‘Never underestimate yourself and be resilient’


Leanne Ardron, LendInvest wif

In our latest Women in Finance Interview, Tony Sanchez speaks to Leanne Ardron, Head of Bridging at LendInvest.

Leanne has over 15 years experience within the specialist financial services, previously working on both broker and property investment sides of transactions.

Since joining LendInvest over ten years ago, she has been helping drive and shape the company’s short-term lending product proposition and increasing the numbers across the board, utilising technology and working with expert, skilled people.

At LendInvest, Leanne is responsible for the bridging business, growing the product and driving strategy and innovation for their short-term lending.

What brought you into financial services?

I initially started working in a law firm for work experience, but soon after moved on to work at a brokerage – this was back in the sub prime days and where I witnessed the 2008 crash.

I then moved on to property investment and renovations which is when I first entered the world of bridging finance.

I soon joined Montello which was the name prior to the name change to LendInvest in 2013. Fast forward 10+ years, I’ve seen the company grow from five people to 250 and I’ve been part of the milestones that this incredible company has achieved.

I look forward to hitting more over the coming years.

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

Hard work and dedication being the obvious answers, but continually wanting to learn and evolve is hugely key.

You should always want to continue learning to grow your knowledge. With all that being said, have a vision, stay calm and share ideas and thoughts regardless of what others think.

Listen to people and be able to juggle tasks with organised prioritisation.

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

If you’re starting out in your career – it takes a while to be taken seriously and it can be even harder for a woman in this industry.

It’s definitely getting better, and for me working alongside our Co Founders and CEO over the years I’ve had good allies to support my personal growth.

In addition I had family to reach out to who are in the same space. Find a mentor and drive your success.

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

Never underestimate yourself and be resilient – if you work hard, show dedication and set yourself goals you can get to where you want to be.

However, be prepared that it doesn’t always work out first time.

What’s your own personal mantra?

If it was easy, everyone would do it!

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

You need to prioritise your day, week, month whether that’s your day to day job or projects that you have running in the background.

There is nothing more satisfying than crossing off a task that’s been completed.

I’ve always used the Eisenhower matrix for productivity, prioritisation, and time-management.

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

I think it’s important to always take a step back and listen to what teams have to say to help drive things in the right way.

If you are looking to build a team, it’s not always about you needing to know everything yourself, but getting people that are experts to drive the goal to get the best outcome.

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

You have to look for the opportunities to build your skills, self-knowledge and network.

Regardless of sex, I think it’s really important to know and trust your abilities and always support and motivate your team to reach their potential.

What do you think is holding women back?

This isn’t the case at LendInvest, but within some firms it may be down to lack of support from their seniors or lack of female leadership within the firm to support more coming through.

Do you think there is still a glass ceiling?

It’s getting better but diversity and inclusion as a whole still has a long way to go.

Lots of events are still run by a certain demographic. At LendInvest, we are hugely passionate about our culture, and making sure everyone’s voice is heard regardless of their background, race, sexual orientation or religion.

We also have our own Women’s network, which is a safe space for women around the business to share their experiences in the industry.

How do we encourage more women into financial services? 

I’m a big advocate of training juniors and getting them to their best ability over a number of years.

At LendInvest we run an apprenticeship program and I have seen huge success of all candidates within that.

I think more senior women speaking up, whether that’s at events or in publications, should drive and encourage more women into financial services.

Our CEO and I have also spoken to students at Reading University where we presented on the property finance industry.

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

Encourage companies to be more transparent and review their diversity and inclusion data.

What is your biggest achievement to date?

Keeping it work related, being part of the company from near enough inception. I was employee number three joining a workforce of seven.

To now heading up the bridging division for a listed business with a head count of over 250.

The lessons learnt along the 10+ years at LendInvest have allowed me to achieve so much, which I’m grateful for.