‘If someone finds the key – please can they pass it to me?’

By Tony Sanchez -

Kim McGinley Managing Director VIBE Finance

In our latest Women in Finance Interview, Tony Sanchez speaks to Kim McGinley, the Managing Director of VIBE Finance, a specialist mortgage brokerage based down on the South Coast and London.

Kim set VIBE up in 2018 after working for a couple of Specialist Lenders for the previous 12 years or so which gave her the best insight into how lenders work, the underwriting and credit process which gave  opportunity to add some real value to their own clients and so VIBE was born.

What brought you into financial services?

The classic answer and likely the same answer for most – I literally fell into it!

I had been studying drama at college and established quite quickly that one doesn’t just complete a drama course and go straight into acting and so I started looking for a full time job to kick start my career and a friend got me a job working at Abbey National in the contact centre – and it just went on from there!

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

Being a successful leader to me is having respect for AND from your team – you are able to listen, to nurture, to reassure and to be honest in a way that is respectful.

You need to always, always be true to yourself and the team around you. Taking on board criticism and not taking it to heart.

Women can have a tougher time granted, but going with your gut, your heart and believing in yourself can take you so much further than you ever thought possible.

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

If I’m honest, there was a barrier in a role I previously had where I had the chance to work from home a few days a week and then the office for the other two.

Home working was still very new back then, but I knew I worked far harder and longer and was generally more productive working from home than in the office as there are little distractions.

When new management came in, it became clear they did not believe in this balance as much which is why I started looking at setting up VIBE.

With what has happened in 2020 I don’t think this would be such an issue anymore!

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

Prepare yourselves for the highs and lows and the fact that the highs (no matter how small) will always outweigh the lows.

What’s your own personal mantra?

Lead by example; don’t ask others to undertake tasks that you wouldn’t undertake yourself.

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

If someone finds the key – please can they pass it to me? Ha.

It is something I talk about and struggle with.

I am learning that you don’t have to reply straight away to an email simply because it is there.

I’ve been so hell bent on providing such a high level of customer service and forget that people are actually patient and don’t necessarily expect a reply straight away.

Communication is key in this respect.

I am now setting time aside in my working week to be there for my family & children, especially in the evenings where I know I can put the children to bed and then catch up with anything I might need to later on, or wait until I am in work the next day.

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

You cannot please everyone at all times, no matter how hard you try.

It’s just not possible and when you accept this fact, life is actually a little easier!

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

Perseverance and hard work.  You simply cannot hide hard work or being successful in what you do being a man or a woman – perseverance and hard work will always rise to the top eventually.

What do you think is holding women back?

The only thing holding some women back is themselves.

We have a natural ability to talk ourselves out of applying for a senior job role, questioning our abilities as the self-doubt creeps in.

Having the support of a company whose values you truly believe in and are lived and breathed every day by the organisation will help more women to develop their careers.

Do you think there is still a glass ceiling?

For some organisations yes to a certain extent however you simply cannot hide talent, hard work and commitment – it will always shine through eventually.

It is however down to companies to look at themselves and establish if there is a ‘glass ceiling’ – a barrier that is stopping certain individuals because if there is, only they can change it.

What are your thoughts on the Women in Finance Charter? 

I think it’s great and very much needed. Statistics still show we have a long way to go for equality in the work place and closing that gender pay gap.

Charters like this are a great way for companies to sign up and truly demonstrate their commitment to this cause.

How do we encourage more women into financial services? 

The use of social media and industry media in general I feel is certainly helping in this respect.

Already I am seeing far more posts and balanced media reviews asking for womens thoughts and opinions which is great to see!

You also have the Financial Reporter’s annual Women’s Recognition Awards which is great for our industry as a whole.

I’ve had women message me more so over the last 12 months saying how much they love our posts and I hope that it is working on encouraging some women to join such a great industry that can be so rewarding.

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

Companies need to be accountable – saying you will do something and actually doing it are two completely different things.

By being accountable, you are committing to change as without change – nothing will happen.