From bar chat to bridging
By Laura Miller -
A 22 year old woman walks into a bar, and twelve years later she’s heading up marketing and comms across a 32-strong team at a multi-award winning bridging lender. That’s a good night’s work.
“I was simply in the right place at the right time,” says MT Finance’s Millie Dyson, “I was at a bit of a crossroads, then one Friday night I walked into a bar and bumped into two friends who had just started up a financial media agency and they asked me to join.”
She went from sales support to editor at the publisher, before moving to London and making two bold moves; setting up her own PR consultancy, and then, with little marketing or advertising experience, taking up a permanent position as marketing manager at a loan brokerage.
“I love a challenge and just went for it,” she says, a confidence that has continued to pay dividends. By 2014 her reputation meant she was headhunted by MT Finance for head of marketing and communications. She was named in the Bridging & Commercial Magazine 35 Under 35 Power List earlier this year.
Fighting imposter syndrome
London-based MT Finance has a string of awards, most recently winning Best Service from a Bridging Service Provider at Moneyfacts Awards 2020. Dyson showcases the company’s successes across communications strategies and creative concepts for advertising, video, and social media. She has pushed MT Finance to overhaul its brand and create a new website.
“Because I had never intended to go into marketing, everything I have learned has been self-taught,” she says, admitting “imposter syndrome featured quite heavily in the early days” but was helped by being “incredibly lucky to work for people who saw my capabilities, even before I did”.
One of her biggest industry contributions is the quarterly Bridging Trends infographic site she launched in 2015. Building on her publishing roots, Dyson brings together key facts and figures about the industry for borrowers and lenders alike, in a commitment to sharing clear, accurate, timely data.
She is also responsible for gender diversity at MT Finance as part of the Women in Finance Charter. The lender is a signatory and has committed to setting internal targets for gender diversity in senior management, and ensuring executive pay is linked to delivery against these targets.
Planning, Dyson says, is her secret weapon to juggling all these hats. “As a marketer, you cannot wait for problems to develop, you have a plan for every scenario.” Even coronavirus?
“Nobody could have predicted Covid-19, in marketing we’re seeing a major behavioural shift which has meant rapid changes in customer attitudes and technological innovation, but every day the team are working hard to adapt,” she says.
Does she ever regret walking into her local bar that night? “I didn’t know what I wanted to be when I was 22, only that I needed to have a burning passion for whatever it was I chose to do,” she says, “I am so fortunate that because I happened to be in the right place at the right time all those years ago, I have now accomplished exactly that.”
Millie Dyson’s 3 top tips
- Stay challenged
- Be curious, never stop learning
- Above all else, always trust your instincts.
Laura Miller is a freelance journalist who writes about money and business. She regularly appears in UK national and trade newspapers and magazines, and has previously worked for ITV News and the Telegraph among others. Find her on twitter @thatlaurawrites