Roban Gutowski is a financial expert who believes in investing – especially in her community. Roban has served as branch manager of the East Coast Credit Union on Ochterloney Street for nine years.
“When I came here I was excited for the job and the role, but I had to learn about Dartmouth. I admit I knew very little back then!”
Roban was born in Brampton, Ontario, and was raised in Calgary, Alberta. She got into the financial industry while at the University of Calgary, where she started working for a bank in the student loans department. Now, 38 years later, Roban says the industry has evolved considerably.
“At my employer, East Coast Credit Union, we have to be different. Most people are surprised that we are a not-for-profit. And my branch, and every branch, is whole-heartedly focused on community.’’
Roban says her team has a big heart for Margaret’s House and the F.O.O.D (Feeding Others of Dartmouth) program. Before COVID, a large group from ECCU would walk down to Margaret’s House a few days per month to serve during the dinner rush.
“We still support the food program financially, but the staff misses the opportunity to help out in person. It was incredibly rewarding.”
Roban also gives back to the community by volunteering as Secretary/Treasurer on the Downtown Dartmouth Board of Directors. She says she jumped at the opportunity to join when she was approached in 2016.
“I was interested in giving back and getting to know more people in downtown Dartmouth. I was here in this beautiful building and the pond, but I felt disconnected. Now my staff feel very connected.”
Since Roban joined the board, her team at ECCU has played a crucial role in the Downtown Dartmouth Ice Festival. She and her staff spend hours of their personal time in planning and delivering the event every year, handing out freebies, helping behind the scenes at the entertainment stages, supervising fire pits and doing anything else that needs to be done. ECCU’s sponsorship of the event has helped it grow significantly since it began in 2019.
“I am so proud of our involvement in the Ice Festival! I am supercharged for the next one to happen after COVID. Last time, it was such a great day. The lineups for the horse rides, the hot chocolate – every bit of it was a wonderful experience!”
Roban hangs a photo of Margaret's House on the wall of her office at East Coast Credit Union.
Roban says her love of family-focused events comes from her own experiences with her children and grandchildren. She relishes every moment she spends with her loved ones because she had such a special relationship with her grandmother.
“That’s where I get that all from. My grandmother was so resourceful. She was a big part of my life and my children’s lives until she died at the age of 102.”
Roban says she has plans to retire and spend more time with her grandchildren long before she reaches that age. In the meantime, she says she loves her work at ECCU and she loves Dartmouth.
“I want this place to become bigger and better, but I want it to retain its small town atmosphere. That’s what makes Dartmouth unique.”