How I Went from Bank Teller to CEO – Joe Micallef

August 14th, 2020
In 1991 I got my first job in banking as a Bank Teller at a small suburban bank branch in Western Sydney, Australia. In 2010, I would become the CEO of a national finance company in Canada. This success may sound extraordinary, but anyone can achieve the career of their dreams if they develop the right attitude and commitment. Let me explain how I did it …. starting with my first job at a little grocery store in my hometown.

My Guiding Principle For Success

Prior to starting my career in banking, I got a summer job while in High School at a small grocery store in my hometown of Quakers Hill, Australia.
It was there that I learned the fundamental principle that would benefit me (and others) throughout my career: “Be genuinely enthusiastic about making someone’s day better.”
As an eager 15 year old kid, who was trying to make an impression and enjoy my job, I had no predisposition about “selling”. I simply engaged customers in conversations – asking them about their dinner plans or about any upcoming events. I would recommend our sale items and suggest ways of making their event better. I didn’t think I was being annoying or pushy. I was genuinely interested in helping others… but in order to do so I needed to explore how I could help. And guess what… customers loved it… AND… it was super easy!! Within a few short years I would become Assistant Store Manager, simply because EVERY TIME I WORKED, I was genuinely enthusiastic about making someone’s day better.

ABC of Success:

In 1991 I graduated from college and began my career in banking. Whilst many of my college mates became stock brokers and wealth managers, I was excited to start in retail banking so I could continue applying my fundamental belief about customer service. But I bolstered my efforts with what I would call my “ABC of Success” – a concept that would propel me to CEO 19 years later.

Action: Actively Engage Customers & Staff Everyday

Seek credible reasons everyday to engage your customers and your colleagues in conversations. Proactively explore their challenges, problems, goals and desires. Demonstrate that you’re genuinely interested in wanting to help them with ALL their needs. This daily “Action Plan” would produce great results for my customers, my bank and my career. Within 5 years I would become a Commercial Manager in downtown Sydney for one of Australia’s more innovative banks – Macquarie Bank.

Believe: Believe You Can Add Tremendous Value

Believe in your offering. Believe in your compelling story. Believe that you can make a difference in somebody’s life. Build your confidence and seek to overcome any limiting beliefs you may have about engaging customers and staff.  I strongly believed that Macquarie Bank could add tremendous value to businesses in Western Sydney and in 2005 I successfully opened their first regional branch. Macquarie then “believed” I could replicate this success across Australia… and eventually Canada.

Commit: Commit to Consistently Developing Your Skills

To become increasingly confident at engaging your customers/staff, and to become more effective at offering valuable solutions, it’s essential you consistently develop your skills, behaviors and beliefs. Embrace learning and development as a core function of your role – as an employee or a leader. Create a coaching cadence and make it become a habit.  By developing dynamic coaching cultures across Australia that produced tremendous results, I was given the opportunity to lead our Canadian operation in 2010.

I had become a CEO thanks to my ABC of Success.

Later, in 2016, I would establish my coaching business in the US and help thousands of bankers and finance professionals across the world achieve tremendous growth for their Bank and their careers. Today I enjoy proactively engaging my clients to explore their challenges.
I help them become more confident about their offering and skills. And I encourage them to create action plans and pursue consistent learning.
My goal is to still be genuinely enthusiastic about making someone’s day (life) better. Not only has that guiding principle helped me achieve extraordinary success … but I am pretty sure it will help you too.
Joe Micallef, Sales Coach – BankTalentHQ