Faye Wilcox | Valorem Partners
Faye is a straight thinking, straight talking woman. Asked, ‘what is your biggest challenge in the industry right now’, her answers come in clear, sharp, bullet points: Helping more women into senior leadership roles; health and wellbeing; improving recruitment best practices for SMEs in this market. These are three huge ambitions. But Faye is unfazed in the face of a challenge. On health and wellbeing she has launched an exclusive partnership with CBTeach via a live webinar recently to help trusted clients create or improve their corporate support structures, and has also launched a product called VP Health Check.
The other two, fostering female leaders and the best SME hiring methods, are very much intertwined in her work. “From a recruitment perspective, I was always surprised at how often clients would propose to me that they are looking to hire a man. I have to say I don’t hear it as much anymore within the bridging industry, since 2018 there has been an increase in the number of female’s within the industry but also within senior positions,” she says.
Faye is more than just a witness to that change, she has helped make it happen. When clients come to her to find the best candidates for their opening, before recommending the merry-go-round of same old faces, she will often ask if they are a supporter of the Women in Finance Charter, (the government-backed scheme to redress the unaccountable imbalance of female leaders). If they are not, Faye spends some time educating them about the scheme, and how it could benefit their organisation (companies with women at the helm saw returns that were 226% higher, according to a 12 year study of the returns of Fortune 1000 companies by US trading firm Quantopian).
Change doesn’t happen by accident, it takes people willing to stick their neck out and risk being unpopular. It also takes sustained pressure over time to see results, just like the formation of a diamond in nature. Faye’s mission is to keep pushing against what is thankfully emerging as a more open door for equal representation for women in bridging, by asking companies to look inwards at their structures and processes to see if there is a better way of doing things, in order to get access to the best candidates. “I think if companies are willing to offer more flexibility around working from home or part time hours, then subsequently we would see even more women enter the industry and stay. I also would like to see this level of flexibility for Women in Management and C Suite level roles,” she says. Faye’s position is simple: there should be no reason why a woman cannot achieve their aspirations of being a mother while combining this with having a successful career. Putting her money where her mouth is, she has also recently created and launched The Inspirational Women in Finance Podcast (episodes out soon).
People make a company, so it matters who you staff your teams with. This is especially true of a sales and relationship-led sector like bridging. Faye sees no point stuffing any old candidate in a role. She works closely with a business to provide clarity around the skills, talent, experience and impact they need to hire, marrying these up in perfect harmony with the company’s objectives. Using her knowledge, expertise, relationships, time and enthusiasm, she successfully helps them hire the talent they need for their business to grow. “I love that my clients trust me to meet their needs and each time they come back to me with their next hiring project, which could be three or six months down the line,” she says.