‘Everything negative can be turned into a positive’

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Heather Hancock Black & White Bridging

In our latest Women in Finance Interview, Tony Sanchez speaks to Heather Hancock lending manager at Black & White Bridging.

A bridging underwriter with over 10 years’ experience within the financial sector, Heather is responsible for creating the terms for deals, completing a full underwrite and due diligence as well as corresponding with the intermediary, legal team and financial providers.

Outside of work, interests involve cars, football, and the new addition of a puppy to her household.

What brought you into financial services?

Like many people in the financial services industry, I simply fell into it!

I was temping in a bank branch and found I had an aptitude for connecting with the customers and from thereon I enjoyed the communication and relationships I built within the financial industry and wanted to use them to help customers get to where they wanted to be.

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

A successful leader is one that knows when to manage and when to allow a team the room to show their natural abilities.

A leader encourages and supports team members not just in work but in all their endeavours and is willing to show that he or she is able to do the work they are expecting others to do.

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

The biggest barriers I have faced have been with technology issues and procedures and protocols.

Too often “admin” and “the way we do things” has got in the way of doing “the right thing”, or poor technology has let down the service that you strive to provide.

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

You can’t always get everything spot on and correct, but learn from your mistakes and work as hard as you can and to the best of your abilities.

If you work hard and show willing, it will get recognised.

What’s your own personal mantra?

Everything negative can be turned into a positive.

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

Knowing that you spend the majority of your time working and with your colleagues therefore to enjoy that time, so it feels less like a “work-life balance” and more a continuously enjoyable day from start to finish.

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

You are only as good as the team you have around you.

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

To work hard and showcase the skills you have. Do not be afraid to promote yourself.

What do you think is holding women back?

I have never let anything hold me back, and the only person that can hold you back is yourself irrelevant of the opinions and thoughts around you.

Do you think there is still a glass ceiling?

It is inevitable that in some businesses there will still be barriers due to needing a shift in culture, people can be slow in implementing changes and accepting them, but a lot has already been done to ensure that this eventually falls away for good.

What are your thoughts on the Women in Finance Charter? 

If I am being entirely honest, I hadn’t heard of this Charter until this question was raised with me.

I think it is important that everyone has a chance to do as well as they can and want to in business, work and life no matter who they are or where they come from.

So, anything that promotes that can only be a positive.

How do we encourage more women into financial services? 

By recognising the excellent women that are already within the financial services and therefore showing that anyone can be successful.

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

I have always thought it quite a simple idea that everyone is paid equally according to the job role they do, the expertise they have and the experience they have gained.

This should be the rule of thumb across the board. How these areas are measured is up to individual businesses, but everyone should be rewarded in relation to their skill set rather than who they are.

What is your biggest achievement to date?

Being welcomed into the wonderful world of Black & White Bridging and finding my “home” company!