‘Always believe in yourself and your own abilities’

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roz cawood hope capital

In our latest Women in Finance Interview, Tony Sanchez speaks to Roz Cawood, Director of Sales for specialist short-term lending at Hope Capital and has a wealth of experience in the bridging finance industry.

Before joining Hope Capital, Roz held roles at Masthaven, Legal & General, LendInvest and Precise Mortgages.

At Hope Capital, Roz is responsible for leading her sales team, devising sales strategies and implementing them to meet the diverse needs of brokers and their clients.

What brought you into financial services?

I’ve been working in financial services since I was 18. I was looking for a stable career with good prospects – and I have never regretted my decision to choose financial services as a career.

My first role was at a high street bank and I have held various roles within the sector, including time at Legal & General.

However, joining Hope Capital has been a breath of fresh air. The ‘can do’ attitude and passion for delivering excellent service is infectious and the collaborative nature of the team ensures Hope Capital can provide a great broker/client journey.

It’s an absolute pleasure to be part of this dynamic company.

What do you think makes a successful leader? And in particular women leaders?

Successful leaders definitely share certain traits. It’s about being inspirational, leading by example and being able to communicate with the team at all different levels, from the most junior members of staff to the board of directors. Good leaders’ value and empower their teams to succeed.

Female leaders are good communicators, good at multi-tasking and can be empathetic, while also being just as decisive and strong as their male counterparts, which are all positive traits for making  great leaders.

Generally women have high emotional intelligence and are also able to balance professional and personal leadership skills, whilst their naturing nature makes them positively care about their team and their wellbeing.

However, I believe that leadership is about being authentic so gender shouldn’t matter.

What are the biggest barriers you have faced in your career in financial services?

Financial services has traditionally been very male dominated, so, at times, you do have to deal with being the only female in the room, whether at a business meeting or at a work social function.

This can be quite daunting if you’re not used to it. However, things have changed and continue to do so –  there is more diversity within the industry.

Hope Capital is a fast-forward thinking organisation, which prioritises creating a diverse and inclusive work environment.

During my career I have been promoted several times – if you are good at what you do, you will (and should!) be recognised.

If you could tell your younger self one thing you know about business now, what would it be?

Always believe in yourself and your own abilities. If you don’t, then no one else will.

What’s your own personal mantra?

Treat people as you like to be treated. Never ask anyone to do something that you wouldn’t be prepared to do yourself.

What do you think is key for finding a successful work-life balance?

Balancing work and home life can be very tough, especially if you have children. It’s a bonus if you have a supportive partner and family.

Finding an employer that promotes work/life balance also really helps – it’s worth finding out about a company’s policies and culture in this area before you join.

Keeping a good work/life mix is about holding things in perspective, not being too hard on yourself, learning to prioritise tasks and manage your time effectively.

The trick is to learn to switch off so that you don’t take your work issues home and vice versa.

What’s one key leadership lesson you’ve learned along the way?

I read The Five Minute Manager early on in my career and it said to take time every day to say hello to your team.

I think that we can all get a little absorbed in our own world at times but making an effort to chat to people (and listening to their responses!) can have a really positive impact.

What advice do you have for women aiming for leadership positions?

Make sure you acquire the right skills and apply yourself. Believe in yourself and there’s no reason why you won’t succeed.

What do you think is holding women back?

Lack of confidence and self-doubt are the things that I often see holding women back.

If you don’t ask you don’t get – people make assumptions about others all the time so if you don’t tell people that you’re looking to progress then they’ll think you’re happy where you are.

Do you think there is still a glass ceiling?

There is a glass ceiling in our industry, but it’s beginning to crack. There are now more women in senior positions within financial services and therefore more role models for younger women which is a positive change.

What are your thoughts on the Women in Finance Charter?

It’s a shame that in this day and age that we need a Women in Finance Charter, but it’s great that more firms are breaking down barriers and supporting more and more women into senior roles.

How do we encourage more women into financial services?

More needs to be done to showcase the diversity of roles within financial services of the industry and how it caters to a wide range of skills and knowledge.

There is such a wide variety of roles within the industry such as marketing, IT, media, strategy, business, finance and sales.

We are gradually freeing ourselves form the ‘male-dominated’ stereotype and, with more women in leadership roles, we can show tomorrow’s future female leaders that their ambitions can be fulfilled within the financial services sector.

The gender pay gap in FS is only second worst to the construction industry. What can organisations do to address this?

Transparency is the way to solve the gender pay gap in financial services.

Pay should be based on job role, the person’s skills, knowledge and ability, rather than whether they are male or female.

What is your biggest achievement to date?

There have been many career highlights over the years and I’ve been very fortunate to work with some of the industries best who have helped me shape my future.

Having survived several downturns in the market I think my biggest achievement is still being here and in a position where I can add value.