Enra Specialist Finance

'There could be more career progression in non-service function areas'

I have been in marketing for over 13 years and worked my way up to director level by age 30, mainly in the IT and technology industries.

Enra approached me in late 2019 as it was looking for a new group marketing director to rebrand the business, refresh and own new strategies, and basically improve their go-to-market and brand positioning. Enra is the parent company of specialist lender West One and brokerages Enterprise Finance and Vantage Finance.

I had no financial services experience at the time of joining, but this wasn’t important, as the business needed an experienced marketeer and senior brand individual to have fresh eyes with no industry bias.

In the two years I have been with Enra, I have rebranded two of its brands, created and relaunched strategies and plans, and significantly improved its campaigns, content, and communications. I am also head of the business’s ESG strategy and culture plans and champion D&I and community projects across our teams.

What it’s like as a woman in this industry

Having only been in this sector for two years, I have limited experience, so can only go on what I see around me. As a female in a leadership position and a member of the LGBTQ+ society, I can look at this in many ways. From the outside in, the sector has a lot of work to do. However, Enra has a diverse workforce, so it doesn’t feel male-dominated at all, and this gives me hope for the wider industry.

Based on the number of males in our industry, I think it simply represents a legacy and gives an indication of the history of the mortgage market that probably was more male-led 20 years ago. With strong initiatives like the Women in Finance Charter and lots of focus on D&I in 2022 ,it’s the right time to change the face of the industry so that, in 10 years’ time (or less, hopefully), this topic won’t be relevant.

We need to make the industry representative of society, and I think there’s still a lot of work to do — we are making small steps, but it requires a joined-up approach. We do a lot within Enra, but that’s not a representation of the industry as a whole.

Advice for other women looking to pursue a similar career

Be yourself and never be ashamed of who you are, where you come from, or any gaps in your knowledge. Throughout my career, I have been very fortunate to work with some inspirational female role models who pushed me hard. However, I have also had the privilege of working with some amazing and knowledgeable experts since joining Enra — all of whom have shaped my journey in some way.

I am not where I am today because I am female or within a minority group, I am where I am because I’ve worked hard and learned from people around me. Always ask questions, learn every day, and listen. I hope that me being able to talk about my success encourages a younger generation of people in this space.

Areas where progress is still needed

There could be more career progression in non-service function areas; women are more likely to have leadership roles in service functions, such as marketing, HR, finance and compliance etc. Therefore, the route to CEO for a female is statistically less likely than that of a commercial/broker role. More education, graduate schemes, and awareness of the sector can encourage a diverse workforce across all areas.

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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