‘Can I speak to the man in charge?’


Lyndsay Kent TBK Finance

In our latest Women in Finance Interview, Tony Sanchez speaks to Lyndsay Kent, Director and Founder at TBK Specialist Finance Limited.

Lyndsay stepped into the world of specialist property finance as a mortgage administrator, working for a commercial mortgage brokerage.

Alongside broking, always being quite industrial, Lyndsay also project manages property refurbishments and specialises in financing buy to let, bridging loans, refurbishment projects, development, and commercial loans.

What brought you into financial services?

It was always property for me! I initially worked at Nationwide at the age of 17, but then I fell into a career in the motor trade and spent years trying to secure my first ‘property’ job!

I was offered 2 jobs at age 21: Lettings agent, and Mortgage Case Manager. The reason I opted for the MCM role was due to the phenomenal service I received from my broker’s admin when I bought my first home – I wanted to do the same for others!

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

INVEST in your team! Your team are your gold dust and deserve to be treated as such. Your team are an opportunity for you to share the knowledge and wisdom you’ve gained, to empower them to do an amazing job. Establish what their goals and ambitions are, and support that!

LISTEN to the views of others and take feedback on board to make positive changes.
Be strong, and trust in your own thoughts, views, and opinions but be ready to be challenged. Diversity is key. If everyone agreed, then positive changes would never be made.

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

Working so hard to be taken seriously, that in turn I was taken for granted! I’ve always tried to excel in everything I do, and I don’t believe in working half-heartedly (go hard or go home essentially!).

Having finally landed my first job in finance/property, no one could doubt the passion I had.

In turn, this resulted in more being expected of me than of others, for nothing extra in return. My employer became complacent with my drive and work ethic.

My head was filled with doubt by my superiors that I’d ever progress, and I was also told they were nervous to give me a promotion as there were concerns I may decide to have a baby, and they’d therefore have to recruit maternity cover, an absolutely shocking encounter – I still do not have children, but that’s beside the point!

I’m thankful now though, as it gave me the drive to prove them wrong!

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

It would be to turn negative experiences into positive energy. Use any negativity or doubt towards your capabilities as your drive.

Expect the hurdles you face to be a little higher than those that some of your peers/colleagues have had to overcome.

What’s your own personal mantra?

Think about what you DO want, not what you DON’T want – trust me, it’s like a gravitational force when you’re a determined person.

Be thankful for what you DO have, not resentful for what you DON’T have.

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

Being honest, I’m yet to find this! I don’t mind so much now though, as I’m working for myself!

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

I can’t choose between two lessons, but they’re similar:

Be consistent. Don’t leave your team hesitant about the mood you’re going to turn up in!

Be transparent. There’s nothing worse than wondering what’s being spoken about in the board room, it fills your team full of anxiety.

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

If you want it, go and get it.

Don’t spend an untold number of years working for a company that you’re relentlessly trying to prove your worth to, because I promise there are other companies that don’t place as many unnecessary hurdles in the way!

The company that doesn’t believe in you, doesn’t deserve you.

Surround yourself with those that appreciate your worth, your drive and your passion!

You’ll know when you’re in the right place, trust me.

What do you think is holding women back?

The stereotype… the man does the ‘important stuff’ and the women mop up the admin.

Let me tell you something… YES women in finance are typically fantastic at admin tasks, as we’re organised, structured and typically have an outstanding eye for detail.

The funny thing is, the admin roles are the MOST difficult. I can say that, because I’ve done it.

We have to start lower down in the food chain, and work much harder to break through and progress up the ladder.

The BEST women that I’ve seen flourish in finance have all started here, and I’ll tell you why. We’re like sponges, and we learn how to do YOUR job whilst we’re doing all the graft in the background, and then one day we overtake you, because we end up better at your job than you are.

A few words of wisdom, treat your admin support like queens (or kings), and support their career growth (maybe they won’t want to be better than you then, they’ll want to be your colleague).

Do you think there is still a glass ceiling?

“Can I speak to the man in charge?”

Many brokerages have a male/female broker ratio of 9:1, and male/female admin ratio of 1:9. I have first-hand experience of this.

Here’s an example: as a small business owner, we simply cannot miss out on an opportunity, and in 2022 I have STILL found myself having to refer new clients to my MALE business partner to secure the deal.

He’s advised no differently, purposely used the same terms of phrase, yet as the client felt like they’d spoken to ‘the man in charge’ the deal was then secured.

Bizarre, considering I’m probably the bigger football fan out of the 2 of us…

What are your thoughts on the Women in Finance Charter? 

It demonstrates that the issues, struggles and inequality women have faced are real and true. It’s fantastic to see this acknowledged.

Although there is clearly still work to be done, room for improvement and a way to go, I only have positive things to say.

How do we encourage more women into financial services? 

By showcasing that your face doesn’t ‘need to fit’!

When I first started working in financial services I had red hair, and I was told that this wasn’t very professional.

There seems to be a persona/stereotype of an ‘ideal woman’ in finance (stilettos and a skirt) but it’s 2022 for Christ’s sake, and that’s not all of us!

I like to showcase who I really am as part of my brand, so encourage others to do the same.

Let’s make working in finance less ‘white collared’, less daunting to approach and showcase the achievements of women of all shapes and sizes!

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

Thankfully my business partner is a huge advocate for equality, and therefore as co-directors we earn the same wage, however it didn’t begin like this.

We required a small investment to launch our brokerage, and certain parties initially interested in funding this (I’ll point out they’re not involved in TBK) suggested that I take a smaller salary than my male business partner.

It’s a simple solution really, just start with small changes, and make them positive.

Start with simply acknowledging the historic gender bias and ensure that it’s a part of your budget (whether your business is large or small) that you’re working towards a level playing field.

What is your biggest achievement to date?

Quitting! I’m proud of the day I woke up and decided to quit my job, and throw every ounce of belief, passion, and drive into TBK.

It’s the best thing I ever did, and it took a lot of courage! As a result, I now love my job, and I actually live 250 miles away from where I did 12 months ago!

The first step is always the most important, you just need to take it 😊