‘Teamwork is crucial, everyone has a voice and trust is paramount’

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Deborah Chaplin Roma Finance

In our latest Women in Finance Interview, Tony Sanchez speaks to Deborah Chaplain, Head of Collections and Customer Service at Roma Finance.

Deborah has a wealth of experience in the specialist market throughout her extensive career.

What brought you into financial services?

My interest in finance started in my early college days when I was tasked with a mock business challenge, this exercise made me very interested in the financial services industry which I believed had various opportunities as being quite diverse.

Financial services is also a fast paced, competitive, and challenging environment and coupled with the benefits in the knowledge that I was doing meaningful work was a highly motivational factor.

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

To be a great female leader I believe that you need to be at the forefront of creating a woman empowered workplace.

Being a ”more human leader” is key by remaining positive and purposeful, coupled with showing empathy and compassion thus allowing you to being able to connect with members of your team and work colleagues.

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

I have not really faced any barriers that have ever stopped me, but I do have to say I have previously had to prove myself more so than if I had been a male.

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

Do not care about others that judge you, be yourself and fight for what you believe in.

As a wife, mother and working full time I have felt at some point being judged in all of these roles and it is so important to rise above these judgements.

What’s your own personal mantra?

As a leader, I place value on others, their ideas, and their potential to contribute to our shared vision.

I lead with good intentions and establish clear communication among my colleagues as we make strides to not only reach our shared vision, but for me to leave a lasting impact on every person I interact with

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

For me it is all about having flexibility, to be able to get the job done in my work life but still having time to have the energy to enjoy my personal life and take time to regenerate and do things for myself before the working week begins again.

What is one key leadership lesson you have learned along the way?

Teamwork is crucial, everyone has a voice and trust is paramount.  For this to work it is fundamental that the team complement each other as diversity is key to success.

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

I think it is key to ask yourself if that is where you want to be?

Then if you do then fight for it do not listen to anyone who chooses to put obstacles in your way or judges what you can and cannot do or what you can and cannot say.

Always keep your friends and family close as you may need them for some ‘therapeutical chats’!

What do you think is holding women back?

One of the reasons I believe is having a lack of self-belief, my tip is to pay attention to what you have achieved and celebrate the successes however small they seem!

Do you think there is still a glass ceiling?

I cannot help but consider my own personal and professional journey over the past 30 years of my career.

At one point I was a working mother and the challenges and struggles that come with that.

However, I commenced my career in various positions, prior to progressing into management then leadership positions and have experienced first-hand from both sides of the salary equation, why the position and pay discrepancies occur.

I do not believe that pay should be solely based on a job title but should equally consider the individuals performance, timelines, and quality of deliverables.

What are your thoughts on the Women in Finance Charter? 

I think the work they are undertaking and the challenges they are setting is integral to building a more equal, representative, and fair society.

Offering a more balanced and inclusive working environment needed to succeed in financial services and also fit for this century!

How do we encourage more women into financial services? 

As woman tend to largely maintain their responsibilities at home, we need to remove the common perception that the financial services industry is less conductive to work-life balance.

The industry needs to support and encourage woman to have a balanced family and work life and that participating in flexible programs, such as maternity leave will not undermine their ability to succeed at work.

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

We need to increase the proportion of woman in senior positions and ensure a level playing field in terms of equal career development opportunities.