Ami-Lee Kelly



University of Newcastle - Bachelor of Business in Marketing

Master of Business in Marketing

Doctorate of Business in Marketing (In Progress)

Ami-Lee Kelly knew exactly what she wanted in a job. But finding something with the laundry list of attributes she wanted took time — more than a year, to be exact. Twelve months into her search, she found the perfect-for-her gig as manager of customer experience for the Commonwealth Bank of Australia.

As a customer experience manager, Ami-Lee does everything from helping with product development and marketing and communications to relationship and account management. It's an ever-changing workload that Ami-Lee says keeps her heading out the door in the morning thinking, "I'm going to do something amazing today!"

But being passionate about her work and a self-described worrier has meant Ami-Lee has to work hard at work-life balance. Her two tactics to keep her personal life from being affected: a designated "worry time" to get the worry out of her system and ending her days by writing a to-do list for the next day and then leaving it — and all thoughts of work — at the door.

Be present each and every day in everything you do.

What drew you to your job?

I searched for my current job for more than 12 months. I knew exactly what I wanted, but finding the right role took considerable time. I was looking for a unique role I could grow into with time; a diverse role that would allow me to use a variety of skills from relationship and account management to marketing and communications to process design and development. I also wanted a position with opportunities to expand my skills into new and exciting arenas, like advertising, branding, copywriting change management and product management. I wanted that role that would make me leap out of bed each morning with excitement, and I wanted to leave the house each day thinking 'I'm going to do something amazing today!’

It was really important for me to find the right company to work for. I wanted to work for a company with a remarkable brand, opportunity for career development and that cared about its employees. When I saw the advertisement for my now current role, I knew instantly that this was the perfect job for me.

What does your job involve on a daily basis, and what types of responsibilities do you have in your position?

I work as part of the corporate banking solutions group at the Commonwealth Bank of Australia in the merchant solutions product team. The merchant solutions team is a dedicated group of amazingly accomplished individuals who specialize in product development of payment options for business clients and I'm the manager for customer experience within this team.

Some of my day-to-day responsibilities include acting as the advocate for the customer to make sure that the changes impacting them are effective, provide a positive experience and are easily understood; managing the marketing and communication activities for all merchant solutions products and services across all media channels; and providing customer experience support and expertise to valued stakeholders to achieve mutual outcomes.

Each day is different and anything might happen. I'm always keen to take on additional work that will expand my skill base. Being well-rounded is an exceptionally important part of my development -- both professionally and personally.

What is your favorite part of your job?

There are so many parts of my job that I love. I really enjoy creating communications collateral and marketing materials aimed at making the lives of our business customers easier. I also really enjoy the stakeholder engagement and management that comes with my role. We're so lucky to have many extraordinary stakeholders who provide services that support our products.

I love the people at the Commonwealth Bank, too. We work in such a high-performing culture each day and it amazes me. I've met some of the most incredible individuals who are not only intelligent, but passionate beyond belief and driven to make a difference each and every day. These people inspire me to perform at my very best.

I also enjoy working in the CBD in Sydney. From my desk, I have a fantastic view over Darling Harbour. I'm so lucky to work in one of the most beautiful cities in the world.

What challenges keep you awake at night?

I try really hard to clear my mind of all thoughts to make sure I get a good night’s sleep. But occasionally, my thoughts are held captive by work and school. Usually I'm thinking about what needs to be completed to get through the week effectively and efficiently. If work or school is preventing me from sleeping, I'll get up and write down what's bothering me so I can address it in the morning. I need to make sure I'm fully rested and ready to perform at the highest level, so sleep is super important.

Is work/life balance ever a problem with you? If so, what is one no-fail tactic you use to create balance?

In the very beginning of my career, work/life balance was a huge concern. I was constantly obsessing over work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I was one of those people who would constantly check emails at all hours in the night and my whole world revolved around work. Each conversation even seemed to start with, "You wouldn't believe what happened today at work ... " This went on for far too long.

The real wake-up call for me was when my personal life started to become affected by my habits. I realized I needed to put some balance back into my life. I'm a natural worrier, so stressing is something I do often and easily. I realized I could never just stop worrying. Unfortunately, worrying is embedded in me, so to alleviate my excessive worrying, I decided to allocate "worry time" to myself during the day so I can get it out of my system. My allocated worry time takes place on the bus ride to work. I allow myself to worry the entire way to work, but then, once I walk through the front door of the office, I force myself to put the worrying aside and jump into action mode.

Another tried and tested method that works for me is list making. Before I leave the office at the end of the day, I make a list of activities that need to be completed the next day, or by the end of the week. Then, as I walk out of the office, I do my best to leave work -- and all thoughts of work -- at the door.

At first, structured worry time and list making was time consuming and difficult to adhere to, but with much practice and discipline, I'm in a far healthier place in my life eight years later.

Was there ever a moment in your career where you’ve thought, “I can't believe I have this job?" What was it?

Yes! I have this thought so often. There aren't many people in this world who can truthfully say they love going to work and that they love their work. I can honestly say I love what I do. I love the company I work for and I'm madly in love with Sydney.

Another thought that frequently runs through my mind is the saying, "If you love what you do, you'll never work a day in your life." So, my goal is to always remain in love with my work.

What are some of the rules you live by?

I have an extremely busy schedule because I work full-time, study part-time, run a fashion blog every other day and I'm a newlywed. With all of that on my plate, there are many rules I live by:

1 / Work really hard. I have extremely high expectations of myself and I expect myself to deliver daily.

2 / Be present each and every day in everything you do.

3 / Be honest.

4 / Always be accountable for your actions.

5 / Be the best version of yourself every day.

What qualities does one need to possess to be successful in your line of work?

You'll need excellent time management skills, creativity, focus, determination, accountability, the ability to adapt easily and a strong work ethic.

What one piece of advice do you wish you could tell a 21-year-old version of yourself?

The 21-year-old me wanted everything -- yesterday. I wanted my degrees to be complete yesterday. I wanted my dream job yesterday. I wanted everything yesterday. I was impatient and did everything at extreme levels. I pushed myself to excessive limits to become established and successful. Because of this, if I could share one piece of advice with my younger self, it would be to take a deep breath and understand there's a journey you must take and the journey is there for a reason. Don’t wish your life away.

Find what you love and be kind to yourself. Your dreams will happen; you just need to be patient.

What do you do in your free time?

I'm usually shopping because I run a fashion blog. (That’s my excuse and I'm sticking to it!) I absolutely love fashion. I hunt out styles and try to predict new trends before they happen.

I also love spending time with my little family, which consists of my amazingly supportive husband, a paramedic for the Australian government, and our cat Fudge. Spending time together as a family is really important to us. We also love challenging ourselves by cooking meals together as often as possible.