Mercantile Trust

'Success isn't driven through being male or female or whether you have a specific qualification or degree'

I fell into the mortgage industry totally by chance. I left school following my A-levels with the prospect of going to university, but I decided that I was done with studying and wanted to get a job and earn some money.

I started my career at First National Bank in a sales administration role, which is where my passion for helping intermediaries began. It was a diverse position which lent itself to helping set up brokers and dealing with case queries and commission payments which, in the main, meant I was always delivering positive news.

I quietly progressed over the years and, through the bank’s acquisition, ending up working for GE Money, which is where I believe my career really started as I took on my first role as a BDM. When I was approached about it, my first response was, “I am not sure I will be any good at it”. Little did I know that it would be a role that I would love. I had the necessary skills and found it came naturally to me and would help shape my future over the coming years: I ended up as a managing director of one of the largest challenger banks in the country.

I’m a great believer in the adage that ‘people buy people’. If you can add value wherever you go and ensure that people’s points of view are taken on board so that they feel listened to, then that’s a good foundation for success.

I recently read something written by a CEO which made perfect sense — that promotions are often given to those that made an impression some time ago. It made me realise how important it is to leave a positive impact with anyone that you meet.

The main hurdles for me were my age and how I spoke. I vividly remember being challenged over my accent and took it as a personal attack on my personality. I turned this around to be my biggest strength — it actually gave me the fire in my belly to prove the individual wrong! I did this time and time again and, with the support of my amazing team, saw the lender I was working for become the biggest in the market at the time.

I feel that the market has made significant changes and, what was primarily a male-dominant market, is less so now. There are many women who hold senior positions at businesses, and boards are more diverse today than they have ever been.

The industry should be proud of the changes it has made and continues to make, and I would certainly encourage anyone thinking of working in the specialist market to do so. It’s a fast-paced and progressive sector which makes it exciting but, at times, brutal — so you need to be thick skinned. However, if you have a passion for making a difference and a personality that shines even on the darkest of days, then you will do exceptionally well. 

Success isn’t driven through being male or female or whether you have a specific qualification or degree; the latter helps of course, but life/work experience also has a value. Success is driven by ambition of the individual. If they continue to try and will get back up when they fall, treat people as they want to be treated, and have a real passion for making a difference, then they will succeed.

Are you a woman in the financial services industry keen to get your voice heard? Contact [email protected] - we would love to chat!

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