18 October 2018 ... min read Listen

Stephanie Pelsmakers

For me, it’s an ideal combination of working, coaching and expanding expertise

She began as a Campaign Analyst at ING Belgium and then worked as a Marketing Specialist for SME customers. For her next step, Stephanie looked abroad – preferably at ING locations such as Sydney, Madrid or Amsterdam, “because they excel in terms of their digital proposition” and her ambition lay in ‘digital’. What started as a short-term assign[L1] ment (STA) in Amsterdam turned into a completely new role: Customer Journey Expert in the Omnichannel Experience Tribe, where she has been Chapter Lead since May 2017.

“I wanted to be part of the transformation to agile, which was just beginning when my STA finished, plus I was really happy in Amsterdam. So the internal developments within the bank came at just the right time for me.” Stephanie is now one of the five Business Chapter Leads in the Omnichannel Experience Tribe. All customer journey experts (CJEs) are members of a chapter, which is organised around a particular area of expertise. In Stephanie’s case, that is digital customer experience. “Within my chapter, we’re focused on two key areas: ‘customer centricity’ and ‘data driven’. If we’re to be the best digital bank, we need to put the customer at the heart of everything we do. And we can only do that if we use data to understand the customer needs. Our chapter ensures that we further develop these areas of expertise and share them with the rest of the tribe. We help other CJEs to expand their knowledge and improve their performance in these areas.”

Coaching and developing expertise

“As the chapter lead I am the personal coach for all the CJEs in the chapter – the person who supports and guides their growth and development. I also help the chapter members to achieve a high standard within our area of expertise. As the chapter, we’re free to decide for ourselves precisely how we do that because we’re autonomous – just as you would expect within agile working. We work together to identify the opportunities within the tribe and decide how we can make the most of them in practice. The whole chapter gets together every two weeks. The members themselves are in charge of how we spend this ‘chapter time’, in line with their requirements. I steer the meeting as necessary and facilitate things. The main thrust is to share best practices, information and experiences, with the aim of helping everyone to improve. We often organise a training session or workshop, and sometimes we invite expert speakers.”


“Coaching and developing expertise isn’t a full-time job, which is why the role of chapter lead also includes putting the expertise into practice within a squad. So I spend some of my time working in the ‘Most Wanted’ squad for mobile, as a kind of player-manager. This squad builds the features in the mobile banking app that customers utilise and request the most, and I fulfil the role of customer journey expert. I not only really enjoy the work, but it also gives me the chance to see whether what we are doing with the chapter is being well-received, and how we could do things even better. For me, it’s an ideal combination of working hands-on, coaching and expanding expertise. It’s varied and challenging, plus it keeps me on my toes.”

About Stephanie

Stephanie studied communication sciences and did a master’s in management and a master’s in strategic marketing leadership. She joined ING in Belgium in 2008 and moved to ING in the Netherlands in 2014, initially for a short-term assignment. 
She absolutely loves travelling, preferably to far-flung destinations. Her most recent trip was to Australia, and the next destinations on her list are Bali and Lombok. She enjoys snowboarding, playing squash and running, and since living in Amsterdam she has truly discovered the joys of cycling. “I go literally everywhere by bike here and I’ve even bought myself a ‘granny bike’. It’s such fun to cycle through the city centre by the canals. And if the weather is fine I cycle to and from work too.”

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