Athena likes to do things differently and as a company they’re well known for being movers and shakers in the home loan market. They have recently been named Financial Review’s Most Innovative Company of 2021. This goes for how they treat their employees too. Within only eight months, Lumi Ge progressed from a new starter in the Loans department to Credit Assessor. Lumi attributes her rapid growth to her bosses, who she says fully supported her all the way to get the job she wanted.
Loans & credit: big responsibility, big impacts
In her role as Credit Assessor at Athena, Lumi considers applications for home loans. It’s a job she finds very fulfilling, knowing the huge real-life impact it can have on her customers. Helping people realize their dreams and finding the perfect product to suit their needs brings Lumi a huge amount of satisfaction.
“I am helping people navigate one of the largest decisions in their lives. It’s pretty incredible when a customer ends with a loan that can change their financial future.”
It does, however, come with a sense of great responsibility, which is not something Lumi takes lightly. Knowing that it’s real people’s lives you are dealing with can sometimes feel like quite a load to bear.
“It can be a lot of pressure, where perhaps one little decision you make could cost someone their dream home.”
Not your average career path to finance
Lumi’s path to her current role is, by her own words, one with a fair few “twists and turns.” Starting out at university on a Dental Degree, after three years Lumi switched to Psychology. Not sure what to do after graduation, it was actually her part-time job in retail that helped her realize that her true passion “wasn’t for teeth or for Kant.” With a desire to help people, combined with a “general knack for numbers”, Lumi started to look around at other options. After working as a mortgage assistant for a brief time, she then considered a role at Athena.
“Looking for more opportunities I found Athena. A couple of friends worked there, and they loved it. I was very nervous that I would be underqualified, but it actually motivated me a lot.”
At Athena, every day will get you jumping out of bed in the morning
As we can see from her change of direction at university, Lumi is not the kind of person to stick to the mold if it doesn’t feel right, and is more than happy to switch tack if a better opportunity comes along. Because of this can-do attitude, Athena instantly felt like a good fit for Lumi’s personal ethos and approach to life:
“Athena is a lender who is not afraid to do things a little bit differently. From their gutsy advertising to their game-changing presence in the world of home loans, I knew I was in for a different experience.”
Lumi has no regrets about making such a drastic change of course in her career path and quickly felt at home as part of the team.
“I realized I had made the right decision when every morning I woke up, not wanting to go back to sleep, but ready to take on the day.”
Since no two customers are the same, and each comes to Athena with individual requirements, every case Lumi works on is different. It’s what keeps things interesting and is a challenge she enjoys.
“Every single day is something new and exciting, like a puzzle waiting to be solved.”
Rapid career progression opportunities
Although Lumi had initially joined Athena in the Loans department, after only a couple of months she found herself looking around for her next challenge. She began to think she might be a better fit in the Credit department and decided to approach someone more senior to discuss the idea:
“When it came to wanting to transition to Credit, I saw the Head of Credit sitting near my desk one Friday afternoon, so I wandered over to ask, ‘what would you think about me potentially moving over?”
Although there weren’t any job openings at the time, when a role did come up shortly afterwards “everyone was very supportive” of her progression. In fact, Lumi can’t speak more glowingly about Athena’s support in her career journey and she praises them for providing “ample training and guidance” during her move up through the different roles she’s held in the business.
“Prior to joining Athena, I was pretty lost. The learning curve was steep, but I was supported throughout my entire journey from learning how to communicate with customers as a Loan Expert to now, finalizing the process as a Credit Assessor.”
One of Lumi’s proudest career achievements is winning the Quarterly Award for Performance Growth, which serves as validation of her hard work during a comparatively short period of time.
“I initially entered Athena on a contract, but after two months I was offered a full-time role. It was very quick, but I was just continuously motivated to do better and better.”
Lights, camera, action
It’s not all work, work, work though for Lumi. With her partner, she runs a highly successful YouTube channel, Economics Explained. Together they discuss financial topics, worldwide markets and give general money tips and advice. Lumi’s partner has a degree in Economics, and while Lumi herself always enjoyed math during her own university career, she loves handling the creative direction of the production. She says, “initially the channel had no traction” but once they started discussing different country’s economic models things started to take off. They have been running the channel for three years. It took six months to reach 100K subscribers and by two years they had hit a million.
“Making our first dollar was so exciting. Then the numbers just kept growing. It was very exciting to see how YouTube algorithms work; the more followers we got, the faster it all grew.”
Enjoy what you do
Lumi encourages other people to think about their current situation and to not be afraid of making changes – even significant changes – if they’re not happy with where they are headed. Even if it means going in a different direction to their initial career path.
“Don’t feel pressured to fit into a mold, to stick with the seemingly binding decision you are pressed to make on the cusp of adulthood. If you enjoy something, everything else will fall into place. No matter how lucrative a job is, if you don’t enjoy it, things will fall apart.”
Due to the success of their YouTube channel, Lumi is fortunate that she doesn’t actually need to work full-time, but she chooses to continue her role at Athena anyway because she enjoys it so much.
“I guess it’s more a reflection of how great Athena is. I’ve had a couple of great relationships with co-workers in the past, but nothing like at Athena. Here, if you want to try something, they will figure out how to support you to get to the role you want.”