What locations and how many advisers and broker firms do you cover in your role?
At the moment I am looking after 30 brokers, introducers and affiliates, but the number is growing every day. They range from small independent brokers to large master brokers and they’re based all over the UK so I’m really excited to get on the road.
How have you changed the way you establish and maintain a good relationship with brokers in the pandemic?
We have had to adapt as I am sure many people have had to, using Zoom or Microsoft Teams – other video call brands are available – and regular calls and emails trying to keep up a presence in the market albeit virtual now.
Throughout lockdown I became a bit of a whiz at Zoom after numerous quizzes with family and friends, so it definitely came in handy.
What personal talent/skill is most valuable in doing your job?
Great communication skills are vital. Obviously, the role is building new relationships, and due to the pandemic, re-engaging with existing partners has also been key.
I would say you definitely have to be organised with the ability to multi-task. I love how busy the role is and how most days just fly by. Coming from a sales background I know how important a speedy response is. No day is ever the same, and I get to speak to a variety of different people every day.
What personal talent/skill would you most like to improve on?
I suppose being new to the role I want to gain a better understanding of the finance sector from a BDM perspective to help build more relationships but also strengthen existing ones too.
Where would you rather be stuck, in bumper-to-bumper traffic or back-to-back Zoom calls?
I hate being stuck in traffic. My partner’s family live in Kent, so we regularly get stuck on the M6 after visiting them. On one occasion we got stuck over night from 10pm until 5am so I would have to pick the back-to-back Zooms but would need gingerbread skinny lattes on tap.
What’s the best bit of career-related advice you’ve ever been given?
Listen more than you speak. You were given two ears and one mouth for a reason. I love this quote as it’s so true; the best conversations I have are when I have to say very little.
I found this incredibly helpful when I was an underwriter too.
What is the most quirky/unique property deal you’ve been involved in?
Having over 15 years in the finance industry I have completed on a variety of different properties. They all are unique in their own way. To be honest I find the people I help much more interesting and memorable than the properties.
I always remember the ones I really made a difference to. That is what makes the job really rewarding.
What has been your lockdown coping strategy?
I got a puppy. His name is Otto and he a Miniature Schnauzer. He’s nearly nine months old now and has been a life saver. He’s my escape from home schooling and a break from looking at my screen. We had always wanted a dog, but it was never the right time until lockdown came, he’s just perfect.
Overall working from home has been great apart from the odd home-schooling tantrum. You don’t mind responding to some emails after hours as your commute is only to the next room.
If you were head of the FCA for the day, what would you change about regulation in the mortgage industry?
I would make sure all lenders and advisers play by the same rules and make sure no rules are bent and no boundaries are pushed.
What was your motivation for choosing business development as a career?
I felt I needed a new challenge. I went on a broker visit with another BDM and really enjoyed it. It was great to speak to the underwriters and gain an understanding of the whole customer journey.
I felt with my experience as an underwriter at Evolution that I could really make a difference. When the opportunity came up, I jumped at it. I’m really looking forward to meeting people in person when we are finally allowed to.
If you could do any other job in the property sector, what would it be and why?
I think maybe some sort of celebrity estate agent or interior designer. I love looking at other people’s houses, stealing home décor ideas from Instagram and seeing how the other half live.
I can lose hours to the Rightmove app trying to find my dream home. Or alternatively, something where I can work with animals – I’d love to run a doggy day care business.
What did you want to be growing up?
A professional basketball player; I even got offered a scholarship in America. Or a PE teacher. Things turned out a little different though. I went to university to be a PE teacher and to have religious studies as my second subject. Strange combination I know.
So much so, there was only one university that offered it. I soon discovered it wasn’t for me. I think it takes a special kind of person to teach 11 to 16-year-olds and I didn’t feel I was the right fit.
I fell into a finance company after university as an admin assistant and worked my way up. I love how the role enables me not only to help people but also educate them to reduce any further risk of financial difficulty.
What’s your favourite face mask design/pattern to wear?
It has to be my Liverpool FC face mask, bright red with the Premier League trophy on it from last year. Although I get some funny looks while wearing it on the tram in Manchester city centre. I keep my head down while going passed Old Trafford. Maybe I should just stick to a red one?
And finally, what’s the strangest question you’ve ever been asked?
I have been asked many strange questions but the one that sticks with me is when I took my niece to Chester Zoo and she asked: How long does it take a giraffe to throw up? I thought she was trying to tell me a cheesy dad joke but no, it was a real question.