Hard work in your first two years makes the rest easier
By Laura Miller -
Phodis Maratheftis has technically been a business development manager across London & South East for lender Alternative Bridging Corporation (ABC) these past six and a half years. But his alter ego carries the greater emotional burden.
He says: “I’m very into football both playing and watching, and having lived in North London all my life I am a huge Spurs fan, unfortunately.”
Recent events at his club have caused more tears of joy than sadness though, from securing qualification for the 2022-23 Champions League after two years away, to a £150m cash injection, with news head coach Antonio Conte will stay for next season providing the triple.
Phodis may have missed a bit of the club’s drama, as well as a few games, with his envy-inducing holiday itinerary though.
“I love to travel when I can and have been to various fun places including Dubai, Las Vegas, Barbados – over 10 times!” he says.
As well as North London, Phodis can claim family connections to warmer climes. He is half Greek Cypriot and half Guyanese, the English speaking nation on the Atlantic coast of South America.
But it was Middlesex University he chose to complete a Business Finance degree. His first big opportunity to test his learning, and gain some hands on experience, arrived with his starter job training as a mortgage broker for Direct 2 Lender mortgage packaging.
“I was training to be a broker for two years. Then I wanted a change and applied to be an internal BDM for Alternative Bridging,” he says.
Ambition has kept Phodis looking for the next challenge, but instead of scouting out elsewhere he has chosen to seek opportunities and progress up the career ladder at his current employer, ABC.
“After a year as an internal BDM, I was promoted to BDM and was given London and the South East as my area,” he says.
His success began with more hunger than experience. Before I joined ABC he only had that one job post-university, in a quite different part of the industry. “The lending arena was brand new to me,” he admits.
Now he well and truly has his feet under the table, Phodis’s advice to others considering following in his footsteps reveal the keys to his rise.
“The harder you work in your first two years in the job the easier the next few years will be,” he cautions.
He also encourages new entrants to “be prepared to learn and take on a lot of new information on day one, and don’t be shy to ask questions”.
This includes muscling your way (politely) into meetings that may not initially seem meant for a more junior member of staff.
“If the senior managers or directors are having a meeting with a potential client or broker, ask to sit in the meeting,” he says, “it’s a great opportunity to just learn and observe”.
Right now there will be a lot to absorb, Phodis says.
“The biggest challenge most lenders are facing is taking deals from enquiry to completion which has been even harder through Covid,” he says.
He is quick to add “luckily with a good team at ABC this has been made a lot easier”.
Perhaps unsurprisingly for someone with such keen advice for new joiners, Phodis is also hands on with his words of wisdom, as a mentor training new staff and helping them to progress from internal BDM’s to full BDMs with their own patch.
And what three things does he love most about his job? “The flexibility of working in an office and being on the road. Meeting new people every day, brokers and clients. And learning about the finance and property sector every day.”
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