Nuby Rangel moved to Australia with only basic English. She joked that a year later she had to learn a whole new language with all the acronyms in her new position at NAB. Now ten years later, she’s thriving in her role in data analytics. A cancer diagnosis faced Nuby with a different type of challenge, and she shared lessons from her career and her health challenges with us.
A career in data analytics
Nuby focused her career efforts on data analytics roles when she arrived in Australia. Her work experience back home in Venezuela showed her she loved working with data, and she wanted to continue to build on her passions. She interviewed with NAB for a Portfolio Analytics & Insights Analyst position and got the job!
She says: “When I got the job, I was so excited and happy! The first months were very challenging — living in a new country, speaking a new language. I never thought I would be able to do this job in a different country and language, but I had to! It was a new life here.”
Now, she is a Complaints Analytics Consultant. The team process all the complaints from NAB customers and classify them to produce business insights and recommendations on process improvements and ways to assist customers.
“I am a people-person. I love talking to and listening to people. When I saw this role was working with data, with the opportunity to learn more about machine learning that’s being embedded in their workflow to help classify complaints, I thought, this is an amazing opportunity for me! It combines everything I like doing – working with data, doing data mining to identify trends and contributing to making customers happier.”
A cancer diagnosis changed everything
Nuby was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in October 2013, and her whole world changed. NAB were incredibly supportive as she went to specialist appointments and through chemotherapy treatment.
“The support that NAB, my people leader and my colleagues offered me during and after the process was just incredible. I am very grateful for working for a company that cares about its employees.”
One of Nuby’s colleagues attended her specialist appointments with her as support, and people from work visited her when she was in hospital. Nuby believes the support and care from her workmates helped her heal more quickly.
After her initial diagnosis, Nuby only took two weeks off and then wanted to return to work so she had something else to think about, rather than being home on her own all day. As the chemotherapy progressed she got sicker, and took seven months off work. She also undertook a stem cell transplant in that time, having to spend three weeks isolated at the hospital to prevent infection. Now, Nuby is in remission.
“With the kind of cancer I have, unfortunately, there is no cure at the moment. You just buy time, which gives you the best chance to have a long remission. I have been well since 2014, but I have check-ups every three months.”
Nuby is — quite rightfully — proud of returning to full-time work and a job that she loves after her diagnosis and treatment. Cancer has changed her outlook on life, and she shared with us the lessons she learned along the way.
Lessons from a changing life
” I always say to my husband that it’s kind of ironic I got this type of cancer. I used to be a very planned person — this is what I’m going to do in two months, six months, two years, five years. I had all these plans, and everything needed a spreadsheet. Then I went through this with cancer, and the specialist said there’s a 99% chance that I’ll get it again.”
Some of the lessons Nuby shared with us are:
Live in the present
“Sometimes it’s ok not to know the plan, and I understand anything can change at any moment. I learned to start living life one day at a time and I enjoy the present more. I started appreciating everything a lot more, even washing the dishes – one of the side effects of chemotherapy was a lot of pain in my hands and feet, so I couldn’t do the dishes for a few months, and meditating every day in the morning and at night.”
Focus on what you do have
“After chemo, I focused a lot on the things I was going to miss or lose if I die, instead of focusing on what I do have in front of me in the present. A friend found me in the bathroom at work one day, crying ‘I don’t know how I’m going to live with this. I don’t have any control’. It was an ah-ha moment. She said to me, ‘Nuby, why are you thinking about what you’re going to lose. You’re alive right now, so you need to focus on what you have right now.’ It sounds simple but it’s not; when you’re grieving and trying to understand what you’re going through it’s hard.”
Live a life you enjoy
“It can be interesting, or even sad, that you only start changing for the better after something like that. It takes something big to make you think, ‘this is not the way I should be living my life’. I was diagnosed at 35, and the specialist said the average prognosis is 5-7 years. There were still so many things I wanted to do! I started doing more things that I really enjoyed — travelling, dedicating more time to myself, practicing a morning ritual, exercising, cooking for my friends. I also started saying no, and not feeling guilty about it. I live my life more simply.”
Diving back into her career
Nuby is curious, loves learning new things, math and working with data. There was a restructure while she was on sick leave, but Nuby returned to a new role and NAB made her return to work very easy. She had a structured plan to build up to full time, regular check-ins with HR, and she was allocated a dedicated workstation that no one else could use while her immune system rebuilt itself.
She took various roles in data analytics before taking on her current role in complaints. She shares:
“NAB is really a great company to work for. One thing I love about NAB’s culture is that my colleagues are more like family.”
They have great flexible work options, career opportunities and development programs. Nuby told us about a leadership program she participated in, spending a week in a hotel building her confidence and skills. She also joined the mentorship program and enjoys the talented people she works with.
Nuby may be uncertain about her future, but she’s living life like it really matters right now.