I’m a 27-year-old mum-of-three (ages 8, 5 and 2) and I’ve worked in financial services for 8 years.
I’m passionate about improving the way clients are serviced and making sure they receive first-class continuity of care throughout their financial journey, no matter what point they may be at.
Like many working women, I strive to be the best I can be for myself, my family, my team and my firms – it’s not always easy!
I recently joined Edentree Investment Management in a business development role, working with and supporting advisers, enabling them to deliver their clients’ expectations and ensuring the service they receive is of the highest standard. This includes supporting and educating advisers about sustainable investing, how Edentree products can complement their existing offering, ensuring that any questions are responded to in a timely and accurate way.
I see myself as an extension of the advisers’ firm - making sure their best interests remain at the centre of what I do, and adding further credibility to the ongoing service their clients pay for.
This last year has been one of the toughest, but most rewarding of my life
In my previous role I experienced several personal challenges and as a result had to make massive changes to my family’s life. In 2019 my 5-year-old daughter was diagnosed with cerebral palsy and had several stints in hospital. I had to manage the emotional and physical drain while not letting it affect my career.
After having had my youngest child 10 weeks prematurely, I returned from maternity leave in February 2020 when she was just 3 months old – and just as the pandemic started.
I remained positive at work, always ensuring nothing in my personal life would affect my role, instead trying to channel the experience to become stronger, to become more mindful of what others were going through and to demonstrate that trust and communication is key to any successful relationship (professional or personal).
The next few months were challenging as the pandemic intensified and we entered lockdown number one. Everyone was finding a new way of working – I was now at home with three children, working and home-schooling, but this was when I drew on the strength I’d previously developed and tried to focus on the fact that trust and communication is always key.
In August I suffered some health problems and underwent surgery, and further treatment – all with my laptop in tow. This might seem strange, but people can and do rely on me to make sure tasks are completed. And in turn, my job helps me to focus. Unlike other aspects of life, I can control what I do in the ‘work’ part, and when I was recovering, I used this as positive inspiration to power through.
In September I was ‘highly commended’ in the Professional Adviser Women in Financial Advice Awards under the ‘most inspiring returner’ category. So in many respects, my approach paid off!
A man’s world
Financial services is dominated by men and when I first started working in the profession, I wasn’t always taken seriously. Things couldn’t be more different now, but I’ve had to work at it.
The more women join the profession, the easier I’m sure it will become, but as we know, there isn’t an influx of graduates heading for financial services – whether male or female. For that reason, I try not to let opportunities slip by where I can promote the profession as a positive career choice, especially to young girls.
The financial profession offers many positives for women looking for an inspiring career: we have a natural ability to be good listeners, to build relationships and communicate empathy. When clients look for an adviser, they want someone they can trust, and generally, women can communicate this with ease.
During the lockdown I presented a number of webinars to local schools to promote financial services and to empower young girls in particular. I taught them why strength will always shine through, and we should support each other to achieve great things. To look after others and to be kind.
We all face different challenges, but it’s how we overcome and learn from them that matters. The more we share our own stories of how we’ve succeeded, the more others will see a path for them to follow too.
The feedback I received was great. The schools are keen for this to be repeated and enhanced as the children get older, and they’ve also requested that I introduce financial considerations into the presentation.
When I was at school it was never something that was discussed as a career option, and I want to make sure this changes.
There’s still a lot that can be done - I campaign within the local area to ask companies in the industry to offer work experience to girls (and boys) and encourage more information be presented to them later in their school life about this as a career option.
Little by little I believe we can make a career in financial services seem like a positive choice – especially for women – rather than something you simply ‘fall into’!