‘Back yourself and be a person that makes things happen’
By Tony Sanchez -
In our latest Women in Finance Interview, Tony Sanchez speaks to Sinead Moynihan, Sales Director at Hope Capital.
Sinead joined Hope Capital at the beginning of 2021 and brought with her a wealth of experience and expertise from working in the specialist finance industry for the last eight years, delivering exceptional results in her previous roles.
What brought you into financial services?
I have worked in the specialist finance industry for almost ten years and have worked extremely hard to build and maintain excellent broker relationships, develop and deliver sales strategies and identify gaps in the marketplace.
I moved into bridging finance after working in the insolvency sector for a number of years, where I gained a range of valuable skills which I was able transfer and adapt to the specialist lending market.
I have always had an interest in the industry, as it is very dynamic and all about adding value to those I work with, from brokers to my team, which is something I am really passionate about.
What do you think makes a successful leader? And in particular women leaders?
Regardless of gender, to be a successful leader you need to listen, support and encourage your team.
Leading your team and driving to constantly improve performance while adding value to the business you are working in are key to being a leader.
It is also important to show confidence, as when you undertake the responsibility of leadership, you need to be comfortable making timely and sometimes difficult decisions and be able to articulate why those decisions have been made.
When it comes to leading a team, building trust where people feel comfortable to exchange honest and direct communication with you is also essential, as this will enable your team to feel more confident about themselves and the environment they are working in.
What are the biggest barriers you have faced in your career in financial services?
The financial sector is very competitive and there are lots of people, both men and women, who want to pursue a career in the industry and to be seen as the best, in the area they are working in.
Often women feel they need to work harder and smarter to stand out, while often balancing other aspects in their life.
If you could tell your younger self one thing you know about business now, what would it be?
I would definitely tell myself that all the hard work and commitment I have dedicated to my career was very much worth it!
Having ambition, patience and confidence in your abilities will take you far and ultimately your determination will ensure you get to where you want to be.
When I think back on my career, one of the greatest lessons I have learned is how beneficial it is to have a strong network of people around me, who can provide support and open the door to opportunities.
If I could go back in time and tell my younger self anything, it would be to seek out and cultivate relationships with people you admire at an early stage, provide mutual support to them and work together so you can achieve your mutual goals while assisting each other to get there.
What’s your own personal mantra?
My personal mantra is to go boldly, ignore other opinions, back yourself and be a person that makes things happen.
What do you think is key for finding a successful work-life balance?
It is important to recognise that while it is fantastic to work extremely hard and achieve success in your career, we all need to enjoy life as well.
Of course, you need to push yourself to achieve results, but you also need to know when to turn off and focus on matters outside of work.
Owing to what has happened over the last year, it has become particularly clear that taking care of yourself and making time for your loved ones is extremely important.
Work can be addictive, especially in the demanding financial sector, which moves at an extremely fast pace, but taking a timed break and doing things to look after your health and wellbeing, should always be prioritised.
What’s one key leadership lesson you’ve learned along the way?
There are many things I have learned throughout my career in the industry, but one of the key things I stand by is the importance of teamwork.
This is fundamental to motivating unity in the workplace and promotes an atmosphere which fosters a community where people provide support and commitment to each other.
What advice do you have for women aiming for leadership positions?
My advice to any women aiming for a leadership position is to be bold, confident and passionate.
Always push yourself to learn as much as you possibly can and never settle for the status quo.
Learning when to speak up and not being afraid to share your opinions will enable you to move from contributor to leader and make you successful in your field.
What do you think is holding women back?
Unfortunately, there are still many companies who do not provide the same opportunities for women as they do for men.
Without having equality in the workplace, it is extremely difficult for women to flourish as we are simply not always provided a platform to do so.
This has to be recognised by all companies and individuals. Everyone should play their role in ensuring the changing diversity and inclusion landscape is supported.
Do you think there is still a glass ceiling?
Unfortunately, there still is, however, there is no doubt this is improving and the financial sector has certainly made progress if you compare it today to say, 10 years ago.
Nevertheless, there will always be a glass ceiling until every firm in the sector provides equal opportunities for women and promote and support women in senior roles…it’s that simple!
What are your thoughts on the Women in Finance Charter?
While I think the Women in Finance Charter has shone a big spotlight on an issue which obviously exists and must be addressed, and this of course is a great thing, I also think it is such a shame a charter has to exist for this important change to happen.
That being said, for any change to happen in the world, I think education and raising awareness is the first step.
I feel optimistic that due to charters like this, change is happening and we are collectively taking those necessary steps forward.
How do we encourage more women into financial services?
I think it is about providing opportunities for women and educating the next generation that this is not a male-dominated industry. Changing perception is crucial!
There are many ways we can do this, with one of the greatest examples being to launch an apprenticeship scheme, which provides a route for women and men to get into finance.
At Hope Capital, we launched an apprenticeship scheme in 2020, taking on two female apprentices to help kick-start their careers in finance.
It has been deeply rewarding to be able to provide our apprentices with invaluable skills, which will provide them with the experience and knowledge they need to succeed in the market and develop their careers.
If you are passionate about something and are prepared to work hard to get to where you want to be, you should be encouraged to do so and there should be plenty of opportunities available for both men and women who want to pursue a career in finance.
The gender pay gap is only second worst to the construction industry. What can organisations do to address this?
This evidence should be more than enough for companies to take a step back and ask if they are playing their part in providing equal opportunities.
If companies are not ticking these boxes, then there is urgent work which needs to be prioritised.
I am therefore very proud to be part of a team at Hope Capital, which is dedicated to creating opportunities and recognising everyone for their success, regardless of gender.
I hope one day this is the case for every organisation – after all, everyone has a role to play in this!