why I do what I do.
And I better stop there – for those of you who haven’t fallen asleep and read until the end of my story, thank you for listening! Thank you for finance and coffee and working together to help each other all hours of the day and night. 😊

Luciana Scofield - Humans of FinanceLuciana Scofield - Humans of FinanceLuciana Scofield - Humans of Finance