‘If you are true to yourself and work hard there are no limits to what you can achieve’
By Tony Sanchez -
In our latest Women in Finance Interview, Tony Sanchez speaks to Danielle Evans, Sales Manager for Midlands, The North and Scotland at Alternative Bridging Corporation.
Danielle joined Alternative Bridging in May 2021 with experience in the specialist lending sector dating back to 2008.
She is responsible for developing the business levels in the Midlands, North and Scotland as well as increasing the presence of Alternative Bridging outside of London and is in the process of growing the Northern based team from the Manchester office.
What brought you into financial services?
It was by fluke really; I have always worked in public facing roles and found myself working as a mortgage advisor for a lender in 2008 and loved every minute of it.
From there I grew increasingly interested in what the wider world of finance had to offer and moved over to business development in 2016 which went from strength to strength.
I love how fast paced and exciting it can be, the fact we are always kept on our toes, and working in the bridging and development space suits me down to the ground as we can be so quick to react to changes in the economy and requirements of the end customer.
What do you think makes a successful leader? And in particular women leaders?
The big one for me is to not expect anyone to do something you wouldn’t be willing to do yourself.
With any of my team I will always be on the front line with them rather than standing back whilst they face issues without my support.
It can be challenging for women in any industry but if you know your subject and can lead a conversation, trust your instincts and take the opinions of others on board but take your own course of action, the right people around you will thrive.
What are the biggest barriers you have faced in your career in financial services?
I joined financial services at the age of 19 so in the early days my age was a challenge, especially when I was dealing with clients who were much older and maybe had the opinion that I was a little bit ‘green’.
In reality I had a mortgage myself and had been involved in property from childhood so I was in a pretty good place to be able to advise and relate to their circumstances.
I then took some time out to have my daughter in 2013 so managing the work/life balance wasn’t easy, especially when changing jobs and convincing employers I was a safe bet but having a strong role model in my little girls life sets a great example in my opinion.
If you could tell your younger self one thing you know about business now, what would it be?
Don’t sweat the small stuff, if you are true to yourself and work hard there are no limits to what you can achieve.
Nothing worth having in life comes easy. And you really didn’t need that French A Level anyway…
What’s your own personal mantra?
Thoughts become things. If I can visualise and play something forward, then I fully back myself.
What do you think is key for finding a successful work-life balance?
The week is for work and the weekend is for family.
I run my life through my outlook diary and yes that involves putting time in there for things like the gym, my daughter’s hobbies, eating out and visiting the older generation (who love to give me stick every time I visit as they seem to forget its not 1950 anymore!).
Ultimately, without my work, my lifestyle cannot be maintained so it’s a fair trade.
What’s one key leadership lesson you’ve learned along the way?
That you won’t be adored by everyone, and you cannot please everyone all the time.
I used to struggle with this daily, but I have been practised taking a step back and thinking about the greater good, and as long as my decisions are the right ones, I no longer feel the need to always keep everyone happy.
What advice do you have for women aiming for leadership positions?
Know your subject. Have the confidence in yourself to walk into any room and hold your own amongst everyone in there.
Don’t quit and don’t let other people hold you back.
What do you think is holding women back?
Depending on the sector, there can be some negative stereotyping put on women in certain roles which I think is unfair.
There comes a point in your career where it’s not only the opinions of men that can cause issues, but also that of other females who once championed you.
This is a difficult one to overcome and can only really be achieved when you can get to a level of self-acceptance that removes the need to have positive reinforcement from peers.
Do you think there is still a glass ceiling?
I think this is becoming less and less, as more women reach positions of power and set the example for others to follow suit.
Nothing in life is without obstacles but now more than ever there are so many strong female role models in all aspects of life that prove it can be done.
What are your thoughts on the Women in Finance Charter?
Well it’s a pretty sad state of affairs that there has had to be a charter to get to this point, but the fact that it has highlighted the issues that we all knew were there all along has to be a positive.
We are moving away from ‘boys club’ mentality now so it has certainly had the desired effect, and the fact that there is an increased awareness of the issues surrounding the world of finance means that there can be clear measures put in place to make the positive changes we need, without taking away from the achievements of our male peers.
It highlights the fact that ability should overrule gender, women being successful should not mean that men move backwards.
How do we encourage more women into financial services?
I have already seen a notable increase in women in financial services especially since the beginning of the pandemic, as there is less expectation to work from an office environment over long hours and the focus has shifted onto flexible working which helps with any younger females with families.
I think it is important to continue to encourage this, and to ensure that benefits and responsibilities are shared across the team fairly.
The gender pay gap is only second worst to the construction industry. What can organisations do to address this?
Put simply, pay for ability and not for gender. Equal opportunities should be provided in both salary and career progression.