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Change Maker: Jane Benjamin, director, mortgages, Connect Group

  • 27/11/2023
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Change Maker: Jane Benjamin, director, mortgages, Connect Group
As part of the Change Makers initiative, Mortgage Solutions spoke to Connect Group director, mortgages Jane Benjamin (pictured) about her championing of equality and diversity, her promotion of flexible working and how she feels to have been nominated as a Change Maker.

Benjamin is director, mortgages at the Connect Group, a role she has held for just over two years. Prior to that, she was with Mortgage Brain and before that, was director, mortgages at both Sesame Bankhall Group and PMS Mortgage Club.

She is a champion for equality and diversity in the industry as well as a staunch supporter and advocate for Women in Finance. This drive for positive change in the mortgage industry led to her nomination as a Mortgage Solutions Change Maker.

Which role do you feel prompted your nomination as a Change Maker?

My current role as director, mortgages for the Connect Group gives me an opportunity and a platform to really make a difference for both advisers and customers within underserved groups and with different characteristics.

Cultural diversity with change is at the centre of my working ethic by really living the ethos of diversity and inclusivity for all. As part of the leadership team, I happily take the lead to make change and to make a difference as the Connect champion of equality, diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

I represent Connect as a member of the Diversity Inclusion Finance Forum (DIFF). Also, one of my professional and personal priorities is being a proactive member of the AMI Inclusion and Diversity Task Force working party, on inclusion in financial services.

Which other initiatives have you worked on to improve the workspace?

I’m a strong advocate for the flexible working approach to promote a healthy work-life balance as well as allowing greater flexibility to those who may need it more.

With the aim of driving positive change, I have been undertaking a review on the wellbeing of people, looking for processes that will benefit the Connect team and, in turn, also benefit Connect advisers and network members.

I know that supporting them in both their work and home life, creates a balanced workforce, which is good for business, good for customers and good for workplace culture.

In terms of gender diversity, what steps have you taken to improve the balance between men and women in the workplace?

I have always championed Women in Finance, and I led the last large business I worked for to sign up to the government’s Women in Finance Charter, the very first mortgage distributor to join. After many years and uncomfortable encounters in our industry as a lone female amongst a room full of men, it’s great to see our young future female leaders with a voice, it fills my heart with sunshine. I do try to give back and share my ideas and experiences (mentor is a formal scary word for many), good and bad, with anyone who will listen… I love to talk.

In 2022, I was privileged to be part of the AMI working party to drive positive change in the mortgage industry and worked with an awesome group of industry peers to hopefully make a difference.

We launched the Working in Mortgages website, phase 1. There is a lot still to do but the tide is turning, voices are being heard, bad behaviour is being called out and finally, we are moving to an industry where all are welcome to be their true self. We now push on with phase 2 – all volunteers are welcome, please join us.

How did it feel to be nominated as Change Maker?

It was a lovely surprise, I had no idea until it was announced on the night of the awards and I am humbled that my peers recognised the value of what I consider to be business as usual, giving back to our wonderful industry that has given so much to me over the past 20 years.

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